Grand Theft Froot (Second Chance with the Chick)

Fun fact: the very first developer challenge I received way back in the dark days of (also known as this last July) was for Grand Theft Froot.  Go ahead and go read the review for it really quick so that you can understand why this follow-up was needed.  Just click here for that review.  I’ll amuse myself by doing shadow puppets.  Ooooh, look, I made a ducky.

Did you read it?  Okay, good.  I actually came up with the idea for Second Chance with the Chick because the guys at Frooty Game Studios were so damn nice about my review, especially considering that I called them “Indian givers dispensing fun.”  To my surprise, this actually became a trend.  I figured I would become public enemy #1 among Xbox Live Indie Game developers.  Instead, even the guys whose games I slammed thanked me for my frankness and asked for advice to help improve their games.  Funny enough, the cheerleader squad tends to be more upset with my negative reviews than the developers.  Thus we have humorous situations where I open dialog with a game’s designer to talk about design theory and ways to open up Xbox Live Indie Games to a more mass market.  And while this is going on, Sue Sylvester is off in the background telling them that they ought to sue me.

On a side note, Nate and Hurley over at Gear-Fish have pretty damn good reviews too, that are often biting and hilarious.  They’re very Chick-like.  Which actually sounds insulting now that I think about it.  I meant to say they review like girls.  I mean like me.  Sigh, I’ll just shut up now and get to the Grand Theft Froot review.

The first time around, I thought Grand Theft Froot was loaded with potential, but was way too problematic to give a positive review for.  The guys at Frooty Game Studios and myself have since talked very often about their experience in designing GTF.  They also stayed busy by tweeking their game with patches.  Because of them, I created the Second Chance.  And then I waited.  And waited.  And waited.

Two months and 1,682,344 patches later (give or take), Grand Theft Froot finally was finished being mended and ready for its do-over.  Was it worth the wait?  Mostly, yes.  Since the previous review included a laundry list of problems, I’ll just go over them one by one.

Original Problem: The story and dialog pop up in the middle of the game, obscuring the play field.

Current Build: What I called a “dick move extraordinaire” is still present in the game, but now it’s moved to the beginning of each level.  This is better, but not by much.  Occasionally the beginning of a stage will still feature enemies who charges on you.  If Frooty Game Studios had it to do over again, they tell me they would have gone with full voice acting.  Unfortunately they didn’t and the game still suffers greatly from it.  Ironically, they did manage to write a really compelling storyline for GTF that many people will completely skip because of this paint-huffingly stupid design choice.  Live and learn.

This is still the biggest bonehead design choice I've seen yet.

Original Problem: There was no reason to alternate between your gun’s different strengths.

Current Build: This is actually a design choice that would make the game harder, but in a strategic, professional sort of way.  And they did fix it.  Now, the power shots drain your gun faster, which means you do have to switch up between the two levels of firepower.

Original Problem: When you die, you retained any experience points you earned but lost any gold collected.

Current Build: You keep the gold now too.  This cuts out the need to grind levels repeatedly so that you can purchase items from the shop.  Again, another step in the right direction.

Original Problem: Acid and/or lava pits drain too much of your health and might as well have been an instant kill.

Current Build: Damage ratios have been altered so that the pits will take your health but leave you with a fighting chance.

Original Problem: There are too many cannons that you can’t defend against, all that shoot in seemingly random patterns.

Current Build: You can shoot the cannons, temporarily disabling them.  This is the biggest game changer the guys at Frooty Game Studio made, and in a way it completely alters the flow of the game.  Without this last-second addition, Grand Theft Froot likely still would have been relegated to “meh” status for all eternity.  Instead, this turned a game that can drag at times into a more fast-paced and thus fun title.

Original Problem: There were no maps for the sprawling levels.

Current Build: Still no maps.  God damn it so much.

In my original review, I said that if Grand Theft Froot had one or two of its problems fixed, it would be one of the better games on the marketplace.  Of course, I said that way back when was just getting off the ground, and I hadn’t really played all that many Indie games.  The truth is, Grand Theft Froot is not one of the best games on the marketplace.

BUT, it is vastly improved and the playability and fairness level of it have been fixed enough that I can now safely give gamers the go ahead to give this a purchase.  Hell, they even added some extra secrets and a new ending for those who played through it once already.  Grand Theft Froot is a pretty decent game that offers lots of action, exploration, and challenge.  Everything that was positive about the original build still shines here.  The awesome level design.  The engaging storyline.  And the ability to see a developer that oozes with potential.  GTF was a very ambitious first effort by Frooty Game Studios.  If any lesson can be learned from them, it’s that developers likely should start with something more simple.  Don’t jump into the deep end of the pool on your first day of swimming lessons.  Of course, if you do manage to make a coherent and playable epic your first time around like the Frooty people did, gamers will salivate while anticipating what you’ll come up with next.  I’m not so much worried anymore that their next game will turn out to be Froot Nukem Forever.  Maybe it’ll be more like Frootblivion.

Grand Theft Froot was developed by Frooty Game Studios

80 Microsoft Points are guessing Sue Sylvester will be contacting Bethesda in their latest pitiful attempt to get shut down in the making of this review.

About Indie Gamer Chick
Indie game reviews and editorials.

One Response to Grand Theft Froot (Second Chance with the Chick)

  1. Pingback: Grand Theft Froot « Indie Gamer Chick

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