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Rated 0 / 5 stars

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.


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Alphaland Alphaland

Rated 4.5 / 5 stars

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


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xD Gravity Acrobat xD Gravity Acrobat

Rated 0.5 / 5 stars

Essentially unplayable.

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'.


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JustGogi responds:

Thanks for an honest review. I will read this before I post another game.


Flying Guy Flying Guy

Rated 0.5 / 5 stars

All that, just for a broken quiz button.

Protip: saying "it's hard" in the author comments doesn't grant you immunity from basic game-making principles. Namely, making the game possible to finish.

The graphics are about as basic as they get, but at least they seem functional... until you realise the 'hit area' for either the walls or the character (or both) is larger than what is shown on the screen. Honestly, 9 times out of 10 I wasn't even anywhere near the walls when the 'You Died' screen popped up.

And then there's the controls... or rather, the lack of them. It's plainly obvious "it's hard" simply because you either don't know how, or couldn't be bothered, to make any kind of 'stop' or 'hover' function. Navigating the gaps you have to go through with a character incapable of stopping is more a matter of blind luck than skill, especially considering how fast the guy goes to begin with.

However, I did complete it (after about 100 'you died' screens) up until the bit with the coloured areas. At which point, the biggest problem I have with this came up: After the screen with the broken buttons outlining which way to go (I don't believe for one minute those are broken deliberately, BTW), I come to a guy who informs me that I cannot pass until I complete his quiz. And no matter how many times I click on him, said quiz never comes up. He just repeats his spiel about how I'm not getting past. Indefinitely.

Now, either you've done a really good job of hiding this quiz, or (much more likely) it's broken, and you can't go any further than that screen.

The reason this is getting a score of just one? ALL of these problems would've been identified by simple play-testing of your own flash. There is no excuse for submitting something with this many basic errors in it, and especially not something uncompletable because of broken buttons. No-one's expecting you to come up with top-50 material on your first try, but at least make sure it works properly before submitting it.

That said, there is help available for you, if you want to try this again. Newgrounds has a forum dedicated to Flash techniques and troubleshooting, and honestly, I've seen worse first-tries than this. If you need help making the buttons this needs to be a half-decent game, there's lots of people in the Flash forum willing to help you with them. If I were you, I'd try again, but only after making sure everything is at least functional.


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RubixCat responds:

I do agree that it needs some work on it, but I don't know how to fix the wall problem. I did it in adobe flash, im still new to it and I don't know how to fix every problem.
The only thing I can say is why its like that. When I create a symbol on flash it comes up with a box around it, that box is where the other wall will sense.

And its not broken because I can make the button visible by just removing the first frame, it is surpose to be like that


Adventures of Thin Air Adventures of Thin Air

Rated 1.5 / 5 stars

Hopefully, this is unfinished.

There's not a single aspect to this game that doesn't feel like it was done simply because you couldn't be bothered to do it better. The graphics look like they were done in MSPaint, the gameplay is annoying, the music gets old really fast... and that's all there is to this.

It's not what IS here that makes it so bad, but what ISN'T here. OK, so the point was to make a platformer with an invisible player, thereby giving it some challenge, right? Well, sorry, but since the 'invisible' player is always in the dead center of the screen, all you have to do is put your mouse cursor in the center of said screen, and presto! No more effort involved in working out were you are.

Sadly, with the only semi-original part of this so easily circumvented, the lack of even basic features becomes extremely obvious: No health / lives / anything of the sort; no checkpoints mid-way through levels; no option to turn the music off; no powerups; the player can't walk up slopes or stick to moving floors; the direction / jump actions are sluggish by comparison to most other platformers; hell, even the quality adjustment buttons are missing! I remember flashes from 2001 that have those.

This needs a LOT of work to be anywhere near as good as the other platformers that have tried this (like 'Invisible Runner' to name but one), or even worth playing for any amount of time for that matter. I'm giving you a 3 for the fact that what little there is here is at least functional, but honestly, I think that's generous. Flashes of better quality have been appearing in the portal for almost 10 years now. Functionality alone does not a good flash make.


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Mia responds:

SINCE WHEN CAN PAINT DO GRADIENTS?


Newgrounds Radio Chat Newgrounds Radio Chat

Rated 3 / 5 stars

A good chat, RUINED by crappy servers.

