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Posts Tagged ‘platformer’

The head skeleton

I finally got Trine reviewed (the game I’ve been playing off and on for the last month.) The reason that I didn’t play very actively was that the game wasn’t all that good. Everything begins very promising. Before you actually get playing you’re treated to a sort of storyboard sequence were the teller of the game relates how the kingdom is getting undead all over the place, its all rather typical and cliche but atmospheric nontheless. I thought this would continue throughout the game but this is not the case. I have hand it to Frozenbyte: The levels look very pretty and the sound effects and all that work. Its just that I can’t help but feel that Trine is a wasted opportunity.

First off  I value storytelling more than anything in games, when I play one I’m looking for a strong plot and characters. Basicly I want to be immersed in the game. Usually platformers aren’t that heavy on plot I quess, but there is the gloving example of Prince of Persia: Sands of Time. The magic of that game is the character of the prince. At the beginning he’s all about honor and proving daddy I’m a strong warrior who makes him proud. Toward the end through his interactions with Farrah, his companion in the adventure, and his own inner monologue, which is a constant companion throughout the game the prince grows as a person. This growth and the story of the game serve as a context for the gameplay. Without the story the locations of the game would seem very boring and without meaning no matter how pretty they were. Going back to Trine there is a story but it is in such a sidepart that could as well be nonexistent. Even if there are 16 levels in Trine I don’t get a sense of going anywhere. The story pretty much killed the, at points, rather enjoyable game.

There is some conversation between the three main characters of Trine(the wizard, thief and warrior) but only at the very beginning of levels. Even then what they say is some small comment or so. The story is mainly told during the loading screens with the storytellers voice laying some background to the level you’re about to play. All this doesn’t make the game bad, shallow, but not completely doomed. I mean its still a lot of fun at times. But once the last level comes around boy are you in for a surprise. The ending of this game is one the worst in a long time. Before this level the only thing you know about the undead is pretty much only that they exist. Then suddenly the game brings in Lord Sarek, the apparent bad guy and head honcho of the skellies. He might have been a good villain, had they not dropped him out of nowhere to end the game quickly. Looking only at the platforming in the last level it was a catastrophe. For some reason Frozenbyte decided to put rising lava in the last level. In earlier levels at no point was there a time constraint, and bringing one in for the last level seems a bad idea to me. At this the player should pretty much feel invincible but I was only cursing and groaning at the game, almost leaving in the middle. It didn’t ruin my whole experience but because of it I probably won’t be revisiting the game.

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A demo for Frozenbyte’s hopping fantasy puzzler is out. Check it out here. The game itself arrives on the third of July. Some impressions on the demo follow:

Countryside castle

The game opens up with a pretty countryside castle. A rather low and enjoyable male voice goes on to tell that the kingdom has fallen into trouble and the undead are rising. Then you’re introduced to each of the game’s three playable characters: a thief, a wizard and a warrior, who proceed to make their way to the same jewel. The thief is there for bounty of course. I’m not sure why the wizard goes searching for a jewel, but since he’s more interested in enjoying himself than learning spells, as the narrator tells us, perhaps he’s just after the pretty thief. The warrior is just looking to kick some skeleton ass. The jewel appears to be a magical soul-binding one that ties the characters souls’ together. Luckily the wizard knows of some creature that should know more about such magic and the adventure begins.

Is he... sleeping

From a gameplay perspective the soul-binding means that you can swich between the characters. The thief has a grapling hook, the warrior has a sword for skeleton bashing and a shield for blocking while the wizard can move objects and create boxes. Each characters’ skills are needed to solve the games puzzles, which were rather simple and involved a lot of jumping and moving objects around. Course there’s only the first level to play so its left to see how complicated the puzzles will be.

Water flow

Back to the story: From the introduction on the game is very atmospheric. The narrator is well cast and the voice-actors for each of the characters work well also. The talking comes over the game while playing, so no cut-scenes in this game. I rather like this approach more and the game isn’t probably going to be that heavy on the story, but that remains to be seen. The characters are rather cliche but with some parody mixed in that doesn’t really bother too much. The game envinronments also deserve a mention: The game looks beatiful. Will definitely want to play this once it comes out.

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