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Joined on: Feb 11, 2015
|I wanna be the Crimson||68.0||10.0|
|I wanna kill the Needle Games 2(共同開発)||75.0||7.0|
|I wanna be the 3200min||35.0||6.5|
|I wanna be the Archfoe||70.0||4.0|
|I wanna break through Seven trials(共同開発)||68.0||4.0|
For: I wanna be the Archfoe
Archfoe is a pretty visually unappealing needlegame, not so much because of the sprites but more so because of the spike layouts. The game has three screens and they all look like someone closed their eyes and started randomly putting spikes and blocks around.
The level design mostly follows one simple device: take ordinary and commonly occuring jumps and squish them. You have the squished diamond save, the squished sideways gate save etc. And the saves are often just that, one or two ultra-precise jumps and nothing else.
For me there really isn't much to gather here. The design isn't your typical generic needle where the same jumps are just rearranged in different orders. These jumps are very prevalent here absolutely but at least there are a couple of interesting configurations. My problem is more with the extremely grindy nature of the game. Sure, it's something you can expect going into this type of needle but so many of these jumps are simply of the kind where you don't improve at them at all.
For: I wanna kill the Needle Games 2(共同開発)
Maybe it's good commentary on the state of needle games when a game that collects screens from other ones within the genre almost exclusively features screens that are a collection of the usual jumps (let me refer to them as "named jumps" for the rest of this review).
There is nothing inherently wrong with named jumps. I think most people would agree with me that many of the best needle games out there are ones where gates, diagonals, diamonds etc. are utilized in interesting ways. I would go as far as to say some jumps such as 2 block planes or v-align corners are fun in themselves, in moderation.
Now saves that are just collections of named jumps without adding anything is something I have less respect for. One example from early on in KtNG2 is the screen from "A147" and there are unfortunately many more screen like that in the game where you wonder what made them stick out enough to derserve a representation. Overall I guess there are more screens that fit into the former category and a few that actually feature non-named jumps.
Like most long needle games KtNG2 is an excellent game to keep as a long-term project to measure your skill development if you're an inexperienced player or to boost your ego and delude yourself over how well you can do named jumps if you're experienced. The game also features very little claustrophobic and awkward design and bar a few pointless squished segments I think it generally moves on the right side of the precision-line.
Sandsky did a very good job with the visuals in this game. In some cases he kept the original sprites and for other screens he altered the tiles or backgrounds to make it clearer. Being able to see your character properly is crucial for a good needle experience and there are only a few questionable background choices (most notably a couple completely black ones) but the game looks nice and clean overall and it certainly helps to incentivise progress.
The game has a fairly smooth difficulty curve. Because most of the medley stages mainly feature the same style of needle I reckon most players will have the same trouble spots for the most part. A few screens early on seem unnecessarily hard and killed the game's speed for me but a lot of the time it's completely coincidental what you get stuck on in fangames and I don't think you should assume getting stuck collerates to the difficulty balance being bad if it's only one instance.
There are four stages of screens from other games, after getting past them you reach three custom stages made by HectorPaddy, LemonxReaper and Sandsky. Hector and Lemon's stages are definitely a welcome break from the medley stages. Overall these three stages are much lighter on the named jumps and I especially like Lemon's stage which has a couple saves with really smooth, fluid gameplay.
In summary my biggest gripe with the game is the medley choices. I can't say if the overrepresentation of named jumps is because it's the design Sandsky likes the most or if it reflects on how few needle games actually aspire to be original. Thanks to the good visuals, game concept and general lack of awkward design this is still a must-play fangame if you're into needle games.
For: I wanna break through Seven trials(共同開発)
Think about it, if we are sticking to the 1 or 2 screens/creator formula and each person contributes with something that's distinctly in his/her own style there could be something interesting. If you only have to make one screen you can take your time and actually put effort into it to make something that sticks out.
In Seven Trials none of the creators did this as far as I can tell. A few of them clearly worked to cramp as many spikes as they could into a single 800x600 px screen but I don't find anything resembling actual effort into creating unique or fun jumps.
The most prominent kind of gameplay in Seven Trials is the awkward one. A couple of the stages are almost unbearably claustrophobic and this along with touch saves that insist on changing your position makes a big chunk of the experience frustrating. The tight spaces aren't the only awkward part of the game though, many of the stages are extremely heavy on the shorthopping (in some cases 1-frames or JCs are required) and finger-unfriendly maneuvering.
The game also suffers from generic jumps and when they are not your usual diamonds and corners they are what I like to call the bad type of creative. By this I'm referring to design that puts spikes on grids below the 8x8px one, minispike spam, generic jumps but squished and pseudo-original jumps aka ledge jumps/corners/planes etc. that look like something else but aren't.
