14/05/2021

๐Ÿ‘Ž Ploid | NES | Review | 4/10 | "It’s not very good " ๐Ÿ‘Ž @PixelHunted @NapeGames #Nes #IndieGames #GameDev

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If you have a spare $400 you can buy a painting made by an elephant. With a brush clutched in its trunk, the elephant makes a couple of marks on a page which the gallery names things like “Banana Surprise” or “My Feather Boa”. It seems like a good racket and apparently, the elephants have fun.

But how do you evaluate an elephant’s painting? 

Can you compare it with a human artist, or is the fact that an elephant has painted something worthy of praise in and of itself?

This is the conundrum presented by Nape Games’ Ploid, a new NES game that runs on original hardware. 

Do I hold it next to other 2021 releases, review it as if it’d come out in 1988, or simply marvel that it exists at all?
Let’s break it down. 

Ploid is a sequel to 2018’s V.O.I.D. (which I haven’t played). It’s a cute, cartoonish platformer starring a Megaman-like hero who jumps and blasts his way through maze-like levels in search of ‘sacred disk files’ that look suspiciously like NES cartridges. The fundamentals are video game bread and butter and, by and large, they’re executed well.

It doesn’t take long to realise that Ploid is going to be a bare-bones experience. That’s not necessarily the kiss of death and this benefits from toe-tapping chiptunes, relatively easy difficulty, and enemies that are very susceptible to stun locking. The platforming never gets particularly demanding and, though I died a few times along the way, clocking the eight levels didn’t take me long.

But what I’m dancing around is that Ploid wasn’t much fun. The inherent hardware constraints of making a working NES game mean it’s easy to forgive it for not being a match for contemporary platformers, but I’ve been working through a lot of NES games lately and it doesn’t stack up against them either.
Some of this may be down to me having missed something. I completed the game’s eight levels without too much fuss, though rather than seeing any credits I looped back to the first level. My first thought was that this was some strange meta-narrative thing, but after playing half the game a second time and not noticing any differences I called it quits. Maybe there’s a mechanic I overlooked: I kept collecting those disk files but got nowhere fast.

I also didn’t get the retro pleasure of seeing this on an actual NES: instead, I unromantically loaded a ROM file into an emulator. I’m betting there’s a tactile thrill of getting a shiny new NES cartridge in 2021, sliding that bad boy into a console and powering on. Perhaps just seeing a new game running on hardware that’s pushing forty would be enough of a novelty to overlook its flaws.

2 comments:

  1. Hello! The game has a patch adding more things, you are playing the initial release. And that part you said is a trap. There is an exit to that level that does not send you to the first one. You missed more levels and the ending of the game.

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