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Muu: Just Another Day


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Rating: 3.3/5 (87 votes)
| Comments (50) | Views (13)

DoraMuu: Just Another DayAnother day, another handful of hours spent puttering around in his little cave home. Muu doesn't know it, but his ordinary life is about to undergo a big change when an explosion rocks the land, and he sets out to investigate it... maybe even becoming a hero in the process. Muu: Just Another Day is a short retro platformer by Miktar that serves up a delightful old school vibe with some simple yet challenging gameplay.

Use the [arrow] keys to move, [Z] to jump, and [K] to activate easy mode if you're having difficulties and feel like having a game be condescending to you. It triggers some extra helper boxes (with flattering chickens on them) to make some of the platforming easier, but can't be disabled once you turn it on. Despite some issues with certain surfaces being difficult to jump on or off of easily later in the game, Muu's beautiful design and adventurous vibe make this a little gem worth checking out. After all, couldn't we all use a little more motivation to stick our heads out of our caves now and again?

Play Muu: Just Another Day

50 Comments

Yeah. "some difficulties with surfaces later in the game", sure...
The very first jump after the meteor crash (i.e. 15 seconds into the game) is made completely random by a floor which allows for jumping just one time in ten - and is followed immediately by similar surfaces.

Come back when you leared how to make a game, pal!

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This game should be renamed "Rage Quit" or "My Kingdom for a Double Jump".

It wasn't until a couple of screens after

The little blue alien got beamed up... (Not sure if this needed a spoiler tag but better safe than sorry I guess)

that I came back and properly read the review and saw that pressing K enabled the patronising easy mode.

Now I feel like someone is trying to hold my hand as I cross the street. Still, I love the graphics and in spite of dying a hundred and eighty two times I quite enjoyed this game.

PS. Sorry I didn't read the whole review first time Dora! My bad as the kids say.

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CrankYanker Author Profile Page February 7, 2012 1:46 PM

Time for a rage quit.

Black monsters, black background, just barely able to see a pair of eyes represented by 2 single pixels (I assume) - hidden behind chain link fences.

Mildly amusing, but after getting killed by the same pair of eyes 10 or 12 times, that's enough pain for me.

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That was really excellent. Very enjoyable.

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MisterThou Author Profile Page February 7, 2012 2:29 PM

That's wierd, it's like the game developers were trying to make a game so annoying that people would turn on the easy-mode rather than rage quitting and then taunting them about it. Not sure why they thought that would make a good design.

I turned it on the same place Dandy did, that jump seems impossible.

I bet there isn't even a different ending if you don't turn on chicken mode.

I was hoping for a K.O.L.M. style upgrade somewhere along the way.

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I thought the little easter egg of Mario's level and Mario 3's ship was pretty cool. Were the other levels supposed to be a nod toward other old games as well?

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Tofuninja5489 Author Profile Page February 7, 2012 2:37 PM

Loved the little homage to Super Mario and Super Mario 3 in the first few levels. I was completely laughing at the ship.

How fun.

Were there anymore more homages to other games?
I assume the

ship

must have been from some old school shooter?

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Oh, the 'K' key makes it easier? Was that mentioned in the game anywhere?... I rage quit, and I won't be back.

But I did like the deconstructed Super Mario scenery.

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Tofuninja5489 Author Profile Page February 7, 2012 2:39 PM

Oops, I meant to put

space ship

in the spoiler tag. And not the ship before hand from Mario 3

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Oh, the 'K' key makes it easier? Was that mentioned in the game anywhere?... I rage quit, and I won't be back.

But I did like the deconstructed Super Mario scenery.

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Eh, I don't know what you guys are talking about. The sliding surfaces are easy to adjust to. Probably died about 30 times throughout the game, which is not that big of a number.

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Nice graphics, and interesting sources of inspiration, but not worth the time attempting to finish it. The entire game (or as far as I've played it, also quit at the chain link fences) is only about

precision jumping

which gets boring way too soon - Chicken mode might make it slightly easier, but not the slightest bit more interesting. Should have either been fleshed out a little more in the interactivity department, or just have simply been a movie.

