You know, I feel the experience is 50/50. Overall very good, don't be deceived, but I feel like there's some drawbacks to be had.
Let me just open with praise. Great music, great sounds, great visuals, original concepts, EXCELLENT level design, and a good breadth of content. It's masterpieces like this that make me dig around in the platformer section of NG to begin with. I could not rate this piece anything less than 8/10 on a clean conscious as proof of how damn good this piece is at its core.
The problem for me is style and philosophy. It gets hard as all hell. Borderline impossible in some feets. I'm straight up resigning on level 17 due to my dry eyes and cramped as hell wrists.
My single biggest gripe: Memorization and stealth spikes.
The timed spikes are one thing, but the proximity spikes have fast deploy times (needing to reaction in over 1/4 of a second or so is simply fatal, if even that), completely invisible nature, and eventual spam-tacular overuse simply grows absurd. I'm fine with a few levels using it, or maybe once or twice per level, but it just grows to a point where every other place you could set foot suddenly decides to murder you completely and utterly without warning.
That's fine, but they start appearing in places that are central to any kind of reprieve, or places where danger is not a theme. Adding a need to remember one trap laid out near blue switch X just makes you die and restart.
Does it add to the game's lifetime? Sure. But does it add any fun or true challenge outside of memory? Not really, in my honest opinion. And that's what gets me. I'm being kicked to curb out of almost pure sadism, and I get nothing in return out of the trade. Maybe it's just my tastes expecting something else, but for me this is a constant nuisance.
Secondarily: Long, long stretches of actions with no reprieve. I have never seen a platformer with as long of rapid fire hazards as this. It gets to be very exhausting, and you want a moment to catch your breath and recenter yourself, but that ends up not being given for considerable expanses of space. Moreover, even if it just comes down to memorizing it all, doing a few dozen chain actions to clear an area over 20 seconds requires immense focus and quite frankly leaves me wanting to blink one hell of a lot. It just ends up drying out my eyes more than I feel overtly challenged. It's really a cramp in how much I get into things before just feeling that the insanity is growing oversaturated. And after you clear one of these giant reflex piles? Well, you can bet there's another one waiting for you of comparable length.
Truth be told I'd love to keep digging into this game, but it's very taxing on the wrists and comfort to keep pursuing, and everything that goads me on to keep pressing myself just gets met with a lot of small annoyances that drive me further away.
I imagine I am the exception, but either way it's a good piece at it's core.
8/10, 4/5 ~WCCC
Dear god, man.
I hate to be rude, and I'll try to stay constructive. Seems like there's a good game to be had under the cover, but the INSTANT this game begins I am somehow getting a frame every second. Takes most of a minute just for the elevator to bring the guy up to level 1. Once playing, oddly, it runs at a less impaired rate, then takes most a minute to leave the elevator and so on.
I WANT to stay constructive, just like I'd WANT to actually play this game, but quite frankly this piece is so overtly dysfunctional that I cannot reinforce its negatives with positives or more detailed critique.
All I can tell you is that you need to pray to jesus for optimization, because it would take a miracle to turn this piece around. Whatever you're doing in a platformer, I guarantee you it should NOT run this slowly or anywhere close.
My advice, look at things as in depth as you can for cleaner, more optimized alternate solutions, or maybe start reading some books on code. I am amazed at how unplayable this is for such a minimalist concept it seems to be.
Right now this game somehow manages to use more of my processor than Zombidle running sloth's form, keeping in mind that game is actively calculating god knows how many digits of math operations 10-20 times a second.
Sorry man. 2/5 for effort, but that's all I can give this.
Good game. Outright sadistic in many senses, but a fun concept done in a way that accelerates at a reasonable pace.
That being said, my main gripe seems to be that FPS tanks sometimes and it makes controls less than responsive. It's a really subtle tanking, no more than 10-20 frames less per second, but it's definitely there. Thought it was me being tired last night, so I logged back on this morning, lo and behold I'm seeing it crop up a lot, especially near turrets in particular. Maybe an iterator that's too hefty? I can gauge it pretty well by jumping up and down a few times, and seeing how smooth the transition is.
That being said it's otherwise solid. The control hangups are pissing me off more than anything, but slowly progressing due to sheer luck and persistence.
The spirit of spyro lives on yet. This game struck my nostalgia bone harder and harder the more I played it. If this isn't textbook spyro 2 influence I don't know what is. My nostalgia bone may very well be obliterated with so many things that resonated in this piece. However, onto the bad news.
Tired upon playing and writing this, so maybe I'm biased, but I found the piece itself to be fairly dry. But in the 2 levels I cleaned out before putting this piece down, I did a lot of thinking about what was wrong and what was right.
Primarily, I think it came down to pacing and movement speed. The game itself had a very slow pace in terms of movement and slow, low-risk combat. Combined with the "collectathon" aspect (a pejorative in its own right in the realm of gaming, if only for reasons I may never understand), it really did kill the pacing and make things feel tedious.
