ahhsumx's forum posts

#1 Posted by ahhsumx (0 posts) -

Just did a write up for Gaming.Linnnk about this game. I've pasted the content of the post here so you don't have to go to the site to read it, but if you wanna comment it'd be awesome if you did so over there! The full post can be viewed by following this: To Flock or not to Flock on Gaming.Linnnk (there is also images in that post, makes it a bit easier on the eyes to read). Following now is the post, hope you enjoy!


I love Flock because it has a ton of personality and potential, but at the same time I’m often frustrated by Flock because it’s kind of like one big escort mission after another and let’s face it, nobody likes escort missions. Luckily, Flock does escorting a bit better than your everyday escort mission inside a game because that is the focus of this game; and not just one escort at a time but often in the double digits with lots of potential dangers. So, does Flock pull it off? Well, it’s complicated…

Flock does a lot of things really well. The art style is great, the variety in levels and farm animals is great and they’ve included all kinds of little things around the world that are cool. For example, the main thing you’ll be flocking is sheep and one of the first techniques they teach you is that when there is water and you run the sheep through them they shrink! They only stay shrunk while they’re wet, but during so you can fit them under fences that you can’t move out of their way.

There are 4 different animals you herd in the main game, each behaves differently. The sheep are your basic followers and react to the water I stated. Then there are cows that move a little slower at first, but then will stampede after a short while and are able to knock down fences. After that comes the Chickens that move a lot like the sheep, but when you push them off a ledge they will glide for a short distance allowing them to cross gaps. Lastly, the pigs! These are probably my least favorite as they roll around and there’s often bumpers in their levels that they bounce off of if you run into them too hard, very annoying.

Each level contains a variation of these animals and a goal of how many of each you need to abduct to complete the level. The goal is usually significantly less than the amount of each animal you are given so this creates the notion of a “completed” level and a “perfect” abduction. There is always a timer running and each level is considered completed when you have rescued the goal number of each animal. So to get a gold medal you just have to get that many animals to your ship in the allotted time.

Then, you have all the time in the world to collect the rest of the animals for the perfect abduction. There’s really no benefit to perfect abductions unless you are a completionist. Though I found that each level is laid out in such a way that there is a path through it that will collect all the animals in one sweep. Rarely did it feel out of the way to collect all animals, though it was definitely trickier on several occasions than just grabbing the necessary.

There are a few other mechanics in the game that add some variety to how you solve levels. Some of these things are in the environment such as hay fields that animals have difficulty walking through or bottomless pits that animals will fall in if you aren’t careful. To counteract these dangers your ship gets some upgrades through the adventure to help. The first of these is a beam that can pick stuff up like bails of hay to fill pits or lift up certain types of fences. The second is the opposite, a beam that can push stuff down that can be used for flattening things like these hay fields. I don’t want to spoil to much more on these though as they are key elements to solving many of the games levels.

So now, that’s all good and well, but let’s go back to how no one likes escort missions. This game is one gigantic escort mission in which you don’t hold hands with those you are escorting, but you are pushing them. To be more clear, here’s an example: you are on the right side of some sheep and you want to move them to the right, you must go around them in a big enough circumference that you don’t push them away and then come back at them from the left side to push them to the right. Your ship is always pushing when it moves so you have to be very careful where you are in proximity to the animals and the direction you are traveling.

This can make it very frustrating when you overshoot and need to get on the other side of your herd. I suppose it could be argued that you just need to hone your skill, but I personally found it more punishing than it ever was rewarding. However, I do feel that this was taken into account when setting the times for medals on each level because I rarely found myself with a bronze medal unless I really messed up. I’m more disappointed though that I never felt at one with the controls than I am that they adjusted the game to be forgiving because of the controls.

There is a lot of content in this game though if you’re willing to practice. There are 55 levels in the main campaign and also a spring campaign that features bunnies as your animal you herd. On top of that there is a level editor you can use to make levels out of the items you collect around the world and user created levels you can download to play. So, you should virtually never run out of content! Though, I’m still held short of being able to fully recommend this game due to the fact that mechanics just don’t feel intuitive no matter wether you use the keyboard and mouse, arrow keys or a controller.    

