In contrast to previous platformer review DAGDROM, Elliot Quest is not nearly so forgiving. It looks like a beautifully traditional game, evoking comparisons to Legend of Zelda straight off the bat in its story of a boy adventuring in the woods…and yet, something more ominous lurks. “Not yet,” says a voice. “I need more time.”
It takes a little adventuring and exploring–something the game encourages and rewards, refraining from giving you a set quest order to limit your gameplay–but Elliot Quest is about a boy who discovers he can’t die and is possessed by a demon. Elliot Quest opens into a large world, its scenes littered with 8-bit flair that still sparks interest despite, let’s face it, massive pixel fatigue since every game in the past two years seems to have relied on pixel art. Enemies range from easily dispatched balls of goop to more formidable dragons. There is a long and well-done story in Elliot Quest, but the game prefers to let its players discover it on their own through gameplay and exploration rather than text, which is an interesting way of delivering a slightly complicated tale. Still, whether you prefer story-driven games or not, Elliot Quest is a fun, challenging platformer littered with monsters and puzzles.
|Recommended by Melody Lee||Friday, May 1st, 2015||No Comments »|
DAGDROM takes place in a soft, monochromatic world, but as your headless sprite leaps from platform to platform firing balls of paint that solidify objects around you, the world becomes awash in bright colors and shifting gradients. Obstacles that seemed daunting become easy to pass after the application of art, and if there’s a metaphor in there, well, it’d hardly be surprising.
DAGDROM doesn’t offer much in terms of explanation, trusting you to experiment and figure out the physics and logic of the world on your own. To aid you, the game is very forgiving of death; missing a jump just zaps you back to your previous position, no harm done. Success is rewarded with compliments and encouragements.
The game is not especially challenging, but DAGDROM is designed to make you feel good about yourself. It’s not quite in the category of warm games, but it evokes some of the same emotions of relaxation and pleasure. Few puzzles are designed to frustrate the player, while the rainbow hues of your paint make the process of figuring things out both visually pleasing and fun.
|Recommended by Melody Lee||Thursday, April 30th, 2015||No Comments »|
Strongly reminiscent of Pixar’s Wall-E, Scrap Garden is an adventure platformer following Canny, a small robot who wakes up to find its entire world gone. The city remains beautiful, but signs of decay riddle its streets, whether in the form of rust or frozen robots caught mid-action. Giant rats and spiders provide some menace, but they are not the only dangers lurking in the shadows.
The demo for Scrap Garden is short but quite beautiful, though there are some improvements to the camera that I would dearly love to see made. Provided you solve the first objective in a timely manner (the solution proved embarrassingly easy, but took me far longer than I’d care to admit), the demo lasts 15 to 20 minutes, giving you a preview of the kinds of environments we can expect to find in the completed version. The city is lovely and even charming, but when exploring indoors, things take a sinister twist.
|Recommended by Melody Lee||Friday, April 17th, 2015||No Comments »|
A simple but grim platformer, Ascend sets the mood immediately with a header image of a skull-faced corpse lying slumped against the wall. Scrolling down to start the game indicates that the girl is not only the main character, but she’s alive and well–unless, of course, you let her die. Spikes and monsters and other standard platformer pitfalls make it harder to succeed.
Ascend is set to a moody, eerie soundtrack that is, strangely enough, punctuated with the bright boings of your protagonist’s jumps. It’s an odd choice and incongruous, and the jury is out on what exactly that accomplishes. Nevertheless, the cryptic text that sometimes scrolls in the background hints at a story filled with regret and longing and loss…
|Recommended by Melody Lee||Tuesday, April 14th, 2015||No Comments »|
Paperthin is light on story and substance, but it makes up for that by promising infinite replayability. A platformer with randomly generated levels, it’s designed to challenge and frustrate at once. And in those terms, it definitely succeeds.
Paperthin is really, really hard. Admittedly, I lack that innate sense of timing you need to succeed, and I don’t have the controller the developer recommends playing with, but even so, I suspect that more talented gamers would find the game deceptively difficult. Part of that is the minimalistic gameplay–you can jump, dash, double-jump, and no more. The only way to demolish enemies is to use the dash attack. Paperthin even manages to stack enemies in a way that fighting can be surprisingly frantic and desperate, though it’s worth noting that if you’re interested in surviving multiple levels, it’s easier to do your best to avoid them all.
|Recommended by Melody Lee||Thursday, April 9th, 2015||No Comments »|
Gravity Ghost wants you to have fun. To relax and be comforted, whether by the neon protagonist or the soothing music or even the drifting, dreamy way she floats between planets to collect stars. At the heart of this physics game is a tragic story, but even then the sense of melancholy and bitterness are kept remote and replaced by the feeling of peace.
Gravity Ghost follows the story of Iona, a young girl who dies and finds herself reincarnated among the stars. She’s not alone though–other creatures and animals are dotted among the constellations, aimlessly wandering. As Iona bounces from planet to planet searching for her lost fox, the story of her parents and her siblings unfolds around her.
|Recommended by Melody Lee||Tuesday, March 17th, 2015||No Comments »|
Petrichor–a word that Google tells me means the smell of rain after a long dry spell–is a moody, slightly melancholy puzzle platformer. A young girl sits dry and warm in front of a fire under a ledge. Outside, the rain comes down steadily. Does she stay safe or does she go?
It’s a game, so she goes. The developer’s logs discuss the concept of “casual magic,” perhaps best exemplified when she gains her first item–a red umbrella. Triggering it protects her head from the cascading waterfalls that block her path. Because it’s a game, she can’t just walk around them, so the umbrella is crucial and, yes, weirdly magical in this regard.
|Recommended by Melody Lee||Friday, February 27th, 2015||No Comments »|