I absolutely despise cats. Annoying feline creases.
You like cats? Great, more power to you. Me, on the other hand? I’d rather have any other animal for a pet. Even one of those venomous spiders that give you a painful erection before you die (no, seriously, they exist). Even in video games, they’re Siamese shitheads, with the sole exception being Taokaka from the Blazblue series, adorable little heel that she is. Here’s A Walk In The Dark to further that sentiment.
Today’s furry fuck-up comes to us from Flying Turtle Games, a Portuguese team of 6 who have a relatively sparse library thus far. The team claim two Windows 7 games were made under their banner, and I couldn’t find them, but A Walk In The Dark is their first major project so far, with it being released on PC in 2012 and the XB1 version in 2017.
You play as Bast, a slender little I-have-no-other-words-to-describe-a-cat who has died, and now the cat and its former owner are trying to reunite with one another. That’s as far as the story goes, and its set up for it to be a plot twist but couldn’t be more obvious, and does that matter? Of course not, it’s a platformer, so what’s the platforming like? Ah..
Platforming schedule goes like this; you start off as Bast rummaging through leftover LIMBO level design, and sometimes you play as the former owner, a little nameless girl, who rummages through leftover In Between level design. Both environments are easy on the eyes, and some would say TOO easy, like me. The world is definitely too simplistic for your eyes to behold, and all of it is backed by a painfully overbearing soundtrack from Cody Cook.
I personally don’t know why they have highlighted the fact that one Cody Cook has done the entire soundtrack, considering it’s his only online prominence, but the score becomes such a repetitious procedure of sound, that all tracks tend to blend into an ethereal mess of no end. After inspecting the tracks on his Bandcamp, I stand by this statement. Even then, the soundtrack could’ve been done by Hanz Zimmer or SCNTFC, it still wouldn’t have excused this ass-backwards platforming.
Upon looking up fille- I mean, information about this title to further study my subject, Flying Turtle state A Walk In The Dark as having “fluid controls and animation” and a better description would be “lack of said fluidity”. Bast and the nameless girl control like they oiled up for a wrestling match, and when the game isn’t allowing you to take your time, you have to put with a perfectionist route that destroys any credibility or decent designs choices beforehand.
With the nameless girl levels, Flying Turtle are keen to allow you to take your time and just relax as the unsubtle music blares through your speakers. When it comes to controlling Bast? Suddenly, that relaxation and adventure is replaced by contempt for the player, like it was designed by Edmund McMillen, with the game taking pleasure in watching this cat get slaughtered by spikes and monsters.
The worst of this comes out when you’re placed into the endless runner-type levels, which have to be taken with such precision and caution, it removes all the atmosphere and tone Flying Turtle tried and failed to place into the game already. The levels themselves also showcase just how delayed the input is, with it taking around half-a-second for this bastard Bast to realize he needs to move out of the way of this spike that turns him to bloody dust.
During these levels, you’re also bombarded by Cody banging and begging his piano to perform a melody, and this is the point where you turn the music off an- Oh, you can’t turn it off during gameplay. Okay, let me just back out, turn it off and now I can enjo- Okay, now the sound design is starting to take the piss as well, which annoying crease designed this tripe, Eddie Izzard?
While the actual gameplay is silent, with Bast and the nameless girl making no foot-pattering sounds as they trot through these levels , it seems that the levels themselves have a fucking generator blaring at all times. This wall of white noise distracts players further, and after returning to the options menu once more, muting the entire experience, what are you left with? Nothing.
You’re left with a blank slate of boredom and dull levels, levels that the developer don’t want you to play anyway. Around the half way point, it feels like Flying Turtle didn’t give two ounces of deep-fried shit for what they were creating and just melded something together in five minutes, and that’s the biggest insult to me. It’s the gaming equivalent of the neglected baby from Trainspotting.
This review of a game no one has ever and will ever play might seem unconventionally sectioned to a point where you don’t understand, but A Walk In The Dark is just such a oddball of crap, that it defies any form of normal critique. It’s a baffling mess of ideas, ideas that shouldn’t have left the room that they were spitballed in. There’s nothing profound, peerless, pristine or prodigious about this game, it’s just another arty platformer to add to the tyre fire.
I don’t feel like I’m on a adventure, I don’t want to salvage this relationship between pet and girl, and I don’t care for what happens. This is such a generic product, that it goes back to another time, like I’m playing a title from back when Windows ’98 was cutting edge. Even if this was an abandon-ware title that’s eligible for showcasing on Ross Scott’s Game Dungeon, it wouldn’t be worthy of comment. So why did I choose to review it?
Hoping against hope.