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Thanks for the signal boost!

I had a lot of fun making Muu, and since it's my first game, I've been surprised at how many people really appreciated the kind of old-school trial-by-fire platforming I was going for.

Originally I thought I'd made it too easy, since I can finish it in about 8 minutes, with about 20 deaths. My best so far is only 8 deaths in total. The people that enjoy these types of games have responded very favourably, though I've come to realize not everyone "got" the ski-jump mechanic, even though I tried to teach it ambiently in earlier levels.

I added Easy Mode for people who just wanted to 'see it all' and aren't really interested in games as challenges.

I made it in two weeks, by myself, with only a musician friend providing the music. I have no programming ability whatsoever, so I used the excellent StencylWorks.

The Super Mario Bros. World 1 - 1 level, the crashed SMB3 airship, and the Vic Viper (the blue space dinosaur's ship) are the only homages, though the final 'Facility' level is a bit of a nod to Mega Man.

I'm not sure what I'll make next, but I don't think I'll make it any easier. I'm old-school that way, and there are plenty of pretty easy games already.

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Game Mechanics:

I beat the entire thing without chicken mode. I agree, Miktar, that the ski jump mechanism wasn't intuitive in how to use it. The main reason I found it overly complicated is that there is such a small window of time available to jump that you might miss being able to jump because you already slid off. This has happened to me a lot in my playthrough.

Secondly, entering the ski slope to enter accelerated speed was inconsistent. Sometimes I would walk right into the ramp and jump at normal speed. I eventually figured out the most consistent results came from jumping onto the slope and then jump immediately off without any delay.

Thirdly, it is not immediately obvious that someone can stand on the tip of a ski surface without sliding off.

Because of these two inconsistencies, the skill-jumps felt very uncontrollable. This would be key to good design - skill techniques where the user felt in control of their failure. Because it took me so many tries to even understand how the mechanic worked, I can understand why everyone is frustrated because its inconsistency did not lend itself as a tool, but rather something to avoid. Since it's inconsistent (and having little window to experiment), players will not be able to play with the ski slopes. Hence, "impossible" jumps.

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Some people, no matter how much control you give them in their failure (or how many places before the tricky bits you let them experiment with it), will always blame the designer personally for their failure, as if it was a personal insult to them.

And of course, there are those who play a genre of game they don't like, then blame the game because they don't like the genre, irrespective of the quality of the game itself. Not that I'm implying Muu is quality, far from it.

Obviously I appreciate the feedback and I've read over a lot of of good commentary and a whole truckton of kvetching over the last few weeks the game has been out, and if there's one thing that stays true: you just can't please everyone. And I certainly wouldn't want to try.

Besides. Unless someone has played Circus Charlie to completion, I don't consider them in any position to talk about terrible platforming mechanics. *tongue in cheek*

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Does anyone else think the little guy looks like the jamiroquai logo?

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Anyone who's played Super Meat Boy knows, the quality of a precision platformer is directly related to the precision of the controls.

Platforming which is dependent on a mechanic which is unpredictable at best can't be called precision.

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The 'ski jump' mechanic probably could have been introduced better. Up until the first screen where it was required, I had no idea it was part of the game. I was very tempted to rage quit. It was only after experimenting with the slope that I figured out you could jump on it and immediately off to get more distance. Fortunately, once I figured that out, the rest of the game wasn't too difficult.

All-in-all, Muu was more difficult than the usual artsy (semi)-monochrome game, but that made it all more satisfying to beat.

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Maybe it works differently on different browser/PC combinations, but I found the icy slope jumping to be very unpredictable at best.

In the end it became ridiculous a few screens after the

crashed ship

and I stopped.

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Bobin Hood Author Profile Page February 7, 2012 7:04 PM

The game reminded me of mario, the bricks, super mario galaxy,

The jumping was indeed ridiculous but it had a mirror's edge feel to it.

oh, my sore fingers. . . .

