Slick

Slick received a Second Chance with the Chick. Both reviews should be taken together.  Read my updated thoughts here.

Slick has graphics and sound that try to mimic the look and feel of the original Game Boy.  This is sort of weird to me, because I truly don’t get how anyone could want their game to look like that.  This isn’t the Atari or the NES we’re talking about here, where the delusional say “gaming was never better than back in those days” and we all have a laugh.  I thought everyone was in agreement that gaming has done better than the Game Boy.  So I find it strange, in the same way that I do when I hear that senior citizens in Russia pine for the old days when Stalin was in charge.

For what it’s worth, Slick does a pretty dang good job of looking like a Game Boy game.  It even has a mono midi soundtrack.  I guess if you’re going to do something, it’s worth doing right, even if it’s recreating garbage.  But gameplay is all that matters to me, and Slick is one of the biggest offenders of being a gleefully evil fuck that I’ve come across on Indie Gamer Chick.  It’s a punisher, which isn’t exactly my favorite genre, but this one at least had some promise to it.  I made it past the first sixteen levels and was pretty impressed by the clever level design.

And then, I got to stage 1-17.  And that’s where I quit.  I’ve never done this, but I want to do a step-by-step breakdown of where this game failed.

1. You have to start the stage by bonking your head on the ceiling in the spot where there is no spike., and then land on the floor to the right.  Then you have to hop up to platform.  Trust me, this is all a lot harder than it sounds.

2. You have to jump up, turn mid-air, and land on this block.  Slick controls fairly decent, but the one thing it doesn’t do well is handle mid-air turns, so this seemingly easy bit is a lot harder than it should be.  But this isn’t even the worst offender of this problem on this stage, or even the second worst.

3. These spiked turtle things had popped up in previous levels, but I never noticed how off the collision detection on them was until here.  It is WAY the fuck off.  See the blue box I drew around the turtle to the left?  That’s a rough approximation of the enemy’s collision detection box.  If your dude enters anywhere into that field, you die.  You’ll also notice there are blocks above them, which prevent you from getting adequate clearance when you attempt to jump them.  This causes the difficulty of this section alone to spike to unnecessarily brutal levels, never mind the frustration a player experiences when they are killed by a creature that they didn’t come remotely close to touching.  Perhaps that’s not just a spike on its back.  Perhaps it’s a mound of polonium and you’re actually dying from acute radiation poisoning.  That’s hardly fighting fair at all.

4. Once you hop across those blocks, you have to fall down this chute, swerving right-to-left to avoid fireballs.  As I previously stated, the controls do everything BUT mid-air movement to varying degrees of decency.  So naturally the main challenge of this stage tests just that.  Well, there’s an added bonus to the assholery of this section: you actually accelerate while you fall.  So the game wants you to do something it is barely capable of doing in the first place, and it wants you to do so at a multiple of the normal speed you jump.  Oh, and there’s an enemy at the bottom of the jump, but don’t worry about it.  Like Butch Cassidy said to the Sundance Kid, the fall will probably kill you.  Or, more accurately, the third fireball.

5. Was #4 fun for you?  Well now, you get to do it again, only in reverse!  Oh, and you start off with the fast acceleration here.  Oh, and there’s a twist to this part..

6. You can’t see it, but there’s an indestructible turtle enemy thingie that is walking along the spikes, and after you successfully (HA! As if!) reach the top of this chute, you have to land on it and bounce across the top of it to the goal.  I can’t really tell you if the fireball at the top of the screen is a problem because I never made it this far.  In fact, I tried over 100 times to beat this level, and made it past section #4 a whopping three times.

