Narrative vs Gameplay
Simple gameplay can help tell a story, but here, the gameplay works *against* the plot. Other than falling through the floor in the beginning, it plays exactly like an average platformer *despite* supposedly being a glitchy beta.
Now, if the power-ups were real glitches like wall-clipping or 'freezing' the screen, then the story and gameplay would be much better integrated, and not seem like, as many other reviewers thought, just an average game with an artsy story slapped on.
It's a pity though, because the idea of a beta game who's afraid of being fixed has *huge* potential. You could always re-explore this concept in another game, just be sure that when your story's about a game, the gameplay itself actually matters.
why am I reviewing games at two in the morning
A great end to a great series
The Robot Wants series always did humour well, and this was no exception. Vast exploration, creative bosses, & gradual upgrading was, once again, perfectly executed.
And of course, the SHOCKING TWIST ENDING was pure 100% AWESOME.
Something odd about the games is that DYING is a good strategy. In Robot Wants Puppy, dying & respawning with Kitty was easier than fetching her. In this game, dying & respawning with full energy was the easiest way to recharge. Also, because the bosses remain damaged after you die, ( other than the final one ) you don't really have a reason to avoid being killed. Just shoot, die, respawn, roll back there, shoot, repeat.
Not necessarily bad; the game might otherwise be too hard. But players shouldn't have to strategize against the game itself.
Some other flaws: Why can't we just click a button to start flying, rather than holding it down for a second? Why are prizes for killing bosses ( Like gaining solar energy ) less useful than power-ups found randomly? ( Like getting an extra battery )
While it may fall short in some places, overall, it's a shining example of an exploration and comedy game. We Want Robot Wants.
Beautifully written, deeper than it seems...
P.S: If you're looking for a conventional game, try a different game. If you want a well-written story with subtle details, elegant presentation, and a surprise twist, well what luck!
In most interactive fiction games, I usually try merely to get all possible endings, but in this game, I actually found myself exploring all the branches to piece together the story, because it was that engaging.
The story never explains itself in any individual story branch, but it all starts to come together when played multiple times. But it's not enough to replay it to fully experience it; you have to think and reflect about it too.
The 'realization', the 'twist', is not in the form of a conventional ending, which is the most unique thing about this game. When you figure it out, you will not be disappointed.
--- spoilers ----
On the surface it's a story about troubled love, something anyone can relate to. When I first saw Leigh 'glitching' like a hologram, that's when I knew that the story was far deeper than a mere dispute between a couple.
Replaying it through multiple story branches revealed so many other things... These plot points became more important than achieving different endings. I was intrigued, trying to put clues such as Leigh saying "You're useless without me", "I make you special", and "If other people knew about me they'd hate you".
My main hypothesis was that the protagonist was a schizophrenic who had fallen in love with a figment of his fragmented mind; that probably says more about me than it does the game, but that's the thing about this game: it's definitely conveying something, but it forces the player to reflect on his/her own beliefs.
I think it was fortunate I got the Hospital Ending last, thus I had more time to ponder the story. The Hospital Ending didn't fit with my guess that the protagonist was schizophrenic, so I had to rethink everything. But once I realized that it was all from the perspective of a heroin addict ... Suddenly, I saw everything in a completely different light. ( Again, the fact I connect love to addiction to schizophrenia forced me to reflect upon my beliefs. )
I play it first to enjoy it; I play it again to put together the pieces of the plot; I play it finally to see it in its entirety, hidden secrets and all.
----- /spoilers --------------
The only criticism I might give is that it would be better if the ending's conversation varied a little but more. I'm not saying have drastically different endings, as that would ruin the story, but it was a little disappointing to see such limited ending conversations for so many story branches.
On a technical level, the user interaction was intuitive and friendly. Artistically well done, music was okay.
But for its simple purposes, this game executes it excellently. While it isn't exactly the most complex game there is, overall, its elegance won me over.
This is a game that engages a player long after the game is over.
Outstanding art, but the gameplay...
When I saw the intro screens, I was immediately drawn in; the voice acting was superb, music pleasing, visuals enticing, and I was chuckling like an idiot when I heard the pun "The Hueman Race". And that was true throughout the entire game: The gameplay music was still fun to listen to after 30 levels, the boss's animation was fluid and impressive, and the tutorial guide's voice was strangely soothing...
