Saturday, March 6, 2010

A Fascinating Debate On Obscure Puns (ImmorTall RebutTall)

I'm not a philosophy major. But then again, maybe we all are. Because any one person can see the world if they open their eyes and look. But what takes real talent is to see the world looking back at you. ImmorTall (Produced by Pixelante) was a game I stumbled onto via the front page. When I first saw the game there, I had thought "Oh great.... Another 'Alien Shoot Em Up'". I decided it was worth a try anyways since it was on the front page(I didn't let the negative comments deter me, either). Without warning, this game hit me hard. More of a meta-game than anything, ImmorTall shines the light on some sensitive aspects of life. Its simplistic and minimalist style craft a tale worth experiencing. Since the game will take only a few minutes, any one can afford to try ImmorTall. Especially if you need a break from blasting aliens in the face with your worn AK-47. Since this is more of an artistic allegory than anything, this review will be different than my others. And for those of you who didn't like this game, give this a read; I'm trying to give an interpretation, more than a face value review.

Gameplay: 4/5 Does this seem high to you? It shouldn't. Only two buttons are needed to play ImmorTall, but there is a good reason for that. As humans, we're often times presented with clear cut decisions that can affect our life or the lives of others. Frequently we don't have much time to decide either. "Should I walk right and stop the tank shell, or shall I walk left to stop the soldiers?" can easily translate to "I can buy this, or I can save my money" or "I can help out at home, or I can leave to be with my friends". We can choose to do whatever we wish, but we're always faced with consequences, whatever they may be. You might lose a human in this game. Or you might save his life. You write the story, not the developer. But let's step away from the stage a bit. Our alien friend tends to be glitchy and laggy at times. I can't tell if this was intentional or not, but it bars this game from a perfect gameplay score. When we need to block a bullet, we can't always be there. The metaphor loses meaning if the player isn't given free will. At the same time, I can say that if the controls fail us, how is that not like an uncontrollable force in reality? We can't control everything. Nor can our alien. Although, he does get an adrenal boost when the tank fires a shell. So, too, can we push ourselves.

Visual: 5/5 ImmorTall has graphics that not only catch the eye, but work perfectly with the game's philosophical viewpoints. One thing that definitely needs to be noted is how the colors change in the background. When the alien crash lands on earth, everything is black and grey, painting a bleak and dismal picture. But as the girl approaches him, things begin to lighten up. The rays of hope shine through and, as spend more time with the humans, we find that the sky's colours will change to suit the mood and feel of each emotion. Have you tried to save all the humans? Have you let them all die? Watch how the settings change and find your own metaphor. Another important detail is that all the characters are in black. Every sprite is dark, as well as the land you walk on. Our characters and stage are cold as night, so we must too know that there is bad in everyone and everything. Finding the white goodness in each being is a matter of perception. Once you find something great in someone, be they from Earth or elsewhere, run with it. The Alien has a white blob in him. I didn't think of it as an eye.

Audio: 4/5 Audio is always one of the pivotal points for me in any game. First off, we have a mute button. So if you aren't liking the music or SFX, you can toggle it off. However, since this game is short and uses all it has to paint a picture, I recommend leaving the sound on. Something that struck me in this game is the noise that bullets make as the strike the Alien. They're musical, albeit sad. I think we can all draw a conclusion from this. Each bullet is a wound, but what difference does it make when you can't die? When you are immortal, why not throw yourself in front of every bullet? Because in doing that, we kill ourselves from the inside. We can't truly live our life for others, because then we give it up. Those who are "immortal" can throw away their life by taking on everything. Pay attention to the noises and music, and you will see what I mean.

Overall 4.5/5 One thing is certain by playing ImmorTall: You will gain nothing by taking it for its face value. Sure, to most this game was nothing more than a waste of 3 minutes, walking in front of tanks and soldiers. But if you stop and think for a minute about any one detail, you can see that there is more to this game than meets the eye. The greatest thing about a game like this is that everyone will interpret it differently. Maybe this game is a representation of something happening in your life. To me, I've never seen the phrase "You can't spend your life trying to please everyone." displayed so well. Don't play this game; Live it.

If you have any remarks about this game or have any personal questions about my interpretation or relating to this review, leave a comment below. And if you still think this game is worthless and boring, let me know. I'd love to prove you wrong.


Current Kongregate Score: 3.75

1 comment:

Conqueror95 said...

Great review, doc. I like the artistic and poetic writing style. Keep up the good work!