There are those that saw the picture above and will say to themselves “sign me up!”  But to those of you that haven’t gone off your meds today, Slick is not worth the effort.  What it offers isn’t really any more of a challenge than trying to thread a needle on the other side of the room.  You could do it, in theory, but aren’t there better uses of your time?  If you absolutely need something that plays like a punisher to justify your existence, you’re better off picking a game that gives you the proper tools needed to complete it.  It’s such a shame, because I actually liked Slick up until that point.  It was still challenging, but the level design was fun and had a lot of neat twists in it.  And then the game just went all emo and wanted you to know no joy ever again.   That’s only 17 of 100 levels in, mind you.  I’m almost afraid of how depressingly impossible this game might get.  Abraham Lincoln was famously afraid to carry a knife on him, for fear he might turn it on himself.  I used to wonder how a person gets like that, but after playing Slick, I think I know.  Which is why I just carved “bullet goes here” in the back of my head with an X-Acto Knife.

Slick was developed by Halcyon Softworks

80 Microsoft Points tried to search for videos on Slick and found Rainslick instead in the making of this review.  Cue the sirens. 

Thank you @Hamcha

Gameplay courtesy of Aaron The Splazer.

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About Indie Gamer Chick
The most read Xbox Live Indie Game critic in the world.

17 Responses to Slick

  1. Really enjoyed the “step by step breakdown” segment of this review. You should try to include more of this sort of analysis in the future.

  2. Irrationality Sucks says:

    I lost all respect for you as a gaming critic after you said you quit after 1-17. I beat that level in ten minutes. It’s supposed to be difficult, but saying that the 17th level is impossible is a completely unfair thing to say about this game. It’s difficult, but it just takes a few tries to master the timing. That’s all it is. Timing. You should learn that and try to master it before you quit and write about your irrational opinion. I didn’t realize games were supposed to spoon-feed you every aspect of the game. This is one thing that the creator of Slick prides himself on. He lets you figure out how to play as you progress; he doesn’t give you baby tips on how to beat the game. Use your brain, or quit. But I guess for you, it was the latter.

    • I never said it was impossible. I said the game has very poor jumping physics given the challenge presented, and that the collision detection was bad.

      I’m not a professional critic, nor have I ever pretended to be one. I don’t play every game all the way through, but I always note when I do quit. It’s typically around where a game quits being fun. This game quit being fun and started being an unworkable hassle (one of which many much more skilled players than myself quit on as well mind you).

      I would like to point out that I paid for the game, and thus I feel I am entitled to share my opinion on my experience playing it. I find your view illogical. It would be like saying a person who pays to drink a cup of diarrhea can’t complain about the taste after just one sip.

      • Irrationality Sucks says:

        That’s true, but I don’t think it’s very fair to say that you should play this game if you’re looking to kill yourself. You’re a big indie critic, so saying things that can potentially turn people away from the game before even trying it is pretty lame.

        • You do realize that my site is a semi-humor based review that uses over-the-top analogies, correct? I mean, you don’t actually think I cut “bullet goes here” into the back of my head, do you?

          Because I didn’t. I used a magic marker.

          • I would rather talk about FIXING THE GAME. This thing could have made my leaderboard. The developer can patch some stuff into it. He doesn’t have to dumb down the challenge, but fix a few things that might be considered “broken” mechanics, like the collision detection issue. Things that any critic worth their weight in salt will pick apart.

            And by the way, the developer himself said “this is totally fair.”

    • Spoon feed? There’s a huge difference between wanting a game to spoon feed you, and wanting it to be playable and fun. Let’s run with this food-centric analogy you’ve introduced.

      If someone makes you sit there while they spoon porridge into your mouth, that’s ridiculous. No one wants that. It’s excessively easy to the point of being almost insulting. What you want is a decent meal that you can feed to yourself in your own time and fashion.

      A game that requires over 100 attempts (did you miss that bit?) to clear a level that’s less than a fifth of the way through the game isn’t a dignified, self-prepared lunch. It’s more like trying to eat a BLT sub that’s been stapled to a rhino’s nut sack while Ivan Drago beats you with a sack of bowling balls.

      There is a happy middle ground between insanely difficult or pathetically easy, and most of the best platformers occupy it. If you perceive the world entirely in extremes, I’m glad I’ll never have to sleep with you. The prime performance is usually somewhere in the huge gulf between comatose and drilling for oil.

