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By beast4321 :: Thursday January 3rd, 2013

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[reviewer app] Escape the lava island by goodstargamer178 Beast4321 here! I have a bit of a cold, so I apologise in advance if I start coughing in this review *coughlikethiscough* I’m not actually a Sploder Forum member, but it has always been one of my dreams to become a reviewer, and the magnanimous rocketeer has offered (twice now) to post one of my reviews on the forums; it’s, once more, an offer I can’t put down. Anyway, the game I have chosen to review is Escape The Lava Island by Goodstargamer178, whom I will be referring to as GoodStar throughout this review. Goodstar was a good friend of mine, before he went inactive a while ago, but how good are his game making skillz? It will be revealed in this analysis, before I answer the all-important question; is ETLI feature worthy? Story: (copy and pasted exactly from the game description, typos and all.) you are going on a trip to _______(fill the blank with any place you want*). you are taking a ship. but the captain of the ship drove the wrong way and it reaches the lava island. but nobody is noticing at all(even the captain). but you are forced to get off the boat. everyone is gone. you know they either fall in a lava pit or get starved. they are some idiots and don't even KNOW that they're at the wrong place. but you know its not the right place, and trying to escape. there is a escapod around the island, can you find it? *Fairy land Well, it flows badly, is repetitive, and apparently GoodStar doesn’t know how to spell escape pod, but I like it (It’s better than no story at all, like what some games have *coughspelunkycough*) Anyway, it’s a nice simple story. Now a days, people so often attempt the cliché save the world story line, and the save your parents concept never gets old. I’m not saying these are bad story lines, they just become repetitive very quickly, after being used in about every game in the entire site. GoodStar, however, has moved on from that with a simple escape before your killed plot, something which is perfect for a small puzzle plat; you’re the only one in danger, and if you fail, you’re the only one who will suffer; not the entire world because somebody forgot where the arrow keys were (not naming any names - okay, guilty.) Gameplay: (Because lots of factors go into gameplay, I will analysis them all, and then explain the combined effect) Placement/design: For a puzzle/platforming game like this game, placement must be perfect; it’s not, but then it isn’t bad either. Luckily, the bad placement wasn’t present in the puzzles. However, there is an occurrence of bad placement in platforming. About halfway through the game, there is some orange perm parkour with lave below it; it was a mess. The orange perm blocks were scatter around in such a way that it almost looked like GoodStar was having a seizure when he did it, it just looks so bad. You can actually skip half of it by back flipping from a platform to the end of it, but when you try to go back, your likely to bump into the roof and die. What doesn’t help was the way the lava was placed – there were no blocks underneath it, so it looked like it was floating and just generally looked sloppy; this was a major disappointment. There were several areas like that throughout the game, something which I think that, if GoodStar had just tested it some more, he could have fixed. Puzzles/traps: GoodStar has used mainly backtracking, switch hunt style puzzles in this game, mixed in with a teleporter puzzle I’ve never seen before. The first part of the game is simple backtracking, but it is done by constantly adding new concepts to free up new areas, something which stops it becoming repetitive. At first you simply hit a switch, then you collect a key, and smash some barrels, which blast open a new area, something which, as far as I know, is unique (Or it was before I ripped it off) This backtracking style if very nice and stops just before it can become boring, with a teleporter puzzle, which relies on the fact that teleporters have a sort of reload; after they’ve teleported something, you need to wait before it does it again. This puzzle is also something I’ve never seen before. As for traps, nothing, what I think is a good choice. I hate it when I’ve nearly finished a game and something traps me, usually resulting in me giving up on the game and never playing it again. Difficulty/level progression: The difficulty curve was nicely done. It first it’s almost impossible to die (unless you try to swim through lava, something I don’t recommend.) but later on, it gets harder. Thugs appear and try to kill you, lava becomes increasingly frequent, and platforming sequences becomes more and more poorly placed; at first, it looks decent but not spectacular, but platforming placement spirals downhill from there. This effected the difficulty, and not in a positive way. There are several parts that have no right to be hard, but are, due to sloppy placement (I mentioned that earlier) something that I don’t like and will affect my opinion on this game. The puzzles also were part of the difficulty curve, something which is often hard to accomplish. At first, just about anyone can complete the puzzles, but I’m sure many people got stuck on the teleporter puzzle and what to do with the purple door key. So, difficulty had some pros and cons. The gameplay as a whole: The gameplay was enjoyable and addictive, on the whole. It featured mainly puzzles and platforming, mixed with the occasional thug and a single snarly, but a lot of the game is unpolished, and just feels like not much effort has been put into it. The placement makes the game look like a baby with no knowledge of how lava does NOT float tried to make a game, and the poor placement of platforming assists this image. However, the sequences that have been executed well are a joy to play through. There are not many of them, you won’t miss them. There was a sequence which utilises how hard it is to control your character whilst on a bouncer, by placing one right next to a wall of lava, with a pit in front of it. To get past, you had to very carefully move to the edge of the bouncer and jump down the pit without catapulting yourself into the lava. This was one of the few sequences that I felt were good, but for now, let’s leave the topic of gameplay and move to scenery. Scenery: The scenery was another disappointment. The background image was a volcano, but because the actually game covers the volcano, you can’t see it but you can instead see smoke rising to the sky, something I thought was very cool and a brilliant, original idea. Sadly, that was the only good thing about the scenery. Sometimes, when staring at the bland, basic backgrounds that cover almost everything, I wondered if GoodStar actually cared about the visuals. Every single one of them were boring and unexciting, composed entirely of the same tile, and seemingly designed entirely to bore the player out of his mind. Sure, he got the colours right; they were all reds and oranges, the colours you’d expect to see on a lava island, and the smoke was great, but I’m not known to be excited by such boring scenery. He could have added some statues, or dying grass. They would have been perfect to improve the scenery and would have added to the feel of a lava island. Or, he could have just added more variety to the backgrounds, anything to just make it more interesting; but he didn’t. For now, lets go to Pros and Cons. Pros: Good puzzles No traps Difficulty curve Cons: Scenery Placement Ratings: Story 2.5/5 Placement 2/5 Puzzles 3.5/5 Difficulty 3.5/5 Gameplay 3/5 Scenery 2/5 Total 3/5 Conclusion: Escape The Lava Island is a good game. I recommend it to anyone and everyone. While it has flaws, so does everything, but it is still good. Sadly, for several reasons (the biggest one being I keep forgetting where the arrow keys are) I couldn’t beat this game, but maybe you can. Peace out.


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