Hard Games   Tagged Articles RSS Feed | GameSkinny.com Hard Games   RSS Feed on GameSkinny.com https://www.gameskinny.com/ en Launch Media Network Getting Over It with Bennett Foddy Review: Why Must You Hurt Me https://www.gameskinny.com/sbjs0/getting-over-it-with-bennett-foddy-review-why-must-you-hurt-me https://www.gameskinny.com/sbjs0/getting-over-it-with-bennett-foddy-review-why-must-you-hurt-me Tue, 20 Feb 2018 14:19:59 -0500 Greyson Ditzler

I know I'm late to the party on this one, but I had to review this game. Getting Over It with Bennett Foddy is the most recent game from -- who else -- Bennett Foddy, an on-again-off-again game designer most famously known as the man behind QWOP. Similarly to that classic pass-around title, Getting Over It can most easily be defined as a rage game built around an intentionally complicated and frustrating control scheme.

If you've been hanging around the gaming scene on YouTube and Twitch lately, odds are you've seen this game at least a little. It exploded in popularity as a game that people love to watch people throw their controllers and scream over, and laugh over the difficulty and absurdity of when they play it themselves. But the question I'm here to ask is this: How good of a game is it really? 

This sort of thing tends to happen with rage games that explode online and live to be watched -- people don't review them as often as other games --maybe because most reviewers think that these games speak for themselves and that the community has already made up its mind. Well, I for one have made up my mind, and it's dead set on analyzing this cauldron of rage and mocking philosophy. I accept your challenge, Bennett Foddy, and I don't take kindly to being made fun of.

Let's try and get over it together.

The Appeal of This Game

Let's go over the basics for all those uninitiated. In Getting Over It you play as Diogenes -- a reference to Greek mythology -- who is a man sitting in a cauldron attempting to climb a very tall and convoluted mountain using nothing but a sledgehammer. While you play, the game's developer, Bennett Foddy, comments over the gameplay, explaining why he decided to make this game the way he did, what inspired it, and his general feelings about progression in games as well as challenges in both entertainment and life.

What you see is what you get in this case. After you play the game for about a minute and start to understand the controls, and struggle to pass a single obstacle that would be simple in any other game, you've basically seen it all. Just multiply the effect by a dozen hours or more, and imagine the whole thing getting harder and harder to a frankly ludicrous degree, often being purposely obtuse and unfair, sprinkled with some vaguely philosophical quotes, and you've got the whole experience right there.   

There are some positives to the experience, don't get me wrong. While in most places the visuals are kind of drab and basic, the random mishmash nature with which some of these pre-made assets are smashed together has a sort of quirky charm. Some of the quotes that are given are insightful, Bennett Foddy does have some nice poetic language and a few little tidbits about difficulty that are intriguing, and I'll admit that I did have some fun for the first few hours, even when I was very frustrated.

However, what positives the game has weren't nearly enough to nullify the fact that I was extremely frustrated by a game that is extremely basic and wildly hard and often unfair. I decided that I didn't want to play anymore after getting barely any further after nearly six hours of playtime, and I gave up.  

I Couldn't Get Over It 

I'm going to be clear here: I did not beat this game. Maybe I can beat it, but after hours and hours of playing and barely getting anywhere, I decided that is was too annoying and often repetitive and boring for me to want to. I just stopped caring. 

I understand the overall message it's going for -- the idea that there are great challenges in life that will wear and tear us down, and that we only truly fail and lose when we stop trying and give into despair, but honestly, I found this approach pretentious at times. The mechanics of every mistake being permanent and auto-saved constantly and there being no checkpoints to act as a safety net are definitely effective in conveying the game's themes of dedication and struggling through adversity, but from a gameplay perspective, it's all just so annoying. 

Image Unrelated. Or is it? - Greyson Ditzler

Whatever the truth or value in the game's message and the way it chooses to approach it, in practice, it plays like Hell on Earth. The controls are so sensitive, and the pace so often fluctuates between slow and careful planning in tighter spots and frantic high-speed panicking in moments of stress, that you are absolutely guaranteed to get upset with this game at some point. I'm also fairly certain that while the physics are at least fairly consistent, they are weighed against you.

