When a game comes along with a name like Mourn, it's a pretty safe bet to assume that it's going to be challenging. Not even necessarily in sense that it's difficult to complete, although this puzzle platform game by Keybol will certainly test your skills. But "Mourn" is the kind of title that implies a certain heaviness of theme; the kind of game that wants to make you stop and think, and not just about how to solve it. The protagonist of Mourn finds himself in a place that's dark both physically and metaphorically, and the only one he can rely on to get out is... himself. Specifically, the various copies of himself who lie around, frozen in time, until you press [shift] or down to hop between bodies and animate them. He'll wander around with the [WASD] or [arrow] keys, jump with up or the [spacebar], and discuss his situation as he traverses a dark mine that may or may not be metaphorical, collecting the pickaxes that will help him make his way out. And since there are only so many of him to go around, he'll have to carefully rely on the limited numbers of himself that exist to escape the dark mines. It makes more sense to play than it does to explain, which is good, because Mourn is tightly-designed to try both your reflexes and your brains.
Mourn is not unlike The Company of Myself, in both theme and gameplay. Unlike in the latter, however, Mourn puts a greater emphasis on you having a limited number of copies to work with. Whenever you hop between bodies, your clones freeze exactly where they were in space and become immobile. The puzzles very often revolve around positioning your clones just so to form platforms for you to land on or jump across. However, this also means the levels require a high degree of coordination, both to place the copy-platforms correctly and to jump between them! Mourn is a puzzle platformer that asks you to be equally good at both genres, and since it has tight platforming controls and intuitive solutions, it never asks for too much. However, some of the puzzles do require a fair amount of precision, so it's safe to say it does want you to be a moderately better platform-jumper than a puzzler. As for the game's plot... Mourn is certainly unafraid to wear its theme on its sleeve, right down to its achievements named after the five stages of grief. The game mechanics and the story don't mesh as nicely as they do in some other narrative-driven platform games, though the way the tutorials are integrated into the dialogue is pretty clever. And Mourn doesn't quite feel as thematically deep as some of its compatriots. But ultimately, Mourn still feels like it's coming from a sincere place, and that's especially important when attempting to deal with a sensitive subject like... well, mourning. Ultimately, yes, Mourn is much more challenging as a platformer than it is as a story, and a fine platformer it is too. But there is truth to the tale it tells, and that's still worth commending.
The moodiness would have worked much better for me if every level didn't end with a chipper voice saying "Great!" or "You win!".
(Eventually, though, I got tired of trying to hit the shift key at exactly the right time, and called it a day. Ah well.)
However way too timing arcade based for puzzler, stopped caring at level 17 about hitting shift in exact the right millisecond multiple times
shift delay, change delay, time lost for no reason but waiting for practically nothing, hmm and how is that good for a timing based game?
I reached 14, I didn't bother playing it.
13 was annoying enough.
Nice idea, just not brilliantly implemented.
I use the arrows and left shift key to play, which means on a Windows machine if you hit shift 5 times in a row you are given an option to turn on sticky keys. This, of course, takes you out of the game. Oops.
Hi guys! Thank you for a review JIG! This is Keybol, the game developer. It'd be nice for players to see the ending, I didn't know it would be too challenging. As for the shift key problem with Windows, you can use Down key to change characters. The game is based on my personal experience, when my father died last December. Now I'm an orphan though an adult, but it still gets me. Good thing I pulled myself out of that dark place!
Also you could just turn off sticky keys next time that comes up, or change the keybinding for it. Do you actually use sticky keys ever?
Thanks for letting us know this was you, Keybol! I've updated the review. :) We didn't see any credit information in the game.
thank you! yeah, i didnt put any credits screen silly me
I apologize for not posting in the right board but I need help on "Scene Of The Crime:Golden Doll" If you go to the game, you'll see where i'm stuck. If someonecould help, i'd appreciate it. Thanks.
Yes, misusing sticky keys is a wonderful hack to break into windows machines if you forgot the administrator password.
Pretty game, but I *really* don't like the timing mechanic for earning stars. This feels to me like the kind of puzzle platformer where I should be able to take as much time as I need to figure out how to approach a level. Having the countdown timer sort of destroys it.
