Who ever designed this bit trip wonderland is an absolute genius.. Like serious genius. I’ve played quite a few of those old 2d platform’s where they have tried to transform into a 3d world to appease a new generation and have been utterly terrible. Too many bad design choices and mechanics, overdone visuals, and something which comes down to just pandering to nostalgia without having any soul. Yet this is actually well designed and dare I say, fun. A blast to the past
The layout of the zones and world is linear but still open enough that there are multiple paths to traverse it at many parts and a lot of the fun to these worlds is poking into every little corner of the world to find hidden shiny things and bee dogs…yes bee dogs that are entirely adorable but deadly. There is a lot of hidden complexity in this new world hardwired into it. A collection of awesome chests in each area snuggled up into their own private areas, shortcut areas, hidden mini bosses, and even an intricate weave of digging sites that is essentially like going on a treasure hunt. It is all just lovingly crafted.
The mechanics are the simplistic elements that are easy to use which is great in that everyone will be able to use these well enough, no level requirements either. There are also a few upgrades you an purchase during your travels or in return visits that can help you immensely as you progress through the world, some of them do indeed require a lot of the currency and will be something you work towards( like agony) in order to better at it. I can see myself eventually aiming for the slingshot and bombs as a side project. The complexity comes from pulling off these various attacks which are sometimes rather hard to pull off correctly. In a 2d world with these certain attacks they are much easier to judge for distance but here it is much harder and your hearts rely on it, a badly timed swing or movement means losing one or more.
It all reminded me of Alex the kid, that awesome game which I spent countless hours at a friends place playing. I swear if I had to do a rock paper scissors battle I would have fainted from the pure awesome. I think everyone who has played games from last decade and beyond would have fits of nostalgia as the world pays homage to many different games as well as just being of that general feel that it pulls heartstrings by design, yet at the same time it is somehow it’s own game
Unfortunately with the games I’m used to now there is something grating about it in which I just cannot get over and means I don’t want to have long sessions of it. In this age of delicious visuals and amazing aesthetics or environments something this bright, vibrant, and blocky overloads my grey matter.. I can handle Minecraft easily as it is more muted, or even see it all on a 2d plain but this is just too much after a time. I will however be very comfortable popping in now and then to get my fix and maybe slowly work on getting a fancy item.
But then that isn’t really possible now is it as this new addition will only be able available for one month. I don’t understand why though, the other holiday events were just simple jumping things and games but this seems like an extensive bit of content. It has also brought a lot of people back into one if the beautiful racial cities, something they have been aiming to do for a while now. So really, the question now is why waste that.
It would be absolutely perfect for it to have a permanent position in Rata Sum. A new mini game for everyone to enjoy in some down time or a change of pace, that way people who don’t want to burn out on bytes can take their time progressing through it. Coming back now and then in their own time or maybe as a special guild thing or just with friends. It just is very much a wasteful thing to throw this away for another year as it enriches the world and experiences available in Guild Wars 2. It can and should be a big part of their world building goals instead of a mere limited time holiday event. Then, after this they can add to the other cities. I’m guessing farming in The Grove, sideshow alley in Divinities Reach, and some sort of Colosseum of death in the Black Citadel (although a world of steampunk tanks rip-off would be rather awesome).. And I’d probably play all those from time to time.
The PvP’er in me has to ask though how they have time to design such an expansive mini world, full of varying mechanics, a new aesthetic and such and yet we get a the barest of progression. Culling was amazing but that seems more like a game world fix instead of just consuming our share of the developers time… hmm pixelated world was probably worth it this time though