You will constantly either get thrown off of a ledge because of a tiny little mistake and lose 20 minutes of progress, or not be able to move reliably at all if you and your hammer are wedged in an uncomfortable spot.

On top of all that, there's no music to speak of, and once you run out of quotes and commentary for the section you're on if you're very bad, then you're just left in silence with nothing to do but get frustrated and stare at the often very basic visuals. After not too long, the joke will wear thin, and all you're left with is a very basic and intentionally frustrating game with nothing to do in it but try and fail over and over to do very basic tasks.

This spot right below is immediately after the first major section of the game. It too me over four hours to get here. Four hours of playing the same three minutes over and over. I knew what anger was before I played this game, but it very kindly reminded what it truly means.

Started from the bottom now we're here. - Drake

Who Is This Game For?

It's not a horrible game really, but it's just so frustrating and mechanically basic that I feel you're well within your right to get bored or angry with it after an hour and put it down to play something else. Bennett admits openly that this game is horribly, bitterly difficult and frustrating by design, and that he feels some people's tastes are suited to this sort of challenge. While I feel he's right, I also feel that for me, and a lot of other people, that doesn't make the game any better or more fun as an experience.

It's been so difficult to write about Getting Over It because I think this may be the most subjective gaming experience I've ever encountered. There just doesn't seem to be a completely clear consensus on it.

While I am a firm believer in the idea that there are certain aspects of most games that can be viewed objectively, and that there are contributors to a game's quality on both a technical and artistic level that can be logically qualified, I also firmly believe that anyone is allowed to enjoy any game they want. While I've already got my own issues with this game, and there are plenty of technical faults I could point to, I also understand that a lot of people enjoy this kind of game.

I always try to take into consideration the fact that there's bound to be somebody who likes even the games I hate the most and vice versa, but with Getting Over It, it was just too hard to ignore the divided opinions on it. I've seen equal amounts of people both online and in real life that either hate the game because it's condescending and obnoxiously and purposely unfair, or who think it's hilarious for those same reasons and have a great time laughing at its absurdity.

This is why I'm scoring the game like I am. For whatever its faults -- intentional or otherwise -- it's a game that seems to either leave you ecstatic or enraged. If you want to play a different 2D indie game that's very difficult, but actually fairly designed, and also based around scaling a mountain analogous to overcoming a massive personal conflict -- then get CelesteGetting Over It is not what you're looking for if you want something hard but fair. It's the kind of game you either play to get angry or to have a laugh, sometimes in the span of the same 20 minutes.

Also, I'd like to take a moment to briefly address Bennett Foddy himself. Bennett, I don't know you, and I will probably never meet you in real life. I have nothing against you personally, and I'm sure you're a nice guy, but since you and your game have taken to poking fun at me and its other players, I'm sure you won't be too upset if we trade blows for a minute.

Your game left me too frustrated to continue, and both it and you have beaten me for today, and you will always have that over me. However, I am also content with the knowledge that while that is true, I don't like your game all that much anyway, and I'm off to spend my time on games I find much better, and I will always have that over you. I may not have been able to get over it, but I am totally over it.

I can only recommend this game if you think the idea is funny enough to carry itself or if you genuinely like the idea of a monumental, often unfair challenge. Otherwise, I would stay away from this one.

Getting Over it with Bennett Foddy is available now on Steam. You can watch the trailer for it down below (and frankly, I think it describes the whole game better than I ever could):

 

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7 Tough Games That Meet at the Corner of Frustration and Fun https://www.gameskinny.com/ocsmu/7-tough-games-that-meet-at-the-corner-of-frustration-and-fun https://www.gameskinny.com/ocsmu/7-tough-games-that-meet-at-the-corner-of-frustration-and-fun Mon, 03 Oct 2016 17:15:36 -0400 Jeremy Brown

Plenty of games lend their sense of accomplishment through their stories, atmospheres, and satisfying mechanics. However, some games offer a more masochistic approach to their gratification by giving you "never back down" challenges, which push you even more to overcome them.

