32 people found this review helpful
1 person found this review funny
Not Recommended
0.0 hrs last two weeks / 1.7 hrs on record (1.4 hrs at review time)
Posted: Jul 16, 2015 @ 6:49am
Updated: Jul 22, 2015 @ 6:28am

Disclaimer: I was given a key to this game from the developer.

If this game were in early access (and it should be) I would give it a passing grade. To consider this a final product is a bit short-sighted, and it's not nearly worth $10. Don't get me wrong, I've had a bit of fun with this game. I was actually going to recommend this game until something happened.

I beat the first level. I finally got past the clunky, loose controls and beat the first level. I managed to find the wizard (the boss who I had never found before) and kill him. Then a portal appeared and I got excited to see what came next.

The title screen. The title screen is what came next. Am I missing something? Was that IT? Imagine playing Risk of Rain but having no items and nothing past the first level. Just the first level over and over again. According to another reviewer you can unlock hats, so that's... something. It supposedly gets more difficult every time you beat it, but that only adds so much replayability, it's more important that the game is enjoyable. Doing the same "meh" gameplay over and over again just doesn't do it for me.

This game does have some good things going for it.
  • The story is cute, clever and imaginative. It threw me into the world with childlike wonder.
  • The voice acting is very good.
  • The graphic style is very enjoyable to me. It perfectly carries the whimsical feel of the story.
  • The sound effects are well done but can feel out of place at times.
  • The music is good but sounds like it belongs in a mystery/spy game.
  • Pooping bricks is a fun mechanic, though doesn't really make sense.

Other issues I had. (In addition to things I listed above)
  • Menu system is basic and severely lacking. If you're only going to give us left and right, make the menus left and right.
  • There is no HUD at all. You never know how much health you have or how much damage each creature does. Some are a one hit kill, others aren't.
  • You're given no instructions (this was apparently a conscious decision by the dev who expects you to go to their website to learn how to play the game) and don't really understand what your goal is until you find it. You're also picking up green gems for some reason. Points? The cryptic help screen left me with more questions than answers.
  • Any difficulty the game has is purely based on it being difficult to control, not on enemy design. The wizards are the only enemy that adds anything substantial to the combat to make it interesting.

    As it's described in the game's description. "We've put in the bare minimum amount of tutorials and help to make people stop complaining." Who is complaining about being told the basic mechanics of the game?

In the end, this feels like the type of thing I would create if I had the time to learn how to develop a game. I would be proud of it, but I wouldn't think it's worth $10. I probably wouldn't even release it. I would take what I learned and start working on the next project. This feels like a tech demo for a bigger (and very fun) game.
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5 Comments
kyleblane Jul 16, 2015 @ 5:37pm 
I just played it again, and it's certainly more enjoyable knowing what I know now. I also noticed the "tips" down at the bottom of the title screen that answer some of my questions, I hadn't noticed those before. Listing those on the help page rather than at the bottom would be better in my opinion.

I still feel like I'm just playing the same thing over and over again. I haven't noticed the enemies getting more difficult. In fact, pretty much all of my deaths are from me being stupid and hitting spikes or falling.

I will say this, the wizard fights are quite enjoyable. But again, they suffer from the problem of always feeling the same.
kyleblane Jul 16, 2015 @ 5:12pm 
cont...

I do question how well "exploring the unknown" is portrayed in the game. After an hour of play I didn't feel like anything was a surprise any more, it was far from "unknown" to me.
kyleblane Jul 16, 2015 @ 5:12pm 
Thanks for the response, I definitely think talking about it with you will go a long way.

I didn't necessarily go into it expecting a rogue-like experience, however I am a huge fan of rogue-likes so I think that's the sort of features I miss from this game. It carries the ideas of random generation and permadeath which are the two primary characteristics of a rogue-like, so I certainly want to compare it with that genre.

The whole idea of the eye replacing the HUD is a great idea, but I shouldn't be expected to visit your website to be told that, and after an hour of play I didn't have a clue that was the case. I understand you want to have little to no help/tutorial section in the game, but I can't play it the way it's intended to be played if I'm not explained the basics of how it's supposed to be played. Especially if you are going for an unconventional way of doing things.
MachineSpirit  [developer] Jul 16, 2015 @ 4:20pm 
Hi Kyle!

Thanks for taking a look!

The game is about exploring the unknown and the fear and uncertainty associated with that and it doesn't look like that was the kind of experience you were looking for going in so I'm sorry you didn't get into it.

Did you have a go at continuing through levels as they get harder? The first level is always pretty simple and we do ramp up the difficulty as you progress through the game adding new structures and adjusting mob behaviour etc. But if you're looking for roguelike pickups and combat then yeah, Amygdala isn't that.

The lack of HUD is a design decision that hasn't been popular amongst traditional gamers. Using the third eye to tell you how much energy you have and which way to the wizard is our mechanism for intentionally providing that information to the player in a non-concrete way.

Do you think it would be better if we provided a more detailed user guide on the steam page rather than the game's website?
kyleblane Jul 16, 2015 @ 6:50am 
If I'm missing something and there actually is more to this game, please let me know.