I'd also point out that the levels were perhaps overly dependent on verticality. I love me some verticality, and one should use it to properly appreciate gliding, but I think it just doesn't work in a 2d setting as much as a 3d setting. Wherein vertical terrain is not used for mounting a chain of terrain displaced from the rest of the level, but rather strewn on top the ground of a level and made mandatory to re-climb a large chain of 2d terrain upon falling down or missing something at one spot. Dare I say, it just doesn't work outside of a 3d realm for the lack of non-linearity one could imbue into 3d.
Further, most enemies seemed bland, and a couple of the NPC's had somewhat annoying sounds for speaking, and the speaking range was so high you'd hop between L/R platforms and have the effect resound every second or so. Painful, in its own way. About the enemies, I always loved how in spyro, with some exceptions, enemies seemed specialized in their attack style and how each had weaknesses and strengths, as well as more diverse movement patterns on occasion that could keep you on your toes in combat. Meanwhile, most of the foes presented seem to be pretty linear and "idle" in terms of routing, while often just being some kind of critter.
Let's move onto the good news: The game functions without any true bugs I can find. It has a nice setting that is generic while a thing its own at the same time, oddly spinning the old record in a new direction. The game looks great, its soundtrack has some nice and very creatively stitched together jams, and all the core mechanics are there while platforming.
For 2d, I feel that mario and sonic realized or built around some of the potential faults at hand.
Not to be a completionist collectathon or to mandate the player to move in all sorts of areas requiring backtracking and climbing, but leaving them as options with large incentives in terms of rewards. You could blow past tedious 2d terrain in a more reflex oriented manner rather than pure coordination, often times. More unique encounters, be they level or boss, would gradually require more coordination over reflex, or rather along side it. In that sense, it was challenging and skill related, while fast paced and not requiring too much time investment.
I love what is inherited in this game, and how it is unique in many fashions. It has an artistically thrilling world, but a functionally dry one. It pains me to say that I'd rate this somewhere in the vicinity of 7/10, PROBABLY leaning towards 4/5 due to how close it is to being a magical product in its inception. I hope my criticisms can help improve and see things a bit better for you, or at least that I didn't shit all over your day at the least.
A very tough call for a very thin line that barely remains uncrossed. Keep on rocking, because you've clearly got a lot going in terms of elements, and I've seen you produce some fiercer content before.
Thanks for a wonderful review! I complete agree in some aspects with the design point of view, however as this was created for a gamejam (and I only had a month) I really didn't have much time to plan out everything as I would of liked. I actually had lots of neat ideas to try and keep things more fresh but just didn't have the time to create and build them. I originally wanted the worlds to be all interconnected and have sub areas but that would of just been too much of a task.
Same with the enemies, to program in 20 plus unique enemies would of just been too much for the time scale I had so I just made 5 different types and re-skinned them with different sprites. A bit lazy approach but at the same time it saved me time to work on other stuff. The music itself was all created on the last day, in under 3 hours I think, so that just shows how pushed for time I was.
The movement and pace is only an issue in the flash version because it wasn't planned to be ported over here, it was originally made for PC's. Flash is a bit of a resource hog and I'm shocked it even runs to be honest!
Hopefully when I get around to making a spiritual successor I'll make sure I plan it using flash and iron out all the bugs and have more time to create more clever world designs :D
Ugh. Would love to properly review this, but holy crap. Moment "C to hook" comes into play, I'm trying to climb a wall. Spent 5 minutes figuring out all actual strategy to using it. IE can aim upwards, or I can throw hook standing still, or throw it mid air to use it on the move... but past that? How in the hell do I scale that wall? 5 minutes and I'm not an iota closer, straight up STUMPED. Complex mechanics, unlisted information, and zero foreplay all collide to make me wonder what the hell I'm doing.
Love the art style, love the depth of mechanics, love the kind of setting it's in, but dang dude, I am straight up stumped by level 2 no matter how much I try to learn and explore. A PAINFUL dose of proper instruction and introduction to mechanics is needed.
In an almost unprecedented stroke of criticism, I have to hand this piece an entire 20% less on its score just because its quality content is presented in a way that is almost completely incapable of congestion.
Literally unplayable, literally unhitlerable. 6/10 ~IGN
Although seriously jokes aside, it IS getting a 6/10 in my book, and I am very confused with what this is supposed to expect of me.
A pretty solid piece, in concept. At first glance, I could see some aspects of the demo as bleeding a lack of developer skill. The run cycle is very lackluster, the art isn't too high def, reskinning galore, and nothing exceptionally impressive in the art itself, on top of the game running at half speed for me almost all the time. Not sure why.
But, and I mean but, then I view how most of the function plays out, things like tilted steps on ladders or well tiled brick arrangements, and even the helmet's tail wagging while climbing a ladder, with a sword on the back.
Seeing those points, I give benefit of the doubt it's for a guy who knows what he's doing in most fields, but is cutting corners to save time in production, especially for a mere demo.
That being said, I'd roughly categorize this demo as a 7/10, but a 3/5. Should be interesting to see how the whole game turns out.
Energizer is the one known for a bunny mascot, FYI. Otherwise not a bad piece. Some were easy, some were crazy obscure. Never heard of airbus, for instance. Fun concept, regardless.
