Release Date: 14/01/13
TheIndieJar: The Adventures of King Croc Review
The Adventures of King Croc started off with a little intro movie that amusingly pitted ‘King Croc’ against the evil ‘Professor Plumber’ who steals his girlfriend. From this encounter, King Croc receives some sort of science gun that allows him special platform-creating powers. The first strange thing about this game was the fact that the intro opened in a small window outside of the main game, so I was very confused when it finished playing and nothing happened. I had to click into the game.
I was then greeted with a twangy guitar tune welcoming me to the Adventures of King Croc. It had some pace to it and as I hadn’t seen any trailers there was a really jarring contrast between the song and the slowly moving King Croc. I began to think that the developers, Bright Head Games, were messing with me and that there was going to be a faster paced game after this, jumping out and shouting “Gotcha!”.
After a set of tutorials that explain to you what your powers are, the levels are designed around King Croc placing blocks, portals, and jump pads that get him to the door at the end. Most of them are fairly simple with a few that will make you try different ways around before you get it right.
One problem I had with the puzzles was that instead of slowly introducing the player to each ability and then letting them use it however they want to solve the challenge, some levels take away different powers. Restricting a player like this feels like it’s making the game artificially harder and if the levels are made well enough (which I think they are) the player will recognise that using a certain technique or ability won’t work in the situation. Additionally, whether a situation can be overcome in more than one way or not, it doesn’t hurt to let the player experiment. Some later levels avoid this, but without a puzzle-style challenge, leaving the platforming on its own to make them easier.
One problem I had was motivation. Aside from wanting to finish the game to review it I found it hard to find push through the game. The small amount of charming animated cutscenes (all displayed in a separate window) were not enough and the pace of the challenges left little anticipation for the next levels. There’s a difficulty spike that didn’t particularly help progression either.
Perhaps I’ve been spoiled by more atmospheric or spatial reasoning based platformers like LIMBO, Nightsky, Offspring Fling and Snapshot but The Adventures of King Croc didn’t really engage with me beyond puzzle solving. This is possibly due to the speed that the character moves at and in later levels I was interrupted by crashes increasingly often.
I try to avoid being mean for the sake of it whenever I can. When it comes to making a game there is a lot of effort that goes into making sure that what comes out works properly. Unfortunately this game comes up short and despite some interesting ideas the sum doesn't add up to an engaging experience.
- Good puzzle elements
- Great main menu song
- Well designed levels
- Irritating in-game music
- Nothing to motivate progression
- Slow gameplay pace
There are some solid puzzling ideas here, but they weren't implemented in a way that made me want to keep playing. Combined with graphics that are poorly scaled for both windowed and fullscreen, it isn't very pretty. Those are my two main gripes but other than that, the game doesn't have any character or traits that make it stand out from other games.