as reviewed by Banov
YoYoGames - http://www.yoyogames...min-beat-jitsu#
GMC - http://gmc.yoyogames...howtopic=469656
YouTube Trailer - http://www.youtube.c...h?v=rWGpjLglrrY
NJBJ is the very first yoyogames entry from Barden, submitted for the YoYoGames Handheld competition. As per the rules, the game uses a window of 480x272, is under 10 MB, and doesn't make use of any DLLs or the registry--tough constraints to make a game under! Like many entrants, this game was officially submitted only hours before the deadline, but the game's quality and character set it apart from the vast majority of the other games that have been entered.
The game kicks off with an impressive (but unskippable) opening sequence as credits flash by the user, ending with the title logo and some kickin' music. The main menu is very bouncy and energetic, giving a great first impression. Once you actually start the story mode, you're treated to a brief opening cutscene that features a rapping ghost, usb flash drive imbued martial arts, and... general hilarity. Again, all of this keeps up the game's momentum and really shows the amount of care Barden put here. Every level opens with a brief voiceover introduction, always including a quick joke. The game's story just exudes confidence and character.
The gameplay is an interesting blend of rhythm and platforming; the protagonist, 808, runs across the level automatically. The player's job is to press specific arrow keys as 808 runs through their corresponding icon; when successful, 808 perform some stunning acrobatic feat, usually leaping over a pit or some obstacle. When missed, 808 will either fall into a different path through the level, or just ouright perish, forcing the player to restart from the beginning of the area. Occasionally an enemy is encountered, and the player must press the arrow keys in a specific order to slash through the enemy robot. The game essentially boils down to a long series of quicktime events, but the branching paths and platformer design help it feel more like it's in the player's control. Additionally, the player can pick up extra points by pressing the arrow keys to pick up little notes as 808 passes through them, but this is just an opportunity to get a higher score.
Grahpically is where this game shines brightest. Every level has a totally unique look, the screen's constantly exploding with blissful eye candy, and 808's animations are awesome to watch and silky smooth. This is a game that can be enjoyable just to watch--indeed, even when you're playing, you'll spend 60% of the game just watching. Where the game is lacking in gameplay and control, it more than makes up for in style. The only thing that holds back the game, visually, is the choice of font--for some reason, all scores and dialog are displayed in boring old Arial. Why, I ask, why?! It's a minor flaw, but when the presentation is just so perfect otherwise it sticks out.
Overall, this is among the most impressive entries to Yoyogames' 5th competition, and definitely deserves all the attention it can get. Barden might not be a well-known game maker, but with the release of NJBJ, he's without a doubt making a run for first place. Excellent work, LiamBarden; good luck in the competition, and continue making games of this caliber!
Edited by banov, 20 April 2010 - 10:03 PM.