Don't Watch at Night
I watched this around 2am during a storm... Did not help at all. Easily one of the most creative takes on Friday so far. I just love the The Ring/Silent Hill vibe the whole video gives off, it's pretty chilling. I'd actually really like to see this fleshed out as a feature. This feels just too short when you've got so much to work with in such a creepy atmosphere.
I was a huge fan of the original audio clip and to see it actually animated just made it even funnier. Great job to the both of you.
Up and Down
Straight off to give credit where it's due, your animating skills have improved through the Awesome series and have gone from intentionally sketchy caricatures to a more honed distinctive style.
Now, seriously, what was this? Something like Halo, with enough mockable material at hand, should have wound up being better than this. I get that this was more aiming to lampoon the fanbase, and hype culture in general rather than the game, but even that was pretty weak. I though the psyche up was just a lead in, but once the random shapes and stupid noises ended it was over. The problem there is that a fanbase being psyched isn't specific to Halo, it can relate to almost any popular new release whether its Uncharted, GOW, Dead Space, etc. I know Reach is subjective because its new and Halo fans can straight out be scary, but it didn't really go anywhere. Just adding something simple like the disk breaking by accident before being able to play, or the wrong game disk being the box would have at least given some structure. Hell, even the dated red circle of doom appearing could have capped it easily enough.
I'm really not sure if you just flat out couldn't be bothered with this one, the fact you didn't play the game more or less says that. I haven't played it either, but Halo is a pretty generic franchise that is pretty easy to parody, and you could have done something a lot better. Instead there's this, and it's just meh. Ironically this'll probably be hated by the Egofans who will be just as hyped over this as your Halofans here. Who knows, maybe that was your real parody here?
*Spoiler warning on one of the endings for those that are interested.* Well I spent as much time as I could trying to complete the cure, only to have nobody to save with it by the end. My wife killed herself, the lab workers all committed mass suicide, I don't know if my daughter was saved, and the city seemed completely devoid of life by the last day. Seems quite poignant that by trying to remedy what you caused you end up being alone in the aftermath.
This was really engaging and could be interesting to see how everyone would react differently if put in the same situation. I may have to pry the game from you to try and see the different endings.
Glitchy but Good Fun
For your first game this really is a great start out. It's a nifty little concept with a simple (and a little bit sad) story. I quite like the art style you used here as well, especially for 'Rex' (I called him Snuffles). Watching him happily run around each time despite being in dire or dangerous scenarios was actually quite comical. The games mechanics did tend to run mainly on trial and error, but that is the case with the majority of sidescrollers or puzzle platformers. The difficulty curve I found to be quite decent, finding myself stuck on some levels but breezing my way through others. This could just be dumb luck though nearing the end of the game after reading about the difficulties others have had.
Unfortunately as mentioned by many already, there are a number of glitches or inconsistencies throughout the game can can become a real pain at times. The ones I personally experienced a lot of were; if you had a bone dropped and died 'Rex' would immediately sprint off to find it when restarting often causing you to start again, when positioning 'Rex' on a moving platform he would automatically appear at the top of it (which when you're standing on his head usually causes instant death), and 'Rex' sometimes randomly flicking the direction he's facing causing a tumble and often death. I'm no programmer so I don't know if these are fixable or even foreseeable, but don't overall really detract from the experience. It just meant I had to adapt to their possibility in some puzzle elements.
I would say this is a rock solid effort, possibly even worthy of a sequel if that works its way in there. I'll be looking forward to see what more you come up with in the future.
Each Part Brings Something New
What I like most about the Icescape series is that each part brings a new element to the game. The original Icescape had you racing against a time limit before you froze to death. Icescape 2, introduced FPS sequences which did vary gameplay, but I felt weakened the game somewhat as it relied quite heavily on them which were often annoyingly difficult. This installment seems to have found a good balance in difficulty with the shooting aspect. So long as you have some mild planning before firing it shouldn't be a difficult challenge, and in some cases you won't even have to plan.
As for the puzzles, I've found these to be some of the easiest in one of your games to date. The only real challenge I could see for some would be being required to read Roman numerals. There are elements that could be improved on, but for the most part this hits the mark of being enjoyable and not too challenging. I found it fairly straightforward in comparison to earlier installments and some of you other work, but others have claimed to have difficulty so it seems it will come down to the individual in the end.
I will make a special note of the music. Every game you produce has an excellent score which really adds to the creepy and claustrophobic atmosphere of being alone in each game, which seems to be a recurring theme. For my money it's what you do best.
You have these short episodic series down pat, most evident by Being One (in my opinion your strongest work to date). I'd be very interested in seeing what you could do with a project on a much larger scale in length, incorporating elements such as fully voiced interactive characters, longer gameplay length and grand arching puzzles. Something in the vein of Myst, but of course not to that large a scale. I have a feeling it's something you could do very well. I'll be looking forward to what comes next.
Thanks for the in-depth review, very much appreciated!! I will certainly be taking your advice on-board in future projects!! Tombscape 2 should be online VERY soon so i hope you check it out!!
I was actually taken aback when I read in another review that this was set in a patent office, guess it pays to read the description. On the first listen through I pictured a crew on a ship mutinying against the captain for talking like a pirate cliche. The second listen through I pictured it in the office setting. I can't decide which was funnier.
For my money this is one of the best. Hopefully someone will pick this one up.
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