“That Beautiful Blend of Punishing Platforming and Pristine Pixel-Art.”
An XboxHornet review by WDesm.
Magiko Gaming hasn’t released a ton of titles on XBLIG, but what they have released has been well received and well supported post-release, which is a great experience for both players (who feel that they are supporting an engaged and responsive dev crew) and developers (who get constant feedback, positive press, and draw new players in as the quality goes higher still). The PLATFORMANCE series is their flagship series, and with entry #2 in the series a few days old, I can tell you that this dev team is worth following, the PLATFORMANCE series is worth following, and the game is most definitely worth playing.
PLATFORMANCE games are all about surviving an epically large maze of traps and hazards. With demands on your reflexes similar to the Super Meat Boy / Aban Hawkins & the 1000 Spikes / Ms. Splosion Man / N+ styles of games, you must move through a winding labrynth, restarting at nearby checkpoints with each inevitable death. Temple Death expands on the traps introduced in Castle Pain, with innovations both small (projectiles that accelerate, which switches up your jumping patterns) and large (interactive keys and switches that control door and platform orientation), while also maintaining the charm that made the original so wonderful.
Temple Death features gorgeous artwork and suitably cheery music, with hazards being well visualized on the screen. The game features three different levels of zoom, and while the largest view size is primarily for aesthetics, it serves to show just how beautiful well done pixel art can be.
Through the menus, Temple Death features a handful more features than Castle Pain: Directly from day 1, both local and online leaderboards have been included (for each of the three difficulties), while Awards challenge players to tackle all difficulty levels with finesse and Flopwards shame players who fall into some embarassing pitfalls. It’s a shame that notices these don’t have any in-game ramification (even something simple, such as having the gun glitter golden upon receiving all awards, or the hero gaining a funny hat for his Flopwards, would have some meaning tied to the titles), but for those completionists out there, a brutal platforming game with online leaderboards and intense challenges is most definitely incentive enough to perfect their game.
In the way of faults, Temple Death has few, if any, but the most obvious criticism is not what it has, but what it doesn’t have. Despite requiring immaculate platforming skills, all of the inputs in Temple Death are digital (not analog), which means that players cannot control the speed of their movement nor the height of their jump. In terms of longevity for the average gamer, Temple Death may suffer a similar fate to that of Castle Pain : With little (realistic) hope of attaining a no-death Hardcore run, I began to yearn for something else to grasp my attention, and with no multiplayer (would split-screen races have been so hard??) or map variability (I still maintain that PLATFORMANCE maps would lend themselves most excellently to backwards runs from the perspective of the princess), it’s unlikely that I’ll come back to this game after it has run its gamut of fun.
Despite my shallow gripes about a few lacking features, I absolutely loved PLATFORMANCE: Castle Pain, and I equally adore PLATFORMANCE: Temple Death. With all the features (and more) of the original, and at the same great price, I see no reason NOT to pick this up. If Super Meat Boy made you scream with rage, prepare to smash your controller over this hardcore mode.
Game Score: 9/10.
Download a free demo of the game here.
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