Heir


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DoraHeirAntony Lavalle's visually striking platformer Heir is a bit strange. It tells the story of a "Pale Man" who arrives to save a kingdom from a plague of... uh... well, you'll see. That's one heck of a plague, though. Move with the [arrow] keys, jump with [X], and hold [Z] to make the camera zoom out and give you a better look at your surroundings. Which you'll need to do, because they're pretty big. You can't survive long falls unless it's into a body of water, and a single hit from . Fortunately, throughout the stages you'll find glowing orbs of white light that become checkpoints when you touch them, and hitting the [spacebar] will instantly warp you back to the last one you activated, even if you just died.

What the game is good at is impressing on you a sense of scope; the very first time you get a good look at your surroundings, it's a pretty striking surprise, and the way the screen trembles as you try to make your way up makes you feel appropriately small. The game frequently calls upon you (literally) to make leaps of faith, which can be annoying, but the [spacebar] offers instant resurrection, so you can usually point out where you should have been aiming for as you plummet to your doom. What it's not so good at is varying its gameplay. None of the game's chapters feel particularly distinct, even though the terrain changes slightly with each one, and the formula is always the same. You never really feel like you're in any sort of danger, and after a while you start wondering why nobody else could be battling this "plague" since you don't appear to have any special skills beyond occasionally making vague, mysterious text appear out of thin air. Someone get Mike Rowe on the phone, we've got a job for him!

Heir isn't a very long play, and ultimately I would like to see more of it. Just with a bit more variety. It feels a bit more like a proof of concept than a full game, and I feel like that concept has a lot of potential. At just three chapters, none of which are very long, Heir feels more like an "experience", and despite clearly taking a lot of inspiration from certain sources, is worth a look.

Play Heir

59 Comments

MurphMan Author Profile Page June 10, 2010 10:53 AM

I liked this game better when it was called Shadow of the Colossus. It was also in 3D and had a significantly better soundtrack.

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Now that is a depressing ending.

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Quite interesting to see a 2D SotC but after playing it to completion I found it a bit of a let down. Partly from the gameplay and partly from the ending.

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cinder calhoun June 10, 2010 12:15 PM

I concur, i got a SotC vibe right away, even before the first 'reveal'. Also, the ending was disappointing.

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Level 3... after the check point in the water... I'm unable to get the hell out! HELP!

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Uninspiring. The physics of the game aren't even constant for the entire game.

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Jonny_s Author Profile Page June 10, 2010 2:14 PM

If you want to see more, with more variety, and more epicness Dora, go play Shadow of the Colossus. It's one of the most amazing games ever, and this seems like a fanboy knockoff to me. Plus the ending sucked worse than that of SotC, which is a bit tricky to do. :P

Now I really want to go play SoyC, so if you'll excuse me, I'm off to hook up my old PS2.

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Anonymous June 10, 2010 2:22 PM

Well, I WAS enjoying it, even if it is a "fanboy ripoff".

Then the 3rd level left you with a choice between a jump that looks completely easy but cannot be done due to bouncing off an invisible obstacle, and drowning, drowning, and more drowning.

I literally can't see a way through the level at all, so I'm honestly wondering how anyone could even complain about the ending, given that it appears to be impossible to reach.

But up until level 3 it was fun. Neat, even. Very atmospheric, and the story kept me wondering what was really going on.

Too bad I'll never know, now.

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I enjoyed the gameplay, actually. The 'shaky-cam' effect was also a nice touch, and the music was pretty good. However, the ending manged to leave me with a bitter taste in my mouth. Which is a shame, because it was an otherwise decent game.

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This game is free to play... doesn't require me to buy a PS2 and doesn't charge me 20 bucks to play it. How can you guys compare the two?

I liked Heir, and the only criticism I'd make is that it could use a save function. Short as it may be, people get interrupted and have to suspend gameplay at times.

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I'll have to pass on this. It's clearly SotC-inspired, but without the feeling of taking on an epic foe.

First, there's no way to change the quality setting -- if your computer doesn't have the chops, you're forced to play through a choppy game.

