Mento's May Madness More: #17 - InMomentum

May the Seventeenth

The game: Digital Arrow's InMomentum

The source: The first Indie Gala bundle.

The pre-amble: InMomentum is a first-person platforming game that... what's that? You already identified the problem with it? Well, let me just finish the pre-amble first, speedy. It's a first-person platforming game in which the goal is to reach the end of each of its elaborate cyberspace-esque obstacle courses by jumping over gaps, jumping off walls, shooting switches, occasionally finding power-ups and maintaining that momentum as you collect orbs and reach the finish line. Purely a competitive game, the player can choose any of the seventeen stages and try their luck on the global leaderboards.

The playthrough: InMomentum isn't... well, it's not good. The trouble, I fear, is in its fundamental design. Not so much subtly nodding towards Mirror's Edge than headbanging in its approximate direction, InMomentum is largely focused on reaching a "flow" - a chain of commands that fluidly direct your character towards the various higher platforms and out the way places they need to reach to progress. Unfortunately, as with Mirror's Edge, this is all done via a first-person perspective that gives you no sense of where your feet or your hands are relative to your viewpoint.

One of InMomentum's many interesting stages. From below.

Mirror's Edge, to digress a moment, had everything else right besides its gameplay core. While Faith and her story weren't particularly exciting, the world she inhabited and its stark white appearance were definitely striking. The manipulation of the surroundings made for some really interesting environmental puzzles, the sound quality was fantastic and the game oozed style from every pore. I just couldn't perform its flowing actions with anything like the grace it demanded. I was less of a swan and more of a dyspraxic duck with an inner-ear infection.

InMomentum has the same core problem: The game wants you to chase highscores by not only effortlessly jumping and running over and through its various platforming challenges but also do so without missing a beat. The wall jumping helps - as long as you're near a vertical surface, you can hit the left mouse button to launch yourself up once - but ultimately this game becomes less about breezing past the various obstacles than frequently dropping past them and resetting. The blocky environments are nice to look at, if you're particularly partial to that cuboid VRML-focused take on computing interfaces of the future a la Assassin Creed's Animus or Jurassic Park's not-Linux, but they might've been better off directing their artistic prerogative towards creating interesting images on the underside of platforms to give you something to look at as you plummet past them.

It's possible I just suck at the game and am petulant about it, yet I also have absolutely no eagerness to "get" InMomentum either. I could say that I've played enough games with first-person platforming to know I'll never get the hang of it, especially when I can't even see my own virtual feet, but then the very idea of first-person platforming has been derided frequently enough by all and sundry already that it almost seems redundant.

The verdict: Heck no at all.

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