April 6, 2012 7 Comments
48 Chambers received a Second Chance with the Chick. Click here to read it. Consider the new review the definitive one.
48 Chambers is kind of fun. It can also fuck off. I don’t take telling stuff to fuck off lightly. I reserve it for things that I might care about. In the case of 48 Chambers, it has clean graphics and an interesting hook. Think of it as a top down dexterity-tester, sort of like N or maybe a little like a previous game I reviewed here, Crazy Balloon Lite. The idea is to navigate a ball past obstacles and to an exit before you run out of time. If you pick up any dots along the way, they add to the timer. Sometimes you have to first pick up keys that open doors. All really straight-forward maze type of stuff. But it can be fun. I actually wish I could try it with an old-timey trackball like coin-ops had back in the day. Apparently I could, if I bought the PC version.
But I didn’t buy the PC version. I bought it on Xbox Live Indie Games. And it can fuck off. Not because of the controls, which surprisingly work well on a joystick. When Brian and I previewed this for Indies in Due Time, my biggest fear was having loose control that would render the game unplayable. Totally unfounded. The controls actually lean towards the heavy side, and this works. It makes it very unlikely that you’ll accidentally skid off into a spike. It’s not a perfect solution to a mouse, or especially a trackball, but it does the trick.
No, the game can fuck off because it lacks two very key ingredients. One, there’s no continues. Once you game over, you get to start all over from level one. I’m not a big fan of this concept for gaming. Continuing is kind of a big deal to me, because I have an aversion towards playing things I’ve already done before. I want to finish something and be done with it. I don’t want to keep starting over from scratch. 48 Chambers is a game that relies somewhat heavily on trial-and-error, yet if I run out of lives twenty levels in, I have to play the previous 20 levels before I can continue to trial and error my way any further. Fuck that. It’s 2012. The concept of being able to continue a game was kind of established around 1980. I don’t see how it makes me a bitch to expect a gaming convention that has proven to be effective and valuable for over thirty fucking years.
But, I could have put up with that if 48 Chambers had online leaderboards. Which it does. If you have the PC version. Which I don’t. The excuse for the lack of one on XBLIG is the same old shit. It’s not a real leaderboard, it’s a crappy peer-to-peer one, blah blah blah. Who cares? Ghettoized XBLIG leaderboards are better than none at all. In some games, like for example the #1 game on this site, the presence of one can make the difference between being a leaderboard game and myself arranging a picket at the developer’s house. With no continuing, the only reason I would have to press forward and continue playing the game is trying to land a spot on that board. So 48 Chambers can go fuck off. No continues. No leaderboards. It needed one or the other, and it has neither. Why would I keep playing? Pride? Right, because being able to beat a video game that will have a user base somewhere south of the membership of the Mother Teresa Erotic Fan-Fiction group on Google will provide me with a real ego boost.
80 Microsoft Points would have rather had DLC for Take Arms in the making of this review.