Gride


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Rating: 4/5 (80 votes)
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Gride

FunnyManAll the entrants into our 5th game design competition (CGDC5) had to incorporate the theme, "upgrade", but none of them used the theme in quite the same way as ooPixel did with its entry, Gride. The objective of this arcade-style action game is to apply and remove abilities to an always-moving little pink sedan at just the right moments to make it as far as you can along the never-ending terrain.

GrideThe three abilities that you use to climb ever-higher could certainly be called upgrades, and yet we also see a much more clever interpretation taken from the literal meaning of the words "up" and "grade". If you ask Google about upgrades, you have to go way down to the bottom to find it: "ascent: an upward slope or grade (as in a road)."

As their punny interpretation implies, you spend your entire time in Gride trying to get a car to go "up" a "grade". It wasn't quite enough to net Gride the best use of theme prize, but Jussi Kari and Marko Taali of ooPixel certainly did something right. Competition third place award winnerNot only did they receive the 3rd place prize for Gride, they also took home the Viral award with over one million more views than the next most played game!

The controls to Gride are simple, but using them well is not. Rest your hand on any of the three keyboard layouts, or get ready to click the four icons at lower right with the mouse, then learn your upgrades: Anti-Gravity makes the car leap into the air. Feather speeds the car up. SuperDrag gives you a smaller speed boost than Feather, but works on steeper (and slipperier) slopes. And DeGride turns Feather and SuperDrag off.

Competition viral award winnerThe basic strategy in Gride is to use Feather and SuperDrag to gain speed, then Anti-Gravity to jump over the steepest parts of the hill. But be careful! If you land upside-down or start sliding backwards, it's Game Over. You have to finish on your wheels to get a high score, and high scores are the whole point: Gride has only two levels, but they both go on forever! How far can you get?

At first you may find Gride to be a little too difficult to make it very far at all. Remember, though, you're not expected to beat the game, just get as far as you can! Use your attempts to learn what terrain is coming and how best to handle it. It may take a while to get the hang of things, but with practice you will get better at it. Stare in awe at the all-time leaders, then try to reach the little flags that mark the resting places of the daily, weekly, or even monthly top ten.

Once you get past the initial learning phase, exploring Gride becomes outrageous fun. Time after time, you'll find yourself thinking, "Okay, let me try that one more time. I'll get it this time, I'm sure." That, my friends, is the hallmark of a game with great replay value. Gride was my personal favorite of CGDC5 for just that reason: it keeps pulling me back, again and again. I still have to be careful on the competition page, lest I suddenly lose a few more hours to it. Here are a few pointers to help you get as much from the game as I have:

Advanced help:

So you need a little help playing Gride? Never fear, FunnyMan is here, and I've got some advanced tips that should give you a leg up.

  • I can't get anywhere!

    • For level 1, you can get pretty far without doing anything. Just let it run, and you'll get a better feel for what the car can handle on its own.

    • For level 2, you're going to have to work harder. Hit Feather as soon as you start, then jump when the ground hits 45 degrees, about where there's a sign buried in the ground. It doesn't work 100% of the time, and you may need to jump a second time in mid-air (Yes, you can do that!), but it's the method I always use to get to 100m.

  • The car keeps flipping!

    • There are two common reasons for the car to flip. One is that you were going too fast on an easy section and your front rose or you bounced off the terrain. Slow down! Don't use Feather or SuperDrag unless you need to, and remember to use DeGride when you've gained enough speed.

    • The other common reason for a flip is that you were in the air too long, or not long enough. As with Feather or SuperDrag, remember to only use AntiGravity when you need to. If it looks like you're going to land badly, try using AntiGravity a few more times to stay up longer, you may be able to compete a flip. There's one more technique, but you'll have to look harder to get it from me.

  • The car doesn't jump high enough or go fast enough!

    • Remember that you only have a limited amount of each upgrade, but that it replenishes over time. Try switching things up, using SuperDrag instead of Feather, or using DeGride to stop wasting power.

    • If you've got plenty of AntiGravity, but the car still isn't jumping high, your problem is speed. The faster you're going when you jump, the better the jump. Try using AntiGravity earlier next time, it may make the difference.

For all its good traits, Gride does have a few small flaws. It's hard to get the hang of things, the instructions don't make it clear what SuperDrag does, the game sometimes gives up on you before you think you're dead, and if you drop from orbit, you may get a wheel to go through the mountain.

That said, Gride is a joy to play once you get the hang of things, so persevere and you will be rewarded. Just make sure you have plenty of time, and set an alarm if you need to be somewhere.

Play Gride

15 Comments

I'm not sure I like this one.

The game has no tutorial and the learning curve is punishing. I especially don't like the fact that the game effectively "ends" all the time - I'd rather be playing against a timer then against any kind of stopping, braking, tilting or whatever.

But underneath it all I'm sure there's a fairly fun game, I just don't have the patience to find it.