All this, however, in stark contrast of the actual gameplay.
At times it was challenging in a good way, but when the wall-jumping fails or the colour-switching lags, that's when it crossed over to being frustrating. I was also a little miffed at the fact you had to continually move towards the wall to stay on it, and you couldn't jump on the same wall twice. That would have saved Roy's life a few times, as would non-laggy colour-switching.
And then there were the counterintuitive controls. Why not allow arrow keys for movement? Shift, being near the WASD keys, made it slightly awkward to move during a FireBoost. The JKL controls confused me initially as Blue, Red, and Yellow is a different order from the loading screen's. ( I eventually got used to the controls, but really, Arrow Keys + ASD + Space + Shift would be a much more intuitive layout. )
The levels, to me, were kept more or less fresh by the new abilities. The boss levels, however, were disappointing. While I enjoyed the easy puzzle of the first boss battle, I was saddened to see the 2nd and 3rd boss battles were essentially the same.
After all these troubles, I was worried that the ending was going to be disappointing. Thankfully, it wasn't. Again I saw the amazing graphics and voicing which had first drawn me into the game. The ending, for me anyway, was what made the game worth it.
It also hints at a sequel, and if that does go through, I'm sure you'll take these criticisms into consideration. All the best!
Artistically wonderful, but with some flaws
Firstly, let me compliment the art and the music; the animation and graphics were well done! I also appreciated how all the music tracks for a certain level were the same, except for theme, so the transition between tracks felt very natural.
Art ... I've nothing to criticize about the graphics style, but the animation style was great for everything except the central character's. It seemed as if the animator had paid lots of attention to the enemies and smoke effects, (both of which were very well animated) but little to the central character, whose walk cycle and jump ended up looking very stiff. As he is the character the player is looking at most of the time, this is not a minor issue.
Controls were also initially non-intuitive... Why make Down the Activate Changer key when Space is more universally recognized as the action key? This is only a minor problem though, and luckily the thought bubbles helped out in the end, but it was just initially confusing.
Programming was good for this kind of genre: no fatal glitches that would have required restarting a level or anything. Having the camera pan the entire level before starting was also a great idea.
Level design was okay; the puzzles were mostly easy and straightforward, and I felt that occasionally, the puzzles were artificially lengthened. (e.g. like having a key *right next* to a door.) However, thank you for making sure there were no puzzles that resulted in inescapable traps. The subtle changes in the later levels also kept me hooked, such as the totem poles or upside-down environment.
The rewards and medals was suited to the task; not too easy nor tedious to achieve. The unlocked story passages were interesting, but it would have been nice to be able to read all of them at any time after finishing the game.
Overall a great game with great style, and the flaws are all forgivable!
The avoiding-tetris-blocks concept was already really cool, as your animations demonstrated. The ninja-moves was a very nice touch; and the 'K' button came in very useful. (The walljump, however, given the small game arena, was somewhat impractical.) It was also thoughtful to include an WASD alternative. =)
However, there are a few things that can easily be improved on.
1) The guy slides too much in the air, usually sending him flying off the edge of the arena. And because the guy slides, it's really hard to even walljump back up the edge.
2) The collision detection is somewhat off. (Usually not deadly, so it's forgivable.)
3) There is this one glitch where, if *inside* a hole, the K button no longer works.
But I must end this review with kudos to making the tetris blocks fall EXACTLY so they all fit, with NO gaps inbetween, and YET, they fall differently EVERY time. Being a developer, I really admire the programming skills behind that. Not to mention that row-maximization in Tetris is actually NP-Complete...
Overall, this is a great little casual game and supplements the series well, so good job!
P.S: Lol, I can stand RIIIGHT at the very edge of the arena and not get killed for about 8 seconds. (Then the red line catches up.)
Oh wow. Ever since I saw the trailer I have been so psyched about this, and it didn't disappoint!
Never have I seen so many different game mechanisms put together so elegantly. There's platform-venturing, gravity-switching, world-inverting, button-pressing, box-pushing, dimension-shifting, key-grabbing, portal-travelling, terrain-destroying... omg, srsly.
All this made for some of the most intricate puzzles I've ever seen, and I've yet to seen what crazy puzzles the users came up with...