Before I go on to say something nice about the game and try to explain why the rating isn't lower I would like to bring some criticism to the visuals. It's about a 50/50 distribution of 1. Ugly and hard to see tilesets and 2. Clear but ugly and low res tilesets. For a game that revolves entirely around short precision saves there should not be so much going on in the backgrounds.
Despite all of this the game still wins some points in my book. Now almost all of them are from the collaboration aspect of it. Not because I care about each individual gamemaker involved or even know much or anything about any of them but rather because at least it made each stage feel and play different from the other ones. It's also a simple but amazingly efficient way to create a sense of progression to have a hub with all the warps as opposed to just letting the player play through all the stages in a predetermined order. The difficulty ratings are also a good touch.
Regardless of how awful I find the majority of the game design in Seven Trials I still believe it can be fun as a game to challenge yourself with when you're just moving into more advanced needle territory.
For: I wanna be the 3200min
3200 min consists of 5 or so stages. They all look quite different but with an overaching theme of colorful spikes and a sort of children's drawing aestethetics. The design is generally quite unconventional and each stage has it's own style of needle that differs from the other ones. You will face both shorter precision jump saves and longer more lenient ones.
Now I am not one to normally complain about difficulty spikes and the curve as previously noted is quite linear. However, when you have a game that is obviously targeted at beginner players it's unfortunate to put a save with a drop gate and a plane at the end of it so near the start of the game. The plane also looks in a way that makes the ideal way to get past it completely unintuitive. This save alone is probably enough to turn a lot of inexperienced people off the game early.
The game also starts losing steam near the middle when too many precision jump saves are stacked next to each other. On top of that he final stage is a quite annoying maze which might confuse new players as there aren't any good clues to what to do or where to go.
In the end the game is unique and charming enough to warrant a recommendation from me
For: I wanna be the Crimson
I wanna be the Crimson takes place in a bizarre parallell universe filled with danger. As a player you take control over a redhaired boy possessed by inner demons on a journey to cleanse himself and find harmony.
Right at the start you find yourself standing above a clear pool of a liquid, in appearance oddly reminiscent of regular water but unusual in behavior in a small circular room. You don't know where you are, how you got here or where you are going but as the story unfolds many horrific truths will start revealing themselves.
With further exploration you will soon discover a path eventually leading to a peculiar little room housing eight uncanny looking grey objects which upon investigation will turn out to be (please mind the spoilers) quite complex contraptions warping the boy to distant places. A grand adventure begins here.
Having a central with these 8 apparatuses is a brilliant concept to create a sense of an open world with myriads of options and opportunities despite the actual areas being relatively linear by design. Each "level" has a unique setting and theme to it and not only are they inherently fascinating places to visit thanks to the artwork and layout, they are also manifestations of the redhaired boy's damaged consciousness and symbolize different parts of his psyche along with sporadically scattering various hints to prior events in the boy's life.
The platforming design in I wanna be the Crimson is on a level of its own. Each block, each spike, each tiny, tiny little obstacle is carefully considered and placed to create an immaculate experience. However, the game's creator goes even further taking an original approach to the I Wanna be the Guy legacy by adding a layer of traps so cleverly hidden they are often impossible to predict or even suspect. The game keeps you on edge, immersing you into a world where danger rests behind every subsequent corner. It is not only ingenious by itself but also made with such care and masterful precision that I at times find myself just leaning back; staring at my screen in awe of the intelligence at work.
Obviously it is always a difficult task reviewing music by itself as it is such a subjective matter but I must say that, to me, the song picks in I wanna be the Crimson are nothing short of perfection. Melodic pianostrings are mixed with rhytmic drums that definitely brings out the air-instrumentalist in all of us. It should be noted that I wanna be the Crimson has so-called "restarting music", something often scoffed at among the fangame community. The usual criticism doesn't apply here, however. Because the level design so heavily revolves around moving objects and having to time your movement to dodge aformentioned objects, being able to rely on music cues becomes an invaluable tool to assists you on your journey.
Perhaps the most impressive accomplishment of I wanna be the Crimson is how cohesive it is. The various areas may be separated by invisible seams but the atmosphere is intact throughout and entering the game's final chapter taking place in the creator's twisted vision of hell is simply an out-of-this-world experience.
In traditional review format you often want to add a short segment where you mention the review subject's flaws before you move on to the conclusion. In this case there is none to discuss, I wanna be Crimson is simply a flawless piece of art in the word's most literal sense.
In the end I wanna be the Crimson will always be with me, partially through the countless times I have and will replay it but mostly thanks to the plot which fundamentally altered my perception of love, pride and life itself.