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Review: Bernard & Hank
Ok, I'm afraid this goes against the opinion of most of the people here, but here I go. It's simply my opinion, and this review is meant to be contructive criticism.
PRESENTATION AND GRAPHICS:
"Beauty in simplicity" is a phrase that fits very well here. The presentation is smooth and professional, if not anything special, and the graphics are clean, crisp and simple. It's very retro, like NES with more colors and a fresh new touch. Simple but neat backgrounds that add to the atmosphere, and the parallax scrolling is a plus. There's never any doubt whether something is a platform or just backdrop. The animations are nice and fit in, although there are a bit too few of them. Not much more to say here.
SOUND AND MUSIC:
Still simple, but less beautiful. The sound effects sure reminds me of the *blip blip* from some older games, but they lack the feeling and originality of the best effects the square and noise channels on the NES gave us. When a bullet hits an enemy it doesn't feel like it, from a sound perspective. They are a bit dull. Not all, but most.
The music is also simple, and better than the sound effects, but still very repetitive and not interesting at all. Also it's a bit annoying to hear the same simple tune starting over again and again for 9 or so levels.
The sounds and music work, but they don't do much more than that.
This is where the game really fails. Already from the start the gameplay seems very thin. It's just collecting coins, avoiding the same enemies over and over, and jumping on the same platforms again and again. And there are so many levels that look basicly the same. You have to play through at least three almost identical levels before the level design gets remotely interesting, and even then, it's the same timed jumps between platforms, just with slightly increased difficulty. Don't get me wrong, I like timed jumps and such in platform games, but you can't build an entire game on it.
The controls/engine themself are nice and solid, but there's no real feeling of saisfaction in the events, like gunning down your enemies, and that part is also too repetitive. It starts to get a bit more interesting when the canned liberals appears, but then they are used over and over.
After a while, some of the levels have their moments, with nicely "hidden" places, which leaves room for some exploration, but where's the reward? You get some more coins to unlock some mini-game?
I would call the gameplay quite dull and uninspired. The too few elements are used too much on too many similar levels. It would be better to make a shorter game with more density in the levels. The game might be more interesting later on, I don't know, I only played two levels after the truck chase. But if that's the case, that's a big problem right there, with the whole first "world" being dull.
Repetition and uninteresting gameplay means not much lastability... for me, at least. I gave the game about two chances. The second time I got to 2-2 or something, as I said before, and then I lost interest entirely. The car chase was a nice addition to break the repetition, but I greatly prefer varied and more interesting core gameplay instead of "cool breaks" in a game like this. I mighty play it again, and try to get through it to see how it ends, but I can't make that a promise.
On the surface a very polished game with a really nice visual appeal, but it is as dull on the inside as it is neat on the outside. It simply lacks the depth to keep me interested through the whole game. This could, and would be a really cool game if more thought would've been put into coming up with interesting and innovative gameplay aspects, and if those elements were intertwined and used in a good way throughout a series of (maybe fewer?) levels. Still, just the esthetic parts of it deserves some creds. Definitely. It just doesn't make the game.
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