Naoki Tales

I started Indie Gamer Chick looking for weird, exotic, experimental game types.  But, every once in a while I just want a platformer.  That doesn’t mean it has to be a generic, lifeless one.  The formula is so established that developers are almost forced to tinker with it, lest the game be skewered for being unambitious.  That’s kind of the case with Naoki Tales.  It’s so straight forward and unoriginal that you almost wonder who this was ultimately designed to appeal towards.  Modern platforming fans will quickly get bored by the bare-bones, basic gameplay.  Classic platforming fans will ultimately compare this to their childhood favorites, which at best can invoke dormant memories of long forgotten also-rans of the genre.  They might be pleasant memories, sure.   It might even cause random “Naoki Tales is not bad” tweets on Twitter.  But it won’t be something people pester others to play.  I’ve spent so much time trying to sell people on playing We Are Cubes that a friend threatened to re-purpose my ovaries as organic earmuffs if I didn’t shut up about it.

Break bricks. Stomp on baddies. Yawn.

Break bricks. Stomp on baddies. Yawn.

By the way, I’m not trying to suggest that Naoki Tales is a bad game.  It’s not.  The controls are pretty decent, the graphics clean and distinctive, and the level design is not incompetent.  Having said that, I did not enjoy my time with it at all.  Not even a smidge.  It’s just so damn dull and basic that I found nothing to keep me interested.  The only reason I trudged through to the end is the game is as easy as a bowel movement after an all-night Taco Bell bender.

I’m also not saying the game lacks questionable design decisions.  Things like “why can I jump on pigs and cats but not birds?  Shouldn’t birds have, like, softer, more squishable bones?”  Granted, there are way fewer birds than other enemies, so maybe the damage you take is to your soul, because the birds are endangered or something.  That doesn’t explain why it’s kosher to throw what I think are mushrooms at them.  Mushrooms which are so plentiful that there really was no point in making you pick them up along the levels, because you’ll never come close to running out.  And then there are annoying levels where you have to retrieve a key on one end of a stage, walk all the way back to the beginning to activate something, and then walk all the way back again.  Thankfully this form of level design isn’t used extensively, but it just adds to the problem of not doing enough to be fun.  Naoki Tales is one of those rarities on XBLIG that works fine, looks good enough, but just isn’t that fun, and fun is all that matters.

xboxboxartNaoki Tales was developed by 3T Games

80 Microsoft Points said “this game would have been popular with Mario-deprived children in the 80s” in the making of this review.

Video Footage courtesy of Aaron the Splazer

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