Nolen Tabner (Glendale, CA)

I gave myself three GAME OVERs per stage before moving onto the next or giving up.

Random thoughts:

* I have to admit that I’ve actually played this game before in junior high, but all I remember is the side scrolling sections on the final level and nothing else.

* Side scrolling segments are great, but the vertical segments are way too frustrating. You can’t really ride back up the screen in the vertical stages, so every obstacle you hit just knocks you backwards back into it. If you hit something once, you’re basically dead unless you get lucky.

* Biggest complaint with this game is that I can’t see far enough ahead of me to know when to jump or crouch, making this game more about memorization and less about reaction skill. To be fair, this plagues most portable games from this era (look at the handheld Mega Man ports).

* Controls felt like they responded poorly and caused the player character to feel sluggish. It wasn’t a game breaker, but combine this with the lack of visual foresight and it’s beyond annoying on the vertical levels. Once you picked up enough speed, it feels fun when you pull off the right sequence of jumps and ducks, but some levels didn’t feel like they were designed for non-stop movement.

* Music was dope


Stage 1: Too much stop and go. The user’s first experience with the controls shouldn’t be on this level. As you can see in the video, I didn’t even reach the boss :(.


Stage 2: I am terrible at this level. For some reason it feels like the controls are worse? I HATE that the water hurts the player. The music is dope as hell though. I couldn’t clear the grinder section :(.


Stage 3: THIS LEVEL RULES. It almost feels like a Sonic or recent Rayman game. Whoever designed this level knew what they were doing. The water gimmick here is way better than Stage 2, and they introduce you to it early and safely. I think I beat this level on my very last life during my final attempt :).


Stage 4: I am so bummed that this level starts with a vertical segment because it means that I am probably never going to see the final side scrolling section again. The controls and timing are just too difficult for me in my old age. Definitely didn’t even reach the boss on this one 😦


Overall, it’s a great game and I would love to see a version of this with expanded levels and a larger viewing area. The simple, though sluggish, controls show that a skateboarding platformer doesn’t need to have a steep learning curve. Even some modern games like OlliOlli have failed to pull that off.

I would say this game is both Bad and Rad.

Nolen Tabner is a game designer originally from DFW, TX now residing in Glendale, CA. He has worked on many games your toddler has played along with games your filthy uncle has played. He is currently working on a game called CHIMPS. Check him out.  

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