Legbreaker

February 13, 2020

 

Rating: C+

Playing Time: About 60 minutes

 

Whilst browsing YouTube, I got a suggestion for a video about this game (watch with discretion because the video was a full playthrough).  I'm not really a fan of Platform Hell games, but this one had an intriguing premise: your character breaks a leg every time he jumps, so he's limited to two jumps on each stage.

 

It also had a funny plot about the protagonist having been kidnapped to serve as a guinea pig for an experimental jump enhancer, but that's really not important here.

 

With a three-color palette and controls limited to "move left", "move right", "jump" (without height control), and "restart stage", it was about as simple as it could be even before considering that one-third of your movement options are lost after jumping twice.  Even so, it actually gets tricky fairly quickly.  The first few stages are just going from the entrance door to the exit, but it gradually introduces switches that need to be dropped onto with a certain amount of momentum to trigger, instant death spikes, single-use trampolines, and pushable blocks.

 

The stage design felt pretty good.  Aside from the earliest ones (and one curiously-easy late stage), most of them had me starting out thinking "this would be easy, if only I could jump three times".  The controls were pretty much what I would've expected, and it was neat that your movement changes slightly with each broken leg; one broken leg gives a limp that increases the minimum stepping distance, which can make getting into precise positions difficult, and two broken legs forces you to crawl, which is necessary at times to cross gaps that you'd drop into otherwise.

 

 

While most of the stages ended up being more about figuring out a correct approach than twitchy execution, there were three or four stages where I got stuck for a while due to needing some very precise inputs.  By no means would I say I have great execution, but I could hit 0.05-0.1 second timings pretty reliably when I was in my relative heyday as a fighting game player, so it seems likely that some of those stages required nearly frame-perfect inputs to complete them (at least via the routes that I figured out).  On top of that, it's clear that there's some variability in the game's engine because pushing blocks off of edges by holding the directional input the whole time didn't always result in the blocks falling in the exact same way.  It wasn't a huge problem, but combining some minor variability with the need for nearly frame-perfect inputs is why I found it incredibly frustrating to play fighting games online, and it was no less frustrating to run into a similar situation in an offline game.

 

The audio was pretty simple, but given that this seems to have been a single person's project, the audio was more than it had to be, honestly.

 

 

As the playing time indicates, this was a short diversion more so than a full game.  That said, it was enjoyable, and I liked that the majority of the challenge was in figuring out a route for the stage rather than ridiculous execution requirements.  It was a fine way to fill in a bit of spare time.  I can't really expect much more from a free game, on which note, here's where you can download it for yourself: link

 

Rating: C+

Playing Time: About 60 minutes

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