May. 29th, 2017

kjorteo: Screenshot from Daedalian Opus, of a solved puzzle with the text "GOOD" displayed on underneath it. (GOOD)
This one was next in line in the "smartphone game to poke at while waiting for the bus" slot after Solar 2 finally fell. It didn't torment me for nearly as long, but it was a good solid romp while it lasted.

Splice is a puzzle game based on binary trees and cell division. You have a starting shape, an outline of a target finished shape, and X moves to get there from here. Later levels introduce cells that split/extend/disappear/etc. as a special power when you poke the cell in the center (which critically does not cost a move to do.) There are seven "sequences" of seven levels each, then you get a credit sequence, then four more "Epilogue" sequences with the truly brain-breaking ones.

First off, this game has an amazing soundtrack. It has a very strong and clear acoustic piano motif throughout, but within that framework it takes you to so many different moods along the way. Note the theme to the last sequence in the main game, which really does have a sort of "last level, this is it, invading Dr. Wily's fortress now, everything has led up to this decisive final battle" feel to it despite remaining a pure acoustic piano piece like all the rest. The last Epilogue sequence has a good feeling of finality to it as well, at least when it gets to the... chorus? Is that what it's still called in an instrumental piano piece? Refrain? Big main part?

As far as the actual gameplay, the basic premise works fine once you get used to how it works, though it was easy to get overwhelmed in some of the Epilogue levels where the shapes get a bit too complex for me to follow in my head. At that point, I tended to rely on accidentally surprising myself by just throwing a piece somewhere out of desperation and... oh... hey... that... actually almost lines up? Huh. (And if it doesn't, Epilogue sequences 3 and 4 are where I finally started to use hints with more regularity. Not all the levels in either, mind, but a good few.) I want to call this a complaint, and say maybe this game was about one or two Epilogue sequences too long and some of those final puzzles are a bit much, but... well, I'm kind of hesitant to play the "this game is bullshit" card just because I personally couldn't keep up. Especially because it was great until then! So maybe that one's just me.

No, if I have to lodge any actual complaint, it's that the menu is rather clunky to navigate. See the end of the gameplay trailer, where it sort of zooms back out past all the old levels counting all the way back down to the Splice logo? That's how you exit the game. The "Back" button brings you back one sequence, so keep pressing it to count all the way down until you're back to the logo. Back again on that brings up a "Terminate? Y/N" prompt, but Back again on that cancels the prompt and returns you to the Splice logo. So, basically, you have to spam Back until you get to the logo, then carefully hit it one more time and select Y at the prompt to exit. That's... there had to have been a better way to do that, guys. Come on.

Also, I don't know if it was just me, but my phone could barely handle the credit sequence after finishing the main game for whatever reason. Like, it ran at about one frame every 1-2 seconds. Still, it looked like it was just a scroll through all the puzzles you'd completed, and the music still worked fine, so whatever. It didn't crash and my progress counted so I'm good.
kjorteo: Scan from an old Super Mario Bros. comic, of King Koopa facing the camera and looking at his wits' end. (Koopa: Fed up)
Because apparently people are actually using Dreamwidth now that we're all here. And I'm a writer. And I have a couple situations where the word I always use for them is wrong, but these are situations that come up a lot and it'd be really nice to have a word for them. Maybe you can help!

1) Basically the mood of this icon. Been dealing with too much for too long, at wits' end. The full context of the panel this crop is from: King Koopa and Lemmy are having a "Are you sure you know where this water main is?" conversation, the exact dialogue is responding to the previous panel's assurances with "You said that the last ten times!" (Lemmy in the background: "But since I've blown away all the other sections, this has to be it! I'll use four bombs on this one!") I originally entitled this icon "Exasperation" but later found that implies more annoyance and irritation over whatever they'll apparently never stop having to deal with, whereas I'm looking for more of a vague stressed "oh God" reaction.

2) My Splice post reminded me of this, because its later levels definitely induced it in me and that was one of the problems I had with that game. Is there a word for when there's just too much to process on the screen at once and you get overwhelmed? Think Tohou-style bullet hell games or those impossibly fast endgame DDR songs. "I can't play that game; once it get to the point where there were hundreds of arrows on the screen I just get _____ and kind of go o_o and my brain shuts down." I'm used to saying snow-blind but that's clearly wrong. Other metaphors/references like that welcome, if there's a good one.

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kjorteo: Pixel-style portrait of Celine's face (Default)
Celine Kalante Love

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