Sleepy Stu's Adventure
Following in the tradition of VVVVVV and Gravinaytor is Paradoxon Games' Sleepy Stu's Adventure, probably the hardest platform puzzler you will play this year. Stu, a black block of some sort, is having trouble sleeping in the noisy city, so he journeys off to try and reach a rustic country house. Between him and the house, however, lies an obstacle course arrange sin a series of platform levels. With each level Stu gets to use certain powers: the abilities to move left and right, jump and double jump [arrow] keys, not to mention sticking his head to the roof and levitating. He can even spit out brown balls. But because Stu is sleepy, the abilities he can access on each level varies, introducing a puzzle element to the proceedings. Just how will you pass this level with only moving right, jumping and head-stickiness at your disposal?
It would be a simpler task were the puzzles not pretty lateral and quite demanding on your platform-fu. Dexterity and timing are vital; if you don't believe me, work your way up to level 26 or 28. These seem to have most people stumped and really do take a paradigm shift in how you would play a platform game. Hint: Stu can double-jump, and WHEN you execute each one of those two jumps plays a big role in making the other side safely. Diabolical is an appropriate word and one ponders how Paradoxon Games created such fiendish levels. It's worth asking if they kidnap and keep level designers in their closet. That said, while Sleepy Stu's Adventure will be a challenge except for a select few vastly over-stimulated people, it is very satisfying once you beat a level. There is some system involving karma and good/bad decisions. [Edit: it is the game's shortcut system; if you are stuck, shoot randomly at walls until you open a red portal. It will take you to the next level, but costs points. Thanks JIGuest!] To be honest I never figured that out. I was too busy screaming in annoyance before trying again...
Karma's what happens depending on how you finish a level. Getting the normal exit is good, taking the "secret" exit (found, as mentioned in the game, by shooting everywhere until you hit the right block) is bad.
Basically, it's a way of making an additional game out of allowing you to skip any particularly difficult level.
And I think the ending changes depending on your karma. Allowing skipping but with bad karma makes the game more playable, while at the same time incentivizing each level.
(Honestly, this was all clearly explained/evident in the game. I'm surprised the reviewer didn't notice it.)
I'm going to stop at level 29. very frustrating when you know how to do it but have to keep restartng to get your jumps pixel perfect - even more so when you've got all the flowers but mess up heading for the exit - good game up till then.
I didn't find 26 and 28 much different from normal platform thinking.
I am stuck on level 14.
I forgot about the head-stickiness.
Had anyone tried the Challenge Stage? I beat the first 4 that were unlocked after level 10 but the platforming on the 5th is quite hard.
I cannot see how you are supposed to access the challenge levels. I beat the game with all three endings but cannot seem to find where the challenge levels are.
Level 28 wound up being not so much "rethink my assumptions about platforms" as "remember how the game mechanics work":
I forgot that you could trigger the spike switch by running over it as well as shooting it
This (and perhaps some other levels) get much easier to figure out if you turn on automatic skill selection.
For level 28, I was thinking, "How on earth can I do this level without being able to shoot" until I remembered/figured out the previous spoiler.
Honestly, I didn't find this game extremely difficult, and I'm not a champion in platformers.
Still, it manages to be challenging without being frustrating. It makes you feel dumb now and then, but not unfairly so. Your failures are clearly yours. Which makes your successes even more enjoyable.
The level designing is indeed clever, and that's what prevents me from rating this a 4 instead of a 5. I've been tempted to rate this a 4 because I felt that the concept of "limited list of moves allowed" was not fully exploited. Then I thought to myself, it would be unfair. "Limited list of moves" isn't new, it's been used back in Lemmings. And here's why this game deserves a 5: it made me think of Lemmings (and what was great about Lemmings 2: The Tribes) while being totally different.
I'm giving it a 5, despite it being EXTREMELY pixel-perfect on platforming challenges.
As was already said, it is difficult but not mind-blowing. It is an interesting new concept, while retaining the joy of all that is Puzzle-Platforming.
I can't seem to make level 30 work. Also, no way to go back and redo a level that you took the easy way out of? Uncool.
Anyhow, for 30, I seem to think the trick is to ceiling float over the spikes in the middle of the level so that you can get to the next area that sets you up to shoot the switch, but no matter what I do I can't jump high enough.
Arg, it crashed for me on level 46 or something like that! I had just gotten the final ability!
I'm loathe to admit it, but am struggling mightily with the jumps on the lower section of level 41. I see what people are complaning about regarding the pixel specific issues.
About level 41:
I think that's the section where you're supposed to use the
new teleport skill.
You might have to turn it on; I don't think it's auto-enabled. After you turn it on, use the Shift key to get it to work.
I do find myself wishing there were mid-level saves sometimes. In level 30 it seemed like I had to
double-jump to get the first flower and get back across the gap, double-jump to stick my head to the bottom of the column that hangs down mid-level, pop up just to the left of that column to shoot the switch, ceiling=stick to the next area, and then double-jump to get the last flower
which is four places that I can fail (in increasingly demanding ways; the first one allows a lot of room for ever, the last one I think is pixel-precise). But it's pretty tiresome to have to redo the first three every time I fail the fourth, which means a lot of redoing the first two every time I fail the third.
I don't know what to do about this, short of going full-on Braid and allowing the player to rewind time (or so I hear). But it is a problem, for me. (I wound up taking the easy way out, which was actually sort of fun anyway.)
My game crashed on Level 46 too. There's something wrong with that new skill i reckon.
Never mind, it worked when I reloaded, and I finished the game. Wasn't as difficult as you guys are making it out to be - my 'problem levels' weren't 28 or 41, at any rate.
My game crashed on level 46 as well, and reloading hasn't helped. Boo.
The good karma ending is quite cool, made up for a lot of trouble!
For posterity's sake, I did get my game going again -- I hear the crash has something to do with hitting "shift" on level 46, though I don't think I did that every time.
Anyway, excellent game, some minor UI hassles and that crash aside. One thing I liked is that very often, when I'd spent a lot of time trying to make some seemingly impossible jump, I realized that I should be doing something completely different. Although the thing I needed to do was often pretty impossible anyway. The last few levels seemed to rely a little too heavily on "Do several difficult jumps and some stuff in between, and if you do the last one wrong do them all again" gameplay, but really quite clever overall.
Anyone know how to get to the challenge levels?
Fun game. Not nearly as difficult as the review suggests; I was only really frustrated twice; once I skipped the level on the mistaken belief that I'd be able to come back and try it again, and again on level 31, which requires a difficult jump at the very end.
Level replay option is a must, however.
Level 34 did me in, I cannot seem to time the fall+right arrow properly to trigger the red switch. Oh well.