Showing posts with label exploration. Show all posts
Showing posts with label exploration. Show all posts

Monday, October 22, 2012

Side by Side, Deep Sleep, Mastermind: World Conqueror

This entry has been sitting in backlog for, like, two weeks! Go figure. Perhaps I was subconsciously saving one of the best horror-themed browser games for Halloween, yet laziness won out.

Side by Side


Mammoths need love too, and these two lovely beasts are trying SO HARD to reach one another's world. I'm not sure what THAT'S all about, but it's up to you to unite them through a series of puzzles. The controls are a bit tricky at first, and the map screen looks a liiiiiittle cluttered, but overall I think it's worth playing.

Deep Sleep


You're asleep. You've got to wake up. WAKE UP. Deep Sleep is a genuinely creepy game, with crazy sounds, a bizarre atmosphere that would make most survival horror games proud, and an... interesting... story. A point-and-click adventure that'll probably freak you out, even if it's just a little bit. Play it at night, with the sound cranked, for maximum potency. (Damn, shoulda saved this for Halloween.)

Mastermind: World Conqueror


You are MASTERMIND. You must rule the WORLD. Resource management and static tower defense, that's World Conqueror. This is a deep, robust game that's likely to last a hell of a lot longer than your average browser experience, and more than fun enough to warrant the time spent. Huzzah for sacrificing patsies and robbing gas stations!

All done! Next on Browser Rousers: who knows, I have no more backlogged posts.

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Lost Villa, Hop Bop, Snake Squad

Today's Browser Rousers is proof that I seldom adhere to themes. These games couldn't be more different from each other if they tried. BEHOLD!

Lost Villa


I usually prefer my exploratory puzzle games to feature original backgrounds over semi-jaggy photographs, but Lost Villa is a decent enough game that I'll overlook that this time. The puzzles are fun and inventive without being too difficult, and it doesn't take a disgustingly long time to play. The music is also catchy, though mine cut out without explanation after a while. Too bad.

Hop Bop



Hop. Jump. Shoot. Collect coins. Kill enemies. Run to the goal. This could describe a billion games already on the market, and, admittedly, Hop Bop isn't that much better than a lot of them. Nevertheless, there's a lot to enjoy in this quick, retro shooter, and I had no trouble playing through it twice. (Especially since you get a significant speed boost the second time 'round.)

Snake Squad


Remember Frantic Frigates? Yeah. Snake Squad is juuuuust like it. That may explain why I've lingered over it for the last forty-five minutes, despite totally getting the gist of the game from the get-go. You are captain of a squad of burly army dudes. Kill everything in sight. In SIGHT, you hear me?! Your guys do all the shooting for you in this bullet hell game; you just have to steer them out of harm's way. Die, then upgrade into something more potent. It's a fun formula, if repetitive.

(I can't get my train of guys above six. Sigh.)

All done! Friday!

Monday, September 17, 2012

bit Dungeon, Spaceship, Farm and Grow

Today's Browser Rousers takes place as I watch I, Robot! The entry has next to nothing to do with that fact, but I thought I'd point it out. Decent movie. Nothing fantastic.

First up: a point-and-click dungeon crawler! Weird combo.

bit Dungeon


You and your wife have been kidnapped and locked in a dungeon. She's presumably helpless (haven't beaten the game yet), you presumably aren't. Save her with a mass of swordplay clicking reminiscent of Legend of Zelda. Interesting concept, though the action can be awkward with the wrong device, and the interface is a little basic. No saving? Boo.

Spaceship


Usually in space shooters you're a human protecting the motherland against aliens. In Spaceship, you're an alien fending off humans. (I think. Story's sparse.) Fun, relatively basic side-scrolling shooter, a little slower-paced than other, similar games, with lotsa pretty backgrounds and funky ships. I love the art style.



Ever created a farm in a video game? Yes? Well, do it again anyway. Farm and Grow dispenses with cutesy graphics and conversations with town folk for pure farming strategy. Labour your days away in this simplistic-looking but surprisingly complex sim. No tutorial, so you'll have to learn as you go.

