Reveiw for XboxHornet by Christopher Ellis
Chris Unarmed: Missed It by That Much
Chris Unarmed is a side-scrolling platformer. You play as Chris, who is only a head on a pair of legs. Once you’re done with, or completely ignore, the tutorial, it’s brought to your attention that, for some reason that isn’t brought to your attention in the opening narrative, you are the only person that can save the world. How this is possible, I don’t know, seeing as you have no arms and the only ability you have, jumping, is rendered useless by spiky enemies.
The premise of the game is simple, go through each level without touching enemies or spikes. It seems easy enough, but one thing I found, this game is not easy. While the level design is clever, which I appreciate, it’s also frustrating. I’ve died countless times over the course of a level. That being said, there are infinite lives, which are needed. In addition, there are checkpoints throughout the level. While it’s a great feature to have in a game where you can die repeatedly, you’re never told where they are or when you hit one. I really would’ve liked to see that.
There are doors throughout the levels, some of which are locked with color-coded keys, that lead you to little bonus rooms filled with coins and enemies. You also collect coins, which is one thing I wasn’t clear on was why exactly you should be going out of your way to do so. They don’t really seem to serve any purpose. There’s nothing to buy with them. Besides the coins and the counting-up timer, there isn’t really score that they’re boosting.
The thing I really like about the game is the simple graphical design employed. All of the foreground objects are all individually one color, while the backgrounds on the other hand, are all rather attractive landscapes with a watercolor look. Enemies vary and, while they have different shapes, are color-coded so you know their attributes. There’s only one thing I don’t like about the graphics: there is no transition at all between doors. A simple fade would have gone a long way.
The game has a single piece of nice music. It was very out of the way, and kind of reminded me of a medieval castle setting. While the music is well-composed, it’s very short, half of it is very quiet, and it loops. Yeah, you’re going to be listening to the same music the whole way through.
In addition to the music, there are a handful of sound effects. While limited, they do their jobs reasonably well until you reach the point where you’re sick of the same sounds over and over.
Like I said before, I’ve never died so many times. This game isn’t all that hard, it’s just unforgiving. Later on, there are spikes everywhere. In addition to the spikes, some of the enemy placements can be mean if you don’t do things just right.
The mechanics, which seem dead-on, and the intelligent thought put forth in the level design could have made this game wonderful, but the sheer difficulty really can’t be overcome without limitless patience. Combine that with the repetition of the sound, and the seemingly pointless task of collecting coins, and the game just ends up grating on my nerves like a block of cheese after a while.
I supposed if you’re a hard-core platform junkie, this could be right up your alley. If you just want a casual platforming experience, this might not be the game for you. Either way, you should give the demo a shot to see if it’s your cup of tea.
Second opinion from XboxHornet
Having played Chris Unarmed I have to say that I did not really get on with it either, but I know that our friends over at XBLIG.co.uk liked the game, so pop on over there for another opinion.
Download a free trial of the game here
Watch a trailer for Chris Unarmed here
Christopher can be found on Xbox Live by the gamertag Azrane1.