Before I review a Flash game, I make a point of beating the thing - or at least getting far enough that I've pretty much seen everything. Can't offer a fair review otherwise, and it really annoys me when I can't beat a game's final hurdle.
Quietus? I didn't even SEE the final hurdle. Not even close. And, frankly, I'm not gonna try - I think I got the gist of the game already. Ugh!
See that faint silhouette of a hanged man on the title screen? That's you. Or, more accurately, THIS is you:
A tiny skeleton. Yep, you're a dead guy, and you're in Hell. The reaper has offered you a second chance at life, however - you just have to run a gauntlet of netherworld traps to earn the right. And that's what you do in Quietus: you flee for your life, because the slightest hit will, uh, kill you? Something like that. Beat all 40 maps and you're brought back to life.
Quietus is a precision game. You NEED good controls. Fortunately, this game is anything but complex: all you can do is run and jump. Having to think about any other buttons would probably make it even harder, so that's fine with me. I do swear that the game overshoots a teensy bit on some jumps, but that's probably just irritation looking for excuses.
Quietus is a rather bland game, to be honest. Hell is appropriately hellish, yes, but.. there's very little variety. Every level is grey platforms, red lava and a few generic beasties. Even worse, you can't always tell what's a trap and what isn't when you're running around - memorization plays a HUGE part in survival - though I suspect that was a conscious choice on the programmers' part.
... there IS no sound. Well, okay, there are a couple sound effects here and there, but the vast majority of Quietus is, y'know, quiet. (I think I just got the name. Dur.) A few musical flourishes between screens might have been nice, but I will admit that a lack of music probably helps with concentration, and god knows you need to concentrate.
'kay. Here comes the real rant. To sum up:
QUIETUS IS FUCKING HARD. Jesus christ! I don't think I've ever died so many times while playing a game! I get the distinct impression that the creator was trying to one-up Syobon Action, and by god, they did a good job. I haven't been so frustrated at a video game in a long time.
The primary contributor isn't so much the level design, which is fiendish, or the fact that there are 40 levels that get harder and harder, which is downright mean. The big problem is that the slightest touch will blow your skeleton out of the water, forcing you to start the level over. And, true, some levels can take seconds to complete, but if you have to restart a dozen plus times... sigh. Incredible frustration.
And cheap! Lord help me, this game is CHEAP! Hidden traps, spikes that look like the normal landscape, an occasionally-questionable hit detection system, surprise enemies, slowdown during moments of heavy action... death is inevitable. If you can beat this game in one go, without dying, you are not human. Or you're cheating.
And no, these things aren't bad. I have no doubt that the intention was to drive players bananas. Just... it... gah! RANT AND RAVE
You won't play Quietus for the graphics, the story or the sound. You'll play it because it's bloody hard, and because you want to prove that you're better than that. I surely did.
I have since been humbled. Level 29's my current limit. I doubt I'll get any further. Well played, Quietus, well played.
(Yes, that wasn't a proper conclusion. I wouldn't recommend Quietus for any but the most hardcore of platforming players. It's a mean, mean game.)