Alllllll done! Bit busy today, so I only did three. I'll toss an extra one on Wednesday. See ya then!

Friday, September 14, 2012

EsPoir, HUEBRIX, I'd Change The World For You, Kitty Punch

Right! Two in a row, off to a good start... we begin today with a little horror game that reminds me very much of a slew of Capcom titles, mainly because it nicks much of its audio from said games. Yay EsPoir!

EsPoir

Survival horror ain't nothing new to gaming, but I'm not sure that I've ever played one in a retro style before. In comes EsPoir, a side-scrolling escape game where your one goal is to flee from a horrifying abomination. Because it's a survival horror game, EsPoir's background is shrouded in darkness, and you're forced to remember the pitfalls every time you die. Short, difficult, fairly fun - though I'm not sure the Mega Man sound effects fit, y'know?

HUEBRIX


Puzzler! Easy enough concept. Stretch your coloured bricks across allllllll the white spaces. Each colour can only accomodate so many squares, though, and little special features throughout each stage will complicate your path. Starts out pretty easy, gets damned challenging by the end - I'm stumped at level 24.

I'd Change The World For You


Would you change it for me? Hope so - being stuck in that tiny container would drive me to suicide. Fairly simple platformer: move around a contained maze thing and manipulate the world's shape by pressing switches until you can free your loved one. If you get stuck, hit R to go back in time and change the way you did things. Won't take long to beat, but it's still fun. You may have to play on the designer's website rather than Newgrounds to prevent rampant lag.

Kitty Punch


Just... just play it... I'd have no idea where to begin on describing this fantastic monstrosity...

All done! See ya on Monday, folks.

Monday, February 13, 2012

Abducted

As frequenters of this blog might already know, I enjoy a good exploratory platformer. Games like Metroid and Castlevania (though I suck so badly at Castlevania) are like bread and butter to me, and I've yet to find one I actively dislike.

Abducted is probably the closest I've come to a bad exploration game. And, given that it's apparently the programmer's first go at Flash games, that's okay - we all stumble when we first give something a go.


Concept

Abducted spells out its own concept, plain and simple. You're some 8-bit dude who's been abducted by aliens. You need to escape from their clutches. For some reason they're letting you run free on their ship, so... this isn't as tricky as it sounds... either way, the result is an exploration game with some shooting tossed in for flavour. Fun.

Abducted is, in most ways, a bare-bones endeavour. There's a story - but it's tiny. There's exploration - but not much of it. There's some combat with aliens - but all you get is a single gun, and the aliens are all (with one huge exception) the same. There's a start to something here, but Abducted doesn't get too far past the starting line.


Controls

Up and side to side for movements, X and V to activate powers you acquire on the road to freedom. Simple, and for the most part effective enough. The jumping leaves a little to be desired, mostly when trying to reach high platforms.

My biggest control-related grief came from the hit detection. You need to be damn precise with your jumps when trying to avoid aliens, 'cause getting just a little too close will spell your doom. The save points are all close together so dying won't drive you batty, but it's still irritating to bite the dust because your toe nicked an alien's head.

Graphics

Abducted is a little below NES standards but a little above an Atari game. I appreciate the retro-throwback style, I really do, but this could use more variety in all respects. The aliens get tedious after thirty or forty sightings, and the alien ship... well, it kinda reminded me of Adventure, and from a graphical standpoint that's not a compliment.


Sound

Abducted has one track, a typical sci-fi tune that runs throughout the game. I actually thought this track comprised the game's greatest strength, as it's a solid tune that more or less sets the scene. Were the game any longer I'd probably get annoyed hearing it repeated ad nauseum, but I was content to keep my speakers blaring.

Challenge Rating

There's next to no challenge to be found in Abducted, mainly because a) the area is pretty damn small for an exploration game and b) the aliens are all predictable. Either they go up and down or they go left and right. Once you get the hang of jumping, not to mention find a gun, the game's a cake walk. (This also sadly applies to the final boss, which is... well, it looks neat, at least...)

