Fig. 8


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Rating: 4.2/5 (149 votes)
| Comments (26) | Views (14)

PsychotronicFig. 8Daisy, Daisy, give me your answer do. I'm half crazy, all for the love of you. It won't be a stylish marriage. I can't afford a carriage. But you'll look sweet upon the seat of a bicycle built for avoiding the solid black lines of architectural blueprints as they whiz by at unsafe speeds while you struggle to stay upright on your bicycle built for DEATH.

I love that old tune. So romantic. Fig. 8, the new title from Greg Wohlwend and Intuition Games, is a keyboard avoider, a game where you steer a bicycle across an overhead view of a great white plane full of diagrams and figures. Steer your bike with the [arrow] keys; the [right] key turns you clockwise, the [left] key turns you counter-clockwise, [up] speeds you up, and [down] slows you down. The [shift] key keeps your turn radius to a gradual curve. Black lines, even those that are part of numbers and letters, will topple your tender vehicle with a single touch. So get used to the controls with all due haste.

The background, a lovingly stylized field of strong lines and italic script that may remind you of the weather diagram motif from Effing Hail, scrolls along without any input from you. All you control is the position of your fragile bicycle on the screen. At first, this is no great tragedy, since the diagrams are small and the white spaces vast, but before the third checkpoint you'll be groaning for mercy, as mammoth illustrations of shrubs and fences sweep across the screen like a plague from the god of technical drawing.

If you somehow master the survival aspect of the game, consider mastering the scoring mechanic. The bicycle's rear wheel follows the front realistically, and both wheels leave a clear track behind. Your score increases automatically, but if you can keep the two wheel tracks together by avoiding sharp turns (and holding the [shift] key), a score multiplier begins to count up. If the tracks separate, the multiplier starts again from zero. Theoretically, you could complete the entire game without breaking that combo. But I know a certain hail of shrubs that doesn't like your chances.

Fig. 8 is presented so lyrically, I almost wish it weren't such a hardcore dodge-fest. I'd like to be able to explore this world of flattened houses and tripwire numbers freely. The summery background music would be suitable for such a game, rather than this arcade-style auto-scrolling arena of pain. What you have is a beautiful but fragile experience, a prolonged moment of zen that can be interrupted with a single wrong move. That's poignant as a message, but as a game, frustrating. Especially with the checkpoints placed so far apart. You'll have to nearly memorize some sections to survive, and not every player wants to do that.

What Fig. 8 has going for it, other than smooth controls and an intimidatingly perfect title, is uniqueness. As with their other games, Intuition Games has built Fig. 8 from a single strange core and never compromised the original vision. Although I can imagine it as a more peaceful game, and therefore one with more casual appeal, I never would have imagined it existing at all before I saw it. Just like The Great Red Herring Chase, Fig. 8 may not be the most comforting game around, but it shouldn't be missed.

Play Fig. 8

26 Comments

Nintendo Girl August 18, 2009 8:03 PM

WARNING:
This game is VERY addicting!!!
:D

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Amusingly, head left for an easter egg. Three of them, actually.

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Your score is part of the obstacles...

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What is it about accordions and bicycles that just goes so well together?

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I keep riding right off the right side of the screen. The game doesn't keep up, till I can't see what is coming, and then I crash. Is this part of the game, or what?

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Managed to get about 300x combo from the start, a bit past the 1st real checkpoint. Fun, yes... but tedious when trying to perfect, as each new section has to be memorized and a path through it found, and each time you die... back to the very beginning.

How many checkpoints are there total? Curious how long the game is.

-Tass

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OK, power of posting, I figured it out.

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Something's missing from the description of scoring in the review. The concept of "shaving" exists here, as it does in a couple of well known shmups. Basically, if you drive your bicycle extremely close to an obstacle without hitting it, your multiplier increases much much more quickly. Have fun with that one =)

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This game has the single greatest soundtrack ever. There is nothing I could not do with this music playing in the background.

Also, I really enjoy this game. It's one of those "Okay, just one more time" addictive experiences. Classically weird, but a winner for me.

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Anonymous August 18, 2009 11:11 PM

I like the concept and it looks and sounds great, but the ridiculous distance between checkpoints made me quit this game sooner than I wanted to. I don't really care for having to repeat long sections of something, especially when a single mistake forces you to go back and do it all again.

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Hate the player, not the game.

