September 1, 2012 5 Comments
I’m having trouble wrapping my head around how a game like AvatAAAH!!! comes into being. It’s one of those games where the concept is too simplistic. Don’t get me wrong: simplistic is good for gaming on a commercial scale. It’s why Tetris was an international mega-hit the likes of which may never be seen again on this Earth, while Yoshi’s Cookie is all but forgotten. My theory is the most successful games require the fewest words to explain. Tetris can be summed up with “use blocks to build lines.” Pong can be explained fully as “video table tennis.” Angry Birds can be explained as “Knock over buildings to crush pigs.”
Get it? Good. Now watch as I burn down this theory and piss on its ashes. AvatAAAH!!! can be explained as “let go of rope, land on platform.” That fully explains the game, rules, and plot, and why the game sucks so hard that it could reverse the flow the of the tides with its sucking power. You play as your avatar, you swing off a rope. The rope sways back and forth without needing you to control it. At the opportune time, you press A to let go of the rope in an attempt to land in the center of a stump below you. Do this a few dozen times and that’s the game.
To be fair, AvatAAAH!!! throws twists at you in the form of altering the gravity physics or changing the size of the stump you’re landing on. However, it doesn’t really make the game all that harder. I was able to make it pretty dang far into the game and land a decent spot on the online leaderboard just by letting go of the rope at the very end of its swing. I didn’t even need to wiggle the control stick to get “good” or “perfect” landings. That’s really the problem here: AvatAAH!!! doesn’t ask enough of players.
But while the single player is minimalist, the multiplayer is just lazy. All players swing at the same time, with the closest person to the bullseye getting points. The only problem is it doesn’t really measure who is closest to the bullseye. It just measures by zones. Perfect, Good, OK, and Phew if you barely land on the stump are the only four scores. That’s sooooo seven years ago. The player who does the best gets a point, while the player who does the worst loses a point. At least that’s how I think it goes. But let’s say all players hit the large section that scores as “OK.” And let’s say one player is clearly much more OK than everyone else on account of being closer to the center. It doesn’t matter, because nobody gets a point. Somehow, that just strikes me as lame. It can also make games drag on and on, especially once players get the hang of the physics. Even novice gamers can hit Good or Perfect with absurd consistency. For what it’s worth, Brian didn’t have a problem with the scoring. Brian also thinks Chronicles of Riddick was a good movie, so it shows how low his standards are. Well, this is my obscure gaming blog and so I say that AvatAAAH! would have been better if it scored based on who actually got the closest to the bullseye, and that the game can feel free to tie the rope around its neck and swing away.
80 Microsoft Points thought AvatAAAH! was the sound George Lucas made when he saw how much money Avatar grossed at the box office in the making of this review.