I suppose what disappoints me most is the fact that, on my first run, Abducted only took ten minutes to complete. Games belonging to the Metroidvania genre typically run a lot longer than your average browser-based title. Stretch out the experience and add in some more innovative powers (I did like reverse gravity, though), and Abducted will be better suited for the genre.


Conclusion?

Abducted is a good start... and that's about it. You won't get a hell of a lot out of this game. Keep on trying, programmer - with this as a base you can probably create something much more ambitious next time.


PLAY ABDUCTED

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Elephant Quest

I've never played an exploratory RPG featuring an elephant. I've never played one where the elephant is the lead character. And I've CERTAINLY never played one where the elephant is surrounded by laser beams.

Today, though, all these things... all of these things have been fulfilled. And I feel a little richer for the experience. Thank you, Elephant Quest, thank you.


Concept

Life in the world of elephants has gone to HELL. Wooly, the ultimate in pachyderm bullies, has stolen your hat. Never one to simply lay down and give in, you must traverse the lands in search of Wooly and get that damn hat back. (And why wouldn't you, it's a nice hat.)

That is the ultimate goal of Elephant Quest: find Wooly and force him into submission. Before you get there, though, your little elephant must face a slew of obstacles, ranging from tricky platforms to bloodthirsty enemies to other troubled elephants in need of assistance. Combining all three elements results in an exploratory game similar to Metroid or Castlevania... or, for fans of browser games, Endeavor... with a suffusion of RPG leveling that resembles Final Fantasy X for some extra kick.

And talking elephants.

And lasers.

And... well, lots of weird stuff, I'll be honest.


Controls

Elephant Quest's controls are both simple and complex - but only at first. Moving your elephant is as easy as using the arrow keys or WASD. What complicates matters is the inclusion of mouse controls, allowing you to aim your laser using the mouse pointer. This is difficult to do only for a few minutes, though - splitting your brain between the two is eventually a piece of cake.

I had little trouble with the controls themselves, aside from a few problematic jumps (resulting in annoyance, not death). No, the controls in Elephant Quest only become troublesome when your elephant collects too much stuff and everything becomes laggy, which I'll detail below.

Graphics

Elephant Quest is a visually basic game. The environments are all colourfully cartoony, and I'm glad that there are several different tilesets for the mazes.

I was less wowed by the sprites. The elephants are fine, and the weapons that float about you are good enough (I especially like the tiny elephant minions), but the enemies... they're a bit lacking. There's variety, yes, but none of them screamed originality, and after a while they get somewhat repetitive. And the one enemy I DID like, the Tank, didn't show up very often. So... take what you can get, I guess? At least it's not a long game.

There is, however, a snag alongside the simplicity. Whenever your elephant completes a task or purchases a particular upgrade, it usually gains a weapon that helps it fight. This is nice at first, but the weapons stack - to the point that you're boasting a rather ridiculous array of combat options by the end:


Yep, everything floating around my blue elephant fires a laser. Yeesh.

I don't MIND this tag-along armory - hell, it's kinda funny - but my computer does, and after a while Elephant Quest got pretty damn slow with all the tiny elephants and tanks and enemy birds and nonsense flying about. Still wasn't HARD, but the lag? Substantial. Expect your final battle with Wooly to be a trifle on the slow side if you're using a laptop.

Sound

Elephant Quest is a relatively low-key in its music, boasting a nice variety of tunes that don't obstruct the game in any great way. Nice background selection... if a teensy bit inappropriate at times. The music for the cloud area didn't seem to fit its surroundings at all.


Challenge Rating

Elephant Quest shouldn't take more than an hour to complete, an perhaps another half hour to complete in its entirety. There's a decent amount of side stuff you don't NEED to cover to beat the game, and given the fairly predictable pattern of the final boss, the extra experience points aren't a requirement for victory.

In short, yeah, Elephant Quest ain't that hard.

