January 22, 2008

Anode & Cathode, Evolution

This should be a game I'd enjoy: I mean, it has you tormenting some poor monkey with the Foot of God.

Somehow though, I completely failed to figure out how to do anything. Hrmph.

Update: Damn, but this game is the poster child for the need to communicate game mechanics clearly to the player. The aforementioned Foot of God business is a pinball plunger-type dealie, but the only way to find this out is by trial and error. Lots of error. It would have been nice if the game gave you some hints after it saw you failing repeatedly at the very beginning.

The rest of the game is, on the surface of it, a fairly standard Flash click-only deal; you cannot decide the minute movements of your character, only when he jumps. Somehow, Evolution transmutes this into something quite engrossing.

You have two bars, the usual health and the blue stamina or "power", which determines your rate of movement. Running through a fire decreases your health but increases stamina; since health is in good supply, this is often a tradeoff worth making.

Red flasks are invulnerability potions, but red test tubes hurt you, as do green flasks and mushrooms. Neither of this is communicated in any way except by experimentation; in this way, Evolution is like a throwback to the bad old days of games when the player would damn well eat what was offered him. At random times, a giant, inescapable boulder comes crashing through the scene, exterminating all hope you might have had of finishing; at least the title is appropriate to the amount of dying that goes into evolution.

I still spent a full hour playing it, though. The high score table begins somewhere around 21 million, and you start off with -99 999 999 points. Ooh yeah.



Anonymous Matt` said...

That boulder is a right bitch... giant inescapable arbitrary death.

Didn't know the fire actually helped the blue bar... silly me assuming that running through a fire would be bad for me on all counts.

Anonymous Matt` said...

Turns out that if you manage to avoid arbitrary death long enough to get to 2100AD you get launched by a rocket into the clouds, where you meet God again. Then the game ends.

Final score = (Year survived to * 10,000) + (Sum of remaining life/power percentages * 100)


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