Platform Hack

In the land of video games, it’s hard to get caught up in Mayan Calender predictions when the world as you know it ends just about every other week.  Either political stability is shaken up when a dragon kidnaps your royal family, or a meteor is going to crash into whatever planet you are on, or hostile aliens arrive and fuck shit up, or the undead inconveniently rise up around the time AK-47s are declared so street-legal that you can fish them out of garbage cans.  So your average game character would take a look at those 2012ers and call them a bunch of pussies.

In Platform Hack, the end of the world scenario befalls a young man, who doesn’t have time to catch his breath before a wizard appears to tell him that his girlfriend and family are all dead.  Apparently the story is set in some utopian society where they have no knowledge of swords or guns or violence or any of that kind of shit.  Which is odd because I thought there was already a game set in Sesame Street that had released recently.

See how little space you have to fight the dragons here? Imagine doing that 50 times a level.

Once you get to the actual game, it’s a hacky-slashy platformer.  I never would have guessed by the name.  In the early stages, Platform Hack feels kind of like Raventhrone, only not shitty.  You run around, chopping up monsters and looking for a door.  When you kill an enemy, you earn XP that you use to level up and buy upgrades.  After the first boss, you acquire a gun, which becomes more effective once you upgrade it with rapid fire and a spreader.  I never really had to swing my sword again once I had my gun pimped out.

Unfortunately, it was somewhere around this time that things started to spin out of control.  Up to this point, Platform Hack had been fairly easy.  My dude was pretty much a human panzer tank, ripping through enemies like they were tin-foil.  But then the stages reached ROM-hack levels of ridiculousness.  It all started when I had to grab a key that was well out-of-place, near the bottom of the screen, with no platforms around it.  By this point I had acquired a triple-jump through various XP upgrades, only it wasn’t enough.  I could get to the key, but I couldn’t get back to the platform with it.

As it turns out, I needed either the grappling hook or the flight-jump-thingie abilities that you can buy when you get enough XP.  Because I had no points left, I had to go back and grind out several older levels to get them, completely destroying the pace of the game.  Until then, I was ready to write off Platform Hack as a “decent bad game.”  It wasn’t very good, with frustrating controls and awkward jumping physics, but it at least had charm.  Now, it didn’t even have that.  It’s like meeting a really ugly guy who woos you with his personality, only to ruin the mood by doing armpit farts.

It only got worse from there.  The levels became more sprawling, requiring you to search for multiple keys, all while fighting the same three baddies in every stage.  In the second world, it was dragons, knights, and birds.  Platforms became more narrow, yet they would have two or three dragons stuck on every single one of them.  A good platform game allows a player to have a sense of urgency and speed, but you can’t do that if every microscopic inch of terrain is coated with enemies that you have to take the time to kill by firing multiple bullets into them.  There’s a map, but it has a limited visibility and thus it’s not all that useful in finding where the keys are located.

By the end of the second world, I had acquired the flight-jump-thingie, and it briefly restored a sense of fun.  Sure, Platform Hack is still a bad game, but those can occasionally be entertaining too.  And not just in a train-wreck sort of way.  But then I reached the third level.  Well actually, I first had to fight a giant dragon boss.  The first time it popped out, it instakilled me.  After a couple of attempts, I figured out that it couldn’t shoot it’s fire straight down the edge of the screen, so I would just wait there and shoot upwards with the gun.  In the end, it was only slightly easier than the first boss, which I killed in one shot.  I had grown sick of the same old “up in the clouds” bullshit of world two.  And then I got to world three, which made me long for more clouds and dragons.  Suddenly, even the flying creatures (now hornets instead of birds) were bullet sponges.  Combine this with scorpions and warlocks, all of whom shoot projectiles, and my good-bad game was just bad-bad.  I was suddenly in a bullet-hell, unable to move at all because you don’t get temporary invincibility when you take damage.  No matter how hard I tried, I kept getting juggled by shot after shot, all while a group of hornets were buzz-bombing me from above.  Thirty minutes later, I declared “fuck this game” and shut it off.

Quick show of hands: how many people saw this picture and thought "Super Star Wars?"

I wasn’t even half-way through Platform Hack, either.  This is one long beast of a game.  But the story is not compelling and the gameplay is repetitive.   I have no clue what the developer was thinking with a difficulty curve like this, or why items that are actually necessary towards progression have to be obtained via level grinding.  It’s a fucking platformer!  Level grinding does not belong in it!  Once the enemies became overpowered and the stages became less linear, any remaining semblance of entertainment was sucked from it.  All that’s left is a long-winded, clunky, broken mess, like a video game version of Charlie Sheen, only not as fun.

Platform Hack was developed by Daydalus

80 Microsoft Points were spent by a hack writer in the making of this review.

About Indie Gamer Chick
Indie game reviews and editorials.

3 Responses to Platform Hack

  1. stargliderx says:

    Why do developers make games without difficulty levels? It’s such a trivial thing to add; usually you just have alternate settings for a bunch of constants such as player health, ammo, enemy hp, jump distance etc. There’s no way all players are going to have the same level of ability, and usually when the developer balances the game for themselves that should be the ‘hard’ setting, not the ‘normal’ and certainly not the ‘only’ setting.

    • Craig says:

      The difficulty for this game is just dumb(as well as the entire game itself IMO).

      Abilities required for progression(or even ease of play) should’ve been given to the player via end of stage challenges, not that grinding mess. Then the difficulty goes crazy, and the damage recovery time is non-existent if there at all. Even 80s games had decent damage recovery time!

      I don’t mind the lack of a difficulty setting. But Platform Hack had FFXII difficulty – easy at first, then SHIT GETS ALL FUCKED UP and gets out of control from there. No middle ground or warning. The difference between these two games though was that FFXII was fun.

  2. Ha. Platform Hack itself aside, nice intro.

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