I'd chalk the ease of victory up to the leveling system more than anything. It's relatively easy to earn levels in Elephant Quest, and they power your elephant up in very short fashion, regardless of the path of upgrades you choose to take. The sheer number of lasers pointed at enemies by the end is ridiculous, especially if you go for minions. And who wouldn't?

Tack on a Game + option and some fairly small, easy-to-navigate areas and you've got a game that's more for exploratory beginners and novices than hardcore players. This doesn't make Elephant Quest any less fun, mind, making it the perfect choice for somebody who's bored over a lunch hour.


Conclusion?

This review probably sounded more negative than positive, which is an unfair assessment. I liked Elephant Quest. It's an enjoyable romp through a goofy, expansive land, with a wholly sufficient number of tasks to complete on the way to the conclusion. Well worth playing, overall - just do so on a more powerful computer.


PLAY ELEPHANT QUEST

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Abobo's Big Adventure

I have been dimly aware of Abobo's Big Adventure for several months, despite the fact that it's apparently been in production for a decade or so - and as soon as I discovered the concept, I knew I had to play the thing. Consequently, I've been checking the Newgrounds 'Countdown to Abobo' almost every day.

Today is the day. Today is Abobo. And Abobo... dear god, Abobo is awesome. Awesome enough that I'm doing two reviews in one day, just because I couldn't resist.


Concept

Unless you know your Nintendo lore, you probably don't even know Abobo. He was, originally, a beefy boss from Double Dragon who had the distinction of appearing in several games, even managing to go up against the Battletoads at one point. His unusual appearance, coupled by his debatable handlebar mustache, made him a noteworthy, if minor, NES character.

What you DON'T know is that Abobo actually has a son, Aboboy, who for reasons unknown - probably because this is based on an NES game, and NES games love this stuff - has been kidnapped. Abobo needs to get him back, and he'll do it in the only way he understands: trashing anybody who gets between him and his progeny. On with the adventure!

The story for Abobo's Big Adventure is silly as hell. It's MEANT to be silly as hell, because this is a game that crosses genre boundaries between levels. Literally. You're playing a different NES game in each new venture, whether you're roaming the streets old school Abobo-style, swimming the seas like Mario, plundering the lasery depths of Quick Man's stage ala Mega Man or engaging in a good 'ol Balloon Fight. The game play changes with each stage, so being good at one does not mean you'll be so hot at the next - a challenge that most retro gamers should relish.


Controls

As mentioned above, each level has Abobo trying something new. You'll walk, you'll punch, you'll swim, you'll fly... consequently, the controls change all the time, even though you're still using the old Nintendo scheme of directional arrows coupled with two buttons (not A and B, in this one, but A and S).

Overall, the controls in Abobo's Big Adventure are pretty solid, though in many cases they're only as good as the game from which they come. For example, most players will probably find Balloon Fight to be a big pain in the ass, because the original game worked that way as well. Can't blame the programmers for sticking to the classics. I only had issues in the Mega Man stage when it came to controls, in that they weren't as responsive as the original game.

So I died. A lot. In one particular spot. You'll know which.


Graphics

Oh. Good. Lord. Abobo's Big Adventure is more NES games sewn together than I care to consider, and so the package in its entirety is a giant, glorious, pixelated orgy. The visuals are so wonderfully creative - especially in the bosses and the cut scenes - that you'll want to replay Abobo's Big Adventure several times, just to catch all of the references.


What really dragged me into the game, however, was the attention paid to Abobo himself. He's already damn cool on his own, but the game goes to great lengths to make him even cooler, giving him a series of little transformations to suit each level while remaining staple Abobo. I can't show you every change, 'cause that would spoil much of the game's ending, but they're all awesome - especially when Abobo uses his crazy Rage moves to wipe out every enemy on the screen.


Sound

Abobo's Big Adventure, as far as I can tell, relies almost entirely on the soundtracks of other games. If you liked the original NES titles, you'll enjoy Abobo's soundtrack. I also liked the attention to the little sounds beyond the background music, right down to the digitized cheering during cage matches. Bravo.

