March 23, 2012 7 Comments
Week #2 of Kairi’s Katch-Up Thursdays (it’s still Thursday on Venus!) and the winner by a landslide was the Decay series of point-and-click games. I know I said the popular vote count would not necessarily factor into my final selection, but when 8 out of 10 votes were for it, you kind of have to go with it. By the way, that wasn’t a hypothetical ratio. There are only ten people voting in this thing. One voter will win 1600 Microsoft Points on April 5. And some of the voters have asked to not be included in the drawing. Sigh. This will probably be my last contest. Don’t make me break out the sad puppy-dog eyes at you people.
Oh that’s it. That is it! I hate that it’s come to this. This will hurt me a lot more than it hurts you. Behold the power of the sad puppy dog eyes.
Are you guys going to participate and vote more? Good. Don’t make me do that again.
Now then, for those of you that are not curling up in the fetal position and sobbing to yourself right now, here’s the Decay review. You know, point & clickers are the one retro genre that I can’t figure out why anyone is interested in anymore. 2D platformers can still be fun. Old-school sports games are usually fast paced. Classic arcade-style drivers are typically fun for at least an hour. Even moldy old school street brawlers can work when you dress them up and slightly modernize them like Castle Crashers did. But point & clickers? They only existed because you couldn’t do free-roaming 3D environments in the 80s through the early 90s. Once technology caught up to the ambitions of adventure game developers, the genre’s time for extinction had arrived.
Of course, Xbox Live Indie Games is a virtual Jurassic Park full of fossils that should have died out long ago. I suppose that makes the Decay series the velociraptors of the market: hunting in packs, more trouble than their worth, and at the end of the day it’s still just a dinosaur.
Yea, that was pretty much the worst analogy ever.
Decay is split into four parts. Part one will run you $1 and will last you between fifteen and twenty-five minutes, depending on how much fucking about you do. It sets the mood for this story about.. um.. you know, I played all four games and I could barely grasp what the whole thing was about. Apparently a family of three have gone missing, or perhaps the wife got sick and died, or some serial killer got them, or fuck I have a headache. There’s just too many red herrings to keep up with.
Decay is one of those minimalist-story type of deals. This is a problem, because Koint & Knickers typically have to have a strong story to make up for the complete and total lack of gameplay. You’re not really fed enough narrative in Decay. At first, that was okay, because the open-ended questions left me genuinely intrigued. Is the dude in purgatory? Hell? Is he reliving an event, or dreaming of a future one? Sadly, as the story progressed, the actual answers were nowhere near as interesting as the suspense they invoked.
Decay still managed to be pretty creepy through-out, but by the end of parts two and three, my interest in the outcome had been significantly stilted. By time Part 4 came around, I was downright bored. The story sucks, plain and simple. And then it ends with a ridiculous Sophie’s Choice moment which guaranteed the presence of alternate endings. I hate it when games do this. Games are not movies. They take a significant time investment. An alternate ending in a movie is easy. Go to the DVD menu, select the ending, watch it. Done. In a game, you have to replay the entire fucking thing from the beginning and hope you don’t make any mistakes that would lead you into the same ending. Now granted, in Decay you only have to start over from Part 4, but that’s still another hour or so you’ll have to invest doing the same puzzles you just solved. And for what? I checked on Youtube and all the endings were fucking lame as hell. And that’s partially because you don’t know enough about the characters to give two shits about them.
So the story was a bust for me. The gameplay did slightly better. It really is just typical Boink & Flick stuff, so don’t expect too many surprises. Well, besides a really horrible brick-breaker minigame in Part 2 with terrible physics and horrible play-control. Oh, and a dexterity tester in Part 4 that was completely out-of-place. The guys at Shinning Gate should have stuck to the logic and word puzzles, because those worked and were fun to solve. Whenever you actually needed to do something in real-time, the game handled like a Ford Bronco driven by a drunken warthog.
Despite occasionally enjoying the puzzles, I really didn’t care for Decay at all. The story was boring, the setting was uninteresting, and it actually got progressively less spooky as things went on. But the biggest problem is the price. Combined, the game will run you 800 Microsoft Points. That’s $10 for a series that will take you two-and-a-half hours tops to finish. It’s a terrible value. If you go to Target, they have an entire rack of PC Moink & Slick games that they often have 2 for 1 or sometimes even 3 for 1 sales on. Even if you pay the full $10 asking price on them, they’re typically better games with actual storylines, and they come on the platform the genre is suited for. Really, why would anyone want a Point & Click adventure on Xbox 360? It would be like buying yacht and entering it into the Kentucky Derby.
80 Microsoft Points (Part 1) and 240 Microsoft Points (Part 2 – 4) apiece anxiously await hearing Toink & Wick fans bitch about how I’m too young to understand the genre in the making of this review.
Remember the puppy? Good. Now vote for next week’s Katch-Up game. Maybe I’ll even post it on Thursday, like I’m supposed to. Voting enters you into a drawing to win 1600 Microsoft Points. Don’t make me post it again! Head over to list, pick one, and vote on Twitter.