Quiet, Please!

Quiet, Please! is pretty much a point and clicker set in 2D side-scrolling frame.  I’ve been lambasting the genre for a few weeks now, making it clear that I hate these games.  Quiet, Please! is better than most because it doesn’t use static screens and it feels like you’re actually doing stuff.  I will say that it makes me wonder if I’m starting to hate the genre because of what it’s doing to me.  Psychologically.

As I pointed out in my Without Escape review, these games usually involve a degree of logic so unglued that it’s probably dangerous to speak of it in the presence of others.  Following my play-through of Quiet, I’m now certain these games also rewire your brain.  The basic idea is you’re a girl who wants silence in her house so she can get some sleep, forcing you to figure out ways to shut off anything making noise.  The actual ways this is accomplished are as sane and valid as any P’n’C title I’ve come across.  However, the ways I hypothesized I would do it are probably enough to get me sectioned.

For example, you have a brother who chases you around and won’t stop bugging you.  I don’t have any siblings, so I can’t relate.  Among the items in the house are a remote control car and a comic book, both of which he seemed to be drawn to.  The game begins with you being dropped off on the sidewalk.  If there’s a sidewalk, there must be a street.  If there’s a street, there are moving cars.  So I theorized that I would use the remote control car to lure my brother onto the busy street, thus killing him, or at least maiming him into silence.

I wish I was making that up.

Hey little bro, do you want to go play with the big zoom zooms?

Oh come on, don’t look at me like that.  The first thing you do is distract your mother by plying her with wine.  I figured if that was copacetic, why wouldn’t splattering your brother be justifiable?  It still doesn’t excuse a later moment in Quiet, Please where you have to pacify three noisy kittens.  At the same time, there’s a neighbor who has a lawnmower going all day and all night.  I turned to Brian and plainly, calmly, and completely seriously said what is perhaps the worst sentence uttered out loud since the fall of Nazi Germany.  “I probably need to get him to run over the kittens with the lawnmower.”  And I meant every word of it.

As it turns out, you can deal with the kittens by giving them a ball of yarn, and the lawnmower thing is also handled in a rational (albeit totally illegal) way as well.  This is what playing these games has done to me.  I’ve gone from being grounded in reality to dealing with problems in the most roundabout way possible.  In a way, I should thank Quiet, Please! because it’s one of the first games that you deal with problems the way they should be dealt with.  Lull your brother to sleep with comic books and clean pajamas.  No murder.  Huh, makes sense.

So I won't silence Daddy by smothering him with a pillow? Huh. Weird game.

So how is the actual game?  Well, it plays well enough and it’s a nice change of pace from how this type of crap is usually presented.  It only takes about thirty minutes to finish, if that, so you don’t have to clear your schedule or anything.  I guess I’m squeezing out a mild recommendation on it.  If nothing else, it won’t cause any further damage to your psyche.  It also won’t undo any damage already caused by point and click games, so if your first instinct when handed an object is to do something insane with it, sorry, you’re stuck that way.  There is no turning back.  Just do what I did and find someone like Brian to follow you around and remind you that if you pick up a stick, do with it things sticks are usually used for.  Apparently, this does not include waking up your friends by sticking it up their peeholes.

The name of the game is School? That doesn't sound very fun. Oh wait..

Quiet, Please was developed by Nostatic Software

80 Microsoft Points have a boyfriend have who is saying “that’s just wrong” at the moment this is being typed in the making of this review.  “You wouldn’t actually do that, would you?”  Christ, I don’t even know anymore. 

There’s some cool buttons right below this review that allow you to share my stuff on all kinds of social networking sites.  Help my site grow by taking twenty seconds to click one and share.  If you don’t, I will switch the Puppy of Sadness‘ food from his preferred Kibbles ‘N Bits to a generic, off brand food, causing his sadness to reach weaponized levels that I will then unleash upon the masses, ridding the world of joy forever.

Spoids

Spoids received a Second Chance with the Chick, which corrected many issues with the game, resulting in it getting the Indie Gamer Chick Seal of Approval.  For my continued thoughts on the game, read it as well

Update: Spoids now costs 80 Microsoft Points.

If someone asked me what my favorite genres are, I probably wouldn’t think of tower defense.  That’s kind of odd, because it’s not uncommon for me to like the tower defense games I play.  It’s actually funny.  When the time comes to rattle off my favorite games, stuff like Plants vs. Zombies, GemCraft, PixelJunk Monsters, Crystal Defenders, or Ninjatown probably wouldn’t warrant a mention.  Yet all the games I just listed have likely stolen more life from me than smoking has.  I can’t put my finger on why this niche genre doesn’t hold a special place in my heart.  Perhaps it has to do with these games having a drop-off point where they stop feeling fun and begin feeling more like a time sink.  It’s the same reason why MMOs like World of Warcraft or Phantasy Star Online also wouldn’t make the short list of most amazing games I ever played despite investing years of my life playing them.

One of four screenshots chosen by AirWave Games to showcase their game on the Xbox Live Indie Game marketplace. And thank God. I was worried this would be one of those titlescreenless games for a second there.

I’m not sure that’s it though.  Because I’m typically satisfied when I finish a tower defense title.  And not just in a “thank God I don’t have to play any more of that” type of way.  Oh, that factors in a little bit.  Among other things, it’s typically around that time that my brain starts to remember to do important things like doing my job and taking a shower.  But it’s bizarre, don’t you think?  It’s almost like upon completion of a tower defense game, my brain immediately deletes any record of me having fun.  Some kind of survival mechanism, no doubt.

