Game Critique: Asteriod Knock Off 2006

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I was talking to my friend about a Flash alternative and mentioned SWiSH to her. If you don’t know about SWiSH it’s like a point and click Flash creator for someone who really doesn’t want to take the time to learn Flash (or can’t afford it).

While clicking around on their site I noticed they have a Games section where people have submitted games they’ve made in SWiSH. So knowing me I started playing a few.

Little surprise I found myself mumbling under my breath, “movement is too hard, there’s no reason to keep playing, graphics suck” as I went from game to game. With all those mental synapses firing my lightbulb became fully charged and I decided, “Why not write a game critique for this undiscovered and under-appreciated indie game?”

Which brings me back to the first game I clicked on:

First Impression 4/5

For me a first impression means a lot. If a game takes a long time to load I’m not interested. If it has weird flash/jerky/fall down and have a seizure intros, I’m probably drooling on the floor.

I give this a 4 outta 5. It loaded quickly, the screen has some movement but it doesn’t impede with reading the text or interaction with the menu.

Why isn’t this a 5? There are no instructions. Granted most people are familiar with asteriods, not everyone immediately understands what buttons you push to move your spaceship or that pressing the spacebar makes your ship fire.

Graphics 5/5

The graphics are well done. There is even an animation of flames when the ship moves or when an asteroid explodes.

Instructions 0/5

Sadly, there are no instructions.

Mouse &  Keyboard Interaction 4/5

The movement of the ship seems a little sensitive to me but there is some drag and wind resistance factored into the mix so overall I’d give this a fairly high rating.

Re-Playability & Entertainment 1/5

Although this is classic asteroids the playing field is so small and there are so many asteroids that it’s hard to avoid them. On the object of the game is only to shoot the rocks…. totally boring–this isn’t the two button arcade game days people. If I was given the ability to pick up items, go through wormholes, or evade space aliens I might be more interested to keep playing.

Shooting the asteroids is a challenge in itself because your fire power isn’t fast enough to keep up with the rocks hurtling your way, no matter how fast you hit the space bar. That means you have to try evading them with movement controls that are already a bit on the sensitive side. That coupled with an over-abundance of rocks on the screen makes things even harder.

Finally, the BIGGEST no-no in my book, once you get a game over there’s no way to start playing again unless you either refresh the page or right click and reset the flash movie. Your average user would have no clue and would go along on their merry way instead of playing again.

Learning Curve 3/5

Once you get past the missing instructions and how to fire the ship there’s really nothing else involved.

Achievement or Goals 2/5

Although this game keeps a point tally there’s no hall of fame or high score to try and overcome. There’s no incentive to win other than beating your personal score. On top of that there’s no clean cut goal or achievement to set.

Overall Score 2/5

While this game has nice graphics it’s lacking in playability and has a low entertainment factor. The movement is a bit finicky and there’s no instructions or a way to replay the game after you die. I played this game for all of 5 minutes and was done with it.

Sooo… think you can do better? Want me to critique your game? Post a comment or send me a note and see how your game makes the cut!


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