Sunday, May 06, 2007

Gumboy: Crazy Adventures Review

Gumboy: Crazy Adventures, developed by Cinemax and published by Meridian 4.
The Good: Unique gameplay with great physics, awesome graphical style, semi-varied tasks to complete, nice special items, very inexpensive
The Not So Good: Controls take some practice and border on frustration
What say you? A platform game with very distinctive features but touchy and challenging controls: 6/8

The advent of faster and more advanced computer processors has allowed game developers to incorporate real-world physics into their games. From flight simulators to rag-doll physics in first person shooters, trying to recreate the real world in a game is a common task throughout many games. Gumboy: Crazy Adventures takes physics and applies it to a platform game, where you control a normally round object and roll around the game’s levels, searching for jewels and completing tasks. Can Gumboy: Crazy Adventures harness the awesome power of math-based science and create a compelling game?

Gumboy: Crazy Adventures shows that you don’t need 3-D graphics to make a beautiful game. This is one of the best looking 2-D titles in recent memory due to the level of detail and overall theme of the graphics. It is a visually striking game that creates a fantasy-like environment to roll around in. All of the characters and places in the game are full of lots of detail; the special effects are notable as well, ranging from water splashing to dust being moved around. The setting even permeates to the menus, requiring you to roll Gumboy around to select different options. The game is a distinctive title, and that’s all you need from a platform game in order to be successful from a graphical standpoint. The sound is worse off, as the game features quality but repetitive audio and no music: background tunes could have done even more for promoting the game environment. Still, Gumboy: Crazy Adventures is an easily recognizable game due to its high-quality graphics.

Gumboy: Crazy Adventures is a platform game where you roll around (most of the time). It’s not as repetitive as other platform games, as your overall goal changes in each set of levels. You may need to gather dust, collect beans, assemble dew, and accumulate magic crystals. OK, I guess that is pretty much the same thing, but at least each object behaves differently. In addition, in a game that only features the four arrow keys and control to speed up, the game can get a bit tedious. Normally, Gumboy will be a ball, but he can transform into a star that floats in air or a cube that sinks in the water if you collect the appropriate power-up. These are necessary to complete a lot of the tasks, as the levels are designed to utilize Gumboy in all of his forms. Gumboy: Crazy Adventures does not have fast-paced action like Sonic or Trackmania, as more precision is required to maneuver through the levels. Learning and becoming proficient with the controls can be very difficult; there is a significant learning curve (for a platform game) in Gumboy: Crazy Adventures. I found the puzzles well-designed and varied in what you had to do in order to pass to the next level, but you can get easily frustrated with some of the maps. Nevertheless, Gumboy: Crazy Adventures does feature unique gameplay that platform veterans will enjoy.

While you are playing the game, there are a number of different power-ups to collect. Other than morphing to a star or a cube, you can collect seeds to jump, glue to stay on a ceiling or wall, or become smaller to fit through tight spaces. There are also a large number of diamonds and crystals to collect; sometimes, there is a requirement of collecting a specified number of jewels before progressing to the next level. All of these objects help promote the gameplay of Gumboy: Crazy Adventures and make the game a bit more varied than it would be otherwise.

Gumboy: Crazy Adventures is certainly a unique game, which is something quite rare in today’s PC gaming market. While the physics and controls take some getting used to, there is no denying that Gumboy: Crazy Adventures is original. The puzzle design is fantastic, taking advantage of the strengths of the game and introducing various power-ups to vary the gameplay. The game can be difficult, as the mode of transportation doesn’t exactly lend itself to precision movement. But, at only $10, Gumboy: Crazy Adventures certainly brings a lot of bang for your bucks. It may not be the most complete puzzle game available, but Gumboy: Crazy Adventures takes its one major strength and stretches it over a decent series of levels. While not everyone will enjoy the lack of the pick-up-and-play atmosphere, there is more than enough gaming goodness present in Gumboy: Crazy Adventures to justify its purchase for anyone seriously interested in platform games.