It’s okay that Red Ronin doesn’t feature a killer story, because the actual gameplay does exactly what it needs to, and it does it well. Will it be a memorable game? Probably not. But this kind of puzzle games scratches a particular itch and provides a enjoyable way to pass the time. It is only a shame that this isn’t a mobile game, where it would probably find a bigger audience.
So, here I am comparing Sir Lovelot to a game made eleven years ago. Had the developers made one or two slightly different decisions, Sir Lovelot would earn a place in my heart. Instead, I tore through the game in two hours – though this could be extended if you want to find all the hidden items and secrets. I felt deflated after every level. Like a jilted lover, Sir Lovelot did not perform.
This is where SOLAS 128 falls down: it doesn’t ever really feel intuitive. It fails to point you in the right direction in the opening moments – a brief explanation of what each button does would go a long way. The vague ‘story’ also lets the whole experience down somewhat; had it been more fleshed out, it would elevate the mechanics.
The issue is only being able to play for short bursts because your eyes hurt. Or because you’re sick of reaching over to the mouse to select a new game mode, even though your controller worked on the main screen. With friends, in short bursts, Kinetic Edge can be fun. But for the most part, it feels like rolling a ball uphill, rather than down: awkward and difficult.
Ultimately, we’re left with a game that doesn’t appear to know exactly what it wants to be. Without the platforming, Blue Fire might have been a Souls-like adventure game. Without the combat, it would excel at precision platforming. But with both aspects in the mix, it doesn’t quite stick the landing of either.
Lonely Mountains is far from lonely, it rekindles a feeling of childhood. Of meeting with friends and exploring the woods, daring each other to take jumps or freewheel through water. It’s a game about being alone, by being at one with nature and the bike beneath you.
So, as the closing moments began to tick away I felt that sadness akin to the fading of a memory; the running of a chalk drawing on a London street. It’s not just the comparison of water moving colours, but with the sense of something special happening. Something magical. GRIS captures imagination, the beauty of movement and the lustre of a sumptuous piece of art, all the while letting the player interact with it, making us feel both insignificant and yet ever more important.
All of this makes Horizon Chase Turbo a bit of a frustrating experience. Where it excels is in ideas and concepts, yet it falters on the basic function of exciting racing. It looks and sounds good but lacks any memorable locations or tracks and it straddles an odd balance between pure arcade racer and pseudo-simulation, with its use of refuelling and permanent upgrades.