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Brian Lutz February 7, 2012 8:23 PM

This one's just not worth bothering with. There's a difference between making a game that's tough but fair, and making a game that just punishes you arbitrarily for trying to play it in the first place. This one seems to be the latter.

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Wow terrible collision detection and jump mechanics. I award thee one mushroom.

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Let's see here, I should probably give some criticism for this game if I'm going to give it a low rating.

'Cheap sliding slope platform jumps' are not good game design. There is no way to consistently remain on a cheap sliding slope, especially not long enough to actually aim a jump. The mechanics in general, even without the cheap slopes, is a little clunky, what with frequently not making jumps that feel like they ought to have gotten across just fine.

...done.

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"Some people, no matter how much control you give them in their failure (or how many places before the tricky bits you let them experiment with it), will always blame the designer personally for their failure, as if it was a personal insult to them." - Miktar

Well, some game designers, no matter how much constructive criticism you give them about their failings (or how many different gamers make the same observations and complaints as the reviewer), will always blame their demographic personally for their failings, as if the critique was a personal insult to them.

"And of course, there are those who play a genre of game they don't like, then blame the game because they don't like the genre, irrespective of the quality of the game itself. Not that I'm implying Muu is quality, far from it." - Miktar yet again.

And of course, I have been playing platformers since I first played a hacked arcade version of Super Mario on floppy disk on my old Commodore 64 over 20 years ago. Now I understand where the inspiration came from for the condescending chicken mode.

I suggest that Miktar show a little more respect to the people that spent the time to play this far from quality game. Take these comments on board Miktar, improve your design skills and quit being an elitist. Or perhaps name your next game Sour Grapes.

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Smoothfonzo Author Profile Page February 8, 2012 1:07 AM

The big problem for me is how sluggish the controls are. The keypresses are often very unresponsive. I once had the guy sit there for 5 seconds before he did anything. Oftentimes, it just doesn't do anything at all.

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franitically pressing the jump button before plummeting to your death: the game!

it's quirky, it's cute, it's intuitive, yes. a little heads-up for the controls would have been nice, but eh.

i tried. i didn't get very far, but i tried. i thought it was okay - as mentioned before, the reaction timing of your character is a mite sluggish, which is really frustrating for the player. as also mentioned before, this game is about having good reflexes and precise timing, which for a good portion of people, including myself, is really agonizingly annoying. i was honestly hoping for a little more to keep me going through the game but it's really really really hard to remain interested when all the levels look virtually the same and you have to jump fifty feet in the air to make this certain gap otherwise you die and have to start from the beggining of the level. the music's nice, of course, but music only does so much for me. sorry, maybe next time.

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Games are supposed to be FUN February 8, 2012 1:14 AM

Maybe the designer is so 'hardcore' that he doesn't realize that the majority of gamers aren't. We don't have such twitchy reflexes, or may be on slower computers, or we may just be dealing with a less than optimal platform (flash). We like games that are FUN, and if we feel things are a bit too easy, then we like to turn up the difficulty. But being told we are 'chicken' and still having jumps that so precision, with inconsistent controls and surfaces that terms like 'rage' are brought up just seems like the game (or joke) is on us, not for us.

This game (and the designer) has a lot of promise, however for a large part of your 'audience' they'll never make it through your world to see all the cool stuff that may (or may not) be inside. I'll never know, as I play games for fun, and this game had very little fun for me to make up for all the frustration I would have to go through to get it.

Beta test, get feedback, and respect your audience, and I think you have the possibility to make great things of worth that people will want to play, otherwise you'll just be another pompous game designer who people don't 'get' and who's crappy games don't get played...

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I loved the look and feel of this, but I felt it just crashed and burned on the learning curve. It seemed to be designed from the perspective of someone who already knew how the controls and mechanics worked, without enough consideration taken for people that are discovering it for the first time. Jayce's critique on the mechanics was spot on.