Challenge Rating

Hard, but not terribly hard. Abobo's Big Adventure is made for NES gamers; everyone else will have a little difficulty getting into the game play, especially since it changes all the time. Some levels are a lot harder than others, and even reshuffling the order wouldn't change this very much.

That said, Abobo's Big Adventure doesn't go out of its way to be too difficult. The game is relatively forgiving in the amount of extra lives, and when you die you can restart at the beginning of the level rather than having to start the entire game over. Abobo's lengthy health meter (fitting for a boss character) and his Rage moves will help pull you through the beefier challenges.

Just, uh, limber up your hands before you start. There's a lot of button tapping in this sucker.


Conclusion?

Before I finish off, I will mention one recurring bug: the game froze on me twice. This isn't a huge issue since, cache allowing, you can refresh the page and still have all the unlocked levels at the ready, but the freezing is frustrating as hell if you're almost at the end of a difficult section and have to start over.

Right. Rare negative side over. Ready for the explosion?

YOU. MUST. PLAY. THIS. GAME. If you harbour any sort of love for the NES, you have no choice but to play Abobo's Big Adventure. Sure, you might not give a damn about Abobo himself, but there are so many references jammed into this game that anyone who's so much as touched a Nintendo system will get a few chuckles.

And the ending? Epic. Worth the long wait.

Ready? Then it's time to go. Saddle up, Abobo.


Damn right.

PLAY ABOBO'S BIG ADVENTURE

Friday, December 30, 2011

Where is 2012?

I wanted to review at least one game that pertains to the upcoming New Year (hell, by the time most of you read this it WILL be 2012), but I never thought I'd actually find something.

And then I discovered Where is 2012? on Newgrounds, and, hey. Mission complete. But is it worth playing?


Concept

Where is 2012? plays host to a fairly simple plot. Pesky little 2012 has run off somewhere, and Santa Claus - aka you - has to track the year down so things can proceed as normal. Short, cute, to the point. Find that year. I like it.

Beyond that, Where is 2012? is a platformer puzzle game. You must search Santa's homestead for switches and presents and all sorts of stuff. Pretty basic, but good enough overall.


Controls

Where is 2012? is a platformer, as mentioned, and so all you need do is wander about using the arrow keys. Up jumps, down interacts with the environment. The controls are nice and tight, and you should have very little trouble guiding Santa around his home - and beyond.

Graphics

The visuals are the real treat in Where is 2012?. The entire game looks as though it has been painted onto a water colour background, with only a single room shown on each canvas, like so:


The effect is really neat, and though the environments are generally static they're all pretty enough to make exploration enjoyable. I found the journey more entertaining than the conclusion, just 'cause there's lots to look at.


Sound

Where is 2012? has only one song, and it's a subdued piece that blends into the background. Appropriate for the game, yes, and perfect for a calm winter scene, but nothing ground-breaking. That said, it also never offends the ears, so why mute?

Challenge Rating

Where is 2012? is not meant to be a difficult game. Even taking one semi-brain-busting puzzle and a few less-than-obvious passages into account, locating the errant year shouldn't take more than fifteen or twenty minutes. I don't believe Where is 2012? was MEANT to be terribly hard, though, and any more difficulty would have diluted the cutesy conclusion.


Conclusion?

Where is 2012? is nifty. Not innovative, not crazy fun, just... nifty. It's a nice little way to introduce yourself to 2012, and could easily be changed later for subsequent years. (Don't see why tracking down 2013 will be any different.)

PLAY WHERE IS 2012?

Thursday, December 15, 2011

REDDER

Eee! Exploration game, exploration game! I'd been combing the best of 2010 Newgrounds archives when I came across REDDER, and I must admit that, a few small things aside, it does indeed belong among such auspicious company. It's a good game. Not as good as Endeavor, perhaps, but still pretty damn fun.


Concept

REDDER's the result of, more or less, an error in fuel calculation. You play a tiny astronaut whose ship has been forced to land on a dangerous planet, and in order to escape again you need to collect an assortment of colourful gems that will power your ship. Story done. That was painless.