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Ben Newman Author Profile Page April 16, 2008 9:23 AM

Thanks for the hints! I had a lot of trouble with the controls the first time around.

Independently of any questions about the controls or the difficulty, I think this game would be tremendously improved by a visible change to the car when you switch upgrades - have the feather car look sleeker, with a racing stripe, the grippy car have fat, knobbed tires, the anti-gravity car's wheels turn into jump jets (like in Blaster Master). That would (a) look really cool and (b) make it a lot easier to keep track of which upgrade is currently activated.

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Thanks for your kind words FunnyMan. And others: we really appreciate your honest feedback - it'll all come in handy as the sequel for Gride becomes topical!

Just keep on playing, you'll learn it soon! ;)

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I'll second baba44713's comment that the learning curve is punishing on this one.

That said- I think Gride was by far and away the best in the competition. I'm not sure whether I thought that before or after I had played the game for the 50th time that particular day.

Like the viral award suggests, there's something about this game that makes me want to come back and try to make it a little further. Perhaps it's that there's no map- so the discovery aspect of the game gives it another level of interest for me.

Great game everyone at ooPixel! Thank you!

JDB

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I didn't like it very much. I believe this is due to the large delay between causing an action (jumps and zooming up hills) and its effect (crashing mostly).

The behaviour is not predictable enough that you can identify your error (like in "Oh, I shouldn't have accellerated here to avoid that wheelie") and not reactive enough that you could correct it once you see something. ("Oh, I believe I will land on my head at the end of this jump. Let's see - what can we do? Ah! Press the R button of course").

I like the general handling and physics though. I haven't got a good suggestion how to make the reasons for failure more observable, though.

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MrProsser Author Profile Page April 16, 2008 1:31 PM

I really enjoyed this game. I played it far too much. I found that while checking out the other games I would always stop after a while and come back to this one.

While the learning curve was a little hard and at first I did not get very far I found it didn't take too long to get the hang of it. Sure there is a still a lot of getting a little bit farther then replaying and trying to fix my mistake but it doesn't take that long and sometimes you find places where you upgraded unnecessarily. As for the above comment about not being able to predict what went wrong, well, I guess I'll just have to disagree and say that I found I could find out what I should have done at a point pretty easily based how I crashed. It might take two or three tries to get it totally right in the end but the basic missing point usually came fairly easily.

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I found it somewhat similar to Route 960 (http://r960.mbin.jp/en/)

Except I think Route 960 is a lot more fun.

(By the way - might be worth reviewing if you haven't already)

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I think this game was fun but I find it too frustrating to play a lot of time.

As for the "upgrades" I found there were a lot easier in more intuitive to use is you choose the arrow keys controls. You then have :
right: feather, makes you go faster
up: antigravity, makes you jump up
down: superdrag, makes you stick to the ground
left: degride, cancels everythink
it looks quite logical to me and helps to use the upgrades...

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I'm not sure what laws of physics this game prescribes to. Knowing how to get past certain sections relies more on memorization of strategies and unintuitive trial-and-error than actual gameplay or strategy. That's not a good game in my book.

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Marko from ooPixel already thanked you and I have done it a couple of times but I am going to do it once again as we can't thank you enough.

Thanks for the review Funnyman, we noticed you playing Gride a lot when competition entries were not yet officially published. We took that as a good sign and it seems that we were right :) So thanks again for your kind words.

Thanks to the whole JIG team as well of course. You made this possible :) I really wish these competitions keep coming :)

Thanks to JIG community. It's your feedback that shows us what went wrong, what could be better and what was right. That information helps us not only when we are creating Gride sequel but also when we are creating any Flash game.

And last but not least, thanks to Marko (from ooPixel). As a group we do rock, right?

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Oops, sorry for that :)

I too hope to see more from us in the future. And I am pretty sure that we will :)

Oh, and if someone is interested, as we won the viral award, our current total hits count is about 2.2 millions :-) Though, I guess some other competition entries may have collected nice numbers as well already?

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Nah... I gave it a shot, a serious one, I still don't like it. The frustration when the car suddenly turns over or stalls for the 145th time outweighs the incentive to try "one more time". My last try was the tipping point, I managed to make the car do a full 360 in the air, it then landed on its tires and for some obscure reason HIS BOTTOM FELL THROUGH THE LAND triggering the endgame. WTF?

I feel bad because it SO looks like a game I could enjoy and relentlessly try and retry (like in those old C64 days when I replayed Kickstart 2 to death trying to improve my overall score). But I just don't find it fun enough, or after certain time, at all. :(

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Psychology studies have shown that monkeys and rats become the most addicted to playing a repetitive game when they receive rewards at totally random intervals.

That's how I feel about this game. It has the Nitrome physics - looks good, but plays very unpredictably. And it's fun and horribly addictive.

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i fell through a hill

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