When I started the Breaking My Backlog project, I intended to write a new article for my blog about each game I played. While that worked for the first 20 entries, as I’m getting further into the project, I’m starting to realize that I’m running out of things to say. The fact of the matter is, not all video games lend themselves to thoughtful observations or personal reflections. Sometimes, there’s just not much to write about. Which brings us to a few new mini-reviews. As I’ve mentioned before, I tend to group these up when the games are not long, or there’s just not a lot to them.
I actually had to look this game up before writing this, because I didn’t really remember it. Which is too bad, because it’s actually my favorite of the three games listed here. It’s a simple puzzle game about a little guy whose dog is stolen by aliens. I totally get that, because I have a dog that I love, and I would totally do anything to get her back. It also helps that the aliens who steal the dog blackmail GOMO into stealing a red crystal from a rich man. And if there’s something I love, it’s stealing shit from the rich. Maybe I had more to say about this than I thought?
If GOMO was my favorite of the three, Ape Out was my least favorite. I loved the art and the music, but the gameplay annoyed me. It’s super difficult. And while I like super difficult games, I need the games to be fair to me. Unfortunately, Ape Out didn’t feel fair to me. First, the levels in the game are procedurally generated, which prevents me from practicing harder sections of the game to learn them. This isn’t like Celeste, or Dark Souls, or even Zelda 2: The Adventures of Link, where dying and learning go hand-in-hand. To beat a lot of the levels, I just had to wait until I had a level setup that was more beneficial to me than the enemies. And I don’t really like leaving my gameplay up to luck. Additionally, some of the movement in the game just felt off. I would sometimes attack an enemy, and my attack would just go through the enemy. Of course, their attacks always met their marks. Frankly, there just wasn’t enough good to outweigh the bad.
This is an example of a harder game that is still fair. It’s a shooter built out of random shapes. Your shape in the center rotates, and you use three different keys on the keyboard to fire different colored bullets. Red bullets destroy red shapes, blue bullets destroy blue, etc, etc. The shapes come quickly, and you not only have to rotate your shape, but fire the right bullet in time. In later levels, it’s fast and frantic. Is it the hardest game I’ve ever played? No. But, it’s fairly difficult. Unlike Ape Out, though, the rules are clear, and it works as it should. I thought this one was pretty good.
And we’re done with one more of these. Expect more in the future. Also expect them to be longer. With over 200 games on the list, it’s much easier to just write a bit here and there instead of trying to get water from a stone.