So, yeah, there's no huge or interesting plot behind REDDER. It's a lot like Insidia, a similar exploratory platformer that sees you stuck on an alien planet. I'd argue that REDDER is the better game, however, mainly because it's got more variety and provides a larger, more difficult adventure.


Controls

REDDER is a more or less slick game when it comes to controls. It's very simple: use the arrow keys to run and jump. While jumping, keep holding onto the up key to float further upward, defying gravity for a few precious seconds. This little feature provides your spaceman with a greater measure of control over his jumps, which makes it possible to bypass some otherwise suicidal traps.

Are the controls perfect? Nope, unfortunately not. REDDER will operate properly 95 percent of the time. That last five has a tendency to put you places where you don't want to be, resulting in a few unwarranted deaths on my part. Save points spring up often in REDDER, though, so it's not a big deal.


Graphics

REDDER is, at least to my eyes, as close to a chibi version of Metroid as you're going to get. It provides a huge, nice, varied world to explore, with a lot of different tile sets that neatly break up any monotony that might set in. The deeper you get, the neater the game looks.

Problem? Yes, unfortunately, there's a slight problem: the graphics are, er, screwy. I don't know if this was intentional or not - probably not - but the more crystals you collect, the more prone the tiles are to randomly transform into the wrong thing, like so:


These problems are fairly small, and won't stop you from completing the game, but they CAN prove a little jarring when the landscape begins to randomly transform around you.

Sound

There are no ambient sound effects in REDDER as far as I can tell, and the music is industrial-grade beats accompanied by sci-fi work on a keyboard. It's not bad, but it gets old after a while. A little variation between areas, perhaps? You need to listen to this tune for a long time, after all.


Challenge Rating

Thanks to the constant save points and a handy map, REDDER isn't THAT tough. There are a few tricky spots where you need to zip between cannon blasts and patrolling robots, sure, but one or two tries is usually enough to circumvent these challenges. The real difficulty lies in the length, as you need to run through a hell of a lot of areas to beat REDDER, and some of the mazes may prove tricky enough to stymie some players into defeat.

Conclusion?

The glitches aside, REDDER is an excellent title. Anyone with a strong case of wanderlust will happily get lost in this massive labyrinth for at least an hour, if not longer.

PLAY REDDER

Friday, November 25, 2011

Insidia

I mentioned the other day that I really like exploration games, and so shortly after I finished with Endeavor I wanted something else with a heavy exploratory slant. And, after a quick Google search, I found it: Insidia. Not quite as good as Endeavor, but not half bad either.


Concept

Insidia opens upon a tiny space explorer, zipping through the universe in a tiny space pod, just doing his thing. Disaster predictably strikes in the form of a meteor, and said tiny space explorer is sent careening down onto an unfamiliar planet. He must now gather parts to repair his ship and escape the planet before it does him in. (And it will. Repeatedly.)


As mentioned, Insidia is an exploratory game. You need to run around the darkened corridors of a dismal planet in search of parts, dodging obstacles - enemies and traps, mainly - along the way... and keeping an eye open for secret areas that might just change the game's ending. Solid enough premise.


Controls

More than the average browser game, Insidia is utterly dependent on its controls. You will die, over and over and over, if you can't master the controls. And guess what? Doing so is a piece of cake, 'cause all you typically do is run and jump. Sure, you eventually learn how to double jump and skid against walls, but there's a lot of practice space between the beginning and gaining these abilities. Most players won't struggle with problem controls.




Graphics

Though your little guy is orange, most of Insidia is cast in blacks and other muted colours. The result is a bleak landscape, which suits the idea that your explorer should try and flee this planet as quickly as possible. I particularly liked the fabric texture applied to the backgrounds.

If there's a problem with this setup, it's that Insidia lacks variety. Given the sheer amount of ground you have to cover in this game, you'd think that the areas might change a little. And while you do run across the occasional nifty beast to spruce up the scenery...


... most of the time you're facing endless dark hallways. A teensy bit more flair, particularly in the sparse selection of enemies, would've been nice.

