I wanna be the Boshy
On the surface, Boshy is a high-quality fangame, with the best visuals I've ever seen in a fangame and overloaded with gimmicks that you won't see everywhere, even nowadays. Lenghty, and keeping its quality from the beginning to the end, always surprising you with something new. Cool musics, and when you're ready to complain about the restarting musics, you realize that the restarting music is an optional feature that can be changed at the options, along with blood density, frame rate, and more. There are unlockable BGMs, characters, items and even secret bosses, along with achievements to follow your progress. Amazing!
On the surface, I said. It might be just me, and that's why there are so many positive reviews around here, but I just hate this game. From the bottom of my heart. Why? Because the gameplay is just terrible, no matter how I look at it.
- As many will notice at first glance, the game's physics are far different from the normal fangames' physics. The game handles its physics well for the most time, but once in a while, there are some jumps that should just be erased from the game. Stage 3's mirror area, Stage 5's first save, Stage 6's first save, lots of jumps at the Good Level Design area...They're all possible, but will usually require require some sort of disgusting maneuvering. Boshy's physics are good for its bosses, but just terrible for needle-ish jumps.
- It seems like games such as Weston Douglas Jones were heavily inspired by Boshy. Most stages in this game will have at least one screen with some sort of visual effect that just shouldn't be there. These effects don't make any sense, and there's not a single reason for them to be there, other than giving the players a headache.
- Boshy is one of the very few fangames to use the cheap pre-boss platforming. That's right, you got to the last save of the stage! Nothing stands on your way between you and your foe...Aside from a couple needle jumps, or maybe a screen full of nothing, depending on what boss are you up against. Then you can fight against the boss. And you must go through these things every single time, because there's no save after you get past them. This isn't too bad for the first ten deaths. Then it starts to get boring. And more, and more boring, and even more boring. Skeleton King's pre-boss platforming is particularly stupid. One pointless basic needle jump, followed by a pointless screen with a torch at some point. You must get this torch, and bring it to the next screen, where you'll finally be able to fight against the boss. Yes, you must do this every single time. And since Skeleton King isn't the easiest of the bosses, I guess that you'll be doing that for quite a while. Sounds fun, right? The teleporter room can solve some of these issues, as it normally teleports you directly to the boss, but there are some exceptions, and unfortunadely, one of these exceptions is the Skeleton King. This is not just pointless, it's boring as hell, it kills one's motivation to beat the boss.
- Boshy is one of the most lag-inducing fangames that you'll ever see. Moving backgrounds, lots of visual effects and lots of bullets, sometimes you'll get all of these at one screen, and more. And the options won't help you, there's no way to turn any of the visual effects off, so if your game lags, there's nothing you can really do about it.
- Purely timing-based attacks are always a terrible idea. You're just standing there, and there's nothing on the screen, it's just you and Skeleton King. One second later, a lightning just pops out of nowhere, covers a fair share of the screen and kills you because why not.
- Pointless extra phases seem to be a thing with the bosses in this game. You kill Mario, and you're waiting for your rewarding achievement. Then, Mario starts to dance, and monsters start to pop out of nowhere, and all of sudden, you have to kill them. After you kill/avoid the last monster, you might think that it's over, but there's still another pointless phase before you can FINALLY say that you've beaten Mario.
- RNG attacks can be fair, but some particular attacks in this game are just completely luck-based, as they're too fast to be avoided normally, or can easily wall you, or both. Such is the case of the Sonic's ring attack, Shang Tsung's first blood rain, some of Ganon's attacks (Depending on where did he teleport to), some of Missing No's attacks (Namely the Tri Attack, those random lightnings can end up in the worst possible places), and more. You just stand there and wait for a lucky RNG, and that's all you can do. Cool.
