If You Like Tilting at Windmills, Try The Impossible Game

Review of The Impossible Game on XBLIG: Try
A one button platformer, The Impossible Game will challenge to even hardcore gamers.

The title, The Impossible Game, should set expectations.  This is not an easy game.  This is a very, vary hard game.  It is possible to complete this game, despite the title’s claim to the contrary, but it is unlikely few will.

The gameplay is extremely simple.  The player controls an orange box with the A button.  Pressing A will make the box jump, holding A will make the box jump repeatedly.   The level includes boxes to jump over or off of, instant death triangle to avoid, and sections of ground that are also instant death.  The level moves at a set pace, the player does not move the orange box or control it’s speed.  Level is not a typo, there is only one level and start to finish is about 90 seconds.  I spent 30 minutes on this single level and did not make it to the end.

The game is all about timing jumps, but it is not a button masher.  The design of the level takes advantage of holding A for repeated jumps, making it just as important to release A as it is to press A.  I found this this didn’t wear out my thumb like other hard-as-fun platformers and makes the game more interesting.

The number of attempts at passing the level are tracked, and there is a “medal” achievement for making 100 attempts.  There are two other medals, one for making 999 jump, which I reached before making 100 attempts, and a medal for completing the game.  These metals didn’t add to the game, however.  For achievements to be worthwhile they should encourage the player to explore more of the game or set goals for actions that would otherwise be meaningless.  The medals in The Impossible Game are awarded in the just normal course of playing the game.

The game has a practice mode, and while in practice mode you cannot earn medals or officially complete the game.  To start practice mode just hit Y while playing the level and a flag will drop to serve as a check point.  There is no limit to the number of flags that can be dropped, and the right and left bumpers let you change which flag is the active check point incase a flag is dropped in a spot that causes instant death.

The music and graphics are as simple as the gameplay, yet show the same level of polish.  There is nothing remarkable about the music or graphics other than to say their minimalistic style fits well with the game design.  In a game that requires you to play the same portion over and over again, this is a good thing.  Intrusive graphics or music would quickly become an annoyance.

The impossible Game is a Try for those who like these types of games.  There is nothing in the game for anyone that is not already a fan of hard-as-fun platformers.  The game is well executed and highly polished, but lacks any depth, twists, or lovable characters made of meat to entice more than the hardcore platformer niche.  For those that complete The Impossible Game, I salute you.  For those like me, who say I give up, there is always living vicariously through youtube.

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