Publisert: 26. juni
I rarely write reviews, but Element4l was so frustrating and contrary to expectations that I have to say something. Do not be fooled by the description of the game, nor by the calm, relaxed aesthetic of the graphics, sound, music, and writing. They are completely undermined and ruined by the brutally unforgiving twitch gameplay. It feels like the designer had ideas for two very different games -- an immersive art game, and a fast-paced twitch racer -- but tried to do both at once, and made a mess.
The game description says it is "immersive", with "a strong focus on flow and smooth gameplay", but that is very misleading. In reality, the gameplay on most levels involves repeating each 5-to-20-second section of the level a dozen times or more, first trying to guess what buttons the level designer intended you to press, then trying to get the timing exactly right. Eventually you will memorize the current 5-to-20-seconds well enough that you make it to the next checkpoint, only to be doomed to start the cycle over again on the next 5-to-20-seconds.
Eventually, if you don't quit from frustration, you will reach the end of the level, and the game will pass judgment on your performance, giving you a grade (bronze, silver, or -- I assume it is possible -- gold), telling you how many times you died, and how long it took you to complete the level, measured to the thousandth of a second. This judgment phase interrupts the gameplay for about 5 seconds, and cannot be skipped over. It will squash any last bit of "immersion" or "flow" that managed to survive in your mind.
I did eventually beat the game on the default difficulty, but it's just not worth the pain. If for some reason you do play this game, do yourself a favor: go into Options and enable "This Is Too Hard For Me". It will better balance the energy recharge speed, so that the game will merely be quite frustrating, instead of making you want to throw your computer across the room every 5 minutes. Despite the option's condescending name, it would still be considered "hard mode" in most games (i.e. games that have been playtested by more people than just hardcore twitch gamers), and the default would be considered "expert mode".