Posted: February 18, 2014
I'm torn between recommending this game and recommending against it. Ultimately, I recommend against buying it.
- The game has a wonderful and cohesive visual and auditory aesthetic. The levels convey a compelling liveliness and otherworldliness. The obstacles, enemies, and background "creatures" are inventive and cool-looking. I wish I could go explore the background with Commander Video.
- The music is great. I actually bought the album of the band that did the opening credits theme (Anamanaguchi) after hearing it in this game.
- The mechanics are pretty predictable. It's obvious when you need to jump, smash, etc, although sometimes certain elements can get muddled by everything else going on around it.
- It has achievements, and I like achievements, because I'm kinda OCD.
- It has Steam cloud sync, because it's 2014.
- It's billed as a rhythmic platformer, but falls short on both counts. As a platformer it's dull and the controls are tight. It requires rote memorization in many places rather than reliance on reflexes. As a rhythmic game it falls short because the beats of the songs actually throw you off and aren't very well-timed to what you're supposed to be doing. Rhythmic platformers must be pretty difficult to design because they require absolute integration in the spatial and time dimensions, but when the designers fail it actually makes the game less intuitive and more frustrating.
- At times it seems like my character didn't actually collide with an object, but it registers a hit, sending me back to the beginning of the level. Seems like there's fudgy hitboxes. A game like this requires skintight hitboxes.
- Just because it's hard doesn't make it fun. The designers deliberately made the game very hard by the exclusion of checkpoints. You could call this "sadistic" or say it's meant to attract only the most diehard platformer fans (of which I am one), but it makes the game inaccessible and artificially extends the playtime. It's a crutch you see used a lot in indie platformers these days. Super Meat Boy was exceptionally hard but had an enormous amount of depth. Bit.Trip Runner is actually a pretty short and shallow experience if you add checkpoints.
- Since this is a rhythmic platformer, a large part of the game experience is enjoying the music. But it's incredibly difficult to even get past the first world (of three total), and you don't really hear different music until then. By the time I got there I was so ♥♥♥♥ing tired of the music in the first world I never want to play it again. Contrast that to Electronic Super Joy, 140, and Super Meat Boy, where I frequently go back and play levels just to hear the music.
- You have to focus so much on timing your movements that
- Autoscroll on every level kinda sucks in platformers. That's probably a controversial statement, but it's what I think. Oh, and while I'm at it, Metallica's "And Justice for All..." is their best.
- The boss battles are inventive, but by the 100th time I tried to beat the first world boss I was ♥♥♥♥ing bored out of my mind. I actually had to write down the order of what comes at me in order to beat it. This isn't Calculus. I shouldn't have to take notes.
I think the cons outweigh the pros, so I can't recommend this one. But, if you like really hard platformers with good music and don't mind nearly-endless repetition, you'll probably enjoy it.