#2 Posted by ahhsumx (0 posts) -
@TheGreatGuero: I can see why you would find the game to be boring, nothing really happens in it and nothing happens quite slowly. I think the reason I recommend it is because it's unique and interesting more so than it's entertainment value. I'd definitely recommend something like Pac-Man CE DX first, but I've done way worse with $15 (lookin at you Castlevania Harmony of Despair)
#3 Posted by ahhsumx (0 posts) -

 I did a short writeup (and kind of review, though not intentionally) for the site gaming.linnnk as to why I've just now gotten around to finishing up Limbo when I bought it day one that it came out. I thought that it might be fun to share it here and see what other people had to say about my perspective. You can read the full article here:  http://gaming.linnnk.com/xbox-360/limbo-a-long-journey-finally-at-an-end/ or just the text I posted below for convenience. Enjoy!

  

 Limbo came out on Xbox Live during the 2010 Summer of Arcade game promotion and quickly became a cult classic. The game is still winning indie game awards and being called a “must play” game. However, I picked this game on day one of it’s release and just completed it last night. Why is that? It sure isn’t because it’s a game that requires almost a year to complete, but I actually ended up with mixed feelings throughout Limbo, right up to completion.

Limbo is designed to encourage you to explore. It doesn’t give you any real direction, but it will definitely let you know when you’ve gone the wrong way. This is probably one of the biggest things people point out about Limbo, the many deaths that occur. There are things everywhere in this game that will kill you ranging from bottomless pits to spinning saws to electric floors to giant spiders. You can tell they really thought these out too because each one has it’s own animation for voiding you of your life.

That’s cool and all, but not what draws me to the game. The art on the other hand, is absolutely incredible. I have never seen so much personality put into a monochromatic piece of work. I truly feel the art in this game could stand alone; every screen shot has some sort of story to it without any context and the game really runs with this. Since there isn’t much of an actual narrative, the game let’s the setting speak for itself a lot.

I specifically chose the ‘hotel’ image above because I think it’s one of the coolest things in the game. There are a few environments that really stuck out to me (one other would be when the entire world beings rotating), but the hotel sign I’ll never forget. If you’ve played the game you may also be thinking to yourself right now that you’ll never forget the now infamous spider. I don’t want to spoil it for anyone, but that thing is incredibly creepy!

Now, on to the gameplay. This is the reason this game took me so long to complete. It’s really quite simple on paper; side scrolling platformer, that’s it. You don’t do anything in Limbo that you haven’t done somewhere else. You will jump gaps, climb ladders, move boxes, avoid pits, avoid saw blades, it’s all by the books. However, so much of the game requires this amount of precision that just did not sit well with me.

I found myself often trying a jump over and over to the point that I was wondering if I was actually doing it right or needed to find a box to get more height and jump off of (in different situations, both were a proper solution). I’m fine with the solutions to the puzzles, but as a gamer who is being encouraged to explore, I want the game to be a little more obvious with when what solution is correct. If the jump required a box and was just 10 pixels further, I would have fallen short enough that I knew to look for something else. Instead, I tried over and over getting more frustrated each time that I was so close, but just not making this jump.

This frustration applied to more than just jumps for me. Sometimes it was ropes just out of reach, other times it was rising water that I thought I needed to outrun, but actually boxes to float on. I’ll take the heat if you want to just say I’m no good at this game, but I doubt I’m the only person who had these sort of experiences.

Let’s be honest though, Limbo is an indie gem that you cannot deny. It reminds me so much of Braid in the way that it is unmistakably it’s own game. It may use familiar mechanics, but you don’t get a feel from either Limbo nor Braid that you get from any other game. Limbo brings an experience to the table that is reminiscent of a silent film; it’s incredibly beautiful and tells you enough to put you in their world, but really leaves your imagination to fill in the blanks. I could go on some more about this game, but I also don’t want to spoil anything.

So, I’ll conclude with this: if you haven’t checked out Limbo, go get the demo and see if it’s for you. If the demo doesn’t do it for you, then the rest of the game isn’t going to change that. However, if you like what you play then you should absolutely support the developers and pick up Limbo. It’s no small feat to put out a game like this and it’ll be a rewarding experience for you as a gamer.