Monday, October 24, 2011

Playing Diamond Hollow

A nice chippy music, simple graphics that reminds me of (good) DOS sharewares and nice level design, Diamond Hollow could be a dynamic game created with RSD game-maker if it wasn't for the sophisticated, immediately available weapon upgrade system. You collect diamonds in caves and fight blobs, spiders and some undefined creatures. That's fairly classical, but in video game like in cinema, there are some classics that can't be made wrong.

One thing that really puzzles me is the control system. Am I supposed to control the player with keys and space bar with one hand and aim my fire with the mouse ? That's fair enough in level 1 and 2 with relatively stubborn monsters that don't really attack me and the "autofire" power up. There is no timer in the game (i.e. power up dropped by monsters are permanent: you've got as much time to gather them as you want), so I can just stop in a safe position, move the mouse with the touchpad (yeah, laptop here), and then jump around to shoot the monsters. Leaving the "mouse" untouched means I'll always fire towards the same absolute X position (moving left/right won't change my target) and the same relative Y position (jumping makes change my target). Sure, the game designer wanted that feature and freedom very hard, but allow me to be brutally honest: it's useless. 4-directions firing would have been largely enough, and it would likely have involved the player much more by intense action when risk must be taken rather than doing precision adjustment to shoot plain blobs. When controls are awkward, I will just minimize the risks of getting into trouble. too bad. It really had a cute little something.

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