The latest in the pixellated-platformer lineup is Terrian Saga: KR-17. This is story driven puzzle game that is part of a multi-genre series, centered around the main characters home. Developed by Wonderfling and published by Digital Tribe Games, this game is not something you want to miss.
The first thing I noticed about Terrian Saga: KR-17 was how great the game felt, similar to old school Mega Man titles. The game is very linear and every area I came across had an objective I had to meet before I could move on. The area might just require reaching the end, which is harder than it sounds, or pressing a bunch of buttons scattered throughout the maze in order to unlock the exit. This is all sounds super easy, but let me tell you why it’s not. There are enemies everywhere! They definitely wanted to make this a difficult game and, with three different difficulties to choose from, there is something for everyone. I personally started on Medium difficulty thinking, “How bad could it be?” My answer: harder than I imagined. Learning the controls, other than basic movement, took some time. Some moves I didn’t even learn until much later in the game, sometimes by accident. A couple moves, such basic shooting, had multiple key-binds which I found to be a little weird. KR-17 runs on a base atop a track, similar to a tank. I had to get used to enemies constantly trying to keep me from getting to the next platform. At first, I thought there was going to be twenty to thirty different enemies. As it turns out it, the game has approximately five to ten different enemies that were simply copied and pasted everywhere.
I highly recommend using a gamepad of some sort during your adventure. Re-binding keys either doesn’t work, or I just didn’t use it right. I tried rebinding keys on my keyboard when I first started the game and ended up messing up the keys for the controller and keyboard. However, by going back and resetting the keys to default binding did fix it and was able to continue with the controller. I could not change the control-scheme from inside a level itself. In order to change settings, I had to exit to the main menu.
One thing I disliked was receiving all of the gadgets immediately as the game started. I love that I had all these tools at my disposal, but not telling me anything about what these tools were or what they did frustrated me quite a bit. Using these gadgets used up my energy bar as well. After a while, I realized that these tools were helpful as long as I made sure not to drain the energy bar too quickly. After a little bit of detective work and playing around, I figured out that I had five different gadgets. The first one acts as a heavy grenade that doesn’t fire very far and explodes after a few seconds, damaging KR-17 on occasion. The next gadget is the shotgun blast that emits a short-ranged burst of fire. Another gadget is what I can only assume to be C4. I had the ability to lay it down in my exact location and walk away. This was probably best used for taking out patrols, but I never cared enough to use it. This explosive can be triggered by pressing the same button used to place the device. I also had use of a proximity mine. I would set it and walk away, just hoping that an enemy would run into it. The last gadget is the J1M, a rocket sidekick that actually receives dialogue in certain parts of the game. Trying to navigate this little rocket through piped mazes is very hard to do, mainly because his speed is irritatingly fast. Using this rocket also takes up approximately one-third of the energy bar as well.
This game could induce rage quite a lot for some people. I think I had something like 15-20 deaths in each area just figuring out where I had to go next, and watch handful of enemies was going to stop me and my little health bar. Which brings me to some boss fights. After playing for a significant amount of time I only made it to one boss fight. I assumed I would have had 3 in that amount of time, considering I went through 3 or 4 different areas. The first boss fight is a chase and have the world fall on you sequence. Yet, another instance of dying 20-30 times, just to figure out what the boss was going to throw at me. These fights have to be based on pitfall memorization. I doubt there is too many people out there that can do this in less than 5 attempts.
The looks and sounds of this game really match the retro theme the developers desired to create. The world was always a joy a look at, even though some areas did seem like they repeated. The lack of any sort of mini-map or navigation kind of hampered this game a little bit for me. Some of these areas were so big and covered by level clutter that I had to draw a map in my head. I would often traverse the same areas multiple times, just trying to figure out where I had already been. Unfortunately, the sound effects were pretty loud and covered up the soundtrack at times.
Overall, if anyone looking for a nice challenge in an old-school, pixellated game, I would say this is another good contender for any library as it will kept me very busy. This game did keep me interested most of the time, while other times I was frustrated about being lost and wondered if I would ever find my way out. Sometimes I had to quit and come back later to have a fresh look at the game. At a price of $4.99, I can’t see anyone really regretting the purchase of this game. I give Terrian Saga: KR-17 an 8 out of 10.