Friday, January 06, 2006

Feelers Review

Feelers, developed by I-Nova Games Team and published by Alawar Entertainment.
The Good: Hectic action, well-themed graphics, random enemies increases replay value
The Not So Good: Repetitious if you don’t acquire new weaponry or bonuses, weapons do not carry over to the next level
What say you? A satisfactory, but not great, point and click arcade shooter: 5/8

Remember the simpler days when computer games were simple and playing them simply consisted of simply shooting hundreds of simple targets using simple controls? Well, fear not, my friends, because Feelers brings back the fervor of those days long past, offering up point and click mayhem on an exterminator level. Ah, the joys of killing everything you see with absolutely no discrimination, tactics, or afterthought. Let’s shoot some bugs!

Feelers, being a 2-D game, actually has some good, cartoonish graphics, which suits the overall style of the game very well. There aren’t complicated rag-doll physics involved, but the environments are bright and colorful and there are some niche touches in the animations of all the creatures you intend to destroy. The graphics are not pixilated or bad looking, and hearken back to a time where semi-detailed backgrounds and objects were good enough to win over the crowd. This game reminds me a lot of Art is Dead, a game I reviewed in my previous days, both in the graphics and gameplay departments. The sound features some average background music and appropriate sound effects, which is what you’d expect from a title such as this.

The gameplay in Feelers boils down to protecting eggs from incoming enemies, which are various forms of insects (thirteen overall). There are flyers and crawlers, all with different speeds and movement tendencies. The game is as simple as pointing with your mouse and clicking, which means Feelers can be enjoyed by all skill levels. In order to spice up the contest, there are different bonuses and weapons available that helpful little scamps drop around the landscape. The better weapons fire more rounds or can engage more targets, and generally result in a higher score and finishing levels with greater ease. Unfortunately, weapons do not carry over to the next level, so you must wait for them to be dropped again in order to use them. The difficulty in the game uses the Serious Sam approach: a high number of enemies that you can’t possibly engage all at once, unless you’ve saved a specific set of bonuses or powerful weapons. I’m not sure if I have a problem with this; because of the nature of the game, there isn’t really an alternative available to the developers. Recent first person shooters have resorted to better AI that use cover and support to kill you instead of just shear numbers. I suppose they could encode some more random AI paths in Feelers, but it’s not really necessary, as long as you’re comfortable with having an insane number of enemies thrown at you. The game does have some replay value, as the specific spawn points of each enemy different on the same level, which is nice.

Feelers is a fairly average game. Those interested in the genre will probably find some fun in the point and click shooting, but most “sophisticated” gamers will probably gravitate more towards advanced first person shooters than arcade offerings. The game does try to vary the experience through the use of random enemy generation, weapons, and bonuses, which alleviates some of repetition. It just feels like you’re playing the same game over and over again, and there isn’t much here that is leaps and bounds above previous titles that would merit giving Feelers a more serious look. It’s not a bad game; Feelers is just not an outstanding game with a good hook, which is needed in today’s competitive marketplace. I would recommend this game for children, however, and they might enjoy the simple mechanics of Feelers and the colorful graphics. For most adults, however, there probably isn’t enough to sustain your attention more than five or ten minutes.