Whoah, thanks a ton for such a long and awesome review!
"Atmospheric, pretty good. It was enjoyable, emotional, slightly upsetting, and a pretty good Stencyl Jam entry, but it's just not as life-changing as it sets itself out to be, at least in my opinion."
=> I'm glad you liked the athmosphere, but I want to clarify that I never had any intentions of this being life changing; I think the game is far too short and generic for that. I just wnated to add to the mood :)
It aslo pleases me that you like the combination of the elements in this game (animation/music/sound effects), and the athmosphere that they together build. I wanted the elements to fit quite well together.
"The gameplay for the first half of the game is a pretty barebones, basic puzzle platformer where you have to jump through difficult sets of platforms to get to a goal, except with a shadow chasing you that mimics your every move, not bad, but nothing fantastic. The idea of having two characters responding to the same controls is not exactly new (it was done, among other places, in Pretentious Game 4, and also One and One Story), but in this game, it was used in a to me pretty different way, in that you can't let the two characters touch."
=> In this part of your review, I think you're the most "spot on". Two characters moving at the same time is definitely nothing new! There is actually another Stencyl game (probably more) with that same movement (Making Monkeys). However, it is indeed the fact that the two characters cannot touch that is the root of the entire game. And to be fair, my idea is originally more than 5 years old, which is older than most other games with similar basics. I've played both of the games that you mentioned, as well, and I liked them too!
"The different ways in which you must manipulate the movement of the shadow in each stage to keep it trapped are pretty well thought, and the stages are designed to crack your brain a few times, but not exaggeratedly so, making for a solid and well made set of stages. There are some levels that really frustrate the player, though, mostly the levels where the developers decided to get creative, like the "seeing through dark lens" one, which you have to pause and unpause to get an advantage over your shadow to get to the exit, it took me ages to get that one. Also, some stages are frustrating because of the crappy wall jump controls, such as the "you might one day reach the top" one and the "nothing" one."
=> Well, here I think that you're half right. It's good to see that you like some of the level design, but it seems like you've misunderstood some levels, which makes me impressed you actually beat the game! You know, the "seeing through the dark lens" level is actually super easy. Even if it seems you can abuse the pause button, that is not the real solution! You see, "seeing through the dark lens" means that you don't observe your surroundings correctly. "Your perception is altered". And most of the messages connect to the level.
You see, if you would've observed your surroundings in that level clearly, you would've noticed that the roof is higher up for the "shadow" character! So if you jump over the goal with both characters, and then wall climb to the top, after which you let yourself fall, you'll win the level with 100% certainty ;)
Also, it can be good to remember that it's more of a wall climb function, than a wall jump one. The "you might one day reach the top", requires motoric skills, which I understand can be difficult. And the empty room, demands an understanding of the friction in the game. But believe me, the games controls, although not perfect, do not hinder ones successrate in most levels, if you REALLY know the best solutions :p But thanks for informing me of those two levels being difficult!
"The story is where I think this game tried too hard without getting anywhere. Sure, the idea is that the messages in each stage are coming from a troubled mind, but to me, the messages in the first half of the game felt like they could have come from an angsty teenager, rather than an actually introspective person, and the second half feels like a generic motivational speech. The idea behind the story is better than the realization because, most of the time, the messages in each stage gave me a "meh" feeling at best. There are some exceptions, but they are mixed up with the more mediocre ones. I confess I did feel kind of eager with anticipation in the last stage, which made it all worthwhile."
=>I'm glad you noticed the change in messages in the first and second half of the game! I wouldn't necessarily call the first part "angsty teenager", since that may come of slightly ignorant. They are mostly based on the self blame that often follows with real life depression. But maybe you're right. I was in kind of a hurry, so naturally I didn't express them that well, or touchingly :p
That second half is pretty much a generic motivational speach indeed, but what am I supposed to do with that short a time, haha? At least they lead up to the ending, I think! I also wanted most of the "messages" to connect to their respective levels :3
I think that your "meh" feel, describes what most casual players feel pretty well, which I can easily understand. But I've also heard some people that enjoyed the story more! It's a personal preference thing, I think :)
"Overall, nice atmosphere, good challenge, save for a handful of frustrating stages, and a story that tries too hard. 3.5/5 seems good."
Thanks a million tons for your amazing review! I could agree with most of what you said, and I can feel that you were truly honest! Thanks for being such a good sport :'D!!!