Sound

The music is Insidia's one great failing, at least in my opinion. There are only a few different songs, and they all sound close to the same - and they're all very space techno. Not a fan. As with the graphics, more variety in different areas would've added extra depth to Insidia.




Challenge Rating

Insidia's of middling difficulty. The puzzles and traps are tough, but not unreasonably so, and the challenge scales according to your experience and abilities. And, unlike other exploratory Flash games I've played, THIS one gives you a MAP!




(And, no, I'm not showing you the whole thing. Uncover it on your own.)

This map, coupled with handy save points that typically appear before especially tough puzzles, makes Insidia a much less frustrating experience than it could have been without them. It'll still take a solid hour to beat, but you should enjoy your time on the planet.

Conclusion?

Aesthetics aside, Insidia is pretty fun. It's smooth and well-designed, and offers a reasonably satisfying conclusion if you manage to collect everything in the game (not as tough as it sounds). Once you're done playing Endeavor, give this game a go.


PLAY INSIDIA

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Endeavor

I am a fan of exploration games. I like being able to roam through hundreds of rooms, searching every nook and cranny until I find... something. Anything. Consequently, games like Endeavor just plain old make my day.


Concept

You are a dwarf, the son of an explorer and treasure hunter, and the time has come to set out and make your mark on the world - or at least check out your dad's treasure stash. It's just beyond your reach, however, and you have to develop your dwarvenly muscles to jump that high...

... and unfortunately, you wind up doing that by falling off the edge of the dwarf world and into the under worlds, places where strange beings dwell - not the least of which is a voice that promises to return you home if you collect a series of gems, scattered throughout the lands. Why? It doesn't say. Sketchy, but what choice do you have?

The plot itself determines the nature of the game. Endeavor is a treasure hunt, plain and simple... or perhaps not so simple. (When are games branded 'art' EVER simple?)


Controls

Like any good browser game, Endeavor's pretty easy to control. At the beginning, all you have to do is hit X, and your little dwarf will jump. Jump against a precipice and, vitality allowing (the blue bar at the top of the screen), he'll grab on. There's a lot of running and jumping in this sucker. And, every now and then, you have to hit C to interact with people. Easy enough, and the programming's so precise  that you shouldn't have any trouble leaping around the pixelated world of Endeavor.

Graphics

This is you.


Personally speaking, I have trouble seeing a dwarf in that. And while some of the other characters are a bit more obvious, the graphics on Endeavor are less-than-stellar. It's an NES-level game.

I won't complain about the graphics, however, because a) the game is pretty damn huge for a Flash game, and b) it's incredibly varied. Most screens use different tile sets from one another, to the point that every time you move from one screen to another, you're entering a whole new environment. Basic? Yes. Uniform? Hell no. And, given that you're on the hunt for unique items amidst massive plots of land, I don't mind that everything's simple, because it's very easy to pick the important stuff out of the background.

Sound

Endeavor's visuals are so-so. Its music, on the other hand, is gorgeous. There are a lot of tracks in this game, and they're all perfect for a trek into strange lands - a pleasant mixture of gentle horns and sometimes ominous drum beats, in most cases, though every now and then the tempo picks up as well. Don't play this game on mute, I implore you - the programmers put a lot into the soundtrack.



Challenge Rating

Endeavor is not a game in which you can die. Your dwarf falls a reeeeeally long way at the beginning of the game and doesn't even break his legs on impact. That said, you CAN still fail in that you can get frustrated at not finding the gems and give up. It happens, and I wouldn't blame some gamers for getting frustrated at the slow pace - you need to be really thorough to get the most out of Endeavor. (Which is why I find it lots of fun, 'cause you get to explore without having to worry about killing baddies.)

 













Conclusion?

With tight controls, a solid story and multiple endings (yes, there are several ways to beat this sucker), Endeavor is a browser gamer's dream. I could play this game for hours and not get bored, and I suspect hundreds (thousands?) of other gamers have done the same. If you enjoy exploration, PLAY THIS GAME.

PLAY ENDEAVOR