This should've been an easy 10. The interface is great, the audio portal radio actually works (unlike most of the other radios on NG), it hardly ever lags even after about an hour of not clearing the chat, and it's obvious there was a genuine attempt to get people to really talk to each other here, as opposed to most other flash chat rooms (which are usually little more than a text box and a 'send' button).

So why isn't it getting a 10? Well, there are a few problems with it:
The interface is pretty good, but the colour choice in particular is tiny. A single pixel either way on my screen can cause a noticeable change in the text colour I get. This really wouldn't be hard to fix, since all it would take is for the colour box to expand out when rolled over (like what happens with the 'genre' button on the radio).

Then there's the text filters. Why the hell is 'amp' turned into 'amperage'? And the £ sign turned into the word 'pound'? I don't see the point, and no-one else I've talked to can find a good reason for it either. These word-changers only ever end up ruining people's sentences, so it would be a real help to the room just to get rid of them.

To that effect, sometimes I'll write out a long sentence, only for the damn thing to delete the whole lot on hitting the send button. This is extremely annoying, especially since it gives you no hint of why it didn't allow the sentence through (this usually leads to several attempts of trial and error trying to edit out the part the chat box doesn't like). Some kind of error box with the reason why it's not being allowed would be much appreciated here (of course, just removing the filter altogether would be better, but meh).

But the worst problem with this, BY A MILE, is the server. I'm guessing (hoping) you're not spending any money on it, but free servers are always free for a reason. Namely, they're crap. In the 5 months this chat has been up and running, the server has spent at least a whole month offline in total. In recent weeks, it seems to have gotten worse as well.
PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE either find a more reliable service provider, or see if you can arrange some sponsorship funding from TomFulp to pay for server hosting that won't die every other week.

I hate to be a negative nancy myself over this, but I don't see it improving if left the way it is. Regardless of how good the chat program itself is, unreliable servers = dead chat room. It's happened before to several previous flash chat rooms, and unless something more fundamental is done about it, this one's gonna go the same way sooner or later.


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IQTester IQTester

Rated 2.5 / 5 stars

Ironically, it's intellectually flawed.

It would've been good if it didn't do the one thing an I.Q test absolutely must not do in order to be accurate: Confuse intelligence with general knowledge.

The interface was solid, if a little bland. However, when you're trying to think about the questions it's actually better to have as few distractions as possible, so not overloading it with pretty backgrounds was probably the better option here. The same can be said for the music: It's not too intrusive, and the option to turn it off is a good idea in this case.

The major problem here was the content of some of the questions, most notably 8 and 13.
Question 8 is not an I.Q question for 2 reasons: First, if you don't know what the English spelling of the country is in the first place (and there are at least 5 different spellings for it just using normal European letters), you aren't going to get this right through any means other than random chance. Either you know it or you don't. Secondly; with the millions of towns in existence on Earth, the chances of those letters being arranged into a town name by accident is quite high.
Either way; your ability to answer Q.8 has little to do with the internationally recognised definition of 'intelligence', which literally reads:

"The speed at which one adapts to unfamiliar situations."

Since it's impossible to "adapt" your thought patterns to answer a question that relies on background knowledge, it's not a valid I.Q problem.

To that effect, 9 and 10 have the same problem since they can't be worked out from the wording of the questions either: you either know the meanings of the words or you don't. As simple as they seem to you and me, it can't be assumed that everyone knows these things. What about all the people who aren't native English speakers and / or have skewed knowledge of the language?

Then there's 13. Again, the same problem. My education never focused on the meanings of any of those words, and I'm a native English speaker. Does that make me innately dumber than someone who's been given a slightly different education? I hope not. Intelligence was supposed to be independant of education anyway.

I'm sure you get the idea by now, so let's just say 15 was the same thing, for the same reasons stated already.

To conclude: A good first attempt as far as the interface and programming was concerned, but wherever you got these questions from is not a reliable source of IQ problems, making for an invalid test overall.

(P.S: 136. No, I'm not writing all this out of butthurt over a low score either. :P )


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DemiseAnimation responds:

This was intended for people who speak english as their main language, sorry if you didnt understand some of the questions :s


Looming Looming

Rated 3.5 / 5 stars

Really, REALLY needs a map adding to it.

I like the idea of this a lot. I still have my copy of Myst, and the whole 'dead universe' thing was an interesting twist on the idea.

I don't think the basic graphics really hurt it at all either, since I'm guessing it allowed for the huge game world (without it having a ridiculous filesize) and actually added to the bleak, endlessly repeating nature of said world too. Seriously, this game has one of the best atmospheres ever, and it's not even remotely reliant on fancy graphics to do it. That's pretty damn impressive IMO.

