Bringing Home Originality, But Nothing Much Else...
By Bras R Us
For starters, I have to say the graphics are still good, but at the same time, maybe they could be changed a bit to differentiate itself a bit more from Love You To Bits. Remember that game; I’m going to be comparing this game to that a lot.
I guess I should get this out of the way first; yes, it is still cute and charming in its own way. I love the fact that the level itself changes by you swiping to suit your fancy, and I do love all the original and creative ways you can fail by setting up a path in so many different ways. I can tell they marketed this game to be made for the purpose of seeing all the unique animations they have for each level and its failures. Also, I’ll try not to spoil too much, but I do think this game has a better ending than Love You To Bits, at least if you get your pet; it actually shows the main character’s personality a bit and it’s honestly very charming. Also the music is great; I really wish they released their soundtrack for iTunes.
But I’m saying all of this just to warm it up before I say this; I think this game is actually a bit disappointing. Mind you, if this is your first game you played that game from Alike Studio, or if you want to spend a bit of money on a quality game than this game won’t do you wrong in any way. It will still be a nice, fun, cute adventure. However, considering they made Love You To Bits, a game that I unironically consider to be one of the best GOTY’s last year, this is a major step down. (As the final update and android version of the game launched last year, I’m counting it as such.)
Personally I found the relationship between Polo, the main character, and his pet to not be as deep or as interesting as Kosmo And Nova. We just see Polo playing ball with his alien pet, than night falls and it gets petnapped, and Polo just sort of just goes to get it back. He doesn’t stop by to check out the scenery or anything; he’s just in one portal and out another, only stopping if the environment forces him to stop and pay attention to his surroundings, like the room where he was about to drown in (which was surprisingly dark and intense not gonna lie, but that was a good thing) or the alien spaceship where he had to stop some incoming meteors from hitting the ship.
Compare this to Kosmo And Nova, who had their first character interaction had Nova using Kosmo as a hostage, pointing a gun to his head to force him to drive a getaway spaceship, with Kosmo having heart eyes with doing so. Or Nova’s first instinct when getting a flashlight that could expand things was to get a mischievous smirk on her face and size up her own lizard/chameleon pet and ride them like a wild bull. Or Kosmo’s first instinct after losing a game being to rage quit. What I’m saying is that Polo and his pet doesn’t have that much personality as Kosmo or Nova to make me wish they would get back together. Even the shockingly little secrets they had in comparison to Love You To Bits didn’t reveal much of Polo; just that he could sing, loves catching fireflies and loves his pet. Granted it’s not the worst game that handles rewards poorly, but considering that Love You To Bits has rewards for finding secrets essentially being that you get to see a short clip of Kosmo and Nova interacting with the item you gained, the photos feel rather underdeveloped (pun unintended).
Despite these intense situations, a good quarter, or even half of the obstacles and failures that occurred had me saying “Ouch, that must sting, but you can still keep going” or “STOP AND TURN AROUND”. Maybe the next game could have both this level of gameplay interaction as well as the original point and click adventure? Who knows if that could work. Personally, my favorite level was the one with you having to get a polar bear back to his mother. That one had Polo show a more soft sensitive side that made sense considering his own pet.
Overall, while I can’t say I didn’t have fun, I still feel a bit robbed. There’s nothing here that would make me not want to recommend it to new players or Love You To Bits fans that want a new game, but Love You To Bits still holds supreme in my eyes. My biggest problem with this new game going in was “is it going to be as similar as Love You To Bits”, and gameplay wise it wasn’t, but overall, it was not as good, so, I guess my fear wasn’t granted objectively speaking. Think I just got a case of the Monkey Paw. Well, I may be inviting that curse to happen again, but I was hesitant about the idea of “Love You To Bits” continuing; I thought the ended was fine enough, but maybe a sequel game could work with the gameplay style taking form of something like “monument mountain 2”, where you control both Kosmo and Nova to put a stop to Dr. Eros’ plans, could work out. I’m still optimistic about Alike Studio’s future, but I am also watching with concern.