I wanna explore the Mountains

Creator: Denferok

Average Rating
8.5 / 10
Average Difficulty
72.3 / 100
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Tags:

Needle (10) Gimmick (2) Vine (2)

Screenshots

  • by Denferok
  • by Denferok

Creator's Comments:

Denferok [Creator]
I've released an update that nerfs almost every single screen, with the intention of bringing the game closer to the intended difficulty as the game was harder than I originally wanted it to be. Please redownload if you have the old version :)

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Tagged as: Needle Vine
[7] Likes
Rating: N/A       Difficulty: 70 70
Sep 11, 2017

29 Reviews:

Chatran
2021 Edit: I don't agree much with my OG review so I'm redoing it.

Main game is pretty good, though it's aged a bit. Couple clunky bits, you can kinda tell the pathing took precedence in the overall design in points, and the final area's transition jumps are gnarly. Presentation is still insane, but it kinda becomes a detriment a couple times as it makes some platforming elements hard to spot while playing.

Extra still has some of my favorite vanilla needle of all time. Rarely do I see loopy pathing and well-flowing, unique needle go together, but Den really hit some of these screens on the mark (minus maybe the screen with the see the moon visuals). Final save is also just, that good shit right there.

Overall: this game has aged but it's still insane, play it.

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Tagged as: Needle
[4] Likes
Rating: 8.5 85       Difficulty: 73 73
Dec 19, 2017
Kefit
A really difficult needle game that's heavily based on vine use. It explores a lot of vine jump and vine pathing approaches that you don't really see in other fangames. Every save is a creative endeavor that really tries to feel different from the one before it. For most of the game, the saves are really fun to figure out and play through. Just be prepared for some hardcore vine shenanigans!

Unfortunately, I don't think this approach always worked. A number of saves suffered from having one really annoying and awkward jump, which is a common problem that results from a creator pushing a jump a little too much in the mission to create something new or interesting. While this kind of thing isn't so bad in some fangames, it's an issue in Explore the Mountains because the saves are all really long. It's no fun to die over and over trying to puzzle out an awkward jump halfway through a really long save.

I need to mention the extremely high quality of the gravity flipping area. It's some of the best flowing, best balanced, and all around most fun to play gravity flipping saves I've seen. I wish the rest of the game worked out quite this well for me, but most of the rest was still pretty fun.

The game looks incredible on a visual level, but I often found the lighting and fog effects to be distracting. Additionally, the spike tips didn't always contrast well with the backgrounds, resulting in me not properly judging spike pixels from time to time. While I understand the appeal of these sorts of visuals, I don't think they're a good match for a game that is as difficult as this. I also found it very difficult to find unactivated save points. On multiple occasions I did not realize a save point existed until I walked over it. I think that save points should stick out like a sore thumb, especially in a game like this that is so dependent on puzzling out the path from screen to screen.

I only go on about these faults because otherwise I think this is a unique and high quality game that ought to be on every experienced fangame player's list. I just wish these issues didn't get in the way of my enjoyment during some portions of the game.

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Tagged as: Needle Gimmick Vine
[3] Likes
Rating: 8.0 80       Difficulty: 80 80
May 3, 2017
Wahfuu
This is probably one of the most polarizing experiences I have had playing a fangame.

I would say there's sort of 2 sides to my experience with Explore the Mountains. There's the first 60%, and then the everything else. But first let's talk about the whole package.

Explore is probably one of the most cohesive games I've ever played needle wise. It's definitely the best visually, with a distinct atmosphere you rarely find in the genre. Thanks to the lighting, the bright spikes vs the dark background and the saves being torches, there's a great feeling of truly feeling like you're exploring through uncharted, unmanned depths of a cave network. All the visual elements just work together to create something you don't see often: A comprehensive atmosphere.

What lends itself to this is the very specific design choice to include gimmicks that lend themselves to extra jumps, and letting you cross large distances with them. There's not a ton of exits to screens being close to the entrance of it and you just need to navigate around. You truly feel like you're crossing across leaps of obstacles.

