Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Nin2 Jump Pisses Me Off

Cave put a tiny new game up on Xbox Live Arcade, the score attack platformer Nin2 Jump. A big departure from their usual forte, bullet hell shooters, this download title I'd describe as the art-style of Okami mashing up with the quick and deadly get-thru-the-room play of Super Meat Boy. In addition it has mechanics that look superficially like the grapple arm from Bionic Commando. You use this 'manriki' chain tool to lift yourself over spike beds and past buzzsaws or target enemies for you to then power through.

I love the shadow play art style. I don't find the 'kids in the audience' flourish to be distracting. I'm used to bullet hell shooters so I don't find the occasions where the screen fills with stuff to be confusing. I like the quick restart and one-more-go addictiveness of the game. The bosses, like Fujiyama illustrated above, are really neat and different. There's only one thing that really gets to me, and it is kind of important.

The controls.

Wow, do they suck. I cannot, absolutely CANNOT get the chain weapon to go where I want it to. As stated, you must use this thing to get around the hazards. Sometimes you even need to do something fairly dextrous like use it to anchor and haul yourself horizontally in mid-air while falling down towards some spikes. In most games, with a little practice I find this sort of thing pretty easy. I've played A LOT of platforming games in my time with similar mechanics. In Nin2 Jump it makes me want to eat a gun. The chain does not shoot out in the same direction as I'm indicating on the controller with any consistency. The game does not register a button release (so that you haul up on the chain to safety) with any regularity. Most of the time pulling off even simple moves is sheer luck. What does it say when World 2 took ages to complete because of all the chain bullshit, but World 3 took one-quarter the time, because it has no traps, just enemies to defeat, and that requires timing and gauge management... not precise manipulations of the chain.

I'm reading online how the game is just so easy. Oooh, you'll have no trouble at all with the story mode. Motherfucker. Did I get some kind of bum controller? It isn't having problems in any other game! I'm all for challenge, but not when the challenge is inherent in control difficulties. That's like some hold over from old frustrating 8-bit games. I HAVE read one or two people say this game's controls give them fits... so I'm not totally insane.

I want to love this game. Most games from Cave make me all tingly down there. But this is just nuts!

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