September 20, 2012 25 Comments
Eighteen minutes, fourteen seconds. That’s the time it took me to beat City Tuesday, the game that I was looking most forward to during the Uprising. Like my neighbor who entered her half rottweiler, half-some smaller terrier thing (they named it Crime, short for Crime Against Nature. I’m not kidding) into the dog agility contest, I think my expectations were a tad bit too high. The idea is you’re a dude who has five minutes to defuse various bombs that terrorists have scattered around a city. The hook to that is you can repeat that five minutes as many times as you need to get all the bombs. Whenever you rewind, everything unfolds exactly the way it did before, unless you manage to interfere. Using this mechanic, you have to figure out ways to free yourself to snatch the bombs.
This sounds great, but I don’t feel the concept goes far enough. The first ten minutes of City Tuesday is spent playing two glorified tutorial stages of the “throw the child in the water and see if it learns to tread water” variety. To City Tuesday’s credit, it actually is designed in a way where you can figure stuff out on your own with minimal fuss. There’s really not a lot to learn. Pay attention to the dudes, follow their patterns, and figure out how to get to the bomb.
Once the game opens up into the more open-ended city, you have to follow multiple patterns and probably restart the day several times. Restarting is handled by pausing the game and selecting it from a menu with no bells and whistles, a very unsatisfactory way of doing it. Thankfully, you can also fast-forward by holding the right trigger. There’s only a small handful of tasks to do here, followed by one final chase and platforming section. Then the game is over. Again, my one and only play-through took eighteen minutes to finish.
Is it worth a buck? Well, no. The opening tutorial levels (with the exception of a bit that involves a vending machine and payphone) offer none of the real meat that City Tuesday seemed to promise, yet they make up the largest chunk of the game. The city section does offer those Groundhogs Day type of puzzles, but it feels more like a proof-of-concept design for a larger game than something fully realized. Yea, sometimes a game can leave you wanting more in a good way. City Tuesday didn’t do that for me. I felt the game never even really warmed up. The tasks you’re given in the city are still so fundamental in their simplicity that I didn’t feel like I had accomplished anything at all by solving them. I love the concept of City Tuesday, but nothing here makes truly good use of it. Such a shame.
80 Microsoft Points wrote this review from Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania in the making of this review.