Oh shit, HELLO EVERYONE. It’s been a while since I even logged in to my Mark Plays WordPress dashboard. It’s like a distant cousin I have ignored for too long. But I’m back (somewhat) with a game that fuckin’ messed with me, man. Like, shit, this game made my head hurt. LET’S DO IT!
So, taking a break from Mark Plays hasn’t been a bad thing. I haven’t played much of anything at all since I put this site on the back burner. Understandably so! I’ve had a lot of commissions to do, and then I kind of went on a month-long tour of the eastern half of the U.S. and Canada. SO THERE’S THAT.
Aside from commissions, I don’t imagine this site will ever come back full time. If this was the only site I was running, I’d be able to pull it off. But back when I made this site on a whim due to that Tumblr ask, I never once thought, “HEY, MARK, THIS MIGHT BE REALLY HARD TO DO.” It was! Logistically, playing games and recording the process and reviewing it is a unique experience, one that deserves a whole lot more care and time than I was able to give at the time.
That being said, I really, really want to play more video games. I have the Mass Effect trilogy sitting on my shelf, and my roommate just bought Borderlands 2. They’re teasing me, just sitting there! So, I think you’ll see more sporadic, non-commission posts on Mark Plays. I’d like to treat this site more like an impersonal diary, because I love video games, and doing Mark Plays last year really made me love talking about them. I’d like to chronicle my journey through both of those games, and I figure it would be fun for all of you, too!
Anyway, for the time being, I’ve got a game commissioned by Moiz that I’d like to talk about because THIS WAS LITERALLY THE LEAST PREPARED I HAVE BEEN FOR A VIDEO GAME IN MY ENTIRE LIFE.
Because one of these videos is longer than 15 minutes and YouTube hates me, both of the files for this commission are in my Dropbox folder!
Now, I know it goes without saying that I generally talk about spoilers, but let me warn you now: THIS IS A SPOILER-FILLED REVIEW. If you have not played this game and it sounds remotely interesting to you, STOP READING THIS REVIEW AND GO PLAY IT. It’s on Steam for just $5! (The free version appears to be broken, unfortunately.) This game is best played unspoiled, especially the ending, so please go play it if you think you’ll like it. Spoiler: YOU’RE GOING TO LOVE IT.
All Moiz told me about this game was that it was a “platformer similar to Mario Bros.” Which is very accurate. The first level is basically an adorable and shortened version of Mario Bros. THAT’S HOW THIS GAME SUCKS YOU IN, AND THEN IT DESTROYS YOU.
I think the main character is a maple leaf? IDK. I like to imagine he travels through this fucked up world with his sense of Canadian pride or something. But for the first couple levels, this is the same as those old side-scrolling games from the 80s and early 90s. You jump on bad guys, hope over caverns, collect gems. Some of those gems seemed really hard to get, and then there are all these weird cloud platforms that you can’t jump on and it made me really mad? How the fuck are you supposed to get those gems?
And then I discovered the portal.
At certain spots in certain levels, if you press the Space bar, you’ll see a charcoal-colored circle blink. If you stand it in, the background changes, like it did in the screenshot above. Not only that, but the physical make-up of the world is altered. Suddenly, the clouds are solid! Some of the enemy forces turn to stone! Oh my god, PARALLEL WORLDS IN A SIDESCROLLING PLATFORMER!!! I am so into this, I AM SO INTO THIS!
MAN LOOK AT THIS. IT’S GREAT. Except it’s not because around World 4, this becomes a fucking nightmare. Design-wise, it’s absolutely gorgeous, but then these GODDAMN HUGE RED HANDS come screeching out of all the gaps. You have to avoid them, and it’s the worst. On top of that, the game stops telling you where the portals are so you can change the world. By the end of the game, there are seven different parallel worlds, and each one provides a different alteration of the physical world, so you’ve got to keep track of which world does which thing.
By the way, good fucking luck with the level in the above screenshot. It took me 15 minutes to find the portal, and even when I did, the terror presented after this added another ten minutes to my completion time of world 5. The best part? Moiz totally told me that this game would take about a half an hour. Which I’m sure it does FOR ANY NORMAL VIDEO GAME PLAYER. I get easily frustrated and make bad decisions, which is entertaining for everyone who isn’t me. This game took me TWO HOURS TO BEAT. Also, it was worth every second of it.
See, that’s because then this happens:
WHAT THE FUCK!!!!
A wave of literal blood begins to pour forth from the left side of the screen, and now you don’t have an unlimited time to figure out the puzzle before you. You have five seconds at best to navigate what’s ahead of you, which at times gets so complex that the only way to solve it is to memorize exactly where you need to go.
Oh my god, it’s so fucking hard. Which is why it’s great when you finally reach the princess!
I DID IT! OH MY GOD, I DID IT! I FOUND MY PRINCESS!
But… but… what? What the hell just happened to her????
OH MY FUCKING GOD, DID SHE JUST… DID THAT JUST HAPPEN???
Eversion. Holy shit, you tricked me into rescuing the princess, who was some LOVECRAFTIAN HORROR THE WHOLE TIME.
A+, y’all. What a fantastic game.
Mark Links Stuff
– I have been nominated for a Hugo in the Fan Writer category! If you’d like more information or to direct friends/family to vote for me, I have a very informational post about what I do that you can pass along and link folks to!
– I have announced what the next books I am reading on Mark Reads will be, as well as updated y’all on the events, cons, tour dates, GOING TO EUROPE OH MY GOD, and general shenaniganry going on in my life. I have a similar post up on Mark Watches, detailing the next two shows I’m doing as well as the return of Double Features, and I finally explain what happened with my Vimeo account. Check these posts out!
– If you live in the San Francisco Bay Area, I am doing a live reading/Mark Does Stuff event at Borderlands Books on April 21st at 5pm. Come on out! I’ll have copies of my latest book to purchase and sign.
– Mark Reads Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows is now published and available for purchase! It’s available in ebook AND physical book format, and you can also get a discount for buying the ENTIRE SET of digital books: $25 for 7 BOOKS!!!
– Video commissions are open, and you can commission a Mark Reads/Watches video for just $25!