I'd like to start my apologising for my lack of reviews lately, I've had some problems with my hardware that resulting in a little bit of an absence until I could get my hands on some knew parts. This meant that a review I had written but not yet submitted was lost with the rest of my hard drive that I had not yet backed up. Anyway on to the actual review.
Name : Kinetics
Genre : Puzzle
Creator : Pocketninja
Link : http://gmc.yoyogames...ost&pid=3639694
Kinetics is an innovative puzzle game by Game Maker Community member "Pocketninja". In this game you are required to quite simply direct a small ball like object into a seemingly magic oscillating portal. To do this the player is given a selection of trampolines from the basic trampoline ,which conserves most of the balls velocity, to worm hole like devices that are reminiscent in there implementation of the portals from well, Portal. Pocketninja may have a low post count here on the Game Maker Community but his content is great having released quite a few good polished games including a game called Sandy Evolution, he certainly is a capable game maker and Kinetics really shows this off.
One thing I feel compelled to warn you about is the pacing issues, the levels don't seem to be in the correct order. One level could be really difficult and the next completable in a single attempt. For example level 11 is completable with a single trampoline yet level 4 requires a much greater grasp of the games mechanics to complete on the first or even second try. Lucky Kinetics still offers a mix-up in the game-play even once you reach the levels in the mid teens and twenties, something too many puzzle games fail do. Gravity shifts, magic barriers, wormholes and locked barriers are all added to the mix in well spaced levels. While gravity shifts have become increasingly popular in both puzzle and platformer games Kinetics actually implements them fairly well as you have to tactically place them well before the point you want the gravity to shift has the balls velocity is conserved even after hitting the shift trampoline.
Despite being put forward as a puzzle game, Kinetics can sometimes feel more like you are just trying all the possible combinations of trampolines until you find one that works rather than carefully planning where to put them. Of course Kinetics does try and punish behaviour like this, each failed attempt lowers the possible score you can achieve but it seems like the punishment isn't severe enough even after 10+ attempts my score was still over 100 on some of the more difficult levels.
Graphically the game is minimalistic consisting of little more than small boxes and slightly longer coloured boxes but this is by no means a terrible thing. In fact the simple graphics allow for a higher focus on the rather addicting game-play. Pockeninja has made extensive use of special effects and has done this well. Each level is created in an explosion of pixels centred on the point that will become the portal to the next level in what is a very eye pleasing effect. This effect is then run in reverse , imploding the level including your placed trampolines, upon the completion of a level. For me one of the most pleasing aspects of the graphics was the level completion screen. Here pixels of an array of different colours would move in a nice pattern swaying in and out, the screen-shot below does not do it justice.
At first I found the musical component of Kinetics to be a fresh, enjoyable techno-esque sound that wasn't irritating like most techno sound tracks however after playing around twenty levels it began to grate me and I was forced to turn the sound off to enjoy the better aspects of the game. That is not to say that the music is bad but it certainly isn't a track that one could enjoy constantly for more than half an hour. Oddly the sound effects fit incredibly well, giving a distinct feeling of both the future and technology. Perhaps this was unintended but games with simple graphics and sound effects such as these I tend to suffer from a bad case of nostalgia for the arcade games from the past which greatly increases the pleasure gained from playing Kinetics. However if your a fan of less retro sound effects you may find them slightly grating as there is only a small variation in the different sounds.
Overall I believe that Kinetics is a brilliant puzzle game that can really test your abilities to interpret the mechanics. However it is not without its quirks, the sounds and some of the level placements are among the most noticeable annoyances but you should not stop you from trying this rather addicting game.
Edited by @Alex@, 13 July 2011 - 09:53 PM.