| | 02-10-2013, 01:50 PM #1
I was just browsing the game store when I came across Reminiscence, a new indie game released only a week ago by the publishers of Lomogram. It seems to have been developed by an Argentinian studio though, Maiax, whose website has a nice video showing the gameplay. It kind of reminds me of a cross between Terry Cavanagh's VVVVVVVVV and Braid, as well as the style of a developer called Nifflas whose games I like to play on PC.
Anyway, check out the trailer on the website here
MAIAX--VIDEO GAME STUDIO
And the game on the Windows store (with free trial) here
Reminiscence | Windows Phone Apps+Games Store (United States)
Here's thoughts after playing it almost half way through, as I realised the description above doesn't tell you much about the game!
You play a young woman trapped in a magic mirror world. A story involving a lover (a wizard) is told through text before and after each level and through cutscenes. The aim in each level is to get to a mirror at the end of the level, collecting mirror shards navigating obstacles and solving puzzles in the process.
Controlled by a D pad on the left and a jump button on the right, you can jump onto platforms containing shards and over obstacles such as spikes. You can also jump up walls if you keep tapping the jump button, reminiscent of Prince of Persia.
Then, after making you sure you're sitting comfortably, the game introduces more mechanics. Certain surfaces (distinguishable by smooth looking grey concrete) allow you to defy gravity, and you can run up walls and along ceilings. These are used sparingly, for points in the level where there are particularly deadly obstacles or some such. Later, locked doors are introduced which are unlocked by a coloured gem somewhere on the level. Introducing these elements and different kinds of obstacles helps keep gameplay fresh.
Later, gameplay is turned on its head even more and the game gets ridiculously good but also devilishly hard. You can turn your normal game world into a stark high contrast steampunk world of black and white (shards are coloured red). You can change to black and white world by finding a crack/portal in normal world. B&W world is basically the same level, but in B&W world you can do things you can't in normal world.
In B&W world, you get armour. This allows your character to walk across spike obstacles, though other things like lava, fiery balls and circular blades will still kill her and return you to the start of the level - or a checkpoint if you're lucky. Armour affects jumping in a cool way - you can perform a powerful double jump which allows her to jump higher or further. Armour also makes her stronger, and when the game introduces stone crates, she is able to move them.
In terms of game mechanics, this means the incorporation of additional puzzles which remind me of Portal and Half Life, where in order to overcome obstacles in normal world, you have to do something in B&W world which impacts normal world and allows you to progress through the level. A basic example is in normal world, you might need a crate to access a certain part of the level. But in normal world you're too weak. You switch to B&W world, move it then return to normal world, where you can jump onto the crate and access the area you couldn't before.
I'm now about half way through the game and the elements I describe above make for a really cool game that I strongly recommend if you are a fan of platform games, puzzle games and gaming as an artform. It's probably not for you if you prefer games like Flight Control which you can dip in and out of. The level design/game play/mechanics work very well which shows the game has been really well thought out and I'm quite taken aback by its quality - and lovely music - and the fact that it seems to have been developed exclusively for Windows Phone 7.
My criticism of the game is a single one - the save system isn't good. After completing certain levels I have booted up and found I cannot open the savegame. E.g. I completed up to level 11 but couldn't open level 11 and had to go all the way back to level 7 to resume the game. Some of the levels are tricky, frustrating to play but satisfying to beat, so losing progress has the potential to become really annoying. I think the developer might be aware of issues, as an update to it was released about a week after the game's release, but this hasn't solved this particular issue.
That caveat aside, this game is pretty awesome. Go check it out.