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The Statues Live!
Created by orange08 for the GMC Summer Jam, and achieved a tie for second-place.
Two Creatures, inflicted with a curse that turned them to statues, may live again when a white orb helps them escape their mystical dungeon.
The Statues Live! is a platform-based puzzler that contains elements of both traditional platform games, such as jumping obstacles, and dodging enemies -- as well as logic/puzzle elements. The goal is simple: escape the dungeon. To accomplish this, the player alternately controls one of two characters (statues), enabling them to work together so that one of them can escape the dungeon.
Each level (dungeon) contains obstacles like remote-controlled doors and bridges -- tools like springboards and transporting portals -- and hazards like spiked pitfalls, falling bricks, and a few enemies. To complete a level, the player must use each character to help the other character. For example, one character may stand on a button that opens a sliding door, allowing the other character to pass through. In turn, that character may need to enable the first character by triggering a bridge.
The game controls are simple and intuitive. Arrow keys to move and jump, space bar to switch characters, R to re-start a level. <Escape> returns you to the menu, where you can review your progress, or select a different level to re-play. Your last completed level is saved automatically, so your progress is shown each time you re-start the game.
The beginning levels are fairly straightforward, as shown in the screenshot for Level 5:
It's clear from a glance what sequence the characters must take, and what buttons they must push to enable an escape. But the levels get more complex as the game progresses, and it's not always clear what sequence to take -- or rather, how to take it. Often, this requires the player to re-start a level after getting the characters into a "blind alley", as happened to me with Level 7:
As mentioned above, the game combines elements of traditional platform games where jump timing and general coordination are needed. A good example of this is Level 11 shown below. The first character must jump the enemy and span the pitfall to reach the button. Granted, this platform action may seem pedestrian for many readers more skilled in this genre. But for me, it was the hardest part of the game. I'm a klutz, but I managed to muddle through these parts.... after several failed attempts.
Graphics and Sound
Most of the levels are contained within the 640 by 480 pixel window. But a few levels use a larger room, while keeping the view at 640x480. The graphics are fairly modest. OK... they're downright simple. But they work well in this game. And after all, The Statues Live! was created in 72 hours to meet the Jam requirements.
The walls are a simple brick pattern, the doors are simple colored bars, the spikes are fairly generic, and the characters are simple two-legged squares. Despite the characters' simplicity, however, they're strangely appealing -- at least to me. I was amused by how they seem to bob up-and-down in time with the music. Either by accident, or by design, that's a nice touch.
The music is enjoyable too, although more track selections would be useful. Or perhaps cycling among different tracks as the levels change would be better. As currently designed, the music selection appears to consist of two tracks, that may be changed with the <shift> key. There are three tracks presented, but the 3rd track slot seems to be empty. Maybe that slot is for players who don't like tracks 1 or 2... and don't want to mute their speakers? In any event, at least one of the tracks was composed by GMC member twee, who describes it as "fast-paced chip music that turns into rock".
All in all, The Statues Live! is a very enjoyable game. It has easy-to-control game play, with clever puzzles and some platform action. Most of the puzzles aren't terribly difficult, so even idiots like me can figure them out in a few attempts. But with 24 levels, the game still provides a few hours of enjoyment. And with the automatic levels saves, it can be played through all at once, or in multiple sessions.
I don't normally give numerical ratings, but I'll give this 100 out of 101 (binary )
About the Game's Creator:
orange08 is a 15 year old game creator living in the US. He's used GameMaker for 4 years -- but most seriously for the past year and a half.
As for his favorite style, he prefers platform view games. He says, "I'll still play games with other view angles, but I really like platform. And as you may have noticed, I don't really make anything but platformers. I plan to make some kind of 3/4 or isometric view game sometime in the future though."
Regarding this particular game, he says "I spent only 36 hours on The Statues Live. The other half was spent on Rocket Leaper (which I believe to be a somewhat more unique concept)."
"Sometime in the future I may experiment with making a system to create procedurally generated puzzles for The Statues Live... but we'll see what happens when I have the chance."
Edited by chance, 17 August 2011 - 04:21 PM.