This concept applies to many more games than the ones on of this list. Those on this list made the cut for having a foundation of cruel-yet-fair gameplay. Whether or not that makes them good, well, that's up to you.

Super Meat Boy

Super Meat Boy is a platformer focused on speed and pain. Meat Boy's girlfriend, Bandage Girl, has been kidnapped by the nefarious Dr. Fetus, and you must save her by going through a series of circular saws, and spikes. Believe it or not, salt is really lethal too. 

What pushes players in Super Meat Boy, however, is the drive to collect more bandages, hidden in hard-to-reach spots, and getting the "A+" ranking to unlock secret levels. The game requires patience, but the controls and animations make every mistake the player's and not on the game's. Even better, when beating later levels, the replay (showing every single attempt simultaneously) is that much more rewarding.

Hyper Light Drifter

Perhaps the least punishing on the list, Hyper Light Drifter puts players in a bleak world where everything has already gone down the tubes, and they must fight through the villains and bullies of the world to rebuild it. 

What makes Hyper Light Drifter so challenging is the fast-paced combat. Every step counts, and any misstep can mean death. Those only set you back to the beginning of the room, though. Of course, that'll happen quite often, and boss fights will increasingly test your skills by being more difficult than the last.

Furi

Furi is a fairly recent game, as it was a free game of the month for PlayStation Plus over the summer. It has a plot focused on a silent protagonist and a person in a bunny hat telling him to kill bosses. While the slick style of the game does help overall, the real focus here isn't the story.

It's a test of determination that the game demands of its players. Boss fights have increasingly harder stages as players keep fighting them, and players only have three lives. If they fail to defeat the bosses, even on the last hit, these long fights will start all over. It makes for a real struggle of memorizing moves, which results in the biggest trial-and-error in the game, even though the basic combat is rock solid. 

 

VVVVVV

VVVVVV is an incredible game for those looking to push the boundaries of their sanity. After a sci-fi disruption in space-time causes the players' ship to crash, the captain of the ship must go out and save the loyal crew to rebuild and leave this frequently spike-filled land.

The idea is simple: players move left and right, but instead of jumping, can only invert gravity. From then on out, the level design decides how well players can wield the tools given to them. There are parts where gimmicks make the game even more crazy, but even its premise makes for a difficult, but ultimately, rewarding game. 

Lovely Planet

Oddly enough, Lovely Planet has more in common with Super Meat Boy than anything else. It doesn't require you to be the fastest player, but it does force players to have peerless precision and a lot of coordination. Apart from the Katamari art-style, nothing is kid-like in this game.

Players are given a semi-automatic weapon to shoot red guys, and they must use near-death leaps to cross at any given point. The frantic nature of this game makes it one of the most demanding on this list because one small mistake means starting the level over.

The Witness

Agreeably the most calm, calculated, and methodical game on this list, Jonathan Blow's latest acclaimed puzzler, The Witness, stretches the boundaries of its simple premise to every conceivable length. Though the game doesn't present fail-states like the rest on this list, it sure feels like it does.

Simply, players walk up to panels and draw a line from point A to point B on them. As players progress across the game's luscious landscapes, the levels become more and more complex, using reflections, shadows, and field of view. Melting distortions shape even how your character moves within a hedge maze to squeeze every single way the puzzle can be completed into one game. The result creates later puzzles that can leave players staring at the screen for hours.

Honorable Mention: Hotline Miami

While I loved Hotline Miami, I felt it wasn't a perfect fit for the list. It's a top-down hyper-violent shooter that requires bold strategy, quick reflexes, and improvisation. Why isn't it part of the list, though?

Rather than something players did which lead to their demise, the biggest issue holding it back is random flukes in the enemy AI that are completely out of player control. I still highly recommend it, even though you're going to see "You're dead" pop up fairly often.

Do you agree with our list? What games would you like in this subgenre of genres? Let us know in the comments section below, and as always, thanks for reading.

