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Rapid Fire | Third Eye Crime and Hectic Space Review
When I play a game, I want it to fit its platform. I want to play the game and instantly feel that the control I have over it, and moreover the way it plays, feels at home with what I’m playing it on. The feeling can be difficult to describe, but easy to notice; there’s nothing wrong with playing Portal 2 on PS3, for example, but it doesn’t quite feel as right as playing the PC counterpart. But whilst the PS3 version of Portal 2 feels at the very least playable, there are times when a game and its platform simply feel at war with one another. Unfortunately, Hectic Space is a prime example of this.
A retro-themed, side-scrolling, bullet dodging space shooter is something that appeals to me on a lot of levels, if only because I’ve enjoyed the same game so many times before. It’s the kind of thing you see crop up on Kongregate every couple of weeks, and I used to get a lot of fun out of them. The premise for Hectic Space is by no means original, but this wouldn’t be an issue if the game itself was at least good. This, I’m sorry to report, is not the case.
As I mentioned before, it feels ill-suited to it’s platform. Control of the ship depends upon constantly holding the screen and moving it- counter-intuitively- solely on a vertical axis. Moving your finger too fast causes it come out of synch with the ships location, however, meaning you need to readjust in order to temporarily regain some precision. Given the nature of the game itself, which requires near pixel-perfect accuracy at times, this renders the game nearly un-playable. Furthermore, as the game progresses enemies and projectiles begin to fill the screen, causing spikes of lag that almost always result in death.
I like what this game is trying to do, if only because it’s something I have and routinely still do enjoy. But when the dame game is available for free elsewhere, with a control scheme that works and on a system that can actually support it – and without the obnoxious ad-placement to boot- I fail to see where Hectic Space becomes relevant.
Overall Verdict: 3/10
Third Eye Crime – Moonshot Games
I’ve been looking forward to playing Thrid Eye Crime for a while now. The development of this game has seemed a little shaky at times, with release dates popping in and out of existence, but I’m happy to say that it’s finally here; and even happier to discover that it’s damn good.
The first thing that got me hooked on the game was its presentation. Cut-scenes sometimes get a bad rap, and in certain cases I agree. It’s stupid to blow cash on something that doesn’t actually impact on the experience of the game itself. However, the slick, sliding noire-style comic that opens Third Eye Crime is the perfect example of how to do things right. It adds a certain level of polish and sheen whilst setting up the game that follows- a motif that’s continued with the interior monologue of the main character, Rothko. And, although this may be speculation on my par, I don’t think it’s too far-fetched to suggest that Rothko himself is named for Mark Rothko, an expressionist painter known for his use of bold and striking contrasts of colour (demonstrated heavily in the game’s art style) and introverted, Nietzschen views on art.
The game itself features a level based system in which you guide Rothko along paths to the level exit without being caught by patrolling guards. The conceit of this is that Rothko is an art-thief – a psychic art thief, no less- who is therefore able to see the guards movements (and possible movements) which he uses to his advantage. The game itself plays very well, though unlike a lot of stealth games it relies more on managing detection as opposed to avoiding it entirely. On most levels, at least one guard will be alerted to your presence- it’s whether you are able to successfully lure them in such a way that you can still reach the exit that determines your success.
The way in which the game is sold has come under some scrutiny before, and I’ll confess that it is a little unusual to see. The game is split into three parts; the first is available as a download for $1.99, whilst the second two are available as dlc for $0.99 each. I’ve read reviews that decry this, suggesting that in some way this exploits the customer and forces them to pay more for extra content; but I disagree. The game as a whole is worth the four dollars you’d have to pay to get the whole thing. If anything, the choice to break the game into parts gives the customer more freedom; if you don’t like the first part, don’t buy the second. I’m more than happy to rail against micro-transactions that are implemented poorly, but this is an example of dlc done right. It gives freedom to the customer and I completely respect that.
The game is not completely without flaws, however. For some reason, I can’t seem to get audio whilst playing and the path-finding can be a little awkward at times, an issue especially apparent in a game that is almost nothing but path-finding. However, I’m still pleased with the game as a whole and I’m happy to sit back and engross myself in Noire-style stealth puzzles.
Overall Verdict: 8/10