Of all the fictional creatures to inhabit our fair planet, few have such cruel lives as video game characters - and of them, few are so constantly tortured as Joe. He's right to be concerned.
Joe is just an unassuming little green blob. He doesn't talk much, and all he seems to want in life is to be left alone. Enter the creator, who, as a disembodied, mocking voice, inflicts Joe with a dangerous virus that constantly saps his vitality. He then forces Joe through a series of brain-busting levels, taunting his little creation the whole way.
Joe's life sucks.
Concerned Joe is a platforming puzzler. You need to guide Joe through 20 agonizing levels filled with puzzles, each more difficult than the last. There's a catch, however: because of the disease coursing through his veins, Joe can't stop running, save on a few safe spots scattered between (and sometimes in) the levels:
Look at that happy face.
If you stop running, or go on a square that saps Joe's vitality no matter what you do, you'll eventually see this at the bottom of your screen:
And when that tiny bit of blue runs out, Joe will explode and you'll have to start at the beginning of the level again. (Which isn't as bad as it sounds since the levels are fairly small, but when you do it over and over...)
Needless to say, you can't let Joe stop. Which, coupled with some fairly ordinary (but clever) puzzles, makes for a solid concept.
Joe is simple. He runs, he jumps, he pushes, he occasionally rebounds off sticky walls. Not much more to it. Joe has a slight tendency to float when he tries to stop, which can be a little annoying when you skid into death traps, but given the tightly programmed aspects of the rest of the game, that's probably intentional.
Decidedly industrial, Concerned Joe features a lot of grey - so much so that, on its on, the colour scheme would probably suck the life out of the game. Fortunately, however, there are enough signs and little easter eggs spread throughout the levels to keep your eyes from lingering on the aesthetics too much. (And you don't exactly have time to stop and enjoy the view.)
Surprisingly, it's the sound that makes Concerned Joe really shine. Not the music itself - that's repetitious and a little annoying after a while - but the voice of the bloody creator. Seriously, he mocks you throughout the entire game, chiming in every time you die or complete a level, and never with praise for Joe's survival skills. He's both hilarious and exasperating, and makes the game totally worth playing... mainly because you want to see him get his comupence when Joe makes it through the last level. Gah!
Though it's not terrrribly long, Concerned Joe will probably take the average player an hour or two of utterly annoyed playing to complete. The puzzles are far from impossible to solve, but figuring out the solution and acting it out are, often, two very different things. The sheer number of secrets in the game are also likely to keep players coming back to search out every nook and cranny of Concerned Joe.
Concerned Joe is fun, funny and frustrating as hell. If you have a poor temper, not to mention a bad head for puzzles, skip this game. It will drive you crazy. Otherwise? Play away. Lots of fun to be had.
PLAY CONCERNED JOE