SHORT REVIEW: PC VERSION
The Way was successfully funded via a Kickstarter campaign, citing inspiration from Another World, Heart of Darkness and Flashback. And introducing Pixel art, nostalgias best friend.
What a promising start to The Way. A sombre introduction with beautiful artwork. I’m looking forward to this.
Shall we compare the game and art direction to some other things? I like that. I’m sure you do too: –
- Ok, it’s like “Gods Will be Watching” meets 2D “Dreamweb”
- Or maybe “Chuckie Egg” meets “Custer’s Revengeance”
- How about “Another World” meets something with pixels.
You start the game proper and you quickly realise how piss poor the animation is compared to its inspiration. Flashback’s 20 years old and that smooth rotoscoped animation still holds up today. The Way’s animations are serviceable, but you try jumping onto a ladder. Ba-zing! The magic of shitty ladder teleportation.
Bloody hell the first area is a showcase in tedious puzzle design. It’s just so slow and dreary. The washed out grey hanger palette doesn’t help. The puzzles aren’t overly tricky to overcome, but I committed a terrible sin. As a test I stupidly tried the “wrong” option in a power overload puzzle just to see what happens. I was secretly hoping to electrify the main protagonist. What can I say, I’m a dreamer. I was punished by having to redo the entire puzzle again. I know, I know, I am a fool. I alt-tabbed out in anger, hoping to reset the puzzle, damn my flight of fancy. I nearly didn’t return.
It took a full 2 days, before rebooting The Way. No luck! I had to slog through the puzzle once again. My heart sank as I slowly went back and forth the initial area pushing fucking buttons. Crawl you scum, crawl! Wait for the red light. Now go. I felt the consent pressure of time with each ladder climb. Climb ya’ bastard.
Who the hell thought this was a fun introduction to the game? I’m looking forward to pissing off in that spacecraft.
Does the game improve?
We’ll you do get a gun. Free from the miserable hanger bays the game opens up to a lush paradise, it’s much better for it.
Control systems become vastly important when pixel perfect jumps and climbing comes into play. So why are the climbing animations so bloody stodgy and pernickety. Dropping down ledges is, somehow, a pain the arse. The good? I appreciate being able to kinda move in the air when jumping. That’s some sexy control modernisation.
Shooting wildlife’s fun. Shooting wildlife that respawns over and over again isn’t fun. Or far worse, immortal wildlife immune to laser bullets. Die dammit, die. Speaking of death, it’s an unhealthy state of affairs when it’s easier to die, than to go back to redo a puzzle.
Oh, continuing the theme of death, it’s fair to say that exciting moments stop being exciting after a fair few retries, you might even suggest it’s frustrating.
The Way encourages random acts of swearing.
I changed my mind several times about the art direction. I’m tempted to reuse the word serviceable again. That doesn’t quite fit. At times it’s a beautiful game, at other times grey and miserable. Enemy creature design is derivative and lazy. It’s like the scribble of a child’s nightmare. No wait, that sounds too good. Let’s try again. It’s like the scribble in a politician’s notepad, as he eats bland cornflakes with his loveless wife. Maybe the problem truly is, The Way does nothing special. The art direction is serviceable.
Does this game improve on it’s inspiration Another World / Flashback?
Would it appeal to a human craving a taste from that golden early 90’s platforming?
Superficially yes, it looks the part. For me, after playing for a while… No. I could boot up and replay the excellent 20th anniversary edition of Another World or any edition of Flashback. Both have tighter level design and infinitely more charm.
I don’t really want to return to the trail by error gameplay of the 90’s. Teeny-tiny pixel perfect jumps, tedious button puzzles and unavoidable deaths. I already did all that, I lived through that era. Yeah. Sure; it was good at the time, but that was over 20 years ago now.
If you’re going to channel the spirit of early 90’s rotoscoped platformers, you best bring something special to differentiate yourself from them, or update the design where necessary. This does nether and I can’t be arsed to slog through it. I am hungry for a spiritual successor to Flashback, but this isn’t it.
The Way does nothing to justify its existence. Bland Nostalgia Bait.
Still, if you backed it, I’m sure this is exactly what you wanted. It is a faithful recreation of that era and does exactly what it says on the box. No shame in that. You should fully disregard any sods opinion of it, online or otherwise. As a new game in 2016, Nah mate.
Moaning about the low score? A score guide appears!