Friday, September 21, 2007

Venice PC

Developer: Popcap Games, Retro64
Publisher: Popcap Games
Release Date: June 26, 2007
Systems: PC
ESRB Rating: N/A
Official Web Site

In a nutshell: Galaga for mentally challenged people.

0:01 A cupid-styled angel explains that I have to shoot items straight up into matching slots. Reminds me of fitting blocks through holes in preschool.
0:02 Welcome to Venice. "Strong hands made me, gilt me, set me on the sea." Heady stuff. There's a decent bit of loading for a casual game.
0:03 "Victory" over level one already. That was possibly the easiest thing I've ever done in a video game.
0:05 So you can get "tumble bonuses" for hitting spots higher on the level and cascading the pieces down to lower spots. But they don't always work. Sometimes I get them, sometimes not. Annoying.
0:07 There's no time limit, which is a good things because it lets you plan out shots, but a bad thing because it takes away the one thing that might have made this challenging/interesting. Also, having to wait for a rotating platform to line up = boring.
0:10 The wing power up is a little too powerful, I think. You can go right up next to your target and shoot. Too easy.
0:16 Things are getting a little tougher now, with required bank shots, but still nothing too taxing.
0:20 It can be hard to predict where your bounces are going to go, especially off oddly shaped pieces like keys and stars. I prefer Peggle's strict determinism.
0:27 I've entered a kind of fugue state, playing without really thinking. Usually this would be good, like getting "in the zone," but really I'm more just bored.
0:32 The latest power up just let's cupid place the pieces for me. I just give the shots to him and he does all the work. Way to take away even the little bit of skill I've been using up to this point.
0:38 The last stage finally showed a bit of difficulty with hard to reach ricochet shots, but I still managed OK.
0:43 The game at this point seems to alternate between levels that a blind infant monkey could finish and stages that require some extremely lucky ricochets.
0:47 What is with this funeral march music? I think it's trying to be soft and lilting but it comes off more like a dirge.
0:49 The levels are getting pretty inventive with the concept, but it's a pretty weak concept to start with. Simple timing and angle puzzles are the best they have to offer.
0:50 These text intros are getting weird. "The plates shift like lovers' hearts, circling each other, orbits of doubt and hope." Trying a bit hard, there, guys.
0:58 After 58 minutes without losing or really having to think, I call it quits.

Would I play this game for more than an hour? No
Why? The concept is too basic, no matter how much they try to tweak it to make it interesting.

This review based on a full downloadable version provided by Popcap.

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