Creator: phgQED

Average Rating
6.3 / 10
Average Difficulty
67.9 / 100
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Needle (4) 32px (2) not-not-not-FTFA-like (1)


  • by phgQED
  • by phgQED

Creator's Comments:

phgQED [Creator]
This is a 32px game made for Narwaffles. It is a not-not-not-FTFA-like.

Update 11th October, 2022: Significantly nerfed final room.

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Tagged as: Needle 32px not-not-not-FTFA-like
[0] Likes
Rating: N/A       Difficulty: 70 70
Oct 11, 2022

11 Reviews:

Not rating because I didn't clear.

Since the creator has been receptive to feedback and criticism in the past, I'll be explaining why, exactly, I quit. To do this, I'll use the save at which I quit as a microcosm of the game as a whole (up to this screen, at least). The screen in question is this: https://i.imgur.com/xsrnjO5.png

The good:

- Aligns are provided, and are either indicated explicitly or intuitive for players skilled enough to play this.
- There are some creative jumps in light of the constraints of 32px platforming.

The bad:

- Save balance is abhorrent. Seriously, it's possible to first-try some saves while spending hundreds of deaths on others.

- Many precise manoeuvres lack consistent setups. This makes clearing them feel like luck, which becomes a huge issue when a luck jump is either in the middle of a save or still has many other jumps to do before clearing the save.

- The same manoeuvre (landing on a ledge with high vspeed and having to jump and quickly turn around to arc over the ledge) is abused heavily, as though the creator just discovered it was possible and decided to toss it in everywhere they could.

- In the readme, the creator says that "'innocence' [the easiest mode] is intended for new players" because it includes align markers. As someone who is very much not a new player, I can say with certainty that no new player would clear this in anything approaching a reasonable time frame.

Now, let's turn to the abovementioned save. The best align for the corner and TAS grab is available, and correctly indicated. That's good! However, the first jump is not. I say this not to claim that there is no situation in which this jump could be good; rather, it's not good because it meets all of the following criteria:

1. It's quite precise;
2. There's no setup for it; and
3. The player has to do it many times (on average) to beat the save.

Only when ALL of these criteria are met does a jump become, in my eyes, bad. The first two criteria ensure a form of inconsistency that strips the player of control over their fate; the third criterion removes the novelty of doing the jump and adds a significantly longer time investment. For this jump in particular, the precision comes from the vstring needed to not only get through the corner, but to also make it onto the ledge. The player has partial control over this by arcing just a little over the corner, thereby making a good vstring more likely vis-a-vis low vspeed, but it's not consistent. Nor is there a way to just hold left and jump through and land—or if there is, it's precise enough that the player would succeed more frequently by just pretending a setup doesn't exist. And obviously, the rest of the save is not free, meaning the player will most likely die a bunch and have to do the RNG first drop repeatedly.

The second and third jumps are quite similar, with the second being a bit more precise for the single jump and the third being a bit more precise with the double jump. The movement for both is unpleasant and also strips the player of control since there isn't time for a visual cue of when to arc left over the spike, which is an issue when the player has to arc tightly.

The fourth jump has a signpost, which informs the player that a valign of 0.1x is recommended. Were I trying to balance things, this is where I would place a save (though there's an argument to just place a save after every jump to keep the player constantly progressing, which is probably the most enjoyable way to handle such jumps for me). In isolation this jump isn't very hard, but because of the low likelihood of reaching here in the first place, the likelihood of death here is higher than it ought to be. I mean, come on—if the jump's difficulty is dependent on the player's valign, that should be a good indication that it's too hard unless the game is trying to be very hard, and certainly not one that the creator has explicitly stated has a mode for "new players."

The fifth jump is preceded by a tight align grab so the apple chute is possible. The top apple is 4.25 blocks high, which is just barely possible to arc over with a precise double jump. Like the previous jump, it would be fine in isolation, but is too difficult for where it is in the save.

Okay, so I've identified and discussed a number of issues at some length—but what about (re)solutions? This is where creator intent comes in, which I can't claim to know. The "not-not-not-FTFA-like" tag and discussion in the readme don't really tell me anything either, so I don't think it's really warranted to judge the game (and thus the creator's intent) in the context of the FTFA-like spectrum. Instead, I'll posit a number of hypothetical pathways the creator can travel moving forward:

1. Keep making games as a form of self-satisfaction, ignoring any and all feedback, suggestions, and reactions.
2. Keep making games that, at their core, retain the elements the creator finds personally fulfilling, but contouring each game so they follow certain conventions of game design (e.g., save balance, respecting typical player experience).
3. Place a save after every jump so the problems mentioned above are completely circumvented, at the cost of longer segments, harder difficulty, and, generally, consistency needle.
4. Make games that are not satisfying for the creator to make, but a lot of today's players will enjoy.

Obviously the path forward is not up to me, but I would recommend a combination of 2 and 3 (recognizing that I stated them as "pure" forms, though they are of course spectral).

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[7] Likes
Rating: N/A       Difficulty: N/A
Oct 11, 2022
Based on 100 % clear. Despite being similar to FTFA-like, it has some own charm, also has a lot of awkward saves. Very disbalanced overall

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[1] Like
Rating: 6.2 62       Difficulty: 73 73
Dec 12, 2023
Based on all clear innocence

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[1] Like
Rating: 6.0 60       Difficulty: 65 65
Oct 23, 2022
extra is about as hard as main game.

pretty chill game, apart from a few jumps I didn't like

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[1] Like
Rating: 7.0 70       Difficulty: 65 65
Oct 15, 2022
Based on all clear innocence (initial release)

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Tagged as: Needle
[1] Like
Rating: 6.0 60       Difficulty: 70 70
Oct 14, 2022