Platform games were all the rage in the early days of video gaming. Now though, it’s a rare title that takes us back to those two dimensional worlds. In the new age of mobile gaming, fantastic creativity can be found in arcade and action games. Therefore, a return to the classic platform genre would require a unique twist to catch our attention. That’s exactly what YoYo Games have done with They Need To Be Fed. Read on to find out if it works.
They set you up, by trying to win your heart…
The premise of They Need To Be Fed is implied by the title. You are in charge of some monsters who are very hungry. What with Cut the Rope, hungry monsters are becoming something of a theme! However, in a rather macabre twist, your monsters exist on a diet of smaller monsters … stuffed with diamonds. No, you did read that right … I know I know.
… with emotional blackmail!
You control the little fella, who has to get across to the waiting mouth of a hungry monster. However, nothing in life is simple, just like this game. You have to jump from platform to platform, collecting the requisite number of diamonds, and then on to meet your slobbery fate.
The fundamental part of any platform game is gravity. In classic platform games, there was always the hazard of misjudging a jump and falling to oblivion. They Need To Be Fed is different, it still has gravity, but just not in a downward direction. Instead, every platform in the game has its own local gravity. In the words of YoYo Games, there is 360 degrees of gravity.
How to play, it’s a simple formula.
This is a twist that is rarely, if at all, used in other games. It took me a long time to let go of the fear that I was going to fall off the bottom of the screen. After taking a running jump, one of two things will happen to your little character. It will either drift back to the platform it jumped from, or it will get close enough to be pulled into another platform.
There are just three controls along the bottom of the screen: left, right, and jump. Left and right become relative concepts, when you discover that you can run along the entire perimeter of a block, even upside down! Just like any good old platformer, you can steer and correct your trajectory mid-jump.
It’s time to be lunch!
The platforms start out as basic squares, but as you advance, different geometries appear that each have their own actions. For instance, triangular platforms constantly rotate, and long bar-like platforms pivot. There are balloon like shapes too, that will pop if you stay on them too long.
Hazards come in the form of various spikes, and vanishing platforms (as mentioned above). These are the only things that will kill your little guy. Fortunately, some levels have waypoints to save your progress. If your character dies after using one, he’ll return to it, rather than the beginning of the level.
Mind the spikes!
The game levels are split into worlds. You can’t progress to the next world until you’ve done each previous level perfectly. That means getting all the diamonds without any restarts. There is an achievement system too, which gives you an excuse to hone your gameplay that little bit more.
The world navigator.
The graphical style of the game works. The backgrounds and blocks are a cutesy juxtaposition to the stark black and white cannibalistic monsters. The only problem is that the graphics look a little blurred, as if they had been scaled up, but with too much aliasing. This is a distraction, but ultimately doesn’t detract from the gameplay.
David Gilson for All About Symbian, 19 October 2011