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Review: Platformines


Marcus Estrada

Developer: Magiko Games

Publisher: Namco Bandai Games

Platform: PC (Steam)

Release Date: March 28, 2014

ESRB: N/R (T suggested)

 

 

Platforming is one of those genres that is just never going to die. Even when most big budget games pursue realism, guns, and cinematic presentations, there are always going to be fun new platformers on the scene. Case in point, Platformines has brought yet another 2D platforming game to PC. At first glance this might seem like a title to overlook, but nothing else in Steam“s marketplace plays quite like it.

 

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In Platformines, the overarching goal is to repair a spaceship. For whatever reason, all the tools you require are scattered across a massive map. You“ve got to go out and recover them one at a time, and do so by exploring a massive randomly-generated landscape. Because the game is crawling with enemies, you“ve also got to mow down everything in your path along the way. Areas closest to your base have wimpy enemies and they grow tougher the further you venture away from home.

 

There are tons of guns to collect and buy along your journey and they come in four types: Pistol, machine gun, shotgun, and bazooka. Sometimes enemies will drop various weapons and so you“ll do well by always nabbing them. If the newly-acquired weapon has stats lower than your own they can always be sold to the shopkeeper. If, on the other hand, you“re in desperate need of an upgrade then she“ll sell you weapons (or character upgrades) instead.

 

The player can upgrade their energy belt which is this game“s way of showing your health. Along your trek through windy caves, you“ll often come across glowing minerals. These can serve as either energy or as a way to make extra money from the shopkeeper. Using them as energy will restore health, although each type grants a specific amount back. The mechanic works well for most of the experience, although once you get near the end, even a fully-upgraded belt isn“t enough.

 

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With a need to collect goodies, there“s also the ability to upgrade backpack space. It isn“t as pressing an upgrade, though, as there are copious amounts of warp portals around so you can quickly pawn off items. Sometimes enemies drop masks, hats, and hair which all serve as temporary upgrades. One wig might offer an additional jump (you have five “double jumps” by default). Others increase reload time or power of specific gun types.

 

Kicking butt is what Platformines is all about and it definitely succeeds at this goal. Once you“ve got a few good weapons and have a handle on the controls, you can tear up enemies along your path with ease. Of course, certain areas grow tougher, but they prove to be a worthy challenge. Only by the end does it feel like the game has cranked the difficulty up too high. It“s a shame because, up to that point, it felt like a very fun, challenging game rather than an unfairly challenging one.

 

One unusual thing to note is that there are no boss encounters or otherwise really special enemies. Instead, you“ll see about a dozen or so types that reappear in different color combinations and weapon loadouts during the journey. Still, the enemies are varied nicely with humans as well as creepy cube monsters.

 

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Beyond collecting parts to repair your ship, there are also random treasure chests scattered all over the map. Grabbing these is something you“ll do most often while on the path of a necessary item. They have a bright hue that helps you pinpoint them when near, although there might be spikes and saws that require careful dodging to reach one. Although required items aren't typically as well guarded, just getting to them can be a pain. The sprawling caves do connect, but often only via specific paths which means sometimes you end up encountering dead ends for quite a while before finally getting on the right path.

 

Despite these issues, Platformines is still a heck of a lot of fun. Over the course of playing it, I intended to play for only an hour at a time and ended up playing for multiple in one sitting. Theoretically, you could probably even beat it in a day if you had 7 hours to spare and your hands don“t cramp up. The vast majority of playtime is fun thanks to its gigantic environment and tons of collectable loot. Platformines is highly recommended for players who have an itch to explore alongside blasting enemies to bits.

 


Pros:

 

+ Fast platforming meshes well with shooting gameplay

+ Simply enormous map just begging to be fully explored

+ Loads of loot to collect on your way

 

Cons:

 

- Unexpectedly intense difficulty spike near the end of the game

- Not enough upgrades to keep pace with said increasing difficulty

- Randomly generated caves lead to many dead ends

 


Overall Score: 7 (out of 10)

Good

 

Platformines excels at being both an enjoyable 2D platformer and shooter as long as you don“t mind a few hiccups along the way.

 

Disclosure: This game was reviewed using downloadable code provided by the developer.

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