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A Quiver of Crows: If Ninja Gaiden Were an Indie Twin Stick Shooter https://www.gameskinny.com/c6gvn/a-quiver-of-crows-if-ninja-gaiden-were-an-indie-twin-stick-shooter https://www.gameskinny.com/c6gvn/a-quiver-of-crows-if-ninja-gaiden-were-an-indie-twin-stick-shooter Thu, 30 Jun 2016 07:43:03 -0400 DoubleVendetta

If you've ever wondered to yourself what Ninja Gaiden, Dark Souls, or Devil May Cry would be like if they were a twin stick shooter instead...A Quiver of Crows would be it. it's dark, atmospheric...and brutally, unrelentingly ruthless -- so much so in fact, that I didn't finish the press build I was provided for this review. It continues to taunt me, no matter how many times I fling my titular avian character into mobs of angry, swarming mouth-monsters and skeletal deathbat things that might as well be honorary denizens of Hell.

Full marks for presentation.

A Quiver of Crows will run up behind you, choke you out, throw you in a burlap sack, beat you over the head with a baseball bat, and dump your body in the river. Dispassionately. Hardcore shmup fans, this is your Holy City -- and there's plenty of controller-flinging in store for those of us who love of games that laugh in our faces for thinking we're the shit. This one certainly knocked my ego down about four notches.

"OH GOD OH GOD OH GOD!" [-- Me, while playing this game]

But A Quiver of Crows has more on offer than just an unapologetic difficulty curve.

The art style is unique, the assets are absolutely gorgeous, and their combined aesthetic was what initially drove me to review this game. And the score. I seriously, SERIOUSLY hope that Sheado.net releases the soundtrack to this game. I don't buy soundtracks, but I want to buy this soundtrack. It's that good. (And probably the biggest thing that kept me persevering through several of my controller-chucking moments.)

From the chunk of the game that my skills have allowed me to experience, QoC has thrown out some interesting mechanics. There's a sort of "weapon upgrade" path in the form of pickups, as well as multiple special weapons -- and I'm determined to continue pushing through the game just so I can find out what other interesting gameplay choices the ones I haven't seen yet.

This is not your average "just point and shoot" twin stick shooter.

Fast access to every command available to you, without moving your hands or sacrificing mobility, is pretty much paramount to making it through the game. So a controller is your friend.  

Also, the map feature is more helpful than you might initially think, as it will allow you to scope out the next corner or bend before you just dive in and get ripped to shreds.

I'M AH FIRIN' MAH LAZORZZ!!!

It may seem like I'm waxing overly positive on behalf of QoC, but I assure you, I'm not. It's hard to find anything overtly negative about the game. About the only thing that I felt was a little underwhelming was the SFX design. A lot of them felt muffled, and got easily buried under the game's impressive score. I would personally like to see the levels raised on some of those, and possibly even a bit of redesign -- though as someone familiar with game development, I'm aware that such an undertaking isn't always time or cost effective.

All in all, A Quiver of Crows is a solid and enjoyable, if challenging, experience. I could barely tell I was playing an incomplete game, and it's obvious a lot of work has gone into it already. And full disclosure? I'm probably going to buy it day one.

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Bloodborne Review: A Bloody Good Time https://www.gameskinny.com/04wmi/bloodborne-review-a-bloody-good-time https://www.gameskinny.com/04wmi/bloodborne-review-a-bloody-good-time Thu, 16 Apr 2015 06:24:03 -0400 Farrel Nobel

A while ago, I asked if Bloodborne could save the PS4. This review should answer that question. 

Over the past few years, From Software has carved out a new genre in a crowded gaming landscape. It’s a genre that’s well known for their brutal and unrelenting difficulty but all the more satisfying gameplay. There’s a convoluted plot, especially in the early hours, but it’s set in a wonderfully creepy and terrifying world that has areas begging to be fully explored. Bloodborne is a game that hits all the notes that I just mentioned. The visuals are great, and the gameplay is even better. Much better than From Soft’s previous games, Dark Souls and Dark Souls 2. It’s just another plus point for me that it’s a PlayStation 4 exclusive.

