Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Being Review


Hold the damn phone. I just received an urgent message that there is a contender for "cutest platformer" that is PISSED about my previous two reviews. How dare me not include him!? Really though, this particular sprite might take the cake - not sure exactly what kind of "being" he is but maybe some sort of fox/bear/baby? I don't care really - I just want to squeeze him until strawberries come out. And by strawberries, I mean blood. Mwahahaha.

On to the game yes? So Being is a 2D platformer, sans the same sort of puzzles you'd find in Spaceman and Skwug. This is a pure platformer in the sense that you need to execute well on your jumps - there are some key/lock puzzles but getting those done is still about making good jumps.

One slightly off-topic point I want to make is that if you're a platformer fan, you won't really know that this game is aimed at you by the title or the box art. So as you're browsing you probably want to organize by genre or take the time to look at the screenshots. I think part of the reason I missed this one on the first go-round was because I didn't realize what it was.

The graphics won't melt your face with awesomeness, but they are a fun 2D style with a likable little main character. The landscapes/tilesets are effective although a little basic. My only real complaint on this front is the backgrounds. The static environmental backdrops clash with the pixel art - sort of looks like they might be modified photos. Something handdrawn or perhaps more pixel art would have melded better.

On the positive front, I enjoyed Being's lighthearted attempt at a 'rescue-friends, destroy-the-bad-guy' story. It's amazing how even a brief intro cut scene and a little dialogue helps motivate. It's far from deep, but it helps establish a goal and give the player a purpose. I also liked the chapter design to the levels - essentially having a tutorial level followed by a main room that leads to each chapter through a series of doors. It helps with the flow of the game as you finish a chapter and then return to this room to show your overall progress towards facing the boss. I also found the platforming itself to be enjoyable, with a good number of tricky jumps and and a boss sequence that will likely take you several tries or more.

I have to deduct a couple points for taking the safe route. There's not much in the way of innovation here and you basically have a fun little 60 min platformer with no attention to special mechanics or powerups or character advancement. The reverse argument is that you get a straightforward no-nonsense platformer for $1, so it's hard not to recommend at that value. I'd say the game would have really benefited with just one minor hook, like if the Being could roll around as a ball, mutate into a super-Being, or had super speed. Something like that would have grabbed my interest, added personality to the main character, and could be worked in to the platforming challenges. I feel as though a little more effort could have been put into the SFX too, where a set of 5-10 effects that matched the Being's look, would have added a heap of polish over the "homemade" voice over work that sounded very human and broke the immersion factor.

Overall though, I'd look this one up in the back catalog and give the demo a whirl. If you missed this one and enjoy platformers, you can go grab it for a buck (80MP) and have a good time.


  1. You've been on a platforming streak. Any more to come?

  2. Haha, sure if anyone else wants to toss their hat in the ring. Otherswise, I think I have a run-and-gun on my plate next.