Descent is a retro styled platformer game created by Ted Lauterbach (cool_manga_boy). The gameplay consists of climbing upwards to escape quickly rising lava. The game features a "blue" trying to escape from an evil entity.
Descent is among my favorite games created in Game Maker so far. Ted did a very good job at creating this. His goal in making this game was to "Create a VERY intense experience" for the player, and as far as I know, he succeeded. The music, story, and gameplay really shape the atmosphere of the game into something both special and unique. The game starts off with you at the top of what can be seen as either an underground tunnel, or cave. However, it does not start you off alone. From the very beginning, there is a mysterious ghost-like being who guides you. Or shall I say, misguides you. This being will talk to you as you reach checkpoints on your way down the tunnel. This really adds to the game because some things it speaks are quite funny, while others simply keep you entertained. Even though all you do at this point is walk downwards, the creepy atmosphere already begins to build up because of complementing background music, and sounds. I find that on my first play, I was sitting on the edge of my seat, preparing for whatever was about to happen. What I didn't know when I first played, is that when you reach the bottom of the cave, the game is not over; that's where it begins!
When you reach the bottom of the tunnel, the colors used for the walls changes, and the music is swapped with an exciting, fast-paced track that makes you feel rushed. From there on, the gameplay is no longer simple cave exploration, but a race to the top between you and death: Lava. There are also spikes laid out to throw you off, but that's no problem. Or is it?
This game isn't as simple as it seems. There are many tricks used to fool the player into doing the wrong things, which are usually fatal mistakes. Beyond the surface, there is a "hidden task" forced upon the player. Each platform and wall was perfectly placed, considering jump height and distance, adding difficulty to the platforming aspect. There are also multiple ways to jump, so it's not as simple as pressing the jump key when needed. Jumps need to be chosen carefully to ensure that you will reach the next platform. Naturally, I thought it wouldn't be hard to choose, but you're never given enough time to think about where and how to jump. The only way to make it to the top is by trial and error; finding out what to do when. As a warning, if you're planning on beating this game, be prepared to try over. And over. And over.
My favorite feature of this game is the "evil being". His lines are very clever, and often distract you from your real goal. I remember playing the game over and over, simply to get a chance to read all the messages. When you're playing to reach the top, your attention is usually elsewhere. My least favorite thing from this game is the difficulty, though from a design aspect, the difficulty is a sign of success. It took me a few weeks of playing on and off to complete the game, regardless of its small size.
Time for the one bug I've found. In my time playing, I've found a small bug that can sometimes interrupt the flow of the game. It's not big, but occasionally, when grabbing a ledge, you will grab the ledge from a long distance, making you skip a small distance. It's not a big deal though, and not nearly a good enough reason not to play the game.
The game has a comfortable key layout. The only keys required to play are Z to jump (Or Control, as an alternative key), and the keys left, down, and right: for moving the character. Outside of the game, F1 opens the help file, F4 toggles full-screen, Escape leaves the game, and Enter/Return can start the game.
Summary: Descent is a small platforming game that requires a lot of trial and error to complete. The point of the game is to complete several rooms by climbing, in order to escape rising lava. There is also an antagonist involved, who says entertaining things every so often. The game is very fun, and includes music, sounds, good graphics, a menu, a comfortable key layout, and fast paced game play. I highly recommend trying out this game, as it will not disappoint.
Edited by Obj_Control, 10 March 2011 - 03:11 AM.