21 people found this review helpful
Recommended
0.0 hrs last two weeks / 3.6 hrs on record
Posted: Jan 25 @ 3:13pm
Updated: Jan 25 @ 3:21pm
Product received for free

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-KLAUS- is an indie puzzle platformer of fair length with an extensive story that unfolds right on screen as the main game progresses. This way there is no time delays in active gameplay, unless the player chooses to do so. The meat of the game is a series of progressively challenging platforming sections of fair length. Nothing too long to lose the player, yet long enough to make each individual level feel challenging. There are small puzzles tucked into each and every section of every level so that you are not just blindly jumping around trying to find the exit.

My in-game time is approximately 2.5 hours according to my save file and I have completed one-third of the game (finished 2/6 individual sections of the game so far, collected all of the memory pieces). As I understand the game to have completely optional memory bits that you can play through or to completely ignore, there exist two different endings to the game, depending on how you choose to progress.

Since Klaus, our protagonist, is a man with an existential crisis from the beginning of the game, devoid of all previous memory, I deem the memory gathering a rather important aspect this game. Often players choose to play a game and to follow the story to its last detail. Sure, you can probably read up on the spoilers elsewhere on the internet, but where is the fun in that? So these memory bits are available in every chapter of each segment of the game. There are a total of 36 of these optional platforming levels and they are actually pretty fun to play through. Their short nature ensures that you just get right back to the main story once you have collected the memory fragments.

There are three protagonists within this story, Klaus, K1, and the player--that's right, you. Klaus and K1 both talk to you plenty and acknowledge that you are there. While your controls will of course move the two of them around, you are also solely responsible for manipulating environmental objects to ensure their safe passage. The two characters that you see throughout the game (K1 starting from the second section of the game) have a significant amount of individuality, not just in their abilities in platforming, but also their thoughts and words. It is really interesting to peek into the minds of these two individuals as you look on from the outside. Most other platforming games places the player and controls within the protagonist, but this one keeps you outside. Even though you cannot speak to them, they will maintain a constant interaction with you, which is really neat.

The main story will probably take me about 8-9 hours to complete, after which an Arcade mode with Speedrun option will unlock. If someone is a completionist and must get all achievements, I only wish you good luck on your quest. Once you figure out the puzzles once, they are basically mindless to pass through, as long as you do the platforming bit correctly. So many games have a speedrunning option now that it is no longer a novelty or necessarily very exciting parts of the game. Though I could tell from playing so far that there are many sections that have time-saving maneuvers with high-risk platforming. So maybe the additional excitement will be worth it.

The game advertises three boss fights, and I have seen one so far. Apparently the last one is only obtainable through getting all of the secrets, which is a bummer. It would be nice to not require all players to collect all secrets before seeing the true ending of the main story. What I felt while playing through the first boss fight was that it wasn't so much of a fight, but rather a slightly more complex platforming puzzle.

Here's my first fumblings with the game:
https://youtu.be/Qdc3Gw_SbFg

Gameplay
Platforming puzzles that are broken up into discrete chunks that are all manageable. Please keep in mind that there are time-sensitive parts that will exclude some people.

Controls
Best with a controller in my opinion, too many keys to try to keep track of on a keyboard otherwise.

Graphics
Neat, originally designed, fun.
Klaus wears a tie, I like that.

Music
Nice soundtrack, creepy sound effects at times, very well done.

Audience
People should know that it's not for everyone. Time sensitive platforming always will exclude some people. Even with the many checkpoints in trying to be inclusive, this is not doable for some. If you are a 100% completionist, I would advise you stay away, unless you want to try some levels until ever more for the last one or two. (There's one that I just cannot even imagine getting.)

Pricing
With huge Steam libraries and people looking to get the biggest bang for their buck, an asking price of $14.99 USD will make people think before they buy. Is the experience worth the asking price? Yes, I do think it is.

Positives
+Autosaves, can work for or against you. If you are trying to complete the game with all secrets, you may want to not move forward until you have ensured that you have gathered the memory from that chapter (fortunately the game gives the player an easy option to restart the chapter or the individual section of the chapter at will)
+Fun and challenging platforming, but with so many checkpoints and infinite lives in the standard mode that one does not have to worry about back-tracking and redoing puzzles once you have figured it out
+Even though the platforming is tight, there is enough wiggle room to allow for some degree of error
+Simple, yet well-crafted and hand-drawn environments
+Interesting use of dialogue for the protagonists to directly speak with the player
+Pretty awesome soundtrack
+Achievements that are mostly not too difficult to achieve, as you will get most of them as you play. There are some really challenging ones that will be sure to frustrate a lot of people who wish to get to 100% though (I have 0 plans to go after all of them)
+Respawning after death occurs

Meh
~People will notice that each world/section of this game is color-coded, with the first being Red and the second being Green, etc. The only breaks that you have from this are the optional memory stages. Some people will be pleased by this, while others will feel that the first world is too red and may stop playing early.

Negatives
-Lots of flashing lights, especially in the beginning. The game did not initialize by warning people with seizure disorder to be aware of that (this should really get added as a warning in the beginning)
-Specifically, there are some traps that may not make sense. I understand if a trap can kill a character logically, but there are some that make no sense at all. The biggest example I came across are these steam-piston driven proximity crush traps, in the Basement world, chapter 5, section 2, there is a crush trap that kills you even though it doesn't crush all of the way to the floor. There's clearly enough space for Klaus to sit under there, but he dies anyway. Nearby there, there's a sideways crushing trap at a ladder that will kill Klaus if it is fully deployed and Klaus climbs the ladder and touches the deployed piston.
-The game should really have a few more boss fights. I have seen one so far that's more of a platforming puzzle instead of a fight.
-The time sensitive sections will exclude a certain percentage of players, certainly the most casual players will likely find that these sections may become too hard to progress.

Conclusion
-KLAUS- is fun platforming from a neat angle. It's definitely worth trying, and I think the price is good.

I received the product for free. I did not receive any compensation to write this review. The opinions represented here are entirely my own and were not influenced in any way.
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