By Guy Rainey / March 6th, 2015
|Publisher||Reverb Triple XP|
|Release Date||February 23, 2015|
Trash TV is a short game. And I mean that it’s a really short game. My playthrough was only two hours long, and I replayed a couple segments. And, yet, I think this is a truly great game that everyone should play. Even though this is the developer’s first game, he’s really knocked it out of the park. And I’m going to tell you why.
The story is that an old tube TV has been thrown out after the previous owners lost the remote. Now, that TV has become sentient, and is off to find his remote. At least, I think that’s what the story is. It’s told in one brief holographic clip in the beginning. But it’s not like story is the major reason you’d be playing this game, but even still, I like it. If my interpretation is right, it’s a story about reclaiming your meaning in life after everyone else has cast you aside.
The gameplay is about solving puzzles through the tactical use of weapons. This is not a side-scrolling shooter. In fact, the first enemy you meet after getting your first gun is meant to show you the ineffectiveness of your weapon and the effectiveness of using your environment. There is only one puzzle about defeating enemies through combat, and that one is easily the weakest puzzle the game has to offer.
Instead, it’s more about figuring out how to proceed with the weapons you are given. A pistol can shoot out a box on the far side of the room. Explosives can make you jump higher. The bow arcs so that you can hit targets that you wouldn’t be able to otherwise. Puzzles are often very simple (many of the early puzzles involve moving boxes onto switches), meant to teach you about everything you can do with the weapons you’re given. I was only ever stuck once, and that’s because I hadn’t figured out that explosives could be used to make you jump higher.
Trash TV is broken up into eight levels. Each level lasts about fifteen minutes, so the levels do feel long enough. In each level, you’ll get a new weapon, and you’ll learn about that weapon through solving puzzles in that level. Each puzzle comes with its own check point, which makes it really easy to jump back into the puzzle you just failed at to try something new. This is the perfect system for a puzzle platformer. By the end, you’ll have a strong grasp on what every weapon does, and you’ll go into the final level ready to face any challenge the game throws at you. There really aren’t any boss battles, though.
The presentation is perfect. The forced 4:3 aspect ratio and TV-static loading screens really fit the theme that this is an old tube TV. The entire game take place in a recycling plant, so there’s not much in the way of variety, but each level has enough little differences that it never feels like you’re in the same place twice. The music isn’t memorable, but it is still perfect, since it fades into the background, giving you a chance to think about each puzzle put before you. The game is going to run well on any PC with its low system requirements. Though, oddly, it did shut down my antivirus. I assume this is some glitch that the developer didn’t have any reason to test.
So, you’ve heard me gush about Trash TV, but you may still wonder about the length. Yeah, two hours is really short. Plus, if you get through it with no problems, I can easily see that play time knocked down to an hour and a half. But there is no filler in this game. Almost every second is perfectly crafted. If you were the type of person to think that Portal was fully worth its $20 asking price, you should buy this game right now. As for everyone else, you’ll have to decide for yourself what that’s worth, but I promise you, once you start this game, you will not want to put it down. I recommend it wholeheartedly without reservation.
Review copy provided by the publisher
Lawrence RusselReverb Triple XPTrash TV