PIXEL SLIME U / COLOR BOMBS
Console: Wii U
Start Date: April 13
End Date: April 13
So there’s this indie developer guy called RCMADIAX who has released about a thousand cheap little games on the Wii U eShop since the system launched, most of them costing between $1 and $3.
The dude has a pretty lousy reputation for flooding the market with rushed, cheap-o knockoff games, and while I see why people might come to that conclusion, I think it’s slightly unfair. I think the dude’s talents lie in creating simplistic solitaire-esque experiences based on playing card or dice mechanics – I’ve wasted many hours playing Poker Dice Solitaire Future, Shut the Box, and Toss N Go on the Wii U gamepad while watching TV. These are really great little games, and I can’t recommend them enough.
It’s when he starts deviating from that formula, however, that he starts earning his reputation. I recently learned this the hard way after impulse-buying two of his more “traditional” games when they went on sale for 50 cents or something like that. Yeesh.
The first game I played, Pixel Slime U, is a very simple platformer which puts you in control of a one-eyed little slime monster. Your little slime auto-runs, so your only task is hitting the jump button to get him over pits and spikes, and eventually to the goal point.
The levels are all just a screen or two long, and gameplay is all about figuring out the timing and “rhythm” of the jumps. Later this is mixed up slightly by introducing gravity-inversion to the jumping mechanic. It all reminded me a little bit of that VVVVVV game I played earlier this year, except that the individual challenges are all isolated into stages, rather than existing within a larger environment. Also, it’s much, much worse than VVVVVV.
The main problem is that occasionally, the response time on the jump button is slightly off. It’s only by a teeny fraction of a second, but when your game only has one button, and the entire thing is built around pressing that button with perfect timing, it seems like making that button work flawlessly should be of the highest priority. The game is also dull, repetitive and way too easy. I mean, I only died 306 times!
The next title I played was Color Bombs, and unbelievably, it’s even worse. In fact, it’s barely even a game and it’s astounding to me that it got made.
Each stage of Color Bombs presents you with a playing field in which a bunch of balloons are floating around, and your mission is to place a singular bomb somewhere on the screen. If that bomb hits a balloon, it will explode into an orgy of paint, hopefully splashing onto other balloons and causing a chain reaction. If you end up destroying a target number of balloons, then you’ve completed the stage.
You see the problem here, right? The player does one thing, at the very beginning, and then just has to sit there and watch the result. A result, by the way, which is 100% based on total dumb luck. The “strategy” involved is so fucking minimal that it’s difficult to say that the player actually does a goddamn thing in Color Bombs. I will admit that it’s kinda satisfying watching an enormous chain reaction occur, but that satisfaction is diluted by the knowledge that you didn’t really do shit.
The funniest thing about the game is that each subsequent stage adds more and more balloons to the mix. At first that might seem like a perfectly normal thing for a video game to do, but if you think about it for a second, you’ll realize how ridiculously backwards it is. More balloons means balloons are closer together, which means there is a much higher probability of them hitting each other when they explode, which means a much better chance for an epic chain reaction. That’s right, this game gets easier as it advances. Much, much easier, in fact. Holy fucking shit is that dumb.
I beat both of these games in a row, in one sitting, in about a half hour. Nothing wrong with a short experience, especially at this price point, but man what a boring half hour. I don’t want to slag on this developer too much because, as I said, he has made some games that I think are really great. I just wish he’d stick to his strengths and stop burying his quality work underneath an endless pile of stupid shit.