City Tuesday

Eighteen minutes, fourteen seconds.  That’s the time it took me to beat City Tuesday, the game that I was looking most forward to during the Uprising.  Like my neighbor who entered her half rottweiler, half-some smaller terrier thing (they named it Crime, short for Crime Against Nature.  I’m not kidding) into the dog agility contest, I think my expectations were a tad bit too high.  The idea is you’re a dude who has five minutes to defuse various bombs that terrorists have scattered around a city.  The hook to that is you can repeat that five minutes as many times as you need to get all the bombs.  Whenever you rewind, everything unfolds exactly the way it did before, unless you manage to interfere.  Using this mechanic, you have to figure out ways to free yourself to snatch the bombs.

This sounds great, but I don’t feel the concept goes far enough.  The first ten minutes of City Tuesday is spent playing two glorified tutorial stages of the “throw the child in the water and see if it learns to tread water” variety.  To City Tuesday’s credit, it actually is designed in a way where you can figure stuff out on your own with minimal fuss.  There’s really not a lot to learn.  Pay attention to the dudes, follow their patterns, and figure out how to get to the bomb.

I hate branded screenshots, but this will have to do.

Once the game opens up into the more open-ended city, you have to follow multiple patterns and probably restart the day several times.  Restarting is handled by pausing the game and selecting it from a menu with no bells and whistles, a very unsatisfactory way of doing it.  Thankfully, you can also fast-forward by holding the right trigger.  There’s only a small handful of tasks to do here, followed by one final chase and platforming section.  Then the game is over.  Again, my one and only play-through took eighteen minutes to finish.

Is it worth a buck?  Well, no.  The opening tutorial levels (with the exception of a bit that involves a vending machine and payphone) offer none of the real meat that City Tuesday seemed to promise, yet they make up the largest chunk of the game.  The city section does offer those Groundhogs Day type of puzzles, but it feels more like a proof-of-concept design for a larger game than something fully realized.  Yea, sometimes a game can leave you wanting more in a good way.  City Tuesday didn’t do that for me.  I felt the game never even really warmed up.  The tasks you’re given in the city are still so fundamental in their simplicity that I didn’t feel like I had accomplished anything at all by solving them.  I love the concept of City Tuesday, but nothing here makes truly good use of it.  Such a shame.

City Tuesday was developed by Return to Adventure Mountain

80 Microsoft Points wrote this review from Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania in the making of this review.

Other City Tuesday Reviews: The Indie Ocean, Clearance Bin Review,  and more to come.

I got you Babe.

About Indie Gamer Chick
Indie game reviews and editorials.

26 Responses to City Tuesday

  1. Pingback: City Tuesday « Indie Gamer Chick

  2. Exactly.

    People who read my review keep saying “durrrr, it’s $1, stop complaining that it’s short”. You seem to be the only person who has identified the same problem I did – not that the game is short but that the actual MAIN GAME part of it doesn’t start until two thirds of the way through its length.

    Imagine if Final Fantasy 7 had you leave Midgar, then immediately find and kill Sephiroth right there on the doorstep.

    Imagine if Diehard Dungeon ended one room after you find the Companion Chest.

    Imagine if Gateways ended as soon as you pick up the gateway gun.

    I enjoyed City Tuesday but there was more tutorial than actual game, and the whole thing ended just as it started to get going.

    • Alan,

      The problem is that your comparisons are all video games. All other media types have short forms: novellas, short films, one-act-plays..

      For a very long time video games are defined by how EPIC they are. I don’t know if that is always necessary and with recent games such as Dear Esther and thirty flights of loving, that is starting to change.

      Also please read this:

      – Zukowski

      • You’re absolutely right. The only reason I continue to play Kirby’s Adventure is because of its epic scale.

        You’re missing the point. I’ve said repeatedly that a game being short doesn’t bother me. I’m not sure how many more ways I can phrase it. Brevity isn’t my criticism. There are 20-minute long games that I wouldn’t criticise for being incomplete. A short, complete game is a very different beast from an incomplete game. What there is of City Tuesday is good, but it’s not just short, it’s unfinished. It’s a fragment of game. It would still be a fragment of game if it was magnified to 30 hours long, because it’s not the length but the proportion that is the issue.

        City Tuesday, taken as a whole, feels like a teaser for a full game. Not because of length but because of the way it’s constructed. I don’t understand why Kairi is the only other person who can comprehend this concept.

        • I’m going to illustrate this one last time, as clearly as I can.

