Watching this on it's own, I was gonna call you out on just submitting an ad to Newgrounds. On it's own, this is little better than the generic 'ZTV News' flashes which are really just a dressed-up showcase of other things to come (that the developer expects us to pay for). However, I decided to give you the benefit of the doubt thanks to all of your earlier work on Brackenwood - I, like so many others, remember the series fondly - and read up on the backstory as to what you've been doing for the last 6.5 years since the last Bitey animation.
I'm very glad I did that before writing this. It's a sad fact of many a good animator's life that the better they are, the more they get worked to death and expected to like it by employers who have no interest in seeing said animator's own ideas and dreams come to fruition... somewhat ruining the whole point of getting into creative animation, IMO. After all that has happened to you and Bitey, I don't blame you at all for releasing this: Sometimes genuine creators and artists need a little help to get things back on track and to gauge reactions to restarted ideas, instead of shamelessly grabbing for more money like most other ads do. It's genuinely refreshing to know that one of my old favourite NG animators still fits into the former category.
The animation itself was a little odd, but I can see the reasoning for it. Personally, I think it looks better doing everything FBF (as you've previously proven, you have the skill to pull it off beautifully), but I'm also aware of how much work slo-mo' scenes are. If it were my animation, I'd do them as FBF nonetheless, but cut them to short action-shots: Maybe 1 or 2 seconds each just to emphasise particular bits instead of a whole scene. It'd make the work involved less of a nightmare, and wouldn't make it all look like it suddenly drops a quality setting when the slo-mo' bit happens. And yes, I noticed the hair and witch cape. As a matter of fact, Bitey's mostly FBF hair against his mostly morphed / tweened body was largely what made the non-FBF bits stick out for all the wrong reasons (This is where the less-than-perfect score comes from, as I'm supposed to be reviewing only this flash and not the whole series with that rating).
Please, please, please use the money you get from this as wisely as you can, and for god's sake don't overstretch yourself. You don't need anyone to tell you how quickly what looks like a lot of funding can disappear overnight, after what's already happened. However, the fact that you're willing to give it another go even at this point is encouraging, and I'm sure I speak for almost everyone watching this when I say: You have the full support of your fans here. And there are a lot of fans still left here (as they've already proved in their deluge of positive reviews before me). Many have raved in the past about the staggering beauty of the Brackenwood series, or the smoothness of the FBF, or even the sound and musical backgrounds that accompany it, and cite them as reasons why this is the "best series ever", but in this rambling monologue-r's opinion, that's not what makes it such a good series. You can have all of the aforementioned and still be forgotten, as many before and after you have been. What you have here isn't beauty or smoothness or musical aptitude or professional quality; you've captured something altogether more brilliant in your combination of it all:
Kudos for FINALLY doing something remotely different with this series, but... seriously? This is like a minute long at most. What the hell have you been doing all this time?
The length isn't the only problem I have with this, either. Going back to the 'something different' comment: Yes, I'm glad this wasn't just another 3 minutes of the same mindless shooting animations we've all been watching for the last 11 years, but the only thing that was completely new looked like it had been drawn in the space of 30 seconds, with your eyes shut. A creepy face and a few black lines for tentacles? Wow, that's original... : /
I know you can do better than this. Tricky Madness 2 was way better at being scary, and didn't even use any unique artwork either. Compared to what you've already done previously, this looks more like something you just threw together to keep the 12 year old fans amused instead of actually putting effort into expanding the series and making something we could all have enjoyed.
I'm pretty sure one of the submission rules says something like: "Your movie must not simply be an ad for your site", which makes this pretty ironic, all things considered.
...OK, yes, this IS more than just a site advert... but only just. It's a solid flash in itself: It's very pretty, well animated, and the voices are good, but I simply don't see the point in making an entire flash movie to convey news about a website that you can just as easily make a newspost about.
Think about it. The more time you spend on making the promo movies, the longer it's going to take you to actually make the stuff you're talking about here, which somewhat defeats the point of advertising things that are "coming soon". If you spend all your time on this series, they're not going to come soon, are they.
So, what's left apart from the promo stuff? The humour... which is so forced (and similar to the last episode) it just isn't funny at all. If I wanted to watch emo bitching, I'd go to the Newgrounds forums.
