PLATFORMANCE : Castle Pain in my butt.

Review of PLATFORMANCE : Castle Pain on XBLIG: Try
I wish you were in another castle, Princess.

PLATFORMANCE : Castle Pain is a hard-is-fun platformer a lot like Aban Hawkins 1000 SPIKES. The plot is to get an extremely fragile Knight to rescue a Princess. The loading screen is what drew me to this game. “Capturing Princess…” is too hilarious for me to pass up. The Knight jumps, climbs, bounces, floats, and swims as is appropriate with the A button. The X button pans the zoom. He moves with either the Left thumbstick or D-pad. I wish that he had use of a sword but that is only a minor grievance caused from frustration.

The music and sound in the game are good. I found myself humming to it like I would with Tetris when I got in a groove. At least that’s what I did when I wasn’t cursing at the screen.

There is a timer going from as soon as the Knight appears. There is also a death counter. Neither are obvious until the ghost has killed you nor are they visible during play. I wish they could be toggled on and off like I can in some puzzle games.

The graphics are appropriate. The candlestick for the checkpoints are cute and easy to recognize. I wish I hadn’t had to die so many times before realizing that anything not a candlestick or flat surface will kill you. My bad on that, though. I like how everything looks 8bit without looking pixelated and how the entire thing zoomed out looks like an insert from an old Nintendo Power.

The zoom function I wish was in 1000 SPIKES. It’s nice to see the whole puzzle, even if I’ll never make it through all of it on a high difficulty. That makes the occasional lucky run a little easier when I know that a checkpoint is just a little farther. There is only one castle. I wish the princess WAS in another castle. Or something. To change up the gameplay, change the difficulty. This adds more traps, speeds things up, and makes the monsters trickier. The ghost seems to come faster as well. Thankfully the ghost is on rails.

The character snaps back to the “must look to the right” sprite any time you’re not moving. Occasionally returning to that sprite moved me off of platforms or into death. Not cool. Also not cool was the sometimes bounciness of my character where I seemed to move slightly when a platform changed direction. And I hate how the spring and up-drafts work. Not fun.

I wish that there was at least an internal leaderboard where I could feel like I’ve made progress against myself. I’m past the whole take-a-picture-of-it routine that we had to do back in the NES era to prove we made it through a game. 14:51 and 82 deaths on Easy for what it’s worth. The princess is an ungrateful wench who goads you into getting better for a medal you’ll never see received from the also never seen King.

In the end, this game is a Try. Despite all it has going for it PLATFORMANCE forgot how to properly introduce a player to what they’ll need to get through an obstacle. The demo is easy (on almost any setting) and gives you a false sense of ability and then WHAM! Straight into a wall of WTFBBQ. Quite literally BBQ for me as I continuously jumped into a pit of fire from frustration. I am over needing “just one more pixel” to get my Megaman to the other side. Not that it’s necessary but the solution is NOT obvious. Here’s the clue: your Knight can be a ninja.


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