The last level is way too difficult. Giving up! Hate not finishing a game.
Hey Keybol, I can see that you were trying to tell a meaningful story through the format of game. I can only assume that your goal was to create an emotional impact on your viewers akin to the emotions you feel inside you when you made this. If this was the direction you were trying to head towards, I'd like to offer you some constructive feedback.
First and most importantly, know exactly what goal your game has set out to achieve and stick to it (in this case, the story.) Be cautious of adding mechanics that could distract or diminish the impact of that goal. This is where I found it difficult to keep invested in the story because I became too obsessed with attaining all the "gold stars." Once I reached the end, I noticed that even though I had all the stars, I had paid no attention to the story or it's deeper meaning, so upon reaching the end I felt nothing other than "Oh... I wish I paid attention to the story, and that I got something for getting all the best times."
In this respect, your "time trial gold star" mechanic had worked against the very thing you had set out to do, in addition to the cheer at the end of each level. From here on, I highly suggest about adding mechanics that add to the value of the story, and take a step back if you think it's going to take away from it.
Take consideration into symbolism as well. I'm not sure if pick axes, blocks and mine shaft doorways are symbolic of either your story or how you lost your parents, but it didn't read to well as a player.
I did however enjoy the idea that one must help themselves to overcome the obstacles set before them, using the "alternate personas" as a metaphor for that.
Finally I did enjoy the story you were trying to tell, but I couldn't feel what you were trying to convey. It's in this idea that I would tell you to be authentic with your story. What I mean is that anyone can tell us to help ourselves, to overcome challenges and be brave...
but I'm not interested in generic ideals that have been used again and again, what I am interested is in your story. Give us YOUR story. Take us on a journey of how you felt and the experiences you went through, when you were lost and how you overcame your difficulties; All while using mechanics, atmosphere and symbolism that support this cause. Pour yourself into the text, making it your canvas of art. That will make your game truly authentic and most importantly, "memorable."
You made this project to tell a story, and it's worth it.
Do not give up, do not stop.
please keep making games that focus on the importance of story because you can get there.
thank you for that long constructive review. you're right, what was I thinking putting the greetings at the end of each level. as for the stars, I thought of giving players an extra challenge if they like once they finished the game, never did I think that they will want to beat it with 3 stars already.
I did tell some of my experiences in the game, like standing over one's shoulders as it is desperate times, that timing really sucks and is an underrated word as it happened to me on December when my finances were not ok (payments delayed, + christmas + funeral expenses). that there is nobody to catch me when I fall. wish I stuck with Pretentious Game formula and also make the game a bit less harder. thanks again for the insightful comment, I'm greatly considering every word you said.
never think of your art as pretentious, for as long as it's real to you and from the heart, that's all that will ever matter.
By the by, your game wasn't hard, people just like to complain when they have to work to attain a goal. ;)
Dev, please ignore the folks saying this was too hard. Levels 10 and 24 took me five minutes each and the rest took a minute or two. A lot of casual games are so easy they're boring. I appreciate seeing a casual game with a reasonable level of challenge.
On the plus side, good story, very good gameplay, enjoyed the "figuring out how to do things" part. I liked the music too. On the down side, the end of level audio, as others have said.
Also, tighter integration between your message and gameplay elements would have made it better. What you had wasn't bad. Far from it. But it had the potential to be more.
Overall, a very good, if short, game. Looking forward to seeing future efforts.
I took a second look at this game after seeing it hosted on another site as well, and after looking through the comments and reading Keybol's posts I decided to give the game a try. I have to strongly disagree with the others who said it was too hard. I didn't even think there was much millisecond critical pressing involved. I got through the entire game in about 15 minutes I think. I was expecting some super hard nit-picky levels and before I knew it I was at level 22 before I was temporarily stumped. And that was just a matter of figuring out the strategy, not a matter of being able to press at the right time.
I always play games muted so level ending noises didn't affect the game for me. I did also succumb to the temptation to get all of the stars right away and I think it caused me to forget to read the text a couple times as Ruesiken mentioned.
Anyway, thanks Keybol for sharing your story.
Thanks Jamilworm and throwaway! There is definitely a slow way of beating each level unless you're going for 3 stars. Will keep what you said in mind, thanks for the input guys!