Now yes, humour is a matter of taste, and I'm guessing this was made to appeal to the same demographic that the hentai flashes were (read: teenagers), and reading the reviews left on it already I can see you've had at least some success in making your target audience laugh. However, the fact that it only appears entertaining to said target audience is itself a weak point in this series' execution. The best examples of comedy appeal to virtually everyone, regardless of age, gender, race etc.
So, the humour is apparently self-limiting and the rest of it is counter-productive. So what's the point? I bet your blog gets hundreds if not thousands of hits a day, and your website is just as popular if not more, so you could just as easily have posted a blog on both and got the message out to as many people as this did, using a tiny percentage of the time and effort this did. If there's an aspect to this I've overlooked, please say so, because I'm really scratching my head for reasons why you're doing these here.
The times when a zero is well and truly deserved are few and far between, but this...
As tempting as it is to point out the A-Z of things missing in this "game", I'm not going to do that. Partly because it's all been said before, but mostly because reviews are supposed to be based on how well the submission achieved what it set out to do. And this submission's only purpose was not to create a game, but to advertise a TV show on Newgrounds. I'm thinking of it as more a kind of "shoot the monkey 5 times to win an iPod!" thing you find plastered all down the side of generic popular websites. You know, that kind of almost-but-not-really-a-game advert.
And based on that... it's STILL getting a zero.
Not only did you fail completely at making a game, you failed completely at making an advert too. After playing this game, I have no clue about any of the details regarding the show you're apparently making. Hell, I had to read the other reviews just to confirm that it was in fact an ad for a TV show and not something else. A generic copy-pasting of a backstory in the author comments does not equal info on how the show will be directed, produced or animated (if it even will be animated; how do I know?).
Better yet, there aren't even any clickable links to outside web pages that would've likely held hints as to what kind of show this is supposed to be, or some clue as to if it's actually worth watching. There's a big CW logo right there, and I can't click it. And, on my screen, the website text is too small to read, even if I did want to type it out myself. Which I don't, seeing as the total lack of references to the show it's supposed to be advertising makes it look like there aren't any positive things you can say about it. 9 times out of 10, vague adverts are vague because the product advertised is of no merit whatsoever.
So, congratulations, your "promotional material" has succeeded in confusing and alienating the majority of people who viewed it, be it from the blatant laziness of the game itself or the counter-productive advertising method. Going back to my preferred way of judging NG submissions (Read: "How well did this do what it tried to do?"), the zero is for the fact that it does the exact opposite of what it was supposed to, simply because you couldn't have done a much worse job of it if you tried.
I've loved this game since the day it came out. It was, in my opinion, one of the most justified choices for the 'top spot' on NG's front page ever since the top spot was made. I've been content with just giving it a 5 for almost a year because only now have I finally thought of something worth saying besides "I love it".
I'm awestruck by the beauty of something so simple. There are almost no graphics at all, the controls are no more than "move" and "jump", and yet, this has a better atmosphere than 99% of the oher games on Newgrounds. This is in part due to the perfectly chosen music (which I love almost as much as the game itself), but mostly down to the way it was designed. It's simply perfect in how it gives you just enough information to get the idea of what's happening, and atmospheric enough to let your imagination run wild with the rest of the story.
I would love to see a "Betaland", and this is where the only piece of constructive criticism I can offer comes in:
This world was made to be explored. If there's one thing that makes exploring worlds fun, it's non-linearity. Make a world with more than one endgame 'powerup' in it, and let the kind of world it develops into (Shooter / RPG / platformer etc) be dependant on which powerup you used to end the game with. If you can do this, I think you could create a flash game whose lifespan outmatches that of some commercially sold console games. Being able to find more than one ending, and shape the unfinished world around you, would be an incredibe game if done to this standard again.
This is getting 4.5 stars simply in the hope that I can give the next one the full 5, if the above is realised. And so it doesn't get lost in a sea of other perfect ratings too. :P
This has one of the most common flaws in flashes from people new to making them: It's difficult for all the wrong reasons.
The graphics look more like place-holders than finished products. I know you're not exactly skilled in Flash just yet, but would it have really been so much effort to actually try to draw a spaceship, instead of just putting a random pentagon over a gradient dot? The whole intro thing goes on about piloting a spaceship through space, and yet there's absolutely nothing space-related anywhere on the screen. Why not?
And the graphics are the least of this flash's problems. The gravity physics seem a little on the weak side, and there doesn't appear to be a maximum speed the "spaceship" can go, making it all too easy to lose control of it. A fact not helped by the way the ship spirals around a point outside of it when moving from side to side. Making it spin may have been a good idea for an animation effect, but since the pivot point isn't in the right place the ship travels in an unpredictable S-bend pattern instead of a straight line (and given the precise nature of a maze game, this is hardly welcome).