Seems that on lower game speeds, pressing two movement keys in rapid succession will only register the first. Sadly, I'm in a lax mood this morning, so that about undoes it for me.
Fun concept, definitely some fun being had.
7/10, 3/5 ~WCCC
Well, I'm hesitant to review this piece both on the grounds that it is emulating retro nearly to a point of fault, and that I'm not encouraged any further upon seeing a lot of salty responses to reviews lying around. Reasonable and well written enough, sure, but definitely feels like a bit of lashing out. I hope I'm wrong.
I guess I'll list pros because I'm absurdly tempted to list cons off the bat. I think we can agree reviewing both sides of the coin is the better option, of course.
-Not bugged in any major sense I can find.
-Good art and soundtrack, and it seems like a fun world portrayed and played through.
-Not an absolute cookie cutter retro piece, despite its many function throwbacks.
-Challenging enough to make its (relatively slim) content potentially last much longer, given the player has absurd patience. Sadly given the reviews I've seen in the first two pages, it seems a good chunk of the demographic receiving this piece don't share such a trait, whether by age or by disinterest I'll leave up to you.
-Poor clarity. There is no tutorial level to speak of, or any other in game method to find out the controls, and this is a colossal ass pain. One might argue the controls are so simple and/or flash game trope based they can be guessed or are in themselves retro. However, considering both the high level of difficulty and the fact that guessing occurs over an entire keyboard, this often devolves into poor execution of clarity. I totally guessed controls from experience, knew to check for anything else in the NG desc, and quickly saw the control menus and etc, but for people who just want to walk into a game and get the information they need in the game, directly and as a new player, this is counter intuitive.
-Dashing isn't described anywhere I can find period. I found this out by reading reviews. Dashing is never listed that I can find, and even the game's NG desc makes no mention of it. I assume this was a bit of absent mindedness and/or a bit of assumption that this sequel will be pitched to people who usually know of the first. As a person who doesn't know of the first, this just leaves me asking why.
-Found a couple places where enemies just blend into background too readily, probably due to similar colors and especially saturation values.
-Cheap stage design from hell. Once again, while it is retro, having enemies respawn every single time you doddle off screen for a moment's notice and having them prearranged to kick your ass savagely from the get go is a real rough go of things.
Maybe I'm a bastard for starting with the upper left first, instinctively, but I found a wall tank shooting through platforms, hitting me, knocking me down and back, and by the time I walk over to the platform again him and his buddies have respawned and I'm primed to get hit by the same combo again. I wouldn't mind this if it weren't for the fact that for most people, by pure instinct, the upper left is the level they choose to start, only to find out that respawning, floating enemies are shooting bolts down on their hands en masse from the very start, and then letting those bolts split into schockwaves to further mess with you. Also said enemies don't die from a single charged hit likes some enemies from the "first" level do, so trying to strike early is virtually useless and will probably just get you shot.
-So, the controls menu doesn't have an arrow indicating which thing you're floating over. As a guy that prefers visual aid more than colors, I sat there mashing enter for almost 30 seconds because I didn't know I was inputing a "enter controls" command instead of an "exit" command.
I want to take a moment to refocus that I can tell this game is well made and it has a LOT going for it, but it has the polish of sand paper to me as I walk into the experience. I play retro plenty often, and even prefer it in a good handful of cases vs newer or similar installments.
For all my instincts, this game is confusing, unclear, and has zero concept of foreplay, moreso than most retro games even. And that's a statement. Further, I find that once I figure out what the hell I'm doing, the task set before me is time consuming, will almost certainly need dozens of attempts, and is pretty sadistic seeming in nature. That's not bad or anything, but the seeming scarcity of content, lack of empowerment to the player, and the laborious need to claw your way back up every time you die emphasizes those previous two points painfully well.
To me, this game is very minimally entertaining yet wants me to invest much time, blood, sweat, and tears into the process to accomplish much of anything.
I feel very safe saying that much could be learned from the similar (yet later nerfed) asslevania: son of the butt. It had clarity, it had empowerment, it had a good degree of content, and it was sadistically hard in a sense that made you want to push ahead further, while still throwing back a fun handful of things that were homage to castlevania itself.
Personally, a 4/10. Objectively, a 6/10.
Let the ol' storm of broken ad block messages roll in. Don't know what to say. Unlike most people complaining, I run "noscript" addon on my browser, which in short blocks all cross site scripting unless explicitly allowed, hence it blocks ads as a side effect.
What's funny is the ads never didn't work. I always got a 15 second ad based on an animated GIF advertising things like "world's hardest game" and such. I suspect that might've been a failsafe vs an actual video, but I've seen at least a couple ads that peeked my interest regardless, although not enough for a visit to their site.
Last night ad block messages were a pain in the ass, so I allowed all the page today, but it's still screaming martyr quite loudly, although I suspect the ad networks aren't being listed as part of the page's resources due to an error.
If you have a couple site names of where you run ads from, I'd be willing to try to allow them more directly and see if that helps, but it seems probable your ad block message is at least broken in part, based upon the angry mob forming at the doorstep of the reviews section.
Good game, very addicting and all, but hot damn, this might be the nail in the coffin of me walking away from this piece.
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