Reset 1-1 (PC) review
"Sometimes, the 'power' button is a better option than 'reset.'"
My time with Reset 1-1's started with a red flag. I couldn't get the game to run properly, as it sat at a dead title screen. That should've been my cue to close out the app and forget I purchased it (in a massive bundle, no less). However, my stubbornness got the better of it, as it is wont to do. I somehow found a fix and got the app running properly. And what was my reward for my perseverance? Mediocrity...
I only bring all of this up because it's likely others will encounter the issue, and you should know that it's simply not worth weathering the storm to get into this piece. Sure, you may be a faux-retro junkie who likes 2D platformers with intentionally antiquated visuals and tacked-on RPG elements, but none of that justifies the trouble of booting up an unstable program.
If you succeed in getting the affair to go, then the best of luck to you. Be thankful that its campaign only lasts an hour or two. From the get-go, it hits you with rather a nasty, rough presentation. Sure, it's colorful and it looks appropriately dated, but you have to remember that not every game from way back looked like money. There were some pretty ugly works with dull graphics, like Legend of Kage and Silent Assault, so using the “it's supposed to look bad because it borrows from retro games” excuse doesn't always cut it. Many character models look like large squares fastened together, more so than many other pixel works I've played. Also, there's a roughness to the game's color blending that sometimes looks splotchy, and other times just plain rough.
Things only worsen as you die. You see, this title sends you through side-scrolling platformer campaign where you receive unlimited lives. However, the more you croak, the more the game's palette turns bleak and gloomy until it loses all of their color. After so many deaths, the color scheme transitions to shades of dull black, gray, and sepia, which only make the adventure appear even more lifeless. On top of that, some of your opponents become stronger as the colors wane, thrusting you into tougher battles with limp graphics.
There's good news, really. For one thing it offers a few platforming segments that are quite enjoyable, including one where you don angelic wings and float downward through a maze of spikes. Though this section sounds frustrating, it's actually simple and solidly executed. Unlike some titles that have presented us with such moments, this one doesn't throw you into a nearly impossible gauntlet of pokes, but instead offers a reasonable layout to negotiate.
Thankfully, RPG elements and combat also don't thoroughly disappoint. Granted, some fights are tiring and only require the bare minimum of your abilities, such as battles against golems who exude stone waves. You can beat these guys down simply by spamming your attack and jumping when necessary. Worse, these guys are damage sponges, so be ready for tedious bouts with them. Other conflicts, though, involve more than merely jumping. You see, you only have finite stamina, which you spend any time you strike. However, mashing the attack trigger only puts you in a position where you may not have enough energy to execute a tuck-and-roll maneuver. A lot of creatures, especially later in the proceedings, hit you with blows that require you to roll out of the way. More than anything, these moments prevent the campaign from devolving into a series of mindless button mashers.
Of course, offing your opponents fetches you some experience and eventually levels you up, allowing you to bolster your choice of your damage rating, hit points, or maximum stamina. Unfortunately, your HUD doesn't tell you how much experience you have or how close you are to gaining a level, so beefing up is always a pleasant surprise.
Those points brought up, the segments you encounter are not all entertaining or worthwhile. More often than not, you'll find yourself bumping into lackluster creatures and ho-hum platforming, and it all comes across as filler before you get to the few solidly built parts. There's only so many times you can kill long rows of skeletons while navigating simple pitfalls and leaping flames before you begin to checkout, as I did during my own playthrough. I found myself thinking of the other games I could be playing, or remembering when better platformers tackled similar segments with due grace.
I would say that bosses represent the best situations on offer, but even some of those meetings fall flat. Granted, you do encounter some well-made ones, such as the final boss and a couple of tough knights. However, you also step up to a ghost whose main offense consists of pushing you off a ledge, which you can easily avoid by jumping over him. Another villain, this time a demon clutching what appears to be a heart, seems like it'll jack your jaw. However, all you need to do during this altercation is repeatedly slash at the heart and perform the occasional basic sidestep as slowly moving balls of fire rise out of the lava below you. You might crack your knuckles and ready yourself for a second form, but the beast just dies and you advance without much ado. These segments become even more forgettable if you happen to be over-leveled, as weaker bosses expire with little resistance and become mere footnotes in your journey.
The only point I'm making with all of this is that Reset's best scenarios are merely adequate, while the rest of its content remains uninspired. It doesn't particularly stand out because so many other 2D platformers have offered us similar experiences, albeit more memorably. This one feels like an indie game going through the motions, except with rudimentary RPG elements thrown in. In short, if Steam fails to load this title, just understand that you're not missing anything. Its material, though not particularly offensive, isn't worth going through the ridiculous trouble to get it running.
Staff review by Joseph Shaffer (November 06, 2023)
Rumor has it that Joe is not actually a man, but a machine that likes video games, horror movies, and long walks on the beach. His/Its first contribution to HonestGamers was a review of Breath of Fire III.
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