But the biggest problem this has, by a LONG way, are the hit areas. ALL of the hit areas are so completely inaccurate that you're basically flying blind, which in a maze game like this makes beating it entirely down to blind luck, not skill. Sometimes the 'spaceship' can go completely over the lines without anything happening; other times the game restarts when you're not even near them. With a game that has a gravity aspect, and a time limit, having to stop and work out where you -really- are at every corner completely kills both the fun and the point (especially when it turns out the wall's hit area is in the wrong place too).
I'm struggling to think of any good reason why you'd submit this in the state it's in. The only things that actually work properly are the scrolling effect and the music (which was actually pretty good: neither annoying or over-bearing like what you get in most flashes like this), as well as the buttons. And those are the only reason why this isn't getting a zero.
That said, I do like the fact that you haven't just gone for the same old mouse pointer maze game everyone else does, and I would actually like to see you try this again, but it needs some serious work before it should be submitted a second time, IMO. No-one's going to hate you for making a challenging game, but there's a big difference between 'challenging' and 'half-broken'.
Thanks for an honest review. I will read this before I post another game.
I'll be honest; I was expecting this to be crap. I've been using Newgrounds' Audio portal for as long as it's been here, and to date I've never once come across a fan-made cover of a videogame song that was actually good. The decade of cynicism I've built up over this place would've saw me putting money on this being yet another stupid kid who can't string more than 3 lines of lyrics together.
Oh, how I was wrong. I don't think I've ever been more wrong in an assumption about anything I've seen or heard on this site.
To say that this was a surprise is a huge understatement. This is the most talent-laden, atmospheric, soulful tracks I've ever heard. And I'm not restricting that to just the audio portal: In the 26 years I've lived, this is easily one of the best things I've ever listened to. It's easily better than the real one, which is something I always thought impossible to do. For that matter, I thought Hania was impossible to beat in terms of singing ability, but you've certainly challenged that preconception too.
I feel I owe you an apology, and my thanks. I truly regret ever thinking ill of your talents before letting them demonstrate themselves, and I will never again forget that great art really can be found anywhere, no matter how unappealing the venue in which it is showcased may be to me.
A decade of cynicism, blown away within 3 seconds of the lyrics starting. That, my dear, is a rare achievement indeed. The shouts of Skyrim may be fictional, but your voice has a power that is very real. If Bethesda ever decide to make another Elder Scrolls game, I will do whatever I can to make them aware of your amazing ability. It's the least I can do.
Oh wow! I wasn't expecting to see this when I woke up this morning! But I can tell you that you have just made my day...completely. I almost want to cry. Thank you! Thank you so much! And it's nice to see other folks who are my age here on NG. It means a lot to see such a wonderful, genuine heartfelt review on one of my works. So, thank you for that. Folks like you are the very thing that keeps me wanting to make music and art!!! :D <3
6 bits of awesomeness in one.
This should have a permanent spot on the audio front page somewhere.
I loved it, however I could barely pick out where the transition between the 'gold' and 'neutral' parts was. Stating where they are in the author comments would make it easier.
Also, I get the feeling you could easily have made 6 seperate tracks out of this, just by lengthening the duration of the different parts of it. In my opinion, that would've been better than rolling them all into one (or better yet, have them all together like this and then make individual tracks for each part, so that you have the best of both worlds).
Still, it's now in my favourites anyway, so I really can't complain about any of it. :)
I dunno if it's my crappy speakers or something, but the speech synthesiser sounds like it misses out the 'm' in 'gamer'....
...and the 'r' in 'frag'.....
You would've gotten away with it had the last line not mentioned ass-blasting. o_0
Now don't get me wrong: all it did was make it funny as well as cool to listen to. Just thought I'd mention it. Since this song is already as good as anyone can reasonably expect, there's not much else I can say in this review box anyway.
And that review, was awesome my dear sir :) Finally somebody who has something to point out. And for your "complaints", I did a listen-through and found that I agree. It was not intentional, and even tough it might make it sound cool - it was a mistake. I actually used a free very spectacularly cheap speech-synthesizer for this one. Im sure it didnt have what it takes to say "M" and "R". Hehe.
Again, thanks for the review and the 10 :)
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