Saturday, September 29, 2012

Humble Bundle: Rochard

After reading that Rochard was developed with Unity3D, I knew I had to try it out. Trying it out on linux was utter fail, giving me some GL something error. A quick google told me little. Sighing, and wishing modern games weren't a gig in size, I switched to my OSX box, downloaded, and it ran without a hitch.

I was presently surprised by Rochard. The graphics were on the more toony side with a well developed colour palette. Controls were very tight, and many aspects of the game design was very appealing.

For example, there is no concept of lives, and if you die through a particular scene, power ups collected stay collected. Every scene is basically a puzzle to solve, be it fighting through enemies or mostly, figuring a way to manipulate gravity, be it with the hand held gravity beam or engaging the space stations global low gravity mode, or reversing gravity, yada yada to get to the next screen.

The difficulty ramps up quite nicely, with hints (that can be turned off - I think they need to be more obvious in certain areas though) showing you the way forward. I only encountered one area, so far, where it took me like a dozen tried to get through, where enemies came up on elevators at both sides with robots floating down from above. Ergh. The rest of it you could take the time to figure out the puzzles to get through.

There is a significant amount of voice acting, which sounded very professionally produced and polished, and the enemy AI in the game reacts to not only line of sight, but also to noises. The vocal quips made in response to your actions really give the sense of life. Several things about the AI could be made better, e.g. grenades landing on the enemy has zero reaction. To be fair, half of me doesn't want the enemy to run, as the ragdoll effects engaged when the grenades blow up are hilarious. The other half says the realism could be improved. A solution I think would be a timed release; e.g. instead of the grenade button just firing off a grenade and it will blow up after some time, hold down the button so that the grenade still activates in-hand, so that you can toss it over and the AI tried to run, but can't as the grenade blows up at their feet. Sorry AIs.

There is a short blurb on the rochard website detailing the journey dedicated to make this game come to life. Highly inspiring. It's a great game devs, I look forward to completing it.

EDIT: Completed the game. Just under 5 hours. Two things that stand out I'd like to have changed. The last "boss" fight always has the monologue going on if you die and restart. That really needs to be skipable.  Also, when on a ladder - this is a personal thing of course - is then when pressing jump on a ladder to do megaman style drops, instead of jumping upward on a ladder. Not only do I think jumping upwards on a ladder is kinda tough, but falling from a ladder makes more sense in terms of speed.

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