However, there's one crucial thing it's lacking: an uncoverable map. Most of the time I spent playing the game was just wandering around looking for the pixel equivalents of needles in a purgatorial, monochrome haystack. Ergo, most of the game's progression relies on you just blundering into readable / collectable stuff at random (even if you can see them, they're still very easy to miss given the size of the world).

If there were a map option, which you could uncover as you explored Looming each time you "restarted" it, you could prioritise areas to search around in much more easily than if doing it from memory alone (which is just plain tedious considering how much of Looming is completely bare, and how far apart most of the outer landmarks are). It'd likely cut down on time spent aimlessly running around in circles for those last few collectables, so the story parts of it could be given more attention instead.

...Then again, half the interest potential I got was from getting lost in the world anyway, so it's not entirely a bad thing. It's just that the novelty wore off after getting lost for the 10th time and STILL not finding the last few things until a few more tries after that.

And then there's the ending... or rather, the lack of it. I may not have re-entered it enough times or something, but all you seem to get after filling out all 10 portals is a 'notes' section. Interesting as it is, it's not exactly what I was expecting to finish such an original game with. Nor is it worth all that effort of finding things either, to be honest.

I do want to see a sequel to this, though. It could easily be brilliant, if only it had a proper (or at least, more obvious) ending, as well as some way of tracking your own movements through the world.

Still, the rest of it is a work of genuis, so it's worth a decent score at the very least. Keep this up; it's very close to being one of the best games on the site!


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Tax Time! Tax Time!

Rated 3.5 / 5 stars

I fucking love this website!

And I especially love it's long history of crass, twisted and downright horrible jokes on society. This is no exception.

So why a 7 and not a 10? Well... to be honest, the humour aspect is really the only thing going for this one. If it weren't for the fact that I happen to love this style of parody, it'd probably be getting around a 3 or 4, because there's really not much of a game here.

The graphics are really basic, but I'm guessing that was deliberate (as the 8-bit music would suggest). The game lasts all of 30 seconds, there's no real need to play it more than once despite the medals (they're all really easy to get in one go, which kinda ruins the point of having medals to begin with), and it's so braindead easy you might as well have just made it into a movie instead.

Overall, whether you like this game or not is entirely down to whether you find harsh topical satire funny. Which (as the predictable 0-wall at the end of this game's review list proves) makes this more a matter of getting lucky with the audience than actual game quality.

But you don't care about any of that, do you. This wasn't made to win friends or awards, so meh. Have fun pissing people off; I know I'll be having fun laughing at the reviews this gets over the next 24 hours!


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VVVVVV Demo VVVVVV Demo

Rated 2.5 / 5 stars

It's like Time Fcuk...

...Only much less entertaining. And much less free as well.

There's quite a lot that could do with improving here, especially if you want people to pay for the rest of it. Most notably, the lack of any real urge to see how it ends. The storyline is pretty basic, from what these two levels would suggest. "Spaceship encounters some space-born weirdness; crew in danger; you need to go save them." ....Boy, that's about as original as using pixel art to create a pseudo-retro effect. I can probably guess the ending right now, and even if it's got a surprise conclusion or something, keeping it a total secret is not going to make people interested in finding it out.

The graphics were done deliberately in a basic style, so that's hardly a fault. There are loads of games on NG that do the same (albeit free ones). In fact, the colourfully simple nature of them was quite a nice touch in places that had moving backgrounds.
What WAS a fault was the time it took the flip / move controls to respond to you. They're simply not sharp enough for it to be fun, and although I did finish both levels, I must've died about 100 times in the process just getting past a few areas where the gaps you have to go through are outright frustrating to navigate with the sluggish controls.

There's also the set screens, and obstacles going across more than one of them. Some may call it a challenge, but personally I think there are better ways of making a game challenging than to effectively blind the player by only letting him / her see a set portion of the puzzle until they're flying headlong into the next part of it, with only a fraction of a second to work out where they're supposed to be going. Making the screen move with the player makes much more sense if you want to create large puzzle areas like that.

All the above put together made the game more of an exercise in trial and error than skill, and wasn't as much fun as it probably should've been. Sticking a price tag onto something like this (which is frankly worse than a lot of games on here that don't charge any money for their use) is an ill-advised move, IMO.


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