      • Meh says:

        What requires 100 attempts? I’ve never played a level that required more than like 50, at most.

        • If someone tried the level over 100 times before beating it, then it requires over 100 attempts for at least one person. If it was someone who doesn’t normally play games it might be an abberation, but when that person plays an insane number of games on a daily basis, then it’s fair to assume that this figure isn’t going to be an uncommon ballpark for the average player.

          “It didn’t take me that many attempts therefore it doesn’t take anyone that many attempts” is a flawed argument at best (and more likely a hideously disfigured wreck of something that faintly resembles an argument, possibly thanks to the aforementioned rhino/bowling/Drago combo).

  3. Chris says:

    Heh, I looked at the screenshots on its XBLIG listing page, some of the sprites are ripped from Super Mario World and possibly some other old platformers I don’t know about.

    The frustration from the game could also been curbed somewhat by having some option to select from multiple levels at some point. Going through 100 levels in linear fashion is something I’m not prepared to do in a platform game. Something with that difficulty of level 1-17 should also be saved for near the end of the game.

  4. Ray says:

    Downloaded the game earlier based on your review, I wanted to see just how hard it could possibly be.

    The first 16 levels weren’t too bad, but yeah, that 17th one was pretty difficult. I’ll note that, although I probably died about 50 times (past the initial spikes) before completing the level, I never died at the spot you marked “2” in your diagram. I thought that spot was incredibly easy, actually. The “3” part was pretty easy after I realized I can jump up between the block and the spike.

    The first part that struck me as hard was navigating the way down at “4”. It took some practice, but considering you have to go through half the level to get there, that practice required more time than it probably should have. Then, after trying it a few times, that part wasn’t too hard either. That’s when you get to the segment which you jump upwards, and that is definitely difficult, regardless of anyone’s definition of what is hard. The fact you have to go through everything before that only makes it harder, since it takes so long to actually get one try at practicing it.

    I finally got it though, and didn’t land on the turtle thing at the top since I wasn’t paying attention to it, and died. Tried some more, finally got it again, landed on the turtle, made it across. Yay.

    The levels that followed had harder mid-air navigation segments in them, but seemed much easier. I think this is partially because of the practice from before, and partially because they are feature predominantly at the very beginning of the levels. I wish one of these levels, maybe 1-19, had been introduced before having such a navigation segment in the middle of a level. I think it would have made the transition a bit easier.

    I’ll add that I’m over halfway through World 2, and the only part that has really posed the same level of difficulty for me since then was the mid-section of 2-6. It requires two very precise jumps that were pretty frustrating to get through. Other than that, it’s been fairly smooth sailing.

  5. Pandaborg says:

    slick lost me around level 2-17 or so where they introduce a platforms that are spaced just so you have to jump at the last possible microsecond in order to make it to the next platform. The level where it is introduced there is no pit to fall into and I sat there for about an hour just trying to make the jump, you don’t die because you will simply fall on the platform below so I just kept trying it assuming I was doing something wrong.

    Then randomnly I made the jump, finished the rest of the level with ease and on the next level, the 2nd jump in the level had the same asinine spacing and I decided to quit this horrible designed game which was so close to being well made.

    and just to give a measuring stick for you on my skill level, I beat the level that you quit at on my 5th or 6th attempt, I like challenges, I don’t like tedium and thats what the game turned into.

    • Ray says:

      Hey, I just got to World 3. I was stuck where you were for a while as well, I thought it was impossible at first. It appears that they actually are impossible if you run and jump, as far as I can tell. The trick is to jump straight up, and then move toward the edge while you’re falling to build up velocity for the jump. If you are moving sideways while falling, then jump from the edge, you will make it every time.

    • Ray says:

      I’m on a later level, and now realize it’s even easier than I described before. Just hold the jump button when you jump across. You can jump up from the top edge of a wall, like a wall jump, next to ledges.

  6. Pingback: Slick (Second Chance with the Chick) « Indie Gamer Chick

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