          A 50 hour game that has a 35 hour tutorial is poorly proportioned and incomplete as a game.

          A 1000 hour game that has a 700 hour tutorial is poorly proportioned and incomplete as a game.

          City Tuesday is a 45 minute game with a 25 minute tutorial. It is poorly balanced and incomplete as a game. Proportion is the issue. Not length. PROPORTION. How is this not clear?

          • Haha. Sorry dude, I think I finally got what you were trying to say.

          • Matt Hunter says:

            If I play a 25-minute tutorial, I expect the game to be at least 3-4 times as long. Let’s be serious here: if it takes you more time to go through the tutorial than the game itself, it usually is a MAJOR issue.

            • Tutorials are subjective. If the game does it well you should never even know there is a tutorial. CT never actually calls anything “Tutorial”.

              There is a good argument that ALL of the Plants Vs Zombies campaign is a tutorial. I HIGHLY recommend this video by the guy that made it. It is all about Tutorials:

              • Oh come on now Chris, that’s intellectually dishonest. There’s a big difference between a game that continuously adds new items or features (like PvZ) and what you did with City Tuesday. Whether you call them tutorials or not, the first two stages were designed to introduce the play mechanics before you put players in the city with no pop-ups directing them what to do.

                I don’t want you to mistake this for discouragement. I think you obviously have talent and a vision, both of which can’t be trained into someone. You obviously spent a lot of time with City Tuesday and you should be proud of what you’ve done with it (it’s been well received overall). This is one of the rare games on XBLIG where I want a sequel. You created a great concept but never tapped the potential of it.

              • Robert Boyd says:

                I agree that PvZ’s campaign is mostly an extended tutorial. I would say the same thing about Mirror’s Edge. However, the key thing is that both of those games have a LOT of post-campaign content. Like with Mirror’s Edge, the campaign might only take 5-6 hours but you could spend 30-50 hours doing all the time trials & challenges after the campaign. With PvZ, you have an assortment of bonus modes to play after the campaign (most of which are noticeably harder than the super-easy campaign). Similarly, a lot of FPS & fighting games have tutorial-esque campaigns with the idea that players will spend the bulk of their time playing the multiplayer.

      • Look, I’m going to jump in and try to explain my point of view.

        I’ve played games that lasted ten minutes or less and enjoyed them. Bluebones Curse was roughly the same length as City Tuesday. But that game felt more complete, like it wasn’t all introductory stuff.

        With City Tuesday, the first two stages were basically a tutorial. The city section showed the potential of the game, but all the puzzles in it felt like level one, introductory type stuff. Nothing complex, nothing that really took a lot of thinking. It was too easy, and over with too quickly. That’s what I meant by the game never warming up. I wasn’t satisfied when it was over. The game never felt like it got going. And so I didn’t give it the Seal.

        From a technical point of view, the game plays well and the concept works. It just wasn’t put to good use.

        • Agreed.

          I should probably address the short films/novellas point that has been raised.

          What is the difference between a novella and chapter 1 of a novel published on its own? Answer: one is short but a complete product; the other is a disconnected chunk torn from a larger whole.

          City Tuesday feels like the latter; not a short game but a dislocated piece of a full game.

  3. GaTechGrad says:

    I felt that I got my dollar’s worth out of City Tuesday. With people paying over $10 for a 90 minute movie and $50 for a ticket to a 3 hour football game, the value for this game seems to be there.

  4. noggleboggleman says:

    I get it Alan! Really enjoyed the concept and gameplay. It’s a great idea and if it was developed further into more levels with a storyline, picked up by a publisher and released on XBLA I’d happily pay 800/ 1200 points for it. It just seems to end abruptly with a platforming section that is completely out of place and of a substantial drop in quality (both with regards to graphics and sound – the fireworks are awful!) Don’t get me wrong, I really enjoyed what there was of the game and don’t at all feel hard done by (80 points is nothing really). There are many positives to the game which, in my opinion, adds to the disappointment. I’d love to play a ‘part II’ please Chris!

  5. Pingback: REVIEW: City Tuesday | the / . / XBLIG

  6. Tim Roast says:

    What other games can be beaten in 18 mins 14 seconds?

  7. Pingback: $1 Dates: City Tuesday & Gateways - Gamerwife

  8. Pingback: City Tuesday Review | The Indie Mine

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  11. Pingback: Video Game Date: City Tuesday & Gateways - Gamerwife

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