Gumboy: Crazy Adventures (PC)

By Steven Marsh

Published on Monday, March 3, 2008

Graphics: 10.00
Sound: 10.00
Gameplay: 10.00
Replays: 7.50
Gamelength: 8.50

Meridian 4 does it again with the beautiful 2D strategy platformer, “Gumboy”.

If you’ve ever played “Loco Roco”, you may be a little more familiar with the game play of “Gumboy” than other players. That’s not to say that “Gumboy” is the same thing as “Loco Roco”, but in terms of game comparisons, that’s the closest it gets. At any rate, this game is incredible and Meridian 4 knows obviously what they’re doing.

Gumboy has, as far as 2D games go, some of the best graphics you’ll ever lay your eyes upon. It’s definitely in the highest class of 2D graphics and has some impressive and visually stunning special effects. Even in the very first level, the little sparkles of what appear to be a crystal are absolutely gorgeous. The environments are large, varied and seem to of been designed by A-list artists. From Gumboy himself to the almost HDR-like lighting and the wonderful effects of absolutely every little detail, this game is beautiful.

The graphics aren’t the end of the praise, either. All of the sound effects, music and even 3D audio is amazing. The game has full EAX support as far as I can tell and from the smallest bird chirps to the constant sound effects of Gumboy’s movements, everything sounds phenomenal. The music is well-varied and while you wont be jamming to it while you drive down the highway, most people will certainly notice the amazing quality the entire way through the game. The music is both relaxing and frantic; uplifting and depressing. Every situation has the perfect balance of graphics and sound, which creates the best atmosphere you could ever hope for, especially for a game with such little advertisement or reknown.

When you start the game, you’re immediately thrust into the first leve and from there, you’re on your own. The game tells you the controls and leaves you to figure absolutely everything else out on your own. That is perhaps the only flaw I can think of, but there are parts of the game that deserve an explanation. Such things include magnetic surfaces, various power-ups and even the exit gates for each stage. Aside from that, the game is perfect. The concept is simple to explain, but at times can be so difficult that even the most hardcore of players may want to put the game down for an extended break. You’re the lovable “Gumboy” and you’re tasked with creating and entering the gate in each level. To do this, you’ll have to collect a specific amount of stars, find the material to create the gate and get the material back to the creature near the start of the level to have the gate formed. When the gate is formed, you simply hop up into it and you’re on your way to the next level. Sometimes this task is excessively easy and very relaxing, while other times you may be stuck on a single level for several hours or maybe even days in some special cases. The amount of depth some found in some of the levels is astounding. Never in my life have I had so much fun figuring out how to accomplish things in such a simplistic 2D title. What’s even better about this is that the game is very, very long for what it is and should take most people a good while to complete. It’s hard to really give a tried-and-tested estimate in this case, though, as many people will play the game differently and each person has his or her own pace. This game could range from a handful of hours to several months. That said, the difficulty is perfect for gamers of all types and simply rounds out the already perfect package. At the low price of $9.99, this game is an absolute steal.

Overall, I feel that this is Meridian 4’s best work and I honestly think that this game should be spread around in more places, such as the Xbox Live Arcade, PlayStation Network Store, Wii Virtual Console, PSP console and the Nintendo DS console. It deserves more promotion, advertisement and some sort of award. I just hope that this isn’t the end of Gumboy’s adventures and that he comes back for more in a future sequel!

Pros:
-Gorgeous 2D graphics.
-Almost HDR-like lighting.
-Full EAX support.
-Wonderful sound effects.
-Amazing music tracks.
-Perfect difficulty curve for all styles of players.
-Great amount of game play and replay value.
-Excessively cheap for what you get.

Cons:
-No real tutorial. Ever.
-Needs more advertisement!

Bottom Line:
Buy this game. There’s no reason to skip over this game unless you seriously hate 2D games. This is easily Meridian 4’s best work and they deserve your support so that they can keep creating games of this calibur!

Overall Rating: 9.00

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