And for awhile, this I felt was going to make this my favorite needle game. And for the first 60% it was. The design was creative and fresh, nothing irritated me, and I wasn't even having much of the often bemoned visual issues that plagued the game. I had a hard time even stopping at times.

Unfortunately, the last 40% of the game sharply and abruptly took the wind right out my sails, due to including a gimmick I really just don't like: Gravity flipping.

I don't blame den for including it, it fits thematically with the rest of the game and isn't a strange inclusion, but I really can't stand this gimmick. It's below conveyors and ice physics for me. Stuff that just messes with your vision and orientation is something I really at my core disagree with for needle. And it's not like the screens that include it are bad, far from it: The sequences involving them are very flowy once you figure it out, and there's great creativity, but this is a giant brick wall for me enjoying any sort of needle game with it.

Not only that, the purple stage is where I started to notice visual grievings. Saves felt like they were harder to see, spikes became far more unclear. I'm not sure if just a worse mood let me focus in on minor things I didn't notice before or what, but it started to compound everything.

The last part of the game is where, beyond just me not liking gravity flipping, I think is pretty flawed. It's a fun idea, and it's phenomenal in scale. But there's so much gross transition ganks where you just can't see where you're going without dying to it several times. It's obnoxious, especially since it is by far the hardest area of the game.

This is still probably my favorites of Den's games, showing some really great creativity and originality I would really like to see expanded on in the future. But there is some objectionable stuff, and more than a bit subjective grievings in the later half. But a good game none the less.

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[2] Likes
Rating: 7.0 70       Difficulty: 70 70
Apr 30, 2019
moogy
Ratings based on the updated version, extra not included.

This game has a lot of unique, compelling design and lives up to its title; rarely can a needle game manage to establish itself as a holistic experience in its own right, but Denferok succeeds in selling the narrative of the Kid exploring the uncharted depths of some far-flung mountain thanks to his careful attention to maintaining a consistent aesthetic and playstyle. There's nothing else quite like this game out there, and given that the average fangame rarely aspires to more than simple functionality as far as aesthetics are concerned, I feel Denferok's success with this approach warrants accolades.

But the game's greatest strength is also its greatest weakness - at times, the concept of cave exploration and the graphics themselves intrude on the base mechanics they are built around. To state it more plainly, there are many visibility issues, and some gimmicks are simply pushed too far for their own good. For most of the game, neither is too much of a game breaker, but it all comes to a head in the final (gigantic, maze-like) screen, which acts as a microcosm of both the game's strengths and its weaknesses. Conceptually, I love this area! Figuring out the zig-zagging path through the area is a lot of fun in its own right, and you really feel like you're an adventurer charting out the caverns as you proceed with each new save. Unfortunately, in practice, a lot of the design is just plain annoying - not only can you not fucking see anything (particularly spikes and saves), but there are many jumps that have their difficulty artificially inflated in an obnoxious way due to taking place through screen transitions. There's probably no quick, band-aid fix for the latter issue, due to how the screen was designed, but simply cooling it with the atmospheric lighting would have helped greatly with the former, both on this screen and throughout the game.

I really did enjoy this game overall, but there are too many minor annoyances throughout, both aesthetically and mechanically (infern0's review mentions some of my problems with the actual needle design), for me to rate it any higher than this. As it stands, the needle design is simply too difficult for it to blend well with the aesthetic design, and the flaws of both stick out as a result. That said, it really is a one-of-a-kind experience, and I'm definitely interested in playing more games by Denferok, so I hope he can improve from here.

Also, the last bit after the final stage was literally impossible to see without turning up my monitor's brightness. Like, seriously?

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[2] Likes
Rating: 7.0 70       Difficulty: 75 75
Jan 5, 2018
Aronax
Incredible needle gimmick game. Relatively long, looks really nice, most of the design is fair and feels good to pull off when you get to the next save. The music is very Kreygasm also which is always a good thing. One of the best games released this year so far.

denFork

EDIT: I haven't done extra yet because it is like much harder than the base game but if I do end up doing it, I will update the review according to it.

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Tagged as: Needle Gimmick
[2] Likes
Rating: 9.2 92       Difficulty: 78 78
Apr 26, 2017