- Combine these with unfair pattern attacks, such as Sonic's chasing attack (It's a lot harder to control than you'd expect at first glance), Megaman's bullet hell (There aren't many ways to avoid this attack, and all the ways are just absurd), Mario's corner attack (You're forced to stay in the left, and he'll spin while throwing coins and fire balls at you. I still don't know how does that attack work), and more. Understanding what to do is a harsh task, and doing it is yet another harsh task.
- If you can't mash in this game, you simply won't beat it. Since very early in the game (Ryu, to be more specific), you'll be forced to learn how to mash. The only other option is death. "Final Round! FIGHT!". And good luck. I pity your keyboard. An autofire option would be welcome here (Time Machine comes to the mind).
- The hitboxes in this game are just terrible. No matter what character are you playing with, your hitbox will be Boshy's. Always. And the game doesn't bother on somehow showing you that hitbox, so if you want to use another character, good luck with figuring out its hitbox. Also, projectiles, ceiling and spikes seem to hit you when you clearly haven't touched them, but that might be due to the different physics.
- Gimmicks are just thrown at you out of nowhere, there's no clear explanation about how do they work, so you'll have to figure it out on your own. Kirby's clouds, physics of gravity inversion at Stage 4, vine jumps that change your speed, every single of these gimmicks is very tricky to use (Some using extra tricks that just don't make any sense, such as Stage 4's gravity inverters: If you use your double jump before jumping at them, you'll instantly fall on the other direction, but if you don't use it, it'll take a couple seconds before you start falling. And knowing these tricks is absolutely necessary to get through. Amazing).
- For some reason, the platforms in Stage 11's castle will often steal your second jump. And since the carnivourous plant chase forces you to use a lot of double jumps, expect a lot of pointless deaths.
- VVVVVV's drop (The longest drop in VVVVVV Stage) is way too long for no reason. Lots of fillers that are there just for cheap extra difficulty. This isn't the only time that this happens in the game, but it's the most notorious one.
- Gradius is disgusting. Completely luck-based, MORE stuff for you to learn by yourself (Good luck with beating it without understanding how do the power-ups work, and how to activate them) and unnecessary lenght. VVVVVV's avoidance is way too lenghty for no reason, too, but at least that's the only issue with it, it's not as bad as Gradius.
- Solgryn deserves a special topic. While most of the game isn't too bad (I was planning on giving it a 5.0 before fighting against Solgryn), Solgryn is just terrible. Its total lenght ranges between 3 minutes and 4 minutes, a time that could be easily reduced to something among the lines of 2 minutes while keeping a fair share of difficulty, and leaving the boss' design exactly as it is. There are just far too many fillers. Second phase's whip attack (The attack that doesn't damage Solgryn) takes way too long for no reason, its' sole purpose is to be boring. Third phase uses Sonic as the last attack, an annoyingly tricky attack that takes more than just a while to understand and avoid. Why is it the last attack? Because that makes things harder. Happil strats. It also takes way too long, compared to third phase's other attacks. Last phase's HP is just unnecessary, and the last attack seems to be yelling "CHOKE! CHOKE! CHOKE! CHOKE! CHOKE! CHOKE!". That not to mention the RNG attacks, which would be the whole second phase, Ryu's car, Shang Tsung's blood and last phase's random arrows. Boshy's normal bosses have 1, or 2 cheap RNG attacks at most. Solgryn has 4. Amazing.
- As a bonus complaint, I would like to bring up something that Thrice already mentioned: The lack of congruence. It's not even slightly immersive, which makes matters even worse.
Most of these annoying features reflect directly on the game's difficulty in the worst possible way, which makes me think that Boshy is one of those fangames whose sole purpose is to be hard as hell, going as far as sacrificing the gameplay's quality for that.
Boshy was my first fangame, and it really disgusted me as a beginner. Now I beat it as a sorta-of-veteran, and the only difference is that it disgusts me even more now. It's a great-looking fangame, indeed, but there are just far too many superior fangames when it comes to gameplay. Highly not recommended.
