Lemmy Lizard vs. the Mecha-eggs by Wytchlight is a quirky platformer with a lot of potential but fails to deliver an enjoyable experience quickly. Lemmy‘s stumbles frustrate and annoy when, with a few tweaks, it could easily charm and entertain.
Lemmy is an exploring lizard who decides to follow in his Uncle Lenny’s footsteps. Along the way, Lemmy encounters an onslaught of mechanical eggs hell bent on his destruction. Fortunately, the adventurous lizard can collect fruits and vegetables along the way that provide him with special abilities and powers. The plethora of items scattered throughout the levels, each implementing unique aspects to the game, provide for interesting and fun gameplay as well as the need to balance and plan future use.
The Mecha-eggs are fiendish creatures and become more heinous in form and abilities as the game progresses. The gun wielding Mechas have killed a Lemmy with a full health gauge on several occasions, so be wary. Lemmy does have some capabilities to fight back with both a scratch-like attack as well as the ability to spit projectiles at enemies.
One of the more intriguing aspects of Lemmy is the inventory system. Lemmy can only hold eight items at any given time, so you need to choose the items you carry wisely. This aspect, while frustrating at times, really helps the game with its adventurer theme, after all you could not carry every rock and artifact you would find on a real adventure could you. However, the game also made its tips and directions individual items. So, if you collect each one early on, you will not be able to collect other items. This oversight is frustrating, especially if you need to look back at previous messages or need a quick refresher on controls.
Lemmy Lizard starts off well enough – the graphics are stylish and well done, hints of a story are present and the first level is fairly easy to get past – then the game takes a nose dive. The jumping is extremely awkward, and Lemmy constantly misses platforms. Lemmy’s jumps are a tad exaggerated in height and distance as well as difficult to fix once in mid-jump.
The level design is poorly done, and to be honest gives the impression that Lemmy has the smallest of space to make jumps from one platform to another without bumping into the platform directly above causing Lemmy to miss the jump entirely and fall back to the ground. As an added bonus, the game includes spikes that love to hide and hide well.
Perhaps one of the greatest blunders early in the game is the first door. The game presents a key without a door, and the conundrum is maddening, even frustrating to some. Lemmy has a severe lack of player help and direction, and the game could have used one of its useful instruction tips here. Sneakily, the door is a few slides back, behind a conveniently placed mushroom. However, even when you find the door, you do not actually walk through it; the open door activates a new pathway down the way you just came from. This is the first doorway; it does not need to be so difficult to find with the key so far away from it. While still frustrating after this point, the game is decidedly more playable, likely because you know what to look for. (Author’s note: Props to my girlfriend for stumbling upon the first door, because I could not.)
The game has some glitches that more or less make Lemmy a dead lizard walking. Near lava pits, if Lemmy falls near the center, instead of dying instantly, he will survive. However, he cannot jump to any spot nearby, and if he walks a few steps in any direction, he dies. Additionally, the lava pit near the first key is especially problematic. If Lemmy misses the platform with the key, yet misses the lava pit, he finds himself in a spot almost completely off-screen. This situation can only lead to Lemmy’s suicide, or an eternity stuck in limbo. The particular problem is amplified with the fact the last checkpoint is a few levels previous to this point.
The checkpoints are extremely unforgiving, although this seems to be the trend lately, and the save feature is relatively pointless since it only saves the last checkpoint spot. The game sets up to make you constantly retread the same levels, get to the half-way point and then die. It is a similar feeling to playing Halo during the Warthog chase only to die before the first checkpoint and having to start over.
While the game seems merciless at points, Lemmy does implement some helping features. At several points, little clouds help ferry Lemmy above some of the difficult enemies. However, the cloud is tricky to land on, and enemies can still shoot at and kill you.
The worst part of Lemmy is it could have been amazing, but it falters out of the gate and constantly shoots itself in the foot while limping along. It is a half-baked game of a world-class recipe and development. The game, like many research papers, would have been much better with another read through before turning it in.
Final Rating: 6/10
CBR Break Down:
Console Played On: XBLIG
Time to completion: A few hours, unless you give up.
Gamer Score Earned: N/A
Price Bought at: 80 Microsoft Points ($1)
Current Price: 80 Microsoft Points ($1)
Recommend Purchase Price: 80 Microsoft Points ($1)
Why you should buy it: If you enjoy looking past obvious and frustrating annoyances to see the underlying charm and wit of things.
Why you shouldn’t buy it: If you hate games that frustrate you, do not take defeat well or are an indie gamer chick.