So here’s what you’ll like about Bloodborne.

The Good

If you’ve never played a Souls game because the combat was too slow, or you thought that the game was just too hard, then Bloodborne is the best starting point if you want to get into games like Dark Souls and Dark Souls 2.

+ New Setting

For starters, From Software has decided to move away from the medieval setting that was used in the Dark Souls games where it was about spell casting and big burly knights in steel armor. Instead, they opted for a Victorian London sort of setting using the gothic themed churches and the long coats and top hats that enemies and NPCs wear. Overall, it gives the game a great look and separates it enough from the classic Dark Souls style.

+ Faster and Better Combat

One of the big changes about Bloodborne that I personally loved is the change in the combat. No more shields or magic to help you kill enemies from afar. Instead of shields, you get a gun. Don’t be fooled into think that you’re safer with a gun however, guns only do a small amount of damage and are mainly used to stun enemies. Stunning enemies is usually followed by a visceral attack that is a big damage-dealing gut punch into your foe.

There’s also the new health regain system that allows you to regain parts of your health just after you’ve been hit. You regain this health by giving your enemies a taste of their own medicine. Wait too long, and you’ll lose your chance.

The new combat mechanics encourage hand to hand combat and boosts overall aggressiveness in play style. There were times where I dodged an attack that could've easily one-shotted me with a miraculously timed dodge following up with a stagger and visceral attack to end my foe. The faster pace makes fights more fun, especially the boss fights which can get your adrenaline pumping.

+ Co-op and Chalice Dungeons

The improvement in co-op is just the icing on the cake that Bloodborne needs. You can call up to 3 other players to join your world so they can help you fight bosses. Don’t like helping? There’s also PVP where you try to stop someone from reaching the next boss.  

The chalice dungeons are something new in From Software games: they are optional adventuring areas where you and up to 3 other party members go through a dungeon that has multiple layers, with each layer containing a boss that's harder than the last. It's a good break from the main story, and you can gain some good loot from it. Plus, you can never have enough blood echoes. 

The Bad

- Long load times

In a game that punishes you for dying, where you have to run all the way back to get your blood echoes, the equivalent of souls in the Dark Souls games, the last thing you want to do is be hampered by technical stuff like long loading times. 30 seconds on average is how long you’ll be waiting in between warps to hunter’s dream and dying, and that’s 30 seconds too long. 

- Not much of a clear story

Although farming for blood vials is a chore (too much effort for necessary potions), the lack of a clear story is the most frustrating aspect of the game. This is more personal taste than anything else. I’m someone that likes to hear a good story without having to look into every item description or talk to every NPC to know what the hell is happening. And Bloodborne just doesn’t do that. The story is very unclear, and it leaves you to discover the secrets of Yharnam. This is probably most apparent in the start of the game itself. Where normal games generally open by giving your character a sense of purpose with a clear-cut story,

The story is very unclear, and it leaves you to discover the secrets of Yharnam. This is probably most apparent in the start of the game itself. Most games generally open by giving your character a sense of purpose with a clear-cut story, Bloodborne chooses not to do this. Instead, after some (seemingly) insignificant dialog, you wake up and you're supposed to fight a werewolf beast with your bare hands. And you're off. 

The weird thing is that the world of Yharnam and it’s creepy, monstrous inhabitants and downright obscure and morbid collectibles such as the one-third umbilical chord are strangely interesting enough to entice players into reading the stories behind these items. Reading the lore and watching videos about them certainly does enrich the overall experience as it gives you a slightly better picture of what you’re doing in regards to the plot. But the extra effort is time-consuming.

Overall

To sum up, don’t let the long load times and farming for blood vials discourage you from skipping this wonderfully crafted game. Bloodborne will consume you to the point that you dread the next time you have to play it, but you won’t stop once you do. There are plenty of secrets in Yharnam that easily extend your playthrough to New Game+ where the enemies and bosses become harder.  Bloodborne is THE game for players to get into games of the Souls-like genre. With it’s great combat, boss fights, and unforgettable setting, Bloodborne will not disappoint. 

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