XBLIG Review: Face-Plant Adventures – Let’s put a smile on that face

Face-Plant Adventures by Oddworm Games is a punisher-style platformer that excels at creating I’m-gonna-throw-this-controller-at-the-tv-cause-I’m-so-mad-I-can’t-make-this-lousy-jump moments. While it has redeeming qualities, the game’s difficult jumps and maneuverability are off-putting.

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GihwPxeDwO0

Face-Plant Adventures stars a plant with a face akin to the Annoying Orange that attempts to make mystifying jumps and acrobatic feats of marvel only to constantly die from protruding spikes, bubbling lava, crawling acid and bottomless pits. The game is a platformer to its core and sports a rather sadistic quality toward its players, and, to be frank, is quite frustrating and irritating. However, as with all such punisher-esq platformers, once a certain level is complete, a general sense of accomplishment and pride does take over, creating an encouragement to continue on to the next level. Additionally, the game does sport countless instances where the Face-Plant face plants on the ground below to a rather satisfying splat.

Face-Plant has three modes – normal, hard and insane – with each mode garnering less and less checkpoints. However, it is highly recommended you play with as many checkpoints as you possibly can because the little plant will die, a lot. The deaths are part of the game and once you accept the fact the little plant is going to die, the game becomes a little more enjoyable, a fact that also makes the harder modes that much more frustrating to deal with.

The levels are cleverly designed and implement different features and capabilities throughout. This helps keep the game from becoming one-dimensional in its execution and is a welcome aspect. The only real complaint about the levels is Face-Plant, much like Super Meat Boy, relies on accurate and well-timed jumps and landings. This can cause some serious trouble as the movement almost requires exact timing, and sometimes trial-and-error is the only way to figure out how to overcome it. This façade of the game is almost assuredly where many people will leave it behind. The jumps and level layout painstakingly require jumps to be made a certain way.

Additionally, the tempo of Face-Plant can be somewhat misleading. Certain levels you will be racing against elements and dangers in the game, so the inner voice inside your head will tell you to speed up, but going to quickly will result in the little plant hitting spikes. So, when you feel you need to speed through, a responsible approach is sometimes to take it a little slower.

Face-Plant is almost a roller coaster of game play. It starts off as enjoyable and administers the right amount of difficulty for beginning levels. The game then goes on an exponentially increasing difficulty climb only to plateau and even drop in difficulty in later levels. Then when all appears to have gotten manageable, Face-Plant throws you off the deep end to see you flounder in a series of acrobatic jumps even the best of trapeze artists would have difficulty making. This is not even mentioning the final level, which introduces an enemy, specifically the plant’s red brother, which is more than just the environment of the level. The final level is a pain only because the red monster can only die by landing on his head, but if he jumps while you try, you die.

Face-Plant seems almost positive people will speed run these levels; yet, this task appears dauntingly impossible. When you receive a participatory Bronze medal for completing a level in just under an hour while the game expects you to beat it in under four minutes, you really have less than a snowball’s chance in hell to accomplish the feat. Perhaps with a few hours of memorization of the intricate nature of a particular level, you could perhaps compete for a higher medal, but good luck. The other problem with speed runs is the load time, after you die, if you are using any sort of checkpoints, you have a delayed load time while the clock keeps ticking away.

Overall, Face-Plant Adventures provides a solid few hours of frustrating jumps and game play. The game does have its shining and redeeming moments, but those are few and far between, with an final two levels that will seriously have you question the feasibility of finishing the game. But, it is a challenging game that gives a sense of accomplishment when you finally beat it, you just have to get there, and that is the hard part.

 

Final Rating: 7/10

CBR Break Down:
Console Played On
: XBLIG
Time to completion: 5 hours
Gamer Score Earned: N/A
Price Bought at: A code was provided by Oddworm Games
Current Price: 80 Microsoft Points ($1)
Recommend Purchase Price: Can’t go lower.
Why you should buy it: If you love punisher-style platformers and could use another one in your life.
Why you shouldn’t buy it: It will frustrate you and will continue to frustrate you.

 

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About Steve Lesniewski

Steve lives in Chicago and recently graduated from the University of Illinois. He has been fascinated with video games since his ninth birthday when he received a Gameboy Color and Pokemon Blue. He loves following sports and cheers win or lose for the Bears, Bulls and the Fighting Illini, who include the 2012 men’s gymnastic national champs as well as the 2011 women’s volleyball national runner-up.