Thursday, June 7, 2012

Project 83113 [NCSoft+Fabrication Games] - $0.99

Endless runners are a dime a dozen in the AppStore. However, runners that incorporate more platforming than just mindless jumping are a pretty rare breed. Mirrors Edge, ChocoRun, Mega Run, 1-Bit Ninja… these are titles that take the running genre to the next level, adding in quite a bit of plat forming. So much so that it’s hard to decide whether to place them in Platformer or Runner folders on my iDevice. The most recent addition to this sort of sub-genre of platform running is Fabrication Game’s Project 83113 (Belle), published by NCSoft, and it could very well be the best of the best when it comes to these types of games on the iOS.

Back in April, when I first heard of, then named, Project Belle, I was ecstatic. The games graphics and presentation looked outstanding. The only thing I was really worried about, like almost all games that involve platforming, was the controls. It was the beginning of a short wait, unlike tons of other games that are basically forgotten between being announced and their release, it only took 2 months for Fabrication Games to get Project 81331 out onto the AppStore, and thankfully, the developers nailed the swiping gesture controls PERFECTLY. 

Like all of my favorite platformers, Project 83113 has a decent story pushing the gameplay along. You’re never caught wondering what you’re doing and why, or trying to guess where you are or who put you there, which, in my book, is a huge plus when it comes to platformers, and mainly because so many of them don’t include any information about these things what-so-ever.
Belle is part of a slave race, controlled and used by machines. Born out of the eyes of the machines, she was raised and trained to be The One who could free their kind from slavery. She is… Project 83113 (hehe). As you progress through the game, blasting your way to the hub of the machine’s haven, you’ll come across various weapons and robots which will help you defeat some of the more powerful machines. 
You’re able to collect upgrade coins throughout the game, but you can also buy them in the shop, which is accessible through both the level selection screen and the pause menu. Here, you can buy upgrade coins and bombs, as well as upgrade your weapons and take a look at all of the story fragments that you’ll be collecting throughout the game. There are IAPs, but you’re never driven towards purchasing them, and are really just there if you’d like to help support the developers, and completely max out your weapons. 

Right now, Project 81331 contains 33 levels; 27 regular levels spread across 3 worlds, with each world having one boss level, and one stealth level. There is a 4th world, and even though I haven’t gotten that far yet, it’s not included in the GameCenter scores, so I’m assuming that it’s coming in a future update. Either that, or it’s a very small world consisting of the center of the machine’s haven (here’s hoping). Each of the 27 standard levels has 3 different badges you can earn; one for finding the hidden object within the level, one for defeating all of the enemies in the level and one for completing the level without taking any damage. This last badge is what really adds to the replay value, and ups the difficulty quite a bit. Even by level 1-4, you’ll be going nuts trying to complete the stage without getting hit. 
The controls in Project 83113 are fairly simple. Swipe right to move right, swipe left to move left, swipe up to jump, and swipe down to slide. As you make your way through the game, more moves will be unlocked, like dashing in the air, double jumping, and gliding for short distances. Belle fires her weapon automatically whenever she’s in range of an enemy, and you’re also able to fire a special shot by tapping on an enemy. However, this drains a little bit of your energy, so you’ll have to watch how many times you use it. There’s also an icon of a bomb in the lower right corner, which clears the screen of all enemies and projectiles. 

Graphics-wise, Fabrication Games has done an outstanding job making a game centered around machines and corridors incredibly vibrant. Each of the character and machine sprites are fantastically done with the environments matching the high quality set by them. Animations are detailed and, well, just plain awesome. The explosions look great, and everything down to Belle crouching looks amazing. The game is also super smooth, especially on the iPad, but I didn’t encounter any slow-down or frame-rate issues while playing on my 4th generation iPod Touch either, which was a huge shock. 

With the price of Project 83113 set at $0.99, being Universal, including GameCenter leader boards for the total score of each separate world, and having 20 incredibly difficult to unlock achievements added on top of them, combined with the mind-blowing production values and amazing game-play, this is one game you do not want to miss out on. Project 81331 will definitely wind up on my top 10 games of the year list, and is one title that I’ll be recommending to all of my co-workers, and gifting to everyone in my family. It’s that good. With the insane amount of replay value, I’ll be hooked on Project 83113 for quite some time. But it’s safe to say that Fabrication Games has not only raised the bar for games in the platform runner genre, but completely blown everything else out of the water. I can't wait to see what they have in store for us in the future!


Reminds me of the old Star Wars games on the snes

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