Posts Tagged indy
The game’s aesthetics are definitely its high-point, somewhat aping the twisted surrealism of Beetlejuice. Scary Girl even does some interesting things like the animating dialogues — something that I’ve been meaning to throw into a game ever since reading demian5‘s When I Am King.
As a platformer, though, it’s simply bad.
The issue with Scary Girls is what’s endemic to so many indie games: an overabundance and over-reliance on physics. For every Armadillo Run, there’s ten titles like Pac-Man physics. This particularly hurts platformers as the whole genre relies on “tight” controls and precise movement (even in the easy games).
Yes, Mario, Sonic and Mega Man all had physics, but they weren’t realistic. The algorithms behind those games were MIN/MAX-ed to attain a certain “feel,” and the level design reflected that. There was usually no need to involve mass, the Coriolis effect, or the actual trajectory of a human jumping ten times his own height in an earth-like environment. Instead, the physics were meant to be fun and intuitive, and the architecture of the levels supported them and the player’s goals.
Sure, N was quite a departure from that, but it wasn’t your typical Flash platformer either. It had a very zoomed out view, a high resolution, lots of different surfaces, etc. The game still wasn’t my cup of tea, but it was aware of its strengths and used them to build unique and entertaining playgrounds. Most physics-based platformers, though, seem to occupy a space somewhere in between N and nostalgic games like Mario, and they’re rarely any good.
Scary Girl’s second stage is the ubiquitous underwater level, and, naturally, it’s even slower and floatier than the on-land action. It also uses tank controls, i.e., left/right to rotate, forward to advance, and it’s a mess. Even though you have to dive, the buoyancy of the water is constantly rotating your character to face up. What’s worse, there’s an air meter, water currents, and painfully slow step-like diving movements. It’s pretty much the complete opposite of fun.
Despite its good looks, the game’s an awkward struggle with no flow. I doubt I’ll ever play it again.