Day 430: Game 35

Posted: 2012/01/14 in Indie Games

I’m not sure whether to apologise, or to celebrate, but Silver Dollar Games has done it again. They run the gamut from indie games pariah to periodic brilliant release. “Game 35” is in the latter category.

[Update: Please read comments below for a “don’t buy” re-review of this game. The developer, Silver Dollar Games, has squandered a great idea by never progressing you past the ‘teaching you how to play’ levels, ending in a situation where the so-called “game” has no actual gameplay. It’s a shame, truth be told, as the game has oodles of potential to have creative gameplay inspired by having to deduce game mechanics from the titles given to levels, but upon re-review I discovered that no matter how far into the ‘game’ you play you only have to push left to complete each one.]

Now don’t get me wrong, it’s just a few good games out of those first 35, but I refuse to be so closed-minded as to not give credit where credit is due. Game 35 looks like it’s a rip-off of “The Impossible Game”, but look deeper and you’ll find something very different. The game turns the “crazy-difficult game” genre on its head by constantly changing the rules for each new level. But here’s where it gets really interesting: the game forces you to puzzle out what the rules for each level are! The level’s name is your clue. If the level is entitled “Trust Me And You Will Live”, you have to trust that trying *not* to avoid the obstacles is the only safe way through the level (jumping over them, or otherwise avoiding them, will kill you). Other levels will have other rules, each one different than the last.

I can honestly say I’ve never played anything like it, and it’s damn intriguing. Well worth 80 Microsoft Points to check out. Let’s reward them when they actually make something good, shall we?

Here’s what the developer (Silver Dollar Games 3) has to say about the game:

“A mind game experiment.”

  1. It’s always slightly galling when Silver Dollar make a game that I want to play. I, too, want to be big enough to give credit where it’s due, but at the same time I want to refuse to play their good games in the hope that it might discourage them from making the bad ones.

    Usually I just don’t even try games with the Silver Dollar name attached. No information, no dilemma. Unfortunately, Game 35 sounds really interesting and I’ll have to give it a go. You’ll be responsible for today’s moral conundrum, Mr Hurdle!

  2. David Loves Sandy says:

    PLEASE get out of the Silver Dollar games band wagon and stop looking for diamonds in fertilizer. LOL But seriously this type of game I just can’t get into. I have tried them all but have little to no interest but am aware there are some that enjoy this cup of tea.

  3. Ok, I don’t know what the full version of the game is like, but the trial version is just one big troll.

    19 levels in which the solution is to simply hold the stick to the right. You don’t even need to look at the screen, just walk right continuously. Is the rest of the game the same? Is the whole thing an exercise in walking to the right?

    • Dammit, I was suckered. I played the full game, and previously it seemed like the early levels being as you described was just due to training levels teaching you the concepts. But I played it much further today and, as you say, the game is one long troll. It took a great concept and completely, and I do mean completely, ruined it. I expected, and reviewed it on the belief, that the levels got harder; they don’t, however. This is so disappointing. I guess I should have known better. *sigh*

      • How frustrating. Such a waste of a promising idea. With just a little more effort Silver Dollar could turn out decent, interesting games. Instead they choose to waste everyone’s time, including their own.

  4. David Loves Sandy says:

    If they put out half as many games and put twice as much effort into them they may actually have some better stuff. I will give them credit for RAID but even after the demo end I had no desire to play on. Sorry to say but if I see Silver Dollar I Hollar “NO!” LOL

    FYI all the recent anon post have been from me I thought it was putting my name in there but I guess not. Steven if you can fix them go ahead if it matters much.

    Alan exactly what your were saying is what I was talking about “this type of game”.

  5. Jon Flook says:

    It’s great to have an opportunity to make games no matter our level of skill or talent. The creative freedom for amateurs is a gift from Microsoft and I’m glad we can experiment on their channel.

    • I like to think I’ve been open minded about your games, simply ignoring those I thought were bad, and reviewing those I thought were good. That’s the same approach I take with every indie game developer in the channel, so I’ve treated you no differently.

      What I don’t get is that Game 35 has no actual gameplay. I’m not a world class game developer (or a game developer of any calibre, actually), so far be it for me to criticise your level of skill or talent, but even the worst games have some gameplay. Game 35 does not appear to have any, you simply hold the stick to the right. The strange part is the idea behind it, of figuring out the mechanics of each level by puzzling them out through trial and error and using the level’s title as a clue, is an absolutely *FANTASTIC* idea. You just haven’t taken that idea anywhere, yet all the mechanics are in place to do that from what I can tell.

    • But you don’t experiment. With maybe three or four exceptions, you release non-games that laugh scornfully at the consumer. I don’t know what the thought process behind this is, other than maybe trying to grab the odd curiosity purchase here and there.

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