The controls are problematic. While it's helpful to be able to zoom out, you can't do so while moving. Jumping feels sluggish and erratic; your character moves in these unpredictable arcs when in midair. Climbing is painfully slow.

The screen-shaking seems to be random, and serves no purpose except to make things harder for you. You're supposed to be climbing up this building-sized creature, but all it does is stand there. If it was moving, even just a little, I could understand the shaking, but it just sits there like a lemon.

There was a pixelated 2-D version of Shadow of the Colossus made a year or two ago. I can't remember the name, but it did a much better job of emulating the feel of the original than this one.

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@MurphyMan It also had considerably better physics, interesting puzzles, and a more captivating plot that kept one speculating even after the game was finished.

I had high expectations when the game started. Then I heard the SOTC-esque soundtrack, then I saw I was climbing around on a giant colossus-like being, but when he stabbed his sword into the being's head in a very SOTC-like manner, I lost most hope for the game. But I kept playing hoping it would save itself, but all I got was a half thought out story-line. I was honestly disappointing.

But Tony has made and probably will continue to make, overall, pretty good games. But everyone has failures once and a while,

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Jonny_s Author Profile Page June 10, 2010 2:41 PM

@Zeke, it doesn't matter if the game is free, you can compare the two because it is so painfully obvious that SotC is what the developer based this game on. If it was even somewhat distinct, with even a few elements unique to this game, I would not be comparing the two. The fact is, though, that there is nothing new, original, or unique about this game. And as HeroForge said, there are many gameplay problems as well.

If the developer did not want to be compared to a big budget console game, he should not have made a 2D knockoff of it.

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I personally have never played SotC and I never will. I don't owen a PS2, or a Wii, or any other game console out there. I did have SNES at one point. Some long years ago.

I'm not a gamer else a few online ones and I liked this one, even if it was a little choppy.

I'm not too demanding for games and this was just fine as it was. It's an interesting game even if a few jumps had to be done rather blindly.

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Not a bad game. Definitely very SotC inspired. I thought it was quite fun. Though the ending felt too forced. But overall not bad!

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Chelsea June 10, 2010 4:34 PM

I've never played SotC, so I can't comment on the similarities. I enjoyed the game, although I agree that the storyline and ending both feel a little abrupt. My main problem was that the controls were INCREDIBLY sticky. This could just be a problem with my ancient keyboard, since I haven't seen anyone else complaining about it, but it seemed like the big challenge wasn't working out the next jump or obstacle; instead, it was praying the controls wouldn't lock up and send me running straight into a spike.

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Anonymous June 10, 2010 4:53 PM

Was there any reason for that ending?
There was no foreshadowing, no build up, just
"Oh, and to be deep this game needs an edgy ending so you die. Boom."
It could have just gone for the whole "And now it is you who are the monster" angle, but apparently that wouldn't have been enough.

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StephenM3 Author Profile Page June 10, 2010 4:54 PM

Jesus Christ, when did it start condemning a game to be inspired by another? If your FREE game is similar to a well-funded game, it must have the same production values, with all the money that comes out of nowhere? Why don't you judge all flash games by how they stack up to AAA titles? What are you doing playing free games on the internet at all?

Well, as someone who hasn't played the big-budget game, and probably will never throw down a couple hundred bucks for a playstation, I really enjoyed THIS game. It was some fun (if messy) platforming, and the only real annoying part was the way vines worked -- too slow. The ending surprised me enough to be worth it, I suppose. I got everything out of this game that it tried to be. I am glad that I played it, and that it was made.

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Username Author Profile Page June 10, 2010 5:00 PM

This game is simple, but as others noted it is a resource hog on an older machine.

Regarding level three, when you're underwater you want to keep going down and then to the left, there's an entrance down there with a checkpoint. Don't worry about drowning, you'll respawn with full lungs and eventually the water disappears.

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Username Author Profile Page June 10, 2010 5:22 PM

@heroforge

I agree that climbing is painfully slow, but just use the jump key instead. It's much quicker to keep jumping upwards than it is to climb.

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Evergreen June 10, 2010 5:29 PM

You guys might want to fix the tags so they link to Tony's other games. The Shift series, IndestructoTank, I Was Hungry but There Were Cannons, and anything else you've featured.

