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Just finished the game - my impression
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aaii



Joined: 01 Feb 2010
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PostPosted: Wed Feb 03, 2010 2:45 pm    Post subject: Just finished the game - my impression Reply with quote

Before I begin, I want to be clear that everything negative that I say is intended as constructive criticism. But, fair warning, I'm going to say a lot of them.

I wanted to like this game. I really did.

The graphics were simply great - obviously I don't mean "great" in the sense of "incredibly realistic"; I mean they were very cute, without being cloyingly cute, and they set the tone for the game very, very well.

And the characters were fun, and the story was pretty good.

Those were the things that kept me coming back to finish the game, and the things that kept me thinking "I want to like this game. I really do."

But the gameplay... oy vey. Most of the rooms were very obvious in what needed to be done, yet many of them were still very difficult to do. Not the good kind of difficult - the tediously frustrating kind of difficult.

I mean, it is not fun to fall off of the same damn platform over and over and over (and over and over) just because you didn't click the button at the exact right moment. Then have to start the whole process over.

It's not fun to finally get past that platform, then fall off the next one. Then have to start the whole process over, including the first platform. And then when you finally get past them all, it's not fun to ruin the whole room by accidentally grazing against a crate causing it to be pushed into an unrecoverable spot, before you can react.

And so forth and so on. It was just tedious and frustrating, over and over and over.

I'm a robot! And I know exactly what I have to do! I have to jump from this platform to that platform then push that block over there. I should be able to calculate exactly where I have to start leaping from, and exactly where I have to land, and then just do it! But no, the game relies on human dexterity, to a degree that is often overly difficult.

Moreover, who the hell designed this ship? Why are there pits of acid everywhere? Why are there spikes on the ground? Why is there flame shooting out of everything? Why are there rooms where there is no path to go from point A to point B without running under the industrial machine that does nothing except stomp the ground over and over and over? Why is there a hair trigger death wall with spikes? Sheesh! I could ignore all of this for the sake of gameplay if that gameplay wasn't tedious and frustrating, but since the gameplay is tedious and frustrating, the fact that all of that stuff makes absolutely no sense whatsoever is put into shockingly clear view.

The crane portion suffers from similar problems. How many times do I have to pick this crate up, move it south as little as I possible can, put it down only to have it unintentionally land just barely on top of the crate to its south, pick it up again, move it north as little as I possibly can, put it down only to have it unintentionally land just barely on top of the crate to its north, over and over and over? The answer: Too many times. I have to do that too many times. And again, I'm a robot! I should be able to easily use the crane with precision!

Then the other portion of the gameplay - hacking robots and such. It was fun to begin with, but that was short-lived. While the main portion of the game is tedious and frustrating, this is tedious and trivial. Just "ice breaker ice breaker ice breaker ice breaker", over and over and over, with an occasional "party energy restore" and a very rare "party power restore", gets you past anything.

And it gets you past anything easily, without you ever being in serious danger. Yet it takes SO LONG to do it. And you have to keep doing it. Over and over and over.

And even in the it-never-happened case that something went seriously wrong here, so what? I've got a billion energy restore items, a billion power restore items, and a billion "reset the crashed ghost" items.

Those are my main issues. Compounding these is the fact that you can't save at will. If I choose to start hacking something, I have to do the whole tedious thing, or else I lose all progress. And often I have to hack many different things in the same room, and have to tediously hack all of them, or I have lost all progress. And I have to jump all of the platforms once I commit to beginning the room. I can't stop, I can't take a break. I have to keep doing all this tedious stuff, without pause, or else I'll have to do it all again later. Which I most definitely do not want to do.

Smaller things:

It would be nice to actually be able to see what you're doing. I'm referring, for example, to multilevel rooms, where, for example, running around on the ground floor sometimes makes you fall into a pit of acid which you cannot possibly know exists unless you fall into it.

The "Full Energize" program, at least, often doesn't let you choose any target other than the top robot (typically Asimov). It got to the point where I would use "Party Energize" exclusively, even if only one ghost needed it.

The items lists should be sortable alphabetically, at the very least.

It would be nice if there were a simpler way to notice that a new piece of equipment would be an improvement over what some robot is using, without individually inspecting each robot, and individually trying the new piece of equipment on each one.

There are probably other things, but those are the things that are sticking so prominently in my mind.

I want to apologize for being so negative, but again, it is meant as constructive criticism. And I want to close on something positive, so again I will say that the graphics, the characters, and the story kept me coming back to finish the game, despite all of my complaints.
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Poo Bear
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Joined: 14 Oct 2002
Posts: 4121
Location: Sheffield, UK



PostPosted: Wed Feb 03, 2010 8:07 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

The fact you finished the entire game and were so moved you came and wrote such a detailed post gladdens my heart Smile Thank you. I play so many games and yet finish so few of them, I think it's quite rare these days to stick through to the end.

I'd agree it is a flawed gem, definitely a case where my reach exceeded my means, but I think it stems from my love of old 8bit games like Head Over Heels, Knightlore, Alien8 plus a yearning for all things scifi and a sprinkle of final fantasy addiction.

Please know that the game was made with love and took so long to make it nearly killed everyone involved Smile SO, yes, far from perfect but I love it anyway.
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Weeble
Starscape Jedi
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Joined: 25 Apr 2003
Posts: 1143
Location: Glasgow, Scotland



PostPosted: Wed Feb 03, 2010 9:32 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I feel a bit sad reading this, because these are flaws in Mr Robot and it could be so much better, but then I look at what the game has achieved and I feel selfish for demanding more. It's big, it's fun, frequently very satisfying, complex, beautiful (speaking of which, how's Fost? I guess he had to take other work to pay the bills, but does he still read the forum?) seriously ambitious and it includes a level editor. Sure, it's also frustrating, unfair at times, glitchy and unbalanced, but still, look at all that stuff in column A! Mr Robot is unique and I doubt we'll ever see another game quite like it.

PS - Play my user adventure! It's all puzzles and exploration (which IMHO are the things the game does best), no hacking or dexterity-based challenges. (I'm assuming of course that you do like some of the gameplay. I don't think you could have played through the whole thing solely for the story.)
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Poo Bear
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Joined: 14 Oct 2002
Posts: 4121
Location: Sheffield, UK



PostPosted: Thu Feb 04, 2010 9:17 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Weeble wrote:
speaking of which, how's Fost? I guess he had to take other work to pay the bills, but does he still read the forum?


Fost has indeed taken other work, but he still reads the site now and again. Sadly he had to move away to find work, but I still get to talk to him on msn regularly. I'm hoping to build the site up by releasing smaller games more often, that is the plan anyway, then we can get back together.
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Holly



Joined: 15 Nov 2002
Posts: 109
Location: Sheffield, UK



PostPosted: Thu Feb 04, 2010 10:05 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Poo Bear wrote:


Please know that the game was made with love and took so long to make it nearly killed everyone involved Smile SO, yes, far from perfect but I love it anyway.


It's true... I was there... you don't know man! (sorry... flashbacks)
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