Posted by Guest, Apr 18, 2008 08:42
Gish is a game of simple principals, but impeccable execution. You can tell a lot of effort has been put into this game from the moment the loading begins, with little movie parodies popping up to allow a small giggle before getting into the meat of it. Our little ball of movable road surface has become trapped. He must free himself by navigating his way through over 34 progressively tougher levels to win back his freedom and save… ummm…. himself.
Graphically, Gish is rather pleasing to the eye. It has a funky cartoon edge to it, much the same way as Alien Hominid did, with some beautiful animations and subtle blasts of colour to liven up the surroundings. What really strikes you when playing it are the little touches; that minute attention to detail that really brings the game to life. If you destroy a bit of wall, the light just manages to shine through the resulting gap. Shadows move and dance like a ballet lead as if they were meant to be alive. It just has such a major application of care, you’d be hard pushed not to be amazed at it.
The audio side of things isn’t too shabby either. The sound effects are decent and in some cases raise a dry smile, especially when you hear the monster’s growl for the first time via a man and a microphone. The music is really rather catchy and changes often enough to keep you bouncing along (well, as best as tar can I imagine), with my own personal favourite being the mixture between rock and Russian Cossack melodies.
So the eyes and ears are catered for, it’s just the brain that needs a bit of a pampering; and this is where Gish really does come into its own. The levels are of a decent length and like most platformers, have their fair share of secret areas and extra lives - but it’s the little extras that most impress you. The dynamic physics of not just with the main character, but also to some of the destructible scenery, as well as the lighting, is really impressive.
The way the game is laid out shows some characteristics from classic games of the genre like Mario and Sonic, with secret areas visible on screen, but their entrance and exit points hidden, leaving the player with a niggling feeling of wanting to find access to the secret stash of coins.
Control wise, Gish gives you a simple to use, hard to master method of movement and ability. Concentrated button presses can determine your jumping height. Adding to this the ability to slide through tight areas, like Loco Roco, or grabbing, Spiderman style, to vertical surfaces make this ball of tar a very manoeuvrable character. In most cases this works well, but there will be the occasional moment where annoyance begins to linger in the background when you fail to reach or cling to the desired platform, but thankfully these little anger bursts quickly dissipate.
The best thing about Gish is the sheer amount of extras on offer. There’s not just a level editor, but a campaign one as well, which makes it easier to create your own mini-stories and distribute them accordingly. The custom levels already included are well thought out, and there are great little mini-games like American Football and competitive coin collection. With the ability for players to create more, this gives the game such an open end that you’ll never feel short-changed.
These little add-ons represent the only real multiplayer Gish has to offer, but this isn’t exactly a bad thing. People forget we did live in a time before internet when mass gaming consisted of a few joysticks and a split screen. Sometimes it’s good to go back to those enmryonic days.
As a complete package, Gish ticks all the major boxes for what a player could ever need. Lush graphics, addictive music, clever gameplay and some fiendishly simple multiplayer games. When you take into account the price factor of only $8 - $10 (£4 - £5), it makes even more sense to buy it. Most Xbox Live games are around 800 points, which is a tad more expensive, making Cryptic Sea’s acclaimed title fully justified in its success. A sequel is in the making as we speak, and it’s all because of this slick and polished original.
What this game also does is show Steem’s generous side, by allowing those a little bit lower on the gaming food chain the chance to shine amongst the big boys. It’s good to see because 9 times out of 10, as is the case here, their love of the trade far outshines what some major commercial releases give you. Cryptic Sea’s labour of love doesn’t deserve to drown under all the other titles available on the downloadable service and should be purchased if you still respect good quality programming. Roll on the sequel.
Keep an eye out for our exclusive interview with Gish’s creators - coming soon!
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