Maybe I missed some in-game help, but I had to read the review to find out how to jump. And then about the existence of the "Chicken Mode", which apparently couldn't be switched off. I'm not an idiot, but this didn't seem clear to me. After sliding off the same slope 30 times, I thought "well, I'll turn on the easy mode instead of ragequitting so I can see some more of the game". Then I couldn't turn it off and it just sat there being smug.

All of this taken together for me made for an experience that was less fun instead of more fun.

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I feel the need to qualify my earlier stated enjoyment of the game, now, after it seems to have been received fairly scathingly.

Personally, I thought the 'ski jump' mechanic was introduced well. Instead of quitting at the the area many people did, I'd understood that there was at least something to it and something I was missing (given the jump I was attempting was impossible; clearly something else must be done) and from that point on it became a more regular mechanic, but therefore one I was, as a gamer, adjusted to (the unpredictability many people seem to reference was really just a matter of getting adjusted to it, I feel). A mechanic which, however, maintained its difficulty despite my understanding of it, which was good.

People also seem to be getting distressed about the 'easy mode' being essentially very condescending - which was, I presume, the point. That's essentially the game telling you 'you're not my target audience, but if you want to see the game through, and play it anyway, I'll be happy to let you do that'. (though I have yet to actually turn easy mode on; I'm just going from responses). The point that the game is trying to convey, that you're not its target audience, is only reinforced by no clue as to what the button for easy mode is in the game - you have to search externally.

Now, this point about the game's 'target audience' is a fairly important one (that seems to instead have served as a pretext to berate the author, which seems a little unjust). Games have target audiences. This is almost always a fact. This game, however, as many others do (usually awarded JiG's highdifficulty tag, I would suppose) pursues a niche of gamers that enjoy hard platformers. Hard platformers. Inevitably, then, it will ward away many people, but that is not elitism on the author's part, far from it, it is just the author catering to a specific genre.
This was the author's whole point in his written responses, which was clarifying that he knew the game would not be for everyone, it was for this (niche) audience.

I personally had not noticed what could be considered 'poor' mechanics outside of the ski-jumping, either. The jumps occasionally seemed a tiny bit clunky, but that seemed the only unintentional factor. Sure, you can complain about having got tantalisingly close to that ledge, scraped on it a bit as if it were going to let you up, and then plummeted to your death anyway, but that's not poor mechanics, that's just failing to jump. Which will be aggravating. Which is partly the point.

I enjoyed the music, I loved the monochrome style, and was even taken a little by the small storyline. I also believe I am well within the target audience the author has indicated, and thus loved the game for its mechanics and its central playability too.

(also, I did a quick run-through and tried to beat your score of eight deaths, Miktar, but failed - lost ten before I'd got to the dark area, then another three before the end. 13 deaths isn't that bad, though..)

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Okay - I got sort-of used to the goofy mechanics.

The jiggly little black muggers are ridiculous - really? Black villains on a black background?

And mechanics? I was done when I stopped to answer the phone and fell off a platform -- 5 seconds after I took my hands off the keyboard.

While I understand that you can't please everyone -- your attitude of "well, if you can't win it, then OBVIOUSLY you're just not my kind of gamer. Idiot." isn't going to get you a whole lot of sympathy -- either here or IRL.

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Wow, never seen a debate like this on JIG. I'm surprised people are so upset.

Miktar, I too gave up shortly after the crashed ship, but it was still a fun game and very impressive for a first effort!

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The game is pretty hard and I almost turned easy mode on. Pretty minimalist style tho and its polish for a first game. Maybe it deserves a "director cut" for expanding a little and adjusting jump mechanics. I woudnt make it too easy though. Most games are dumbed down these days.

Lot of the comment here are wildly entitled! You dont DESERVE to beat every game just because you play it. This is why games are being dumbed down. That just makes them boring.

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I played with Easy Mode on and didn't flip my nut over the "condescending" blocks. But then again, maybe just knowing Miktar was enough for me to shrug off his chicken-calling. :P

Hard game is hard, but try not hate on it for being what it is. There's a large group of developers out there who dedicate themselves to making difficult games, myself included.

