Harsh Review - 8-Bit Boy
The more I played this game, the more it felt like Wonderboy. But that's not exactly a compliment. What I mean is, the controls are a bit clunky for a platformer, but once you get used to them the game is not half bad, considering I got it for $0.16 in those Steam auctions. I decided to finish it and review it anyway.
Unfortunately the game is backwards! The first world is not really engaging, the sound track chiptune eats away at your brain and the first boss is unnecessarily frustrating. Admittedly the game does get better as you play in to it, as I will explain in detail in a second, but I have to ask why... why not engage the players early? Oh well. Probably why it was $0.16. I'll get all the bad things out of the way first.. but where do I start? Ok, let's start with probably my biggest peeve, the "secret" areas. I put secret in quotation marks because well they aren't really that secret. They're fucking everywhere! There are probably 5 or so secrets per level, 8 levels per world, 5 worlds. That's a fuck tonne of secret areas, you kinda get tired of them after a little while. Mainly because the rewards in them are often petty or you are forced to risk your life or fight a shit tonne of enemies to get to a chance of a good reward. Yeah fuck that. I learnt quickly to skip the secrets. But sometimes you can't skip them! There were times where you see a ledge, and you jump, and then, ohhh fuck invisible wall - you're dead. Mother fucker..
What next? The bugs? After collecting a token and entering a secret world where sprint is disabled, when you get back to the main game, sprinting and shooting is still disabled. You have to quit the game and re-open your save file to be able to do it again. How did they miss that? Actually it kinda made the game more fun and challenging the first time it happened. I thought it was intentional, and played the level without shooting. It made me realize that the power-ups are fucking stupid and overpowered. There's also a few collision detection bugs, which you do NOT want in a platformer. There were times where things did not even touch me, but they still killed me. Other times where I quite literally dodged a bullet, because the bullet hitboxes are so tiny, they can sometimes pass right through you and not hurt you. In parts where you aren't meant to control your character, you can still press the down and left key, making your character moonwalk or butt-slide. Not game breaking, more humorous actually.
Artwork! Now this is gonna be a bit of a mixed answer. I loved and hated it. I loved the art style on the enemies and some parts of the map, they were really detailed. However, other parts of the map objects and the main character sprite were really lacking. They looked a bit rushed. If you take a look at this video I made of the world 5 boss fight you can see what I mean. The boss is really detailed but some other things like the player, the flag, the user interface are really poorly done. They just don't sit well next to each other and just give the overall look of it being put together a bit quickly. Some improvement here and with the clunky gameplay would have really improved this game substantially.
Alright, better talk about some things that were enjoyable. A lot of the mechanics were fucking god awful like the inverse Mario style blocks that broke when you jump on them or cactus enemies that hide behind other cacti so you can't see them. They're also introduced so fucking poorly, you don't even know it's coming - it just hits you. You are meant to let players learn new shit before just throwing it at them! Fuck! Ok, meant to be saying nice things. Some mechanics were cool.. I was really impressed with the sinking sand in world 2. I actually really liked where they took that. I was actually thinking "hey they should have a level where you race the sinking sand" and lo and behold, 2 levels later they did it! The snow world was a bit cooler too. Lots of new stuff implemented here, the guys throwing the snow balls were pretty cool, although if you had max power ups you could wreck them pretty easily. The boss fights got more fun as the game progressed too, which was nice because I nearly quit the fucking game after World 2's boss fight cause it was so infuriating.. The map design in the final world was really fun in a not-too-easy but still challenging way.Where the rest of the game was either easy, or fucking bullshit. Last world was right in the middle. This may have been because I was slowly getting used to the awkward controls, but hey, that's old school game progression for you, right?
Overall verdict - it was worth what I paid? I guess?