Reviews// Concursion

Posted 13 Jun 2014 11:42 by
Continuing on from the shooter from hell we move on to the hack-n-slash game that is clearly inspired by Shinobi. Once the player enters this realm they become armed with a sword and can suddenly wall climb and attack enemies using their dirty great glinting blade.

This had to be my favourite game mode of the five available as, while it was difficult to play, it was at least fair. So much so that I wished I had the sword and wall climbing ability in the platformer mode, as that would have made it slightly more bearable than it is.

The fourth mode is the Joust and Jetpac-inspired mini-game. This forces the player to use a jetpack to provide any form of movement and with its loose and imprecise controls often leads to the player colliding into a piece of scenery that causes instant death. Oh, what fun...

The fifth and final mode is like Pac-Man or Trans-Am - players enter a maze and must pick up little tokens while being chased down by enemies. In keeping with the stupidly difficult mode of play, these enemies all seem to have an uncanny knack for trapping you into a corner of the maze, leading to yet more gnashing of teeth and sighs of frustration. All of this seems to ensure Concursion sets out to beat the player about the face as they experience it.

Not content with unfair mini-games, developer Puuba has also included boss fights that must be completed in order for the player to progress to the next chapter of the game. Again these are quite excruciatingly difficult to complete and do much to force the player to grind away yet more enamel from what's left of their teeth.

These modes of play are transitioned through fluidly via a bubble or a wall within Concursion, and it's not uncommon for the player to drift through all five types in quick succession.

This leads to some very frenetic play sessions as the player has to grapple with these different modes rapidly in order to succeed. I actually enjoyed this aspect of Concursion as it allowed me to interact with the various zones to my advantage by using the physics of one realm to ease my traversal to another.

Visually Concursion straddles the era of video games it draws inspiration from and current games made in Flash. The 2D sprites are colourful and large but they are not particularly well animated. This adds to the difficulty of Concursion as it makes it hard to discern the collision box that the sprites are bound by, making the tight timing requirements even more frustrating.

The music score has been composed by Christopher Hoag, the same man who made the sound track to House MD. The talent of this musician is very self-evident in Concursion as the score is very impressive. It reflects each of the five game modes and, while having the same tune, each has its own arrangement. As I played Concursion I started to recognise each zone by its score before I managed to see it approach in some occasions.

Concursion appears to be attempting to follow the trend of games being ultra difficult, probably in the wake of titles like Super Meat Boy and Dark Souls. The major difference between those games and Concursion is that, while very difficult, they are also fair. Concursion is not in any way fair and elects instead to resurrect a type of gaming that was left behind over 20 years ago for good reason. Paying tribute to the past is fine, but not at the expense of a game's entertainment value.

Pros:

+ Terrific sound track
+ Innovative mode of play

Cons:

- Frustratingly difficult
- Loose and imprecise controls
- Average visuals

SPOnG Score: 2/5
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