The Relic of Horus
July 22, 2012 5 Comments
Sigh. Sometimes a game is just so damn dull that writing up a review of it becomes a challenge. In that spirit, The Relic of Horus might as well be the Mount Everest of game reviews. I paid 80MSP for it, and now I have taken on this review, just because it’s there. I saw it on the marketplace this morning and figured “why not?” After a couple of hours with it, I can say that it wasn’t the worst game I’ve played on XBLIG. Not even close. But it is relentlessly boring from start to finish, and there really is no such thing as degrees of boring. Bad can go two ways. It can be bad in an entertaining way, or bad in a bad way. Good has all kinds of levels. Good can come in the form of a game that is well designed. Or good can mean better than the sum of its parts. As in something that shouldn’t be fun, but is. Boring, on the other hand, is just boring. The Relic of Horus is boring. Water-flavored candy boring.
The idea is you’re a dude who has to shoot things. And there are pyramids and shit. Oh God, I’m having Stargate flashbacks here. That shit was boring too. The movie, not the show. It was just a lot of sand and people with guns shooting things, and there was sand and pyramids and stuff. How about we retire desert settings from entertainment? I think we should strongly consider it.
Trying again. The idea is you’re a dude who has to shoot things. A wave of what looks like soccer players will charge at you. You fire somewhere in their direction and they die. Then you have to get a scroll and a key, which opens up a pyramid, in which you shoot more soccer players and the occasional mummy. There’s switches. Some of them give you items. Some of them cause the ceiling to cave in on you. Why? Because the game sucks, that’s why.
I hope the whole “it’s just boring” thing didn’t imply that there is a decent game in here somewhere. There isn’t. If I had to describe The Relic of Horus in one word that wasn’t “boring” it would be “spiritless.” The best indie games feel like a labor of love. Horus just feels like a labor. What you have here is the bare-bones skeleton of a game. Just enough to function, without any real attempt at being fun or entertaining. What few mechanics are here are clunky as hell. The controls are bad, with movement feeling too loose and slippery. The enemies are brain-dead, so all you have to do when they spawn in run around in a big circle to wrangle them up. Once they’re in position, and assuming none of them get stuck in walls (it happens), you can turn around and pick them off. Collision detection seemed a bit off, at least for the soccer dudes, so just shooting somewhere in their general vicinity should do. Oddly enough, the game seems to fancy itself as a punisher, because it has a leaderboard that keeps track of the amount of respawns you need. That’s weird, because the only time I ever died was when I hit the wrong switches in the stages. By the way, the whole “wrong switch” thing might be the most stupid gameplay mechanic I’ve seen in an XBLIG yet. It would be like a whack-a-mole game randomly spitting out mole-shaped landmines.
I started writing this review yesterday and for the life of me, I can’t think of anything nice to say about The Relic of Horus. Bad graphics, horrible play control, busted mechanics, tons of glitches, and the underlying concept was boring to begin with. I suppose the game didn’t crash on me, which I guess is the best thing I can say about it, although I’m shocked as hell it didn’t do that. Ultimately, what I really hate about Relic of Horus is there’s no ambition on display here. Gameplay this bad wouldn’t have cut it as a launch-title for the original PlayStation. Not every game is going to succeed, but if you’re going to fail, do so trying something new. You guys are indie game developers. Be weird, just because you can be. The only thing weird about Relic of Horus is that anyone could possibly think there would be interest in a game like this in 2012.
The Relic of Horus was developed by Golconda
80 Microsoft Points think the Stargate TV series kind of sucked too in the making of this review.