First, the "engine" is crap. The jumping and even movement are WAY different than normal physics. This makes the game harder for a stupid reason.
Second, the platforming is stupid. All of the levels seem to have a stupid effect on them. The VVVVVV level is stupid, especially because of the Veni Vidi Vici inspired screen is WAAAAYY too long. Before the bosses, you have to do some stupid jump, or in the case of Ryu, a stupid blank screen that you can't save in.
However, the game does have some good aspects to it. The music is very good, and having it restart is an optional feature, as well as a lot of other things, such as the amount of blood, and even the speed. The bosses themselves are pretty good, and are quite fun to learn.
Overall, this game I feel have been overhyped, but it is really not that good.
If we begin with the game mechanics themselves, they are far different from any other fangame. Guy physics are floaty in comparison to Boshy's gravity spike. The jumping feels much different, as this game is on Solgryn's engine, as opposed to the I Wanna be the Guy engine most other games use. That being said, the jumping works just fine, and the game is designed with the jumping in mind so it doesn't come off as a problem. The shooting works great as well, allowing for different keybinds at the user's will making the gameplay a custom experience. The game's coding is shotty at times, but it doesn't get in the way of the game too often.
Now we get to the good part; the game design. The different worlds in this game are some of the most enjoyable in any fangame I have played. Each world has a number of different screens, each with its own gimmick. That's right, there is a different gimmick for nearly every screen in the game. This is what makes this game so much fun to play. As great as needle games are, they can grow stale. Boshy is timeless in that it feels like a whole new game every screen you pass. This means the player will have to learn and adapt to the new challenge Solgryn decides to throw at them. The platforming is almost always fair to the player, with only a few trolls thrown in for good measure. No experience in Guy games, or platformers in general, will let you blaze through this game on a first playthrough, you are going to have to play by Solgryn's rules, and learn what he wants you to do.
This brings me to the next part of Boshy, the bosses. Solgryn shines when it comes to bosses. As you can see by Electric's screenshots, no two bosses look the same, and as you will soon find out, they don't play the same either. The bosses are designed so that the player will have to fight each one in a slightly different way. Hello Kitty separates the player from the boss, forcing you to attack and dodge from a distance. Ryu demands the player get close and personal with him in order to get the damage you need. Biollante may not have the strongest attacks, but his huge health bar proves taxing. In contrast, Sonic won't take too many shots to kill (Only 90 in his attack mode compared to Biollante's 220) but his attack will take incredible patience and understanding to overcome. Each boss is designed in a way so that you improve slowly over time until you are able to finally defeat them hours later. The problem with the bosses comes in from a few bosses in particular (Shang Tsung, Skeleton King, Missigno, and Solgryn) which are brought down by their RNG elements, which in a few cases are actually impossible to dodge. This can make beating them a matter of trial and error until the game decides to make it easy for you.
Boshy has a few downfalls however. Despite the poor programming and RNG bosses, the game suffers from a lack of congruence. The worlds don't mesh well, as they are all taken from different platformers from the NES and SNES era. This turns Boshy from what could have been an adventure as a player, into a simple challenge game. The game design sets itself up for an experience as a player. You beat the seemingly impossible bosses, you jumped the seemingly impossible jumps, you became the Boshy. The game does nothing but take away from this experience. It constantly reminds you that this is a video game. A fangame, no less. There is nothing wrong with a game that doesn't take itself too seriously, but as a player it becomes a pile of tough jumps and difficult bosses. With every lame attempt at meme based humor, with every reference to another game, it loses a little bit of the experience. It doesn't feel like you are experiencing the adventure, it feels like you are walking through a museum.
I Wanna be the Boshy is a game I will remember for years and years to come. Completing this game felt like a triumph as a button pusher, but it could have felt like a triumph as a person, had the game been crafted a little differently. Nonetheless, if you want to experience a game with some of the most variety I have seen in a video game to date, Boshy will meet every expectation you hold.