@bowlisimo Watching the trailer over at their homepage but can’t make hide nor hair of it. I assume somewhere underneath this exterior is some kind of rocket simulator? Looks interesting.

I, myself, spent the weekend doing a couple of things in the game related space (and plenty of stuff in the NON game related space)

a) Finishing Blacklight. This game has come under tons of hate by the Xbox Live community, and I think most of it is totally undeserved. I really liked Blacklight and thought that huge portions of the griping were harsh. It’s a very Shadow-Complexey side scrolling platformer / shooter / atmospheric exploration game set in ruined Seattle and starring a guy from British Columbia. So, yeah, props already for the weird Canadian overtones.

Blacklight’s problem (and you’ll hear this in absolutely every review) is that it COULD with some very minor and sensible modifications have been one of the Xbox Live Arcade greats up there in the realm of Limbo and Braid. Here is your path to 95% guys:

Step 1)
Fire absolutely everybody involved in the English naturalization, release new script and re-record all dialogue. These gorgeous visuals and sumptuous, atmospheric music speak of a team who knew their artistic pucky. The basic cutscenes are good and well drawn, the meta-plot is solid and interesting. You don’t have to redraw anything — just GET RID OF THE ENGLISH WORDS AND VOICES. The ham-fisted lines and terrible, terrible delivery totally undermine everything the artistic team was trying to do with their beautiful quiet little game. Judging by the names in the credits we’re talking a bunch of Spanish or Mexican guys at Team Tequila. This game would have been fantastic IN SPANISH with subtitles. Just make Mr. Park Ranger protagonist a Spanish speaker. Ditch the growly old man Solid Snake voice for a person who is supposed to be a nature-loving introvert. It’s what’s in the design doc. Failing that, just turn down the “dialogue” to zero volume and play it with subtitles only. Maybe some of those comic booky lines play better as things you read. “Light… it’s just another kind of Darkness….” NO.

Step 2)
Get those load times down to a manageable level! This is a platform exploration game much like Another World or Limbo that expects you to succeed by dying all the time. Sure, no problem there. The 10 seconds of watching a reel-to-real tape spin was cool the first time I died and restarted, but it got old very very quickly each and every time a trap cut my head off. If you guys had been able to do a Meat Boy here, nobody would care.

Step 3)
If some of your puzzles are really obtuse — Like, say, hypothetically speaking involving crawling through a window sideways and then turning around to fire a gun at a nondescript window ledge up above your head and then crawling back through that same window all the while being chased by zombies — then after maybe 3 times when the player has died pointlessly attempting various pointless things you could just put an on-screen prompt on the screen mentioning the window ledge and how you should be noticing it. Maybe.

Really, that’s it. I mean, there are some quibbles along the lines of “Don’t constantly lampshade serial killers in your game if you’re not going to do something with it — it’s in bad taste” but otherwise no big deal. These 3 things, would have been 95%, I guarantee it. Don’t believe what you heard about the game length – it’s fine. 2 nights or so of play, maybe 4 or 5 hrs total. For a well crafted mini-adventure that’s all you need.

Such a shame to see such a beautiful little game faceplant so hard at the finish line…

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