Developer 1: “So I think we’ve finally finished the Tutorial mission, sir.”
Manager: “Wow! It looks great, but… How long does it take to complete?”
Developer 2: “Only 15 hours or so, sir?”
Manager: “What!? That’s nowhere near long enough… Throw in a couple of save points, a mini boss battle and a task that means you have to trudge back and forth across the whole level a couple of times – you need to be aiming for at least 2 days!”
Developer 1: “Yes sir, sorry sir.”
Developer 2: (smugly) “Told you!”
I’m not saying modern games are rubbish, or dumbed-down to the point my Auntie can play them (she sure loves murdering those hookers in Vice City – Ed) but there are definitely a few trends, no doubt brought in by Marketing Departments, Business Analytics and Social Meeeeeedjaaaa that I, personally, could do without, i.e.: Freemium, DLC, Sharing every high score on Facebook, App Updates every ten minutes etc.
Achievements, by Sqij Tower’s very own Chris Young, makes fun of another now-familiar experience in modern gaming where we’re presented with an award every five minutes for anything and everything from simply finishing Level 3, to running around in a circle until the NPCs get dizzy and fall over in an amusing fashion!
In fact, no sooner than the game finishes loading, I score my first achievement! Game Loaded. Well done me!
The game itself* is a sort of Rogue-a-like-affair, a bit like last year’s Hobohemia, but not as pretty looking. I start off by selecting and naming my Elf character – for which, naturally, I am congratulated. (Good job, player 1! – Ed)
Next I find myself in Kent, on the 20th March 2015, unable to see much of anything and unsure of what exactly I’m supposed to be doing. In fact, before I even make out the flickering UDGs, I am set upon by a chuffing great dragon! Achievement Unlocked!
Personally I favour whacking things with a big sword, rather than doing card tricks, but on this occasion I decide to try my hand at some magic. Achievement Unlocked!
A few spells and the odd whack later and the dragon is slain (Achievement Unlocked!) I return to the fog and venture a guess at QAOP to move my little stick-Elf – which works and I’m instantly rewarded for my ingenuity.
I can also – just about – make out a flickering yellow trophy so I head towards it and start racking up even more movement-based awards.
Looking at the code I think collecting the ‘trophy’ should “Levv” me up (and, for which, I should receive another achievement.)
Unfortunately I never make it as I’m persistently attacked by wizards, kobolds(?) and more dragons and inevitably, with my stamina depleted, I die… Achievement Unlocked!
All in all a biting satire of modern gaming ruined ever-so-slightly by Chris accidentally including a more-or-less playable game where he could easily have got away without one.
There are 29 Achievements to collect in total and I urge you to seek them all out – if you’d paid upwards of £50 for this game it’s only natural you’d need to justify the cost by wringing out every possible mundane second from it!
Trivia: Chris originally intended to include a 30th Achievement – for BREAKing into the BASIC code and reading them all from the DATA statements starting at LINE 9019 – but couldn’t figure out how.
Score: 9 of 50. Only 6 to go until your first medal!
Achievement Unlocked! Review Finished.