Look, sometimes people just make chocolate icecream when you wanted vanilla. This isn't because they hate you, it's because they want to give something to people who like chocolate. The gaming landscape is not always centred around you -- just shrug your shoulders and move along in these cases, and you'll always find something to enjoy. :)

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@Nandrew

I don't think anyone has really flipped their nut over the condescending blocks. No quotation marks needed by the way, they are condescending. Just pointing this fact out does not equate nut flipping.

As for the ice-cream analogy... well, I haven't seen any comments implying that Miktar hates anyone. This isn't a case of making something chocolate for people that like chocolate. This is a case of people saying "The chocolate was good but I prefer vanilla", and then Mr. Softee saying "Yeah? Well, you're not good enough for chocolate!"

Now I want a waffle cone...

PS. Dora, I gesticulated wilder than you could ever imagine! If only I had a podium instead of this worn out old soap box. ;D

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My reply to Jay was (and continues to be) taken wildly out of context and misinterpreted, as if I was talking about specific people instead of making a general statement about the inherent dangers of making games. I was never referring specifically to Muu, but rather that no amount of forethought or design will ever be able to account for every type of mentality that approaches the end result.

Dandy, you took what I said personally, mistook my intent, then called me an elitist.

Not much I could take away from that.

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Melon Fighter February 8, 2012 3:17 PM

I read the one of people hating games because it's a genre they hate and I find it totally true.

In other sites I find puzzle and adventure games flamed in the comments just because they aren't what they are.

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The ski-jump is a cool mechanic, but it was a bit much for me after the beginning of the game was so easy. I didn't die at all, and then at the first ski-jump, I died like ten times in a row.

(I thought the chicken blocks were funny and cute, and not really condescending at all. But I still want to try to beat the normal mode some time.)

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ChainsawCharlie Author Profile Page February 8, 2012 6:22 PM

Very nice art-style. Controls slightly messed up. Really hard to get such precision with kb. Also the enemies who's eyes you can only see. Really? How is that a fun gameplay mechanism.

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There are two kinds of hard. There is cheap hard, and there is challenging hard. I don't consider myself a platforming MASTA or anything, but I've been around the block a few times. And I don't think that saying a game is supposed to be targeted to people who like 'hard' platformers is any justification for it being downright cheap.

This is a personal definition, so disagree with it if you want. To me, 'cheap' is the kind of difficulty that frustrates you while you're working through it, leads to tons of deaths, and even if you win it just leaves you feeling empty and cheated, like you just wasted your time and didn't really accomplish anything. 'Challenging' is the kind of difficulty where you might get frustrated once or twice, but it's rewarding and you feel at least somewhat good about the accomplishment afterward.

So, just to clarify, when I use the term 'cheap sliding slope platform jumps', I mean to say not that the game is 'too hard' or has a mechanic that is 'tough to master', I mean specifically to say that the difficulty provided by that particular mechanic is of the cheap, unfun kind. As far as I can tell there isn't any skill to it whatsoever, just persistence and dumb luck; you might as well roll a few dice and if all three roll a 1, I make the jump, otherwise I fall in spikes and have to start over. That's how this game makes me feel, and not even very far into it at that. Never a good sign.

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If you're going to require precise use of the game's physics to make it through each stage, then you need to make the physics precise enough to allow this. Walking onto a ramp may allow you to 'ski-jump' further than normal, but it can also make you stutter-fall down the slope.
Even when you know what the mechanic is, it still feels more like luck than skill to actually trigger the effect. Like what Xindaris said, it takes a challenge and turns it into persistence and dumb luck.

I liked the art style and atmosphere of the game, but next time I would test on machines of various qualities (high-end and low-end), and leave out the insulting phrasing in the easy mode ('Chicken mode activated', in big text, on the screen the whole time). If you're hooked by the look and feel and want to see the rest of it in spite of the challenge, this message throws a wrench into the environment.

