How About Spikes Image
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  • Summary: How About Spikes is a 2D metroid-vania like platformer. Fight your way through enemies and a lot of spikes, while exploring the world of Garden Valley.
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  1. Positive: 2 out of 3
  2. Mixed: 0 out of 3
  3. Negative: 1 out of 3
  1. Mar 30, 2020
    10
    Truly a game changer for the metroidvania genre. Its uniqie additions of things like spikes and "?"-Tiles are just a part of why it standsTruly a game changer for the metroidvania genre. Its uniqie additions of things like spikes and "?"-Tiles are just a part of why it stands above the likes of Hollow Knight or Castlevania Symphony of the Night. A lot of older and reliably used features in these titles are almost perfected here, making it a much more enjoyable experience. There is definitely something for everybody here, it has tight platforming mechanics, wonderful combat sequences and epic bossfights to break up any monotony, which is already hard to find here. Expand
  2. Jul 13, 2020
    3
    There are some good ideas here, but overall this game is a hot mess. Your protagonist controls horribly, with slow, steep jumps that makeThere are some good ideas here, but overall this game is a hot mess. Your protagonist controls horribly, with slow, steep jumps that make basic platforming a chore. The music and sound effects are terrible, and the graphics, which are supposed to be charmingly retro, are instead bland and featureless. The overall package is reminiscent of bad 80's freeware.

    I can't call this a metroidvania. It seems to be almost entirely linear, and no powerups are to be found, at least not in the hour of play I put into it. There were merchants early on who could sell you offensive and defensive upgrades, but there weren't enough "souls" (the game's currency) to be found at that point, and backtracking to buy them would have been difficult if not impossible. I found a few teleporters which seemed like they would facilitate nonlinear exploration, but without a functioning map, narrative, or powerup progression, it was impossible to tell which way I was "supposed" to go.

    Speaking of maps, I did encounter one NPC who offered to make a map for me. I couldn't figure out how to say "yes," though. I kept talking to him, and he kept offering, but every button I could push either closed out the conversation or did nothing.

    The one clever idea is the scythe, your basic ranged weapon. Hold down the button and it flies forward, release the button and it disappears. If it hits a breakable block, and you keep holding the button, it will float in place and destroy the blocks. But most importantly, if you hit a wall with it point-blank, you'll get a high jump.

    And herein lies the problem. The jumping is horribly janky. You can only throw the scythe once during a jump before landing, and you go up and down very quickly, so you frequently have only a few frames to perform this wall jump successfully. Also you have a double-jump, which only works if used before the scythe jump, which adds even more precision. It's difficult and frustrating for no good reason. Also the fact that you can't break blocks at point-blank (you'll scythe jump instead, even from the ground) makes for some inconsistent moments and even a soft-lock at one point I reached.

    Even more fun: the game likes to troll you. Spikes will fall without warning. One section has ? blocks which could be solid ground, spikes, holes, enemies, or even troll checkpoints in inconvenient places, and you can't tell which one they are until you get close (although attacking them could provide a clue). Making all this worse: you have only two hit points (which, presumably, you can upgrade eventually), and the checkpoints are few and far between. Also your corpse, from your previous death, attacks you, making a repeat attempt harder.

    Avoid this game unless you're looking for a bad time.
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