[Done. Fixed, thanks! -Jay]

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Wildbreeze June 10, 2010 5:29 PM

A plague of... of...

GIANTS?!?!

*mutter mutter* Racist king...
And the quote was never finished! I was seriously considering like putting it on Facebook or something... but it didn't finish it. :( Oh, and I didn't see the first video-thing... what was it?
I liked it... Controls and platforming a bit awkward; hard to move sometimes, especially underwater, but all in all, pretty good. I loved the music. And the things he was killing were kinda cute. *squee* aww look at the giant turtle!! And... Oh my. Look at that blood. EWW... XD

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treeleaf June 10, 2010 5:49 PM

This game, in my opinion, is about discrimination. It didn't matter that he beat three stone monsters WITH ONLY A SWORD thereby passing expectations. It didn't matter the king was close to death. All that mattered is that he was a Pale Man, a different race. The King, and probably the whole Kingdom, were discriminatory. It left a bad taste in my mouth after a game I had really enjoyed. It did hold a good message, but I would have liked a better closer. Like him getting up, taking the sword out, and going on his way. I know, I know, a little cheasy, but I would have liked it better. DON'T JUDGE ME!!!! :D

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Vectomon June 10, 2010 5:56 PM

Wait, if noone tried to kill them before, why is there blood on the spikes? >_>

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Mystify Author Profile Page June 10, 2010 7:14 PM

I liked it. Yes, SotC was better, but what do you expect? On its own it was a good platformer, different enough from other platfromers to be interesting. The leaps of faith were generally easy enough to figure out, and they had wide margins of error.

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I found a glitch... I am falling off the edge of the world right now...

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Hehe.

Yeah.

I've never played Shadow of the Collosus.

This game was ok.

Level 3: I found if you keep going down the 'tail' of it, it pulls you out of the water.

It was decent, but the physics were definitly 'funky'.

Like how depending on how your standing, seems to debate on what direction is 'down'.

I've beat the game, wasn't too impressed. This game, started off looking fun, but it wasn't that hard. Especially when I learned you can run off the edge of a platform, and get a kind of an air jump.

This game had potential but so much of it was fail, it wasn't nice.

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Anonime June 10, 2010 9:04 PM

This game is awesome.
I don't know why everyone is griping. In the review, Dora said that this was sort of a copy, so get over it. Besides, some of us have never even heard of Shadow of the Colossus, and I almost didn't play this game just because there were so many unhappy comments.
So please, if you don't like a game just because it's a "fanboy ripoff", don't leave negative comments complaining about it. You should only critisize the game if it, in its own storyline, controls, or atmosphere, is bad. Cussing out games because of how similar they are to other ones is a really immature thing. It can - sometimes will - ruin gameplay for others. I'd like to think that everyone here at JIG is above that sort of thing.

/rant

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Dora's review basically summed it up, like a good review always should.

"...and despite clearly taking a lot of inspiration from certain sources, (Heir) is worth a look"

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I played through the game with no problems, and enjoyed it. Took me a while to figure the SotC reference (took me long enough to figure it was a giant monster), and I ran across a glitch once, but nothing that didn't got corrected by warping to the latest check-point. It did remember me, also, of the demake of SotC that HeroForge cited, which was called "Hold me closer, Giant Dancer". But I think the are quite different games, in the sense that this one is inspired by the original, but (to me) aims at being a contemporary flash game, whilst the other is a demake, trying to copy the original as faithful as possible, keeping the proposed technological limitations. Ew, that was long, sorry. In few words: I liked the game, could have some improvements/bug correcting, still worthwhile.

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CaptPoco June 10, 2010 9:21 PM

I don't fault games for being unoriginal. However, this game, while enjoyable, was a little bland. Almost every single jump simply involved running up to the edge of the platform and jumping as far as you could. After a while, this got kinda boring. Still, if there was more levels, I could play this all day. Another thing was that the monsters didn't move for the most part, so it felt more like I was scaling a building rather than an actual creature. As far as the story goes, I don't play Flash games for the story. The Kipling poem was a nice touch, I thought.

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had a feeling that the ending might happen.

as for gameplay:
got old fast.

