By Phil Schipper / February 25th, 2015
|Developer||Titan Forged Games|
|Publisher||The Game Wall|
|Release Date||December 15, 2014|
When we did our Readers’ Vote for the 2014 Game of the Year, many viewers were surprised to see Slinki as one of the top finalists. Few people had heard of the game, after all, and we had, in fact, never covered it before. So, we set out to rectify that situation.
I’ve been told that Slinki is about a mutated rabbit whose amputated arm has been replaced with a sort of grappling boomerang tool. Said rabbit is supposedly on a quest to find out why his forest home has suddenly been turned into a mutant wasteland. However, there is not much evidence for this story in the game itself. There are no scenes in the game and very little text beyond the splash screen.
As your one weapon in this sidescrolling platformer, the boomerang launches to the point you click, within range, and then comes back. Simple, right? If you press the jump button during this, though, you’ll be launched directly towards it, at a speed that depends on the distance. You can only do this once without landing, but you can use it while falling or doing an ordinary jump.
Thus, you have sort of an unconventional double jump, with a lot of control at the cost of an extra step. At first, the launch will feel like a nice quick way to speed through normal platforming areas, and then it will become necessary. Before too long, you’ll realize that just about every platform is so far away that you have to do one of these double jumps to get to it. Because this segment has little urgency and is just about aiming your jumps to avoid falling, it feels pretty tedious for a while there, and I must say that that goes on for a bit too long for my liking.
After that, though, you’ll face moving or collapsing platforms, spiked walls and other threats. The faster pace feels good, because now you’re grappling around to save your life, not just to cross yet another big gap. Although this greater challenge is extremely rage-inducing, in my opinion it’s still better to be frustrated than bored.
Of course, I’ve only talked about jumping so far, but I did refer to that boomerang as a weapon. It’s your only defense against a variety of mutant creatures. Beyond the ordinary, ground-crawling type, each one has a unique way of dealing with you. My favorite is the bear creature that quickly chugs a large jar of liquid and then throws it at you–the only way to damage it is by hitting the jar while it’s still drinking. None of the enemies do too much damage to you, but they do get in your way and can easily knock you off platforms, so they’re worth paying attention to.
Graphically, this game is quite nice. Most of its lighting comes from a few bright neon objects in the environment. There are a few areas, though, where this is replaced with a more grey, uniform lighting that highlights the more mechanical emphasis. The music, meanwhile, is so understated that you can forget it’s there — until you die, upon which the game emphasizes the moment by cutting off the music abruptly.
Have I mentioned that this game is hard? Slinki doesn’t allow you the luxury of powerups, and extra lives are only found very sparingly. Checkpoints aren’t that far apart, but when you die two or three times on the same challenge and get a game over, it’s back to the beginning of that level.
The only indication of progress in the game is that there are levels in the first place. Each one is a good 5-10 minutes long, even if you do well. However, none of the levels are named or numbered, and, without bosses, it sometimes feels like you’re not making any progress at all even when you do finally make it to the end of a level. Again, no story here, so, although it is often a grueling process to get further in this game, it just feels like you never get rewarded for doing so.
Though there is the occasional spot that allows you to choose a different path through part of a level, and you are timed and scored for how you do in each level, it, again, does not feel quite rewarding enough to make me want to try a level again, since there’s really no record of how well you do. I preferred to slog through it for the 10 hours it took me and be done (though that time is quite dependent on how much dying I did along the way).
But, if you feel that the challenge makes the game and that conquering it is its own reward, Slinki might be right for you. Obviously I’m just one reviewer, and a high number of voters liked it. If you trust that, you can head to its Desura page to get the demo or buy the full game for only $2.99 USD. You can also vote for it on Steam Greenlight.
Review copy supplied by the publisher.
PCplatformerSlinkititan forged games