Gunmetal Arcadia Zero
Having enjoyed previous games made by J. Kyle Pittman, I bought this game (probably as part of a Humble Bundle). I played it through, beat it, and then beat the New Game+. It was okay.
I own the game on Steam and have beaten it.
Best Version: Windows
— This section contains spoilers! —
- The game does a pretty decent job of emulating the style of a 1980s platform action-adventure game.
- The CRT emulation is top-notch and fully customizable.
- The game has a fair amount of hidden sections which are rewarding to find and explore, and, with the New Game+, I was able to discover the ones I missed in my first attempt.
- The story is dull and doesn't add much to the game. On my first play-through, I read all the dialogue of every NPC on every topic, only to discover none of it was important. I prefer when in-game dialogue pertains to the game in some way, either by giving hints or unlocking hidden areas. If it wasn't for the merchants, you could basically skip every conversation, but, unfortunately, you can't tell merchants from pointless NPCs by sight alone since they share sprites, so you have to talk to everyone and waste your time.
- The art, music, and sound fits the 8-bit theme, and is all passable by 1980s standards, but none of it is that great.
- Most of the bosses are dull. A good boss requires discovering a pattern and learning how to exploit it, but most of the bosses from the game can be defeated by button-mashing. The only one that caused me to scratch my head for a moment was the ever-healing Grub miniboss.
- The game is too short. I completed it and the New Game+ in only a couple sittings.
- The game is too easy. On my first play-through, I couldn't afford the third weapon upgrade and forgot to equip the final sword, but I still won the game with ease.
- The controls are a little imperfect. The up and down thrusts weren't as clean as they could be, and I often found myself getting hit when I was pretty confident I should have had my sword out in time.
- The secondary weapon uses the horrible Castlevania system of tossing your current weapon when you pickup the new one. The problem is, once you find the weapon you prefer, you rarely want to switch, so the new ones just get in the way, and sometimes the one you want is tossed into a pit so you can't get it back and you're stuck with an inferior one.
- I don't understand the point of lives and 1ups since it seemed to me that I had infinite continues. It reminded me the strange system used by Zelda II: The Adventure of Link.
- Collecting gems, only to sell them for gold, is unnecessary busy-work. There is some strategy because some NPCs buy them for more than others, but I didn't find that an enjoyable part of the game, it felt more like bookkeeping.
- What was the point of choosing a faction?
- Most of the monster's names don't make any sense. This is, perhaps, a callback to 8-bit games, but a bit silly none-the-less.
- Achievements are awarded merely for playing the game, they aren't for anything special. I hate when games do this because it's not creative and it doesn't add to the game play.
- I found the New Game+ to be mostly pointless. Since you'll probably end your first run with all the best equipment, the second play-through means you're just collecting gold with nothing to spend it on, and getting more hearts that aren't necessary because the game is already so easy. There are no alternate endings to watch or plot-altering decisions to make, so what's the point?
- It was a daring choice to design the maps so that backtracking was very limited. I think it could have been done right, but I think the designers failed to take proper advantage of it. In my first play-through, I missed a lot locked doors and bombable walls, and when I got to them in the New Game+, I found they only contained more gold that I didn't need. I think a better way to handle this would be to have different paths that rewarded different power-ups, making it necessary to take different forks in order to get everything you missed.
- Despite being quite accurate, I never bother playing with the CRT emulation turned on as I found it too distracting
- Although I enjoyed the game enough to play it through to the end, I was never that impressed, and only mildly enjoyed it. I just felt like I was going through the motions the entire time, not partaking in anything important or grand.