Does this game have a coherent moral? Is it a series of observations about life? Or does it all mean nothing, and, as you said, "even though it means nothing logically, we all still see it as something that its not." Is that what you're trying to say about life? That we look for meaning in a meaningless life? Am I scratching the surface or digging for nothing? Question mark?
Either way, the dark / self-referential humour was well done. The way it's executed by messing around with time is very nice. ("I'm from Level 4. Oh, and who's Steven?") Furthermore, Steven's appearance and the weird messages really screwed with my mind. ( I still don't get the "walk through the wall and don't look back" message... Was I supposed to? )
I also loved the Good Ending story about you and your box when you were a kid. Seeing the inspiration of this game, as well as your inner psychology, made me appreciate this game all the more.
The Bad Ending story was ... just depressing. But artistically depressing. (Also, imho, the cutscene for the Bad Ending looked a lot cooler. RUSSIAN NESTED DOLL HEADSPLODE?!)
----The art and music:
Creepy, but not pretentious. It was a subtle kind of beautiful-creepy. Anyway, it was amazing.
One thing I do have to complain about, however, are the keyboard controls. Because the keys to pick up a box [S] and to switch dimensions [A] are so close, frequently I would accidentally switch dimensions when I wanted to pick up a box, which usually killed me. Also, why did you make [SPACE] jump instead of [UP]?...
Shift to change dimensions, Space to pick up boxes, and Arrow Keys to move would have been much more convenient. Or maybe just conventional. SHEEP.
(And he just shrugs when I press up. What...?)
This is an amazingly AWESOME game, definitely needs to be a nominee for the NG Best Game of the Year, as well as several Indie Game competitions...!
P.S: I love you and your puns. "Time Fkuc is a game about perspective, growth and self reflection."
Wow, much improved!
Lol, I can tell that because of all the complaints last time of it "looking too much like Shift", that was one reason you redesigned the character. And let me tell you, he looks SLICK.
In fact, everything looks much slicker now, especially with the menu, level select, and spy theme.
I also liked how you added wallclimbing to the game =) However, just personally, it feels a little bit like a tease because it's just a small step away from amazing wallJUMPing moves. (Which would've been helpful for Lvl 5) IF you make another sequel, or plan to make another platformer, I think you could pull off the walljumping programming quite well.
Furthermore, thanks for fixing the glitches that were in the last game. Also, the addition of name, trophies, and collectibles? You really ramped up this game, didn't ya. =)
-A little laggy, but people can fix that with a right click, I guess
-It may get a little monotonous. Perhaps a change in music or lighting? (Although that may destroy its charm) I know, how about some VERTICAL mirroring next time? (If there is a next time)
Great job, anyway!
Finish the game first, people.
At first, I thought the joke was along these lines: "sorry, but free will is a pretty useless thing to have if it doesn't work properly." ~Quote some reviewer below me who ironically didn't get the point of the game.
After finishing the level, when I got to the <SPOILER ALERT> setting William free thing, the small little revelation made me smile. If you don't get to free Will, you lose your free will! I thought it was a cute joke.
However, the joke could have been a little better if, after you rescue William, you are allowed to play the game again FREELY.
(P.S: I sure wish I thought of this idea in :the game:. Brilliant concept here: short but sweet.)
Seriously, that Flash game used the best implementation of physics. The blob physics were just spectacular. The personalities of Number 2 and the blob were really fun! The background and character design was amazing too - the colour scheme was very fitting as well as a good piece of eye candy.
The gameplay was simple, yet fun and orginal. This complex game, all with just the mouse, wow! I also really liked how the blobs doubled up as both an essential jump mechanism AND a some sort of a life bar. The camera was also dynamic yet non-intrusive: it struck a great balance. Not to mention, the ending was very, very fun.
The only thing I can criticize is the lag, and the fact that the portals don't even make so much as a sound effect when you teleport.
I hope you're planning a sequel - there are so many aspects of the blob physics AND the storyline that yet need to be explored! What other powers does ooze have? Will there be other blobs like him? Who are these scientists? Who's buying the ooze? What happened to the world?
...but one question sticks out above all: why does is this game not in the Top 50? Favourited.
newgrounds.com — Your #1 online entertainment & artist community! All your base are belong to us.