Spoids is the first traditional tower defense game I’ve reviewed thus far.  I’ve done hybrids like XBLA’s Dungeon Defenders, action-bent ones like Video Wars, and whatever the fuck you would classify The Cannon under.  Oddly enough, the two XBLIGs were leaderboard games and Dungeon Defenders was one of my favorite games of 2011.  I honestly don’t know why this isn’t one of my favorite genres.  I’m starting to think I might be unconsciously racist against it.  Maybe that’s why I was so apprehensive to review Spoids.  It’s one of those games.

Spoids has a nifty presentation and semi decent voice acting (which might be a problem for other reasons, more on that later), but this is really a plain-Jane, no frills, utterly generic tower defense game.  It’s kind of fun too.  Unfortunately, the balancing in difficulty is a bit off, and by “a bit” I really mean “there is no balance at all.”

There’s eight levels in Spoids, so the game is pretty short.  It’s single player only, so the only replay value comes in the form of medals.  Every stage is graded on the platinum-gold-silver-bronze scale and is based on various benchmarks the game sets for you.  Each objective is clearly spelled out, but usually comes down to staying alive for X amount of time and/or not taking damage.  This is a problem.  I totally aced the first stage and figured I was going to be gung-ho to rip Spoids to shreds in about an hour.  Nope.

It’s rare that I talk to my fellow critics about a game before I write my own review, but in the case of Spoids, I talked to my amigo Tim Hurley of Gear-Fish, who did a review of this a few days ago.  Like me, he didn’t score many medals outside of bronzes.  He also didn’t finish the game.  As it turns out, I actually made it further than he did.  What it comes down to is the speed of which enemies hit is much faster than you can reasonably be expected to build your defenses.  You only get extra money based on the enemies you kill, so you’re very limited in what you can do to defend yourself.  You can set turrets to attack specific enemy types, or fire on them based on parameters that you set, but otherwise the scope of what you can do is limited.  In later stages, where there are multiple enemy entrance points and various channels for them to deviate from, I tried and tried and tried to do anything to score better than a bronze medal and couldn’t do it.  I’m convinced that it’s probably impossible sans one specific method which the developers themselves figured out in development.

Spoids was the straw that broke the camel’s back and inspired my recent editorial on game difficulty.  As maddeningly tough as stages 4 through 7 were, at least I was able to beat them (after multiple attempts with each), albeit in the most minimum way possible.  Stage 8’s only goal is “fend off the entire attack.”  Couldn’t do it.  Spoids has several enemies that you have to build specific towers to fend off.  There’s invisible enemies that phase in and out.  You need to build radar towers to make them visible.  However, these have a limited range (I swear it seemed more limited by game’s end) and cost money that can’t be spent on things that actually attack.  Likewise, waves of flying enemies come in that are only vulnerable to missile towers, which don’t attack anything else.  The thing is, the missile towers kind of suck at their job, so you need to build a lot of them.  But, they cost way too much money given that they can only attack one enemy type that appears only sporadically.  Yet, even when caking half the screen in them on level 8, the flyers still got by.  I shit you not.

There’s also carrier enemies that are total bullet sponges.  Even when putting up the most powerful turrets, along with stuff to slow them down (which you can’t really afford on stage 8 given all the other shit you need to be doing), they take an absurd amount of hits to destroy.  And once they die, they unleash fast-as-hell enemies that skate right past your defense and lead to your failure.  You have to juggle all of this.  I never came remotely close, and I probably tried no less than fifty times using no less than fifty different combinations of defense.  Again, I’m sure someone on the development team beat this (at least I sure hope they did) but literally nobody I talked to this week about the game (six people, including Tim) could.

Despite having fun, I can’t recommend Spoids in its present state, because I believe in a fair fight and I don’t believe you get one with it.  I do have to note, before hitting the brick wall at the very end of the game, I did have fun.  I think.  Again, my brain deletes all memories of joy related to tower defense titles.  But I have found various post-it-notes scattered throughout my house saying “Spoids is fun.  Don’t forget.”  Yes, it is fun.  It’s also infuriating and maybe even impossible.  You know what?  I want them to fix the issues and I want to do a Second Chance With the Chick on this game.  It’s very rare I say that in a review, but it’s true.

Oh, and in closing, the Spoids is 240 Microsoft Points, which is overpriced in my opinion.  Of course, their hands were tied because it came in at 200MB.  The cut off for 80 Space Bucks is 150MB.  Which leads me to ask this question: where the fuck is all that 200MB going?  Maybe in voice overs.  It has those.  They’re nicely done, but totally unnecessary.  Otherwise, the graphics are kind of simple.  Not horrible, but not exactly cutting edge or anything.  I can’t tell you what I thought about the music because I typically play games with the sound muted.  I like to hear myself think.  But seriously, what happened to this game?  How did it balloon to 200MB?  Why is it so fucking hard?  And why am I tempted to go take another crack at it?  It’s got some Spoiding to do.

See, I did a Ricky Ricardo thing there.  He was Cuban, like me.  Also, not funny.

Spoids was developed by AirWave Games

IGC_Approved240 Microsoft Points have a father who thinks doing the Ricky Ricardo “Lucy, I’m Home” voice every single time he gets home never gets old and is WRONG in the making of this review. 

Spoids is also available on Desura for $2.99.  This version is unverified by Indie Gamer Chick.  The XBLIG version is Chick-Approved and ranked on the Indie Gamer Chick Leaderboard.

Indies in Due Time: Easter Special – April 8, 2012

Happy Easter, and surprise!  Indie Gamer Chick and Brian are here with some new XBLIG trailers for your consumption.   Hit it!

Read more of this post

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 361 other followers

%d bloggers like this: