Saturday, 17 May 2014

Gumboy: Crazy Adventures (PC)

Today on Super Adventures I'm taking a quick look at Gumboy: Crazy Adventures, developed by Cinemax in 2006 (probably not the Cinemax you're thinking of).

Is this even going to be worth looking at? What even is it? I dunno, that's why I'm playing it. I get the feeling from what I'm seeing here that it's going to be a little outside my typical area of interest, but it was a gift from a friend so I'll endeavour to give a shit regardless. Plus variety is good.

(Clicking the images will present you with the original sized screenshots... mangled by jpeg compression, hah!)

That tree is definitely meant to look like a woman right, I'm not just imagining that?

Anyway,  I am playing as a ball. A gumball to be precise, blessed with the power of... well he can roll! Spinning is a good trick right? The arrow says go left, so I'll go rolling in that direction.

Oh, despite what the on screen commands may claim, I'm actually controlling this with an Xbox 360 pad. It didn't seem like the kind of thing that would be benefit from precision mouse cursor accuracy.

There wasn't much over the rainbow except for a seed that has given me the temporary ability to leap into air with the power of hiccups. I'm sure this jumping ability would impress the hell out of other gumballs, but for a platformer character it's sadly pretty pathetic. I'm going to have to build up some speed or something if I want to get these glowy things, and that 0/200 at the top is giving the distinct impression that I'll want to be grabbing as many as I can. Well that, plus the arrows pointing directly to them.

Collecting the dots brought me up to 200 points and opened the exit portal back at the start. Though I couldn't reach it either because I am really crap at jumping. I'll see if I can get some height by using the rainbow as a ramp. Physics, woo!

I've reached the next stage! But I'm already stuck. It seems pretty obvious what has to be done here, as there's a wall to my right and a curved tree to my left, but I can't get enough speed to make it all the way up the trunk to launch myself across the branch to freedom. Well I gave it a fair shot, but  the game's too difficult for me. Oh well, moving onto the next game then...

Wait a second, there's a run button. Well a 'roll faster' button anyway. Now I can make it over that wall I'm finally free to explore the rest of this second stage.

Huh, I've turned into a star for some reason. Not an ideal form to go swimming though, seeing as I'm just bouncing on the surface, so I guess I'll have to go grab that pick up on the right to morph into a... water cube or something.

I've already spotted a pretty serious flaw in the game though: sometimes it's impossible to tell where the level ends and the background begins. I don't know whether I'm going to land on something or fall through it until I've tried it.

The artists apparently had a bit of fun making this level art. It's definitely got that indie game aesthetic to it (as opposed to a retro indie game aesthetic, which would be all pixel art instead. Though to be honest I probably would've preferred that).

Anyway I just got mad air from speeding off this rocky goblin head and now I'm spinning in the air to give myself a bit of extra lateral acceleration.

Oh. Well it turns out that unlike the gumball, the star isn't all that resilient when it comes to high speed encounters with the floor.


I've finally found something I like about this game! Look at those water droplets spraying everywhere as I spin!

I found something kind of annoying too though: hitting the ceiling makes me fly the opposite direction, so as I bounce up and down I'm thrown all over the place. Patience and small, precise course corrections seems to be the key to making progress, but it's hard to be patient after being thrown back into the water for the fifth time.

Though it is awesome watching the poor overflow when I land in it...

Floor, ceiling, floor, ceiling, floor, ceiling, floor... oh just roll up the bloody slope already!

Okay those are the creepiest rocks I've seen in a video game this year. They all have the same face!

The trick to each level seems to be to follow the arrows and collect all the collectables along the way. These are still tutorial stages though I believe, so it's entirely obvious what transformations pick-ups I should be grabbing and in what order.

Gumboy sure makes some weird sounds when he collects things, mumbling things like "shibby shibby shib", which stands out even more due to the complete lack of music. All I can hear is my just my shibby gumball and the wind. It's more creepy than cute really.


Oh, well this isn't fair! I have to steer my fragile air ball through an obstacle course of spike monsters. C'mon game, I can barely make it through a tunnel this narrow as it is without rebounding into the ceiling and ending up flying back the way I came. I can slow my movement through the air, sometimes even turn around, but I don't exactly have a great deal of fine control here.

Pop, and I'm back to the start of the whole bloody level again.

... or maybe not. Wow, it seems that I crossed a checkpoint this time, and I don't actually have to do the entire run in one go. Well thank fuck for that.


Awesome, I have finally completed my training and reached... a Baldur's Gate game title screen? Oh I see, this is a level select! Well it looks cool, whatever it is.

Seems that the Magic forest is the only new area I can visit, so I'll give that a look before I turn the game off.


Kind of dark isn't it?

Okay there's a painted goblin to my right, but he seems happy enough just staring into space while pointing at his sparkly patch, so I'll leave him and go exploring.

A few screens to the right I hit a dead end with a patch of stars to collect and a sparkly thing I can take for my own. I'm already most of the way to my point target now so that's one thing I don't have to worry so much about. Okay that's right hand side of the map finished with, I suppose I'll try left next.

The left side of the map isn't all that interesting either, though it does have a magic mushroom thing that seems to be reacting to my sparkly thing I picked up. Great, now I've lost my sparkliness and the floor is covered in twinkles; I'm not sure if this is a good thing or not.

I know, I shall consult the goblin back at the start!

That's weird, there's this blue and red thing where the exit portal should be. I managed to bounce up and collect it after a few tries, but I'm not seeing what the point of it was.

C'mon goblin, speak to me! Give me a clue!

A few screens leftwards from the goblin I found this area with some extra stars I can grab, but I don't need them any more and this new power of mine seems to have zero effect on anything. The arrow is pleading with me to go left, but there's nothing over there but a pile of sparkles. It's all very confusing.

Hang on, I've just remembered something: the key to bring up the help screen.

Oh, well there you go, the help screen spells out exactly what I need to do here. I need to use my new magnetizer power to get the star dust over from the magic mushroom to the goblin.

So here I am, pushing the glowing star dust across the dirty soil. Man I hope the goblin wasn't expecting me to use a bag for this or something.

I suppose this is more interesting if you're someone easily impressed by particle effects, and fortunately I am.

Woo, look at all the star dust getting caught in the tree and trickling down! It's getting blown away by my magnet powers!

The star dust opens the goblin's portal and I'm out of here. A good place to turn the game off I reckon.


At first I suspected that Gumboy: Crazy Adventures wasn't going to be my kind of game, but after giving it an hour or so... I'm now entirely sure of it. I feel like I spent half my time in the game watching a gumball spinning in mid-air, trying to get it to stray a just a little to the left so that it'd fall into a hole full of stars, instead of ricocheting off into the ceiling again.

It definitely stands out visually from the games I typically play and it sounds as weird as it looks, but I would've appreciated it if the ground stood out from the background more. Plus the way it gives you nothing much to listen to but the wind had me expecting to see tumble weeds drifting across the empty levels. It might be all about rolling, but Sonic the Hedgehog it ain't.

I don't know, maybe the game gets more interesting later, but from the first tutorial level onwards I found myself searching for a reasonable excuse to turn it off so that I could do something else. That's not usually a good sign in my experience.

Next time on Super Adventures: I play another game beginning with 'G'! Three words in the title, 14 letters, first released in 1997 and it came out for PC, PlayStation and Game Boy Color. You've got three days to figure it out!

PS. Leave me a comment if you feel like it. All comments will be read, some may even be replied to!


Semi-Random Game Box