Gobliiins 4 (PC) review
"If this sounds negative, then itís because it is! Gobliiins 4 is a flawed game, filled with problems, awkward design decisions and a baffling lack of foresight. Itís ugly, clumsy and displays nothing that would push you onwards into the late levels. Except for the puzzles. "
This is going to be easy, I thought, as I crept my way through Gobliiins 4, always wary of the inner editor gnashing his pretentious teeth at all those insolent iís lining up in the gameís very title. The game has serious problems; the graphics are the kind of cheap 3D people tried to push onto early platforms such as the SEGA Saturn in the belief that even hideous 3D would be such a turn on for the gamer, theyíd take that in bucketloads over more traditional and less eye-raping methods. No one enjoys this. It doesnít help matters any when the plot, something that all point and click adventure games lean on in proxy of pretty much everything else, is flat, uninspired and about as amusing as waking up after a hard night on the pub to find yourself cuddled up to your grandmother. The review, then, was going to be easy, and finally give me the chance to allude that my readership has incestuous relations with elderly relatives. But then I started enjoying the game, which led to no small amount of confusion.
But Iíve not finished complaining yet!
Should you prompt the game to run long enough without crashing, youíll notice each stage housed within a single, solitary screen filled with ugly predated dimensions of the third variety. The backdrops are pre-rendered poorly, but are given a false sense of beauty thanks to the 3D character sprites stinking up the screen. The single screen comes with its own pros and cons; itís nice to know that the answer to a sought-out solution couldnít be a missed pixel spread over a depressingly huge selection of locations and is instead staring you right in the face somewhere. On the other hand, knowing that the answer is right there in front of you, mocking your efforts, hiding in plain sight, quickly leads to frustration.
These areas are primarily traversed by Tchoup, who serves as the gameís packhorse for solving genre-obligatory inventory based puzzles. Heís summoned up along with his siblings by the king to go through the initial puzzles on his lonesome before being eventually joined by the magic-wielding, Perluis, and the brute strength of Stucco. This leads things to play out like a point and click version of The Lost Vikings, asking you to make your way through these stages by combining the three siblingís talents to find answers. Thereís a real try-anything-and-hope -it works feel to the game at times and, while some of the puzzles do have surreal solutions, theyíre certainly not random or unsolvable. They are, in fact, annoyingly enjoyable, which brings up my conundrum in just what to think about Gobliiins 4
Aside from openly declare my hatred upon whoever thought it would be a grand idea to siphon in all those extra iís.
I could complain until the cows come home. Saving progress is limited to either an intrusive auto-save or a password system, stopping you from effectively downing pad and wandering off whenever you feel like it. But this is hugely aided by the fact that Gobliiins 4 is a game best played in casual doses, anyway, picked up and put down as time dictates without trying to buy into the weak plot, the failing humour and suffering the backwards graphics. I could complain about the uninspired sound, how the voices are unintelligible gibberish with subtitles that drone on and on, but this is solved by the mute button. Youíll make good and quick use of it.
If this sounds negative, then itís because it is! Gobliiins 4 is a flawed game, filled with problems, awkward design decisions and a baffling lack of foresight. Itís ugly, clumsy and displays nothing that would push you onwards into the late levels. Except for the puzzles. Theyíre not your everyday ďUse the rubber chicken with a pulley in the middle on the zip lineĒ adventuring fare, and itís easy to find yourself coming up with theories ranging from logical to zany to try and sidestep your latest puzzle. Itís not fair to say that the huge mound of flaws wonít start annoying you sooner rather than later, but then itís time to walk away and come back later. I very much doubt this is the effect Societe Pollene was going for but, all things considered, itís not an awful place to be.
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