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Asylumni June 10, 2010 9:36 PM

See, after that last scene, I was SO ready for some final level where I'd scale the castle and stab the king in his bed (it could've even used the same blood-spurting graphics). Then, it ended. WTF?

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Really, I think the game's author is making a mistake not mentioning Shadow of the Colossus, given that his concept is obviously just SotC in 2D. But that's been said to death. I got the impression that the ending was inspired by SotC's slightly less depressing twist ending. That's why he tried to make it sad, he was trying to riff off that too. His ending seemed arbitrary and abrupt, though, as opposed to SotC's which slowly dawned on the player as he or she progressed (And really, was bittersweet at the worst).

Anyway.

I enjoyed the game. It was short, and the levels were amusing. Had it dragged on for a fourth stage I'd have probably started to get weary of it.

The zoom-out camera should be automatic. The levels have set paths to complete them, so there's no reason why the camera shouldn't auto-zoom out before a large jump. The leap-of-faith parts were typically made pretty clear to the player, so those never bothered me.

The ability to jump back to checkpoints at a click was great. In some spots (notably the first colossus) it was possible to fall off a high ledge, trigger a former checkpoint on the way down, and effectively go backwards a checkpoint. This could be avoided by making old checkpoints inactive if you've reached one further up or along the level.

A big part of SotC was looking at the whole monster and trying to figure out you could take body parts and somehow turn them into ladders and ledges to climb them, turning it into a puzzle based around each monster's unique physiology. I would have liked to see some similar things exploited here, like using monster manes and eyebrows to climb, or having obstacles like gnashing teeth or stomping feet that make the level feel more like a battle with a creature and less like a series of unrelated platforms. There were many places where I was simply climbing on ridges that suggested nothing but I was climbing on rocks.

The music vanishing while underwater was bothersome in the third level, since it means the first section is completed in silence. A softer underwater theme or an entirely different theme would be nice.

Otherwise, it's a fun game and a somewhat worthy fan-made rendition of SotC.

-SirNiko

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octochan Author Profile Page June 10, 2010 10:12 PM

Well, that was a pretty mediocre platformer, as platformers go. But a giant flying seahorse? really? Also, why did he only quote a few lines from the middle of Rudyard Kipling's poem? I recognized the bits right away - they're from 'If', and the most important bit is at the end. It's actually quite appropriate for the timed trial mode; it goes -
'If you can fill the unforgiving minute
With sixty seconds' worth of distance run
Yours is the Earth and everything that's in it,
And - which is more - you'll be a Man my son!'
Anyhow, I didn't really get the point of the quest, but at least it was short.

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Haikiba June 11, 2010 2:40 AM

Is this a sequel to Nier? :P

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Chiktionary Author Profile Page June 11, 2010 3:53 AM

I know I say it all the time, but I don't like platformers. However, this one was great. I disagree that it was 'bland', I found the various ways of ascending the monster an enjoyable challenge, and the random shaking of the screen added to that.
Sure, a little uninspired, but still a fun way to pass the time.

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Anonymous June 11, 2010 8:02 AM

Personally, I can understand why everyone is comparing this game to SotC. Because after the initial reveal that you're fighting against giant monsters, and the occasional tremors, you only get a mediocre platformer. Sure, not bad, but not great either.

The whole zoom-out thing should be available when running, the physics are kind of unclear, with the gravity sometimes balancing itself from left to right depending on if you're on a slope or not, and the platforming itself seems quite repetitive and bland.

I just wish Tony had added in his own ideas, or varied the gameplay; Destroying the monster on different spots? Or within a time limit before it throws you on the ground? Or climbing inside it after coming up to its mouth?

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Tofunaga June 11, 2010 9:12 AM

I also had "sticky" controls, especially at Level 3, and it's extremely annoying when I'm suddenly running into those spikes.

I also had trouble at one point when I had to (long)jump over some spikes on the ground. I miraculously got over it but it took me a hundred times of trial and error starting from that checkpoint.

Although the checkpoint system was extremely useful, I do agree with the comment that used checkpoints should be rendered inactive, and a save system should be used too, or place a lot of checkpoints closer to each other. I got to a point where I had to redo some checkpoints because I died and fell. And when I got to an earlier checkpoint, I didn't know where to go, so it gets confusing a bit.

