Friday, June 19, 2015

Ratventure Challenge

Developer/Publisher: Estelion
Steam ($4,99)
ITunes ($1,99)
MacStore ($3.99)

It's important to note that this review is based off the PC version of the game.

Sometimes an App needs to just stay out of the PC market, and stay as an App. This is the only thing I could think of during my time with Ratventure Challenge. The games genre is a simple one, build a bridge and get object A to point B. There are many of this type of these games in the genre, I haven't really played many of them. Names like Bridge Constructor, World of Goo, etc, jump to mind, just to name a few. The genre has never really garnered much interest in me, it always seemed rather repetitive. With Ratventure Challenge, I thought it would be a nice, interesting, way to break myself into the genre.

For the most part it does the job. The physics of the game can be a little strange and the game has some very odd design decisions, all of which we will be discussing here in this review. So lets start with something obvious. If you noticed at the top of this article, many prices are listed, ranging from five bucks to two bucks. Normally I don't list prices of the game on my blog, because I feel monetary value of a game is different from person to person. However in this case, I wanted to use them as a object point to a particular issue I have with this title. There is NO difference between the three versions of the game. Why is there a price difference? Simply for the pleasure of playing that game on that particular device? Now, I could ramble on about how this all seems shady but I will leave it at that for now.

Straight from when you launch the game, Ratventure screams App. There isn't any retooling of options, buttons, or even the way you can interact with the screen. There are absolutely no graphics control or option menus present whatsoever. All you're left with is a sound off/on, music off/on button.

The game also is stuck in 1280/720 resolution, if you wanted to play it on full screen, there is no in-game way of doing this currently. For a PC port this is rather disappointing in most regards.

Now let's get to the good stuff, the game play. Now if you were to ask me simply, is the game fun? I would say yes, ignoring all the other issues the game has a whole. The game is simple enough to play, with you building small pieces in a massive wooden structure, in hopes of getting some delicious cheese. The puzzles vary in difficulty and sometimes not in order. One level is ridiculously hard and then the next will be rather easy. I think this issue has to do with the fact that Ratventure doesn't really evolve all too much as a game. There are buzz-saws and rope hooks to change things up occasionally, but for the most part your building pieces never evolve or change.

Level designs are varied enough as you progress deeper into the games 72 levels and some of them can be quite the brain tickler. To help you along is a handy hint button that does a fairly good job of showing how to do it in the 3 star requirement. However, it doesn't let you do it step by step more then it shows it all at once and expects you to remember, this is probably done on purpose as it would be too easy otherwise. The game also features a useful "Undo last action button" that doesn't really work at all. The button only lets you undo the last action and sometimes not at all depending on what happens in the game. The game is full of these strange little inconveniences. As an example, if either of the rats die by some means, either falling or buzz-saw, you have to rebuild your entire structure over again, instead of just simply hitting the undo button.Why have this button at all?

Designing structures isn't too difficult. The game does respond quite rapidly to commands and the structure dynamically responds to the changes you make. If one side of the structure is built upon too much, it begins to sag or bend. If the rats jump on the structure, the structure responds to the sudden shift in weight. Keeping the aforementioned effects in mind, works rather well and lets you plan out your moves quite effectively. One thing that did annoy me quite a bit about the game though, was the fact that the rats won't go after the cheese even if it's in their faces. You have got to build the structure on top of the cheese and move them to it. The rats are stupid, and won't walk on grass.

Aesthetically speaking, Ratventure is just fine. The levels mostly change in color and the backdrop. Ratventure isn't certainly the most pretty of games but it isn't the ugliest as well, it gets the job done. I would have enjoyed a little bit of personality injected into the game. When the rats hit the buzz-saws they simply just fall off the screen. There could've been some added humor with them being ripped to bits or a funny sound effect. The game is just very monotone from beginning to end. Musically I felt the same about the game, while it never became grating on my ears, I never really noticed it or felt it was pleasant.

There is no story nor sense of personality to this game. You just hit the play button and that is simply it. No little cut scenes or images to explain anything. The game does offer a fair bit of replay value in chasing down the mystical 3 star achievement. There really isn't much of a reason to do this, no rewards or anything unlocked other then steam achievements, you just did it. Congratulations.

So you may be thinking I am coming off a bit harsh on this game? Keep in mind this was on the PC. I hold my PC games to a higher degree/standard and demand a bit more out of them. App games have the right to be simple on their platform, given the limitations of that platform. I would've probably been more than okay with all the issues and aspects to the game, had I played it on my phone or pad. However, the developer felt the need to make this PC port that is uninspiring and not very well done. Is the game fun? Yes. But is it worth it on PC? No. Get this game on your phone or pad, it's cheaper and you will probably enjoy it more as something to pass the time at the DMV.

I only recommend this title, if its on sale, you really love bridge construction games, and know what you're getting. Otherwise buy it on your phone only!

  • Decent Replay
  • Some Levels are good brain teasers
  • Easy to play
  • Is acceptable on the Mobile market.
  • No Personality
  • Strange in-game inconviences
  • Price 
  • Difficulty is random

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