Four Sided Fantasy Review: Killscreens
Kalvin Martinez / Nov 3rd, 2016 No Comments
In order to present a successful product, you need something to hook your potential audience in. In video games, a hook can come in many different forms. It can be a gameplay mechanic that turns the genre on its head, a stylish art design, or a narrative that is unique in the medium. Regardless of what the hook is, finding this new angle is difficult because so much has been done before.
Four Sided Fantasy doesn’t falter at finding a unique hook to differentiate itself from other games. Not only does it have a creative gameplay mechanic that hooks players, but it keeps reinventing that mechanic as the game progresses. It never settles for good enough.
Endless Parallax Wonder
The hook in Four Sided Fantasy is deceptively simple. It looks like a side-scrolling platformer on its surface, but it immediately flips the script. It isn’t a platformer in a traditional sense. Sure, there is some platform-type stuff going on, but it is actually a puzzle game where players must find solutions to a platformer with impossible level design. To do so, you have a remarkable power.
You start out by running across flat land in a mountainous area. The scenery blows by you in a calm, serene moment, so you keep running until you can’t run any longer. That is because there is a wall that stands in your way. You think you’re stuck, but that feeling only lasts a moment.
In the game, you have the power to create wraparound screens. If you hit a wall or road block, all you have to do is press a button and run backward to pop out on the other side of the screen and level. Then, you can let the button go and can keep moving forward. This is the simplest application of the wraparound power, but it only gets more complicated from there.
This ability can create a finite screen anywhere you choose. Much of your use of the power is about perspective. The wraparound effect happens near your character (whom changes from a male to a female character after using the power to move off screen) meaning if you are on flat ground you can create one screen to wrap around, but if you jump in the air you can create another. Often, you’ll need to figure out the best way to move forward by playing around with your character placement and when and where you initiate the wraparound ability.
Playing with perspective when using the wraparound power leads to an advance aspect of the power: making ground out of thin air. It seems like a fluke the first time you do it. You’re in a section full of uneven levels and there seems to be no way forward, so you create several wraparound screens hoping to find one that works.
After moving levels, resetting your camera and jumping, suddenly you find yourself able to move off the side of the screen to the other side while touching nothing but sky. It doesn’t dawn on you until you do it another few times that it is something you can control.
This technique is especially helpful when you get to levels later in the game that have long stretches of killer static.
The first major brain tickler in the game comes in the form of zones that drain your batteries, leaving you unable to use the wraparound power. You need to dispel the barrier by finding a battery nearby, but doing so isn’t so simple. If you get close to the barrier, any wraparound you create outside of it gets reset. Figuring out how best to get to the battery and dispel the barrier becomes a complicated balancing act.
Once you’ve mastered how to use the wraparound power, you can start getting creative with it. It becomes necessary to be inventive with the ability later in the game as environments change and levels become more challenging.
All Them Leaves Must Fall Down
Not only do the problems become more complex as you move forward in the game, but the conditions change. Every time you change environments, new wrinkles are added, such as more static appearing that creates tighter spots to move through and an area shrouded in darkness that is only lit by static.
In the winter area, a gravity mechanic comes into play where every time you switch characters one of them floats upside down. The environmental changes result in constantly evolving, dynamic gameplay.
The shift in setting also highlights the game’s beautiful art style. Every new environment adds a different effect to the lush paper cutout aesthetic of the game. From stark silhouettes in near pitch darkness to a soft, fuzzy feeling in the snowy area, and a warm, homey vibe to the falling cherry blossoms, Four Sided Fantasy is visually striking.
Four Sided Fantasy is a fun, creative puzzle game. Its unique gameplay mechanic will hook you in immediately and make it hard to put the controller down. Plus, the visuals are superb.
Four Sided Fantasy was reviewed on PlayStation 4 using a code for the game provided by the developer.
tags: Four Sided Fantasy , Four Sided Fantasy Review , Ludo Land , review