Sunday, March 20, 2011

Daedalian Opus: wat?

On the internet, being positive just doesn't sell. I've been too pleased with the last few games I've written about, so I today I will write about a game I could not possibly like. Daedalian Opus is a 1990 Game Boy puzzle game made by Vic Tokai. Vic Tokai is company that made games from the late eighties to mid-nineties. They weren't terribly successful, but made a few games you may have heard of, though this is not one of them. For the NES they made the somewhat well known, but bad Golgo 13, and cult hit Clash at Demonhead. Other notable games were the just plain weird Decap-Attack for Genesis, and Shinobi Legions for Saturn, which was the one with the hilarious live-action cut-scenes.

My first issue with the game is obviously the name, which tells you absolutely nothing about the game. The Japanese title, which translates to Adventure! Puzzle Road is better, though calling it an adventure is a bit of a stretch. My biggest complaint is that it is a bad puzzle game on the Game Boy, which already has Tetris. Maybe they were trying to cash in on the popularity of that, but if that is the case, it learned nothing from what makes Tetris a good game. The sense of urgency and action is not there, just a timer that doesn't effect anything other than maybe your ego.

I don't think he's called Dr. P, he just misspelled derp.

Basically, the game is like a series of jigsaw puzzles without pictures. I'm sure there is a name for this type of “put different shaped blocks to fit in a rectangle” puzzle game, but who cares. It doesn't lend itself to the controls available on a Game Boy. It would work better if you had L and R buttons, but I guess it was 1990, so there wasn't much they could do about that. It is always important to design a game around the available control scheme (c'mon smartphone game developers, get your shit together), and this is not a case of that, but a case of a board game being shoehorned into a Game Boy.

Allow me to walk you through the experience of playing this game. At the title screen you try to begin the game by pressing A, but instead of starting the game you are shown an outline of the game's convoluted control scheme. You go back to the title screen and hit Start this time. An old man tells you you'll be going on an adventure or whatever, and you are dropped into the “overworld.” It's not so much an overworld as it is a straight line with the next level on it. You walk your character to the level, displaying the most awkward walk animation ever created. You solve the puzzle, and you are on to the next part of the overworld. You cross a bridge, get a new puzzle piece from a fairy, and for some reason a UFO flies overhead. You do this for apparently 36 puzzles, and then you can finally forget about this game forever, because even if you are into this sort of puzzle game, there is no reason to replay it, because the puzzles are static. I guess you might want to replay the puzzles to find alternate solution, but if you are that autistic you could probably make their own puzzles.

I know I said it would take a lot for me to hate on a two dollar game, so this must be a lot.  I would probably still hate this game if it cost me 99 cents, in spite of the fact that modern app store logic is that selling things for 99 cents will make a user forgive anything.  There you have it internet, is that enough hate for you?

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