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Reviews for "Delver"

Igor Stravinsky once said that good composers borrow and great ones outright steal. What about ones that can't do it properly?

In that case, we have this game. Yeah, it's a digging game with (severely castrated in comparison) progression. Motherload is probably the game that gets the most """Homage""" out there. I could easily rant about Motherload having much more lenient, deep and interesting progression, better controls and graphic design, a perfect balance of intensive and extensive principles in game design, additional consumables, a (albelt simple) story and A FUCKING SATAN BOSS, all like what, 14 years ago? Despite this, i'll try to abstract from the fact and look at the present game on its own merit.

The graphic design is at best passable. You absolutely can do better than that. Get the low-res pixelated monochrome feel you were going for, but the art being so bleak and dull is somewhat painful. Wouldn't call it ugly tho. The chiptune's fine and the pacing is maybe the only thing i can compliment the game on. Despite trying to hide the game's bareboneness (both comparing to the prototype and on its own accord) and, really, surprising shortness, behind the concept of """Faster pacing""" (say it in a Jim Sterling trepplA manner, with the quotation marks typed in a 72 size font), the pacing does feel somewhat quick and fairly fair (but only the pacing, not the balancing, more on that in a bit). Without upgrades and on the first ones, you do barely break even, and there's barely enough oar for you to dig without the need for further upgrades.

Everything else is just meh. The controls are absolutely abysmal. They are absolutely jagged, couldn't have been more janky, and you almost always end up going further than you originally intended. Making the input time just a tad bit slower can make wonders for the game (pressing buttons one at a time instead of holding them is tiresome enough), since the precise controls are crucial in maze-like scenarios. The fact that you can't repair your hull makes me question the need to copy-paste the mechanic altogether, even since you can't really float leisurely to avoid the fall damage thanks to a speedy non-centered camera that has screwed me a few times. Also, you can dig horizontally without any repercussions and without falling down, unlike the XGen game, which makes the game incredibly easy. Also, the ending is just... non-satisfactory. At least i can console myself with the fact that the winner is me, but by the time i'm writing this review, i've already forgotten how the ending screen looks.

You can also, surprisingly (it's a bug hopefully), get level 2 upgrades before level 1 ones (or any level for that matter, so they become quite obsolete) and abuse the fact, so my strategy involved ugrading your mining capacity immediately to level 2 (don't upgrade it further - you won't really need it), then comfortably enough waiting for a level 5 fuel upgrade (you get at least 200-300 bucks, if you're lucky enough and can cope with the terrible controls obviously), and then swiftly upgrading your, uh, ore hold, in part because i was becoming quite bored. With the money and ore becoming a non-issue literally in 10 or so refuelings, just cautiously (not forgetting to float) dig downward to your victory. There's not much to it in terms of planning really (Also, i found it to be somewhat irrelevant what type of oar you dig up). I guess you can apply the basic Motherload tactic of "Better safe than sorry", but you'll get the hang of your fuel draining almost immediately anyways.

In conclusion, there was absolutely zero need for a Motherload knock off. Because of the aforementoned, it's not even Utopian Mining and Mega Miner levels. All this game did was incentivizing me to play the incredible original one once again, which i ended up doing. Don't just try to poorly copy the breakthrough and original games (it's probably the easiest thing to do) - strive to make em (even if they themselves will be poor), especially if you have absolutely nothing to add to the formula. I get that it was a jam game originally, however, the final product product scores a bingo on a "Reasons a particular game is bad" card. 3/10.

incoherent design.

fuel flies down rapidly even with all but last upgrade in it. don't know what the last upgrade does for it. i just know that i was so disappointed in how NOT empowering the fuel upgrades were that i lost any incentive to play.

but i will go play motherload. cuz this reminded me of the genre. and motherload actually knew how to do it properly.

Template88 responds:

Contrary to what you may think, the fuel upgrades are balanced out to match the depth of the game. You'll find it difficult/impossible to beat the game without upgrading. The fuel levels are pretty significantly spaced, so if you didnt feel a difference, perhaps it was because you were running out of money staying up near the surface? I think you prefer a slower paced version of digging game to this, the fuel runs out faster in this game because the game is much shorter than motherload 8V.