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This is getting ridiculous. Miktar, I didn't take your comments as personally as you think, you generalised about everyone who used your "Chicken Mode" when playing Muu.

"I added Easy Mode for people who just wanted to 'see it all' and aren't really interested in games as challenges."

Since I am included amongst the people whom enabled easy mode I felt like responding and since I don't speak for anyone else on here I spoke for myself. Your intent in your comments is clear, I copied direct quotes and nothing was taken out of context in any way. I took your words at face value and rebutted almost verbatim.

I didn't just call you an elitist, I said to QUIT being an elitist. The lesson you should take away from this is obvious. It was not name calling or mud slinging. By your words and actions you have defined yourself as behaving elitist.

e·lit·ism or é·lit·ism (-ltzm, -l-)
n.
1. The belief that certain persons or members of certain classes or groups deserve favored treatment by virtue of their perceived superiority, as in intellect, social status, or financial resources.

A number of people have made good points about the quality of the mechanics of this game and the possibilty of the game functioning differently on different computers and different browsers. Other people have found no problem with the mechanics of this game whatsoever.

Therefore, rather than saying something like, "I meant to make the game hard so if you can't play it then you shouldn't play hard games", you could look into the possibily that your game needs tweaking and just say, "Thanks for pointing out that some people are experiencing difficulties." If the majority of people are drawing attention to an issue, don't pretend it's not an issue.

Maybe if we all came and played Muu on your computer we'd have no difficulties. Maybe if you came and played it on all of ours you'd die repeatedly. Who knows? That's what feedback and testing is all about.

On the plus side, these comments have been infinitely more frustrating than the game ever was.

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I fell through the floor after about 10 minutes in and couldn't continue.

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I got to the point right before

the alien spaceship

where there's a one-spaced platform with a slope facing backwards and just couldn't get past it. I read the comments and found out about the chicken mode. I wanted to beat the game, just to see what it had, and couldn't even do it with the chicken mode. Game: 2 Me: 0. Rated 1/5 because 0/5 isn't an option.

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If you want to make a game as hard as, say, Knytt Stories: Afar, you need to make it equally rewarding. Pixel-perfect jumps aren't actually fun, they're just a challenge to overcome in order to do or see something fun. Even including the charming Mario ruins, your game was not interesting enough to justify dying 20+ times at each checkpoint after the ship.

And that's even after coming to this discussion and reading your post about the "ski jump" mechanic. I've never seen a mechanic like that executed in such a frustrating manner. If you're going to use an imprecise mechanic like forcing the player to jump onto or off of a ramp/trampoline/etc. to get more height or distance, you need to make the success window a lot more forgiving, and make it to where you don't die every single time you fail.

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Momentum and pixel jumping do not mix well. Felt like it took more luck than skill to make those jumps.
I find it disgusting that some dislike the game just because they cannot complete it.
Well, I guess you can't tell people what to do.

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Totally lame. Just different variations on can you you hit the jump key at just the right time. Got old fast.

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Melon Fighter February 10, 2012 2:38 PM

Okay when I made it to the hard part after

the alien scene

I wanted to know what was so insulting of the game so I pressed K, yeah insulting alright 1/5.

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I hate it so much! Such a beautiful game spoiled by one scrappy mechanic. Work on a better mechanic, but keep with the awesome esthetics.

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Darklord_X Author Profile Page March 28, 2012 6:39 PM

A few thoughts:

If you didn't enjoy this game (or its mechanics), you can move on to another game. Personally, I'm a casual puzzle gamer, so this hardcore platformer was not for me. But that doesn't mean that the game designer is laughing at my inability to finish; instead, it means that it is meant for a different audience than the one I am in.

Also, for the record: the later levels of most early platformers are much harder than this game is. Also, you don't have to insert a quarter every time you die!

-X

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History Museum Escape> Dora Trapped overnight in the history museum, if you want to escape you'll need to solve puzzles and craft some pretty darned clever tools in this short but sweet game also available free for iOS and Android.  ...

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