Sunday, 3 June 2012

Neon BBXD HD : A review


So what happens when you hunt the Gamemaker Community (GMC) forum for a game to review?

Well, you come across 4 types of games:

               1. WIP (Work-in-progress)

[ These are the guys I don’t have much to comment on: 
While some of them are pretty good games on the rise, others have a lot of room to improve upon]

         2.Novice games

[ These are mostly first or second-time projects. 
 Actually, most of the novice games are usually in WIP section, but a small number of them make it to 
 the  ”Finished Games” section.

 Now this finished ones are  playable, but usually buggy or easy projects. 
 Not really the kind of stuff you’ll like playing.

 They are usually very small in number, and are not continued for sake of better projects.]

     3. Intermediate games

[ These are the most in number. 
 While a lot of them are interesting, they are usually not totally bug-free.

 Most popular genres remain RPG, tower defense and platformers.

 Many of them are “just another game” and are not quite polished, but they are usually continued/updated for a reasonable amount of time.

A few of these games, which have interesting content, through continuous development, evolve to the next section of games. ]
            4. Jewel Games

[ The rarest kind and the ones worth waiting for- usually made by GMC veterans and becomes very 

 Highly polished games (not in term of graphics, but in term of game design), usually with quite 
 innovative  gameplay and intelligent level design – the ones you’ll always be coming back for.

 Many of the GMC Jam winners (usually continued even after the jam ends) fall in this classification.]

The first look:

 As this is my first review, I wanted to clarify how I classify most games in the GMC so that I can refer to the class of game whenever I review one.

So, let’s  come to the real stuff …..

When I decided to write a game review, I had the lucrative offer of choosing one of the ( recently ended) GMC Jam 6 games.

But I decided to act otherwise: 

I think those games have fair amount of spotlight on them and so, it will be justified enough to review one of the “not-so-popular” games from the “Finished Games” section.

So, by quite random choice, I picked up this game called Neon BBXD HD

I wanted to see how MisuMen49  (the creator of this game) have changed the classical Brick-breaking game. Also the description read “2 years in the making” – so that kind of interested me.

Frankly, at this moment,  I expected the game to fall into the Elite class of “Jewel games”. So, let’s see how it fares finally…

The moment you start the game you see a screen shake and some 3-D boxes thrown at your face followed by the name of the company (or group, maybe). 
This effect does look professional when you run the game for the first time; but when you come back at it later, you may find it a bit annoying and long (in duration).

Then, when  you finally start in the “Normal” mode, you get a screen filled with bright, colourful and outline-based brick arranged in a fashion, as you normally expect it to be.

 Those bricks get a lot of your attention due to their sleek and beautiful look.

 Now, when you start playing the game, you just wish that you knew each of the “power-up”s and “power-down”s  showing up on the screen (some of them may look similar).

They are broadly classified into good and bad category, recognizable from the colour of the bubble around them, so you don’t get confused. 
This is a nice addition to the concept of “power-up”s,  I suppose.

This is how your journey starts in this 100-level game….

To be true, it wasn’t possible to play the whole game, but I tried my best to get the whole picture and below are my opinion on specific elements in the game:


This is where this game really rocks!!

Neat attractive sprites and beautiful particle effects gives a edge to this modern-day version of Brick-breaking game.

I just wish that there were different backgrounds for different levels.
 The background is good enough, but it may get repetitive to the player.

 Also, the “Death screen” (when the player misses a ball) in which the colours were apparently just reversed, looks like a cheap effect – could have been done better.

Verdict: A (Very Good)


Clearly, not the best gameplay I have experienced.

The game is perfectly playable, but there are some problems under the hood.

These are a few bugs which can make the whole gameplay experience bitter:

1.  The real "bugs" in the game get stuck among themselves as well as the wall.
 2. The "bat" goes outside the screen:

a) if you move the mouse hard towards one wall, 

b) also at times with the keyboard.

The frustrating part is that both of this either kills you directly or freezes your bat, which is again
( effectively) going to kill you.

       3. In "mouse mode", if your cursor is on the side brick walls, when you are reborn due to your 2nd or 3rd 
           life, the new bat is also created there and so it practically means one more unjustified death.

Verdict: B (Average)

Level Design:

I will be super-cautious about my comments here:

As a whole, this game takes a new take on the old “Bick-breaking” genre.

I didn’t go through even 50% of the game, so it’s not justified for me to give a rating here.

But from whatever I experienced, I liked the varying number of power-ups and attacks and specifically, how they can make a long level, a lot easy.


The sound effects did make the whole experience more awesome, but the background music was kind of repetitive, so that should be changed.
The collision sound effects were quite  energetic and I loved them.
Also, the sound accompanying the screen shake was pretty good.
So, in short, whatever sound is present in the game is lovable, but I expected some more variations for the background music.
Verdict: B+ (Good)

Overall recommendation:

This game is more than worth downloading: definitely a lot better than average games, but still a “Intermediate level game”.

You are surely going to love the flashy neon graphics, but watch out from those nasty bugs.

I recommend not using the “Mouse Mode” due to the bug told earlier.

Finally, I am just hoping that all the problems of this game gets addressed by MisuMen49
and we have one more perfect game to play.
Verdict: B+ (Good)

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