Review DARTHY - Pixel Platformer
A masterful game with clunky controls.
Author: Brandon Girod
Date: 21 May 2017, tested on HTC One M8
Absolutely dripping with atmosphere, great graphics
DARTHY for Android is a side-scrolling platformer that is based on oldschool game mechanics. Your character wakes up in the hospital and you soon find out that what you're controlling is actually just a rolling head. You'll guide that head through treacherous levels to help save the souls of imprisoned robots.
This is a game that I really want to love. I gave it every chance I could, but the controls weighed the game down so much that it brought down the entire experience for me. It plays out like an endless platformer with checkpoints. You're introduced into the game by a hidden tutorial that teaches you all about the game's mechanics, and then you're released out into the world.
Unfortunately, in a game that's based entirely on constantly moving and jumping, I felt like the movement was just clicky. It was like when I moved, I wouldn't just roll, but I'd roll in units. And that make it difficult to judge where I was going. It's like in Wheel of Fortune, you spin the wheel and just wait for the wheel to click through until you randomly lands on a slice of the circle. You have a rough idea of where it's going to land, but you never know if you have just enough momentum to make it to the next slice of pie or not.
Everything else about the game is fantastic. The story is presented in dialogue bubbles that you'll read as you pass by other NPCs, and there is limited lightning, so the game's world feels dark and dreary. I loved the atmosphere of the game, but just couldn't shake the controls.
The developer claims there is "real-time physics" in DARTHY, and I'm not sure what it means. What type of physics aren't in real-time? Maybe that's why it feels like I move in units. If you can get past the odd controls, there is a ton to enjoy in this game. Unfortunately, I couldn't.