Almost There: The Platformer – Xbox One Review
Why is this so hard?
The premise of Almost There: The Platformer is simple get to the end of each level and touch a shining beacon. Simple right? Well think again because the developers at The Quantum Astrophysicists Guild want you to suffer in your journey as you negotiate your way around a series of increasingly complex and levels of mind fuckery I have never experienced before.
You are a plain and simple cube and your only goal in your simple cube life is to reach that shiny beacon unharmed. In your way is all manner of death dealing devices that have been put in your way to thwart your progress and the further you get the more deadly these levels become.
When you complete a level you are awarded a star rating between one and three. The quicker you complete a level the higher your star award will be and the smugger you can act. Earning just one star is enough to progress to the next level so even the harder levels can be completed and moved on from but earning that one star can sometimes prove elusive on the harder levels.
Controlling the cube is simple and intuitive. Basic moves are pulled off with split second timing and