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So hypnotic.. I appreciate the leeway they give you in nicking the little lines, but I can't appreciate the long checkpoint distances either.

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Tobberian Author Profile Page August 19, 2009 5:07 AM

It's isn't to hard, checkpoints amount is fine. (I had some trouble in beginning after that you get trained. :P

Be alert to the scroll direction and take the closest path to it when it turns.

And the music in this game! top 10... easy!

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Papachabre Author Profile Page August 19, 2009 11:07 AM

I have to disagree with the review for this game. I think casual gamers get let off too easy some times and I like the difficulty of this game. It is challenging but not impossible. I don't think it was made to be a work of art but it certainly feels like one.

I like this game a thousand times more than those interactive art 'games'. I don't care how artsy something is, I'd rather not play it if it doesn't offer me a challenge.

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(Verse two, as told to me by my old-school feminist mother when I was young-) Donald, Donald- here is your answer true. I'm NOT crazy, all for the love of you. If you can't afford a carriage, then there won't be any marriage- and YOU'LL look sweet, upon the seat, of a bicycle built for two.

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Anonymous August 19, 2009 8:55 PM

I finally finished the game!
Very addicting. There were some parts where I wanted to kill the creators, but when I reached the end I felt so accomplished.

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I really like this game!! ^_^ It gets harder as you go on, so I wish there were more checkpoints! :P

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BuenoCabra Author Profile Page August 20, 2009 1:58 AM

I agree with everyone who says the distance between checkpoints is too long. With more checkpoints, the game would still be challenging and require the same mastery of the game, but would make it more fun than frustrating.

I loved everything about this game except the inexcusably long gaps between checkpoints. A long distance after one checkpoint, the map suddenly switches from gliding right to gliding upward. If you weren't lucky enough to be on the right trail, it's waaaaaay back there for you. As a casual gamer, I don't have much tolerance for a game that will keep me in the same place after I've invested several minutes in it.

Pity, too, because I wanted to keep going to hear the music. The reviewer is right; perhaps a free-roaming version would be more fun. At least make it a bonus.

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Anonymous August 20, 2009 6:59 AM

Regarding going left: You can in fact go past that last egg, it doesn't extend beyond the view, but your bike can last a few secs beyond it. After that though, you'll get the end of the level. Literally.

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PumpkinREL August 20, 2009 10:23 AM

This would be a great Failure game if there was a mechanic to leave yourself clues when you crashed. Maybe with the mouse. Maybe once or twice per check point.

Then when you get to the end of the game the limited number of top scores would have some meaning - they could be color coded to match with the markers you left when you crashed.

It seems like sometimes the crahsed bikes stay on the playing field but sometimes they don't. I can't figure out whether this is a bug or intentional.

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Softbagel14 Author Profile Page August 21, 2009 2:46 AM

Like many above, I found the game too frustrating to continue. It was after (I think?) the third checkpoint. I must have tried 20 times. It's a shame though, because the graphics are beautiful and the music is perfect. I don't think that the checkpoints are the problem. I think that it is the scrolling of the screen. It's too sudden and forceful for a game that seems to be more laid back and inviting in every other area.

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brokenrecord Author Profile Page September 5, 2009 4:50 PM

I think I may have gotten to the eight checkpoint when I abandoned my pile of wire bicycles. Grr.

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I didn't think it was actually that difficult, as long as you've got patience endurance and a willingness to try, try and try again you should be able to complete it without too much trouble.

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So I looked up this game after having a sudden thought "Hey remember that bicycle game ..."

The first time around, I was one of those people who quit amid a pile of crashed bicycles only a third of the way through. Liked the game, hated the difficulty. Luckily, though, it seem that the author has since updated the game to have more checkpoints, to the point where I can complete it now! (For those complaining that this makes the game too easy - remember you have to activly circle the checkpoint to activate, and doing so for most will effectively cancel your multiplier. So if you want a challenge, only do every other or every third checkpoint.)

BTW, for any JIG staff noticing this comment, this game's Vault worthy.

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BrittaBot Author Profile Page June 25, 2013 2:28 AM

Having to circle the checkpoints made me want to scream. Lovely design, but I could not for the life of me get a handle on the controls.

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Infant Tyrone Author Profile Page June 25, 2013 8:44 PM

How did I miss this first time around? I found this game calming, actually. There's a challenge, for sure, especially as the obstacles get bigger, but the checkpoints weren't too bad (did the creator make a change?) and the music was aces.

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