Voyage to Farland Review: Wow, everything's terrible
After I pissed away $20 on Hatred (which I really, truly hated), I was determined to get a cheap game to review. So I just went on Steam, looked for some upcoming indie game, and found a little indie Rogue-like called Voyage to Farland, by Peculiar Games. Conveniently enough, it was set to launch only a few hours after I looked at it, and it cost less than five bucks. I thought the graphics looked basic to say the least, but I own a ton of ugly games that are still fun. I figured this might be one of them.
If you saw the score, you can tell how that went.
Let's Start with the Ass-Ugly Graphics
Good God, look at this thing. This is the first level. This is what's supposed to draw you and make you want to play it. When I first saw this I thought, "This has to be somebody's school project or something. HAS to be." The entire aesthetic, throughout little of the game I could stand to play, was cheap, amateurish, and bland. The sprites looked like clip art from Word 2003. The animation is near-nonexistent. The tiles look like cropped Powerpoint textures stamped over and over and over. Whoever did the art assets for this game apparently didn't understand the difference between "cute" and "simple", or even between "simple" and "crappy". There are ways to make simple graphics contribute to a game's charm and personality. These guys didn't know how to do any of them.
If you think it looks bad, it sounds worse.
I always put on my headphones when I play a game I'm going to review, in order to get the best audio-visual experience I can. This is the first time I have ever regretted doing so.
I've never heard a worse soundtrack in my life. Honestly, I can't think of one. Where they bother putting in music (some levels just have bad sound effects on a loop), it is tedious, mindless, repetitive noise. It was like they asked some 7-year-old to make the best melody he could, then added a cheesy chiptune drum beat to it. I felt like I had to speed though the dungeons at times just to make it end. The couldn't even bother to find good sound effects: they were so terrible it sounded like they found the lowest quality MP3s they could find and bitcrushed them again, just to try and make them sound "retro". Some people's incompetence knows no bounds.
I could have forgiven all of this, if it wasn't all so boring.
So, so, SO boring. The game is little more than a re-skinned Rogue. It adds nothing to the genre at all. Where others have added new spins and takes on the genre, Voyage to Farland has nothing compelling or interesting to offer. The enemies are dull and unimaginative. The levels are little more than squares connected with hallways. The world has not a glimmer of awe or mystery. In its misguided attempt to ironically give this game no plot (outside of "save your kidnapped sister or something), it's given the player no reason to keep going. I stopped playing in less than an hour. I could have played longer, but really saw no point.
There are hundreds, if not thousands of examples of Rogue-likes that have revamped the genre in fascinating ways, games that are full of creative strategies, ingenious mechanics, and some of the most rewarding challenges you'll find in video games. If you want a hard game that doesn't cost a lot, check out one of them. Chances are, any that you find will be better than Voyage to Farland.
Fond memories, my ass.