I never played Sotc, but I'm familiar with it. This was a good game for those who aren't familiar with it's "inspiration", but it could use a lot more work/fixes, gameplay-wise.

As for the story, the king shouldn't have let him do it in the first place, but then again, we wouldn't have this game if it were so. It was kind of sad and anti-climactic for me.

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Anonymous June 11, 2010 9:21 PM

Shadow of the Colossus is probably my favourite game ever, period. This game doesn't even come close.

But that's ok. Taken on its own, it's a decent game. Not great, for reasons already mentioned by others, but still worth a play if you enjoy platformers.

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jrodman Author Profile Page June 11, 2010 9:24 PM

More than once I found myself repeating a long segment and missing a jump. In some games, like Shadow of the Colossus, this might happen at times, but the game design makes me want to try again. In this game though, there's no reward, so I don't want to try again, I just want the developer to remove the obstacle.

Also most of the obstacles are quite arbitrary -- of the "you can't see what you're doing" variety. Off-screen dangers are generally lame, in action games anyway.

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How the heck to I make

the leap of faith at the giant's head platform?!?!

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Sorry guys, normally I find your comments insightful and similar to my own, but on this one I have to disagree with a lot of you.

Right from start to end, this was a beautifully made flash game drawing heavily from ideas of SotC (one of my favourite games) but not trying to emulate it. In each of the three worlds the platforming worked well for me on my old computer and was smooth enough that I never felt cheated out of a life by the controls (something that rarely happens to me, as I LOVE blaming my deaths on the controls).

In all three worlds I was intrigued by what I was climbing and thought it was great being able to see everything I'd climbed on once the final monster was revealed (in a sense, the opposite of SotC where you start with a forest and have to find the trees, if you'll excuse the metaphor). The music was suitable, and yes it does play while underwater, it's just very quiet. The story was a better than no storyline at all, even if it wasn't great.

I LOVED how the plane of gravity shifted when you moved around, it made it feel much more personal, like you were looking through the perspective of the person climbing and not like you were just looking through a camera at someone else. The shaking, which a lot of people complained about, was AWESOME and totally took away the feeling that you were just climbing a still mountain, instead it actually felt like you were climbing on giants.

I also had no trouble with the number of checkpoints or "leaps of faith" since the scouting ability was useful (I could not find any places where there were hidden dangers you couldn't use scouting to see after the level 1 leap of faith), and anyone who thinks you should be able to move while using scout is completely missing the point the creator's trying to make about you sharing the perspective of the climber.

Basically, I loved the game and can't believe how everyone's comments have turned into reasons why this is not as good as SotC.

5/5

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Anonymous June 12, 2010 11:20 AM

lol so basically you guys just wanted to say you've played shadow of the colossus
it's a really obvious statement, that had already been said, and in a bid to prove yourself hardcore gamers you attacked it as though it were an affront to your old school gaming roots
posers xD

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ILikeCrows Author Profile Page June 12, 2010 1:39 PM

I want to love this game. I really do. I played and loved SotC, and I liked how Heir took influence from it and at the same time attempted to do something own with it. The graphics works for this game - the character is a bit simple, and when the second monster died you could see the edges of the level which looked awkward, but the monsters/level designs were good. The music is suspenseful and adds a lot to the atmosphere. It felt epic, even if all I really did was running and jumping.

However, it had a major flaw: the controls. They're sticky. I didn't mind it too much in the first level where the checkpoints were plentiful, but it made the second level annoying and the third difficult in the wrong way. If I'm going to die lots of times, I want it to be because I made the mistake, not because the game won't cooperate. I died too many times simply because my hero either ran off edges, ran into spikes, or drowned because he either scouted or kept running into a wall.

With the checkpoints being as few as they were, this meant I stopped playing in the third level. Which is a damn shame because if not of the controls, I would've found the check points acceptable.

In short, the game got all but the controls right. 2/5

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Mike Anon June 12, 2010 3:59 PM

-Pathetically easy gameplay
-Dull, repetitive level design
-Sticky controls
-Ugly, cheap graphics
-Completely derivative concept (yes, even for a free flash game.)
-Rascist undertones (the whole pale man bit)
-Trite and patronizing cutscenes.

