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A Collection of Bad Moments (PC) artwork

A Collection of Bad Moments (PC) review


The first-person genre has been known for dominating with action and adventure titles, with an occasional unique release here and there, to the point of over-saturation. However, the genre has evolved to a substantial degree, stepping outside its comfort zone by offering horror products, so-called "walking simulators," and even diverse choices within the action category. The horizon has expanded so much, that I'm usually on the lookout for something weird or out of the norm. That's why releases such as A Collection of Bad Moments pique my interest, a title where every stage is placed in a different scenario, eon, or reality from one another.

As the name heavily entails, you're tossed into terrifying, oddball, or fantastical situations that require breaking free. In some instances, there's all the time in the world to figure out what to do next, while other moments enforce a deadline with grave consequences. The Roof Escape stage, for example, has you stranded on a skyscraper platform of some futuristic city, flying cars aplenty, and within minutes, if not seconds, security agents will bust through a locked door. The stage ends almost immediately if you don't figure out how to impede the security's progress, and once that's solved, you have only so few objects to interact with; at a glance, there's just lamp posts, a trash can, and an assortment of pipes locked behind a shutter. Though, surveying your surroundings eventually leads to success... after several attempts. Observe thoroughly!

If you picked Roof Escape first like I did, then it does a good job setting a hopeful tone for what the remaining stages could turn out to be. However, that speck of hope diminishes once you're halfway through ACoBM. The game's defining problem is that its ambitious premise is rendered underwhelming due to stages feeling as if they're prototypes for larger games yet to be made. Prospector 9, likely the largest map in the game, simply forces you to walk slowly around an enclosed section filled with rocks and pillars on an asteroid, picking up specific items to escape. Sky Captain, easily the worst stage, is a brief battle between two airships in the form of a "puzzle." Even Roof Escape is limited in its own right, as if you got tossed into the final section of a game's first stage.

There's also a very odd balancing issue with stages, which isn't something you want to hear about in a game based on solving problems. Prospector 9 and Beyond Green, the latter a green-coated wireframe stage, tells you what to do, from instruction manuals and text in the pause menu, to a voice literally telling you what to do next. This is especially silly for Prospector 9, as there's a survival element involving running out of oxygen tanks; not only are you informed that oxygen supplies are always beside rocky formations, but the game outright pinpoints all other important items on the map.

In contrast, there are moments where you're not notified, mainly visually, about what to do next or accomplishments being absurdly subtle. In Roof Escape, there's a panel blending in really well with its attached object, which can be undone. When I did it for the first time... I had no idea what happened, how I did it, and if I did it with my bare hands or with an item. I think it wasn't until the third time that I realized what had happened. Sky Captain is downright infuriating in this regard; I can't say what it is, because it essentially solves the stage's main "puzzle," but I will say, if you do play this... that your first hunch is correct. It's just that the game wants you to be extremely accurate when doing it. I died at least 10 or so times before I realized how precise it had to be. These were pretty much the reasons I had to play ACoBM much longer than needed...

At first, I thought that having so few stages in the game to be a disappointment. Though, considering how haphazard the problem-solving is, that's ultimately for the best. I still maintain the concept for A Collection of Bad Moments, where you go in completely different environments, with completely different ideas and mechanics, is a worthwhile endeavor for the development team to pursue; the execution here just needed a bit more love and care. Maybe they could return to this idea after gaining more experience? And I'm not exaggerating when I say these stages feel plucked from bigger games yet to be made, to the point where it almost seems like a demo or a sales pitch. One in which you have to pay to experience. Think about that for a second.


pickhut's avatar
Community review by pickhut (January 29, 2018)

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