Monday, June 20, 2016

Game Reviews: Sticky Blobs

(Warning: I get a little angry towards the bottom and say some potentially upsetting things. I actually toned it down when I realized how awful it sounded in light of recent events.)

Sticky [grawlix] Blobs is a game that starts out all right, but by the end of it I kind of wanted to KILL IT WITH FIRE.

And by the end I mean "upon ragequitting," not "upon finishing."

But perhaps I'm getting ahead of myself.

Sticky Blobs has some inane excuse plot that's about collecting berries to power some kind of reactor. You have to extend your blob chains and pare them away in order to get a blob into position to touch the berry. Complicating this is that your blobs stick to everything, they're squishy and wiggly, you can only make so many, and some things burst your blobs.

This is fine at first, but the further the game goes on, the more of a dealbreaker the "squishy and wiggly" part turns out to be.

When I first started playing this a while back, I thought perhaps it was just Chrome being terrible (Sticky Blobs is a high-processing power game and grinds Chrome to a halt). Upon trying again, I discovered that while switching to Firefox helped, some of the problems I'd been experiencing were just Sticky Blobs being terrible. Mainly, the number of times trying to click on a blob makes the blob tell you you're doing it wrong or causes the screen to jerk around because you missed the darned thing shifts the game from "mildly fun" to "completely exasperating."

I can't really demonstrate, but watch this video where someone-who is definitely a much better gamer than I am, or they wouldn't be doing walkthroughs-gets repeatedly stymied by the frickafrackerating crappy controls. There are places where you can just about hear the screaming.

Gah, at the precise moment I'm typing this I'm not anywhere near watching the video and it's still making me quiver with anger. I wasn't even playing these levels and I'm angry about them!

*deep breath*

Okay, better now.

It gets worse: In an effort to bring "personality" to the game, the programmer(s) added expressions and reactions and "helpful tips" to the blobs.

Sometimes this can make a game more charming; an unstated reason for my affection for StickyLinky is that the weird twitchy "creatures" from the game often weirded me out, made me feel sorry for them, or in a few cases were genuinely really cute. It really did add quite a bit of charm.

The blobs in this game, though... They're creepy (check out their leering at that berry). They have an obnoxious celebratory dance they do when they get the berry. They make a face that says "what a dumbass" when you click and the game decides that it doesn't like your click (see above about that happening a lot) and if you don't get the message, they'll give you more thorough reminders like they're explaining it to a baby. Eventually, even their general expression that's apparently vague curiosity towards the player starts coming across as "WTF are you doing, stupid?" while their friendly expression directed at the player makes me feel like I'm aiding the enemy.

It reached the point where the main satisfaction I was getting was killing the blobs wholesale.

And I'll tell you what, when what amounts to digital mass murder is the most enjoyable part of a puzzle game, there's something frigging wrong.

-Signing off.

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