How did this game escape a bad review?
And get 4 star ratings?

Oh, its a 'Christian' game.

I guess If you thump a Bible everybody lowers their standards.

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Great. I kill all three monsters and

Get stabbed & thrown out a window.

I guess there's no reason to put that in a spoiler tag since everyone says it outright.

Anyway, I played without reading any of the comments and never played the game others are comparing it to. So I enjoyed it for what it was.

As usual, Dora's review was spot-on: More of a concept realized than a thought-out game, and needs more variety. But fun enough to play all the way through.

Ending still sucked, though. Just unnecessary.

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You guys have no appreciation for that ending. You're just playing into the author's hands, IMO.

Senseless killing of monsters = senseless killing of people who are different.
It begs the question, who would want to be heir to that kingdom? And other thinky thoughts.

Pretty shallow analysis / lack of analysis, which is the moral 'tweak' in the first place. Everyone wants to rush into that video game ending without thinking about it.

Also: no love for Kipling?

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HACHIMAN June 13, 2010 3:54 PM

Everey time I run and jump from the last checkpoint on his shoulder, I fall to the bottom.
I can't find a way to get on the top of his head.

Help anybody

Hanxter

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i like the ending. it shows how stupid racism and prejudice is. heres this nice pale guy who saves the kingdom and the stupid king wont let him rule because he cant get tan

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Michael June 14, 2010 4:10 AM

I'm a bit surprised about the "controls suck" comments - I found them really respnsive, and the gravity shifts helped a lot to "stick" to platforms.

Or does this depend on the system performance?

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Did any one else share my crushing disappointment at discovering this was based on SotC, rushing over here to point it out and then finding n people had been here befoe.

I wouldn't get PS2 just for SotC. However, I definitely would for Ico, SotC's extremely wonderful predecessor.

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zbeeblebrox Author Profile Page June 20, 2010 5:29 AM

Did any one else share my crushing disappointment at discovering this was based on SotC

Nope! Because I played it on Newgrounds, where the author went into lots of detail in the description about how this game was a tribute to Shadow of the Colossus and what he wanted to accomplish by making it. :)

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Tracian June 23, 2010 5:13 PM

Let's see. It has:

* Perfect length

* Novel idea (on this platform. Couldn't care less if there is another game like it on a platform I don't use)

* Great effects - especially the slight world rotation

* Nice music. Or better: appropriate music

* A better ending than the trite "and he became king"

So why are you complaining? It's cool. Maybe even Very Cool.

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corrinne June 24, 2010 12:23 PM

I cant seem to make the "leap of faith" from the giants (?) shoulder to his eyebrows... any help, cuz i just keep falling off the platform that seems to be impossible to get on.

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corrinne June 24, 2010 12:30 PM

oh its ok now after falling in the water i worked out .........

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This had a lot of potential, but some things really bothered me.

1. The shaking of the screen. It was cool at first and really helped the mood, but after a while it was just plain annoying.

2. The underwater parts. Why can't he swim? And why does he fall like he would normally out of the water? Why does he run at the bottom instead of swim to the top? It'd be a lot faster, mister.

3. The rain. If I'm inside the monster, why would it be raining on me?

2/5

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Also, the monsters didn't look very threatening. I felt kind of bad about killing them.

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The-one-eyed-dwarf June 27, 2010 11:24 AM

This game's storyline was one of the worst I've ever seen, whoever came up with it should quit writing right now. Don't get me wrong, the game itself was fairly decent, it was all going well, right up to the conclusion; which ruined it completely by attempting to relate the story to a poem which had absolutely nothing to do with it. The ending words do not relate whatsoever to the king killing the pale man, and as up to this point in the game absolutely no point has been made about some form of racism felt towards pale people the ending makes zero sense, it just feels rushed. I'm not criticising the poem either as it is an incredible one, but it made absolutely no sense within this game. Just another obvious and pathetically poor attempt to create a arty game with a deeper meaning, which just left frustrated, a shoddy piece of work.

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