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12/25/2014

The major problem with Game Boy platformers, illustrated

A part of a map from Shantae:


The red rectangle is a rough estimate of your viewpoint at any given time.  While dealing with that, you're constantly contending with enemies just offscreen, instant death pits that send you back to the beginning of the area (which takes a good five minutes to traverse if you hurry) and terrain that all looks very similar, making it difficult to gauge your exact position and know exactly what's beneath you when you fall.  So your only option is to take it very, very slow and diligent, which wears on your nerves when you just want to get to the next part of the game...

This problem is only magnified in games like Mega Man Zero, where you're told to get through a stage and defeat bosses in large rooms with that same limited viewpoint and you're actively penalized for dying and taking damage; doing so causes you to lose out on skills you cannot get any other way.  You're going to be resetting an awful lot since you're essentially flying blind through an obstacle course...

In conclusion: Very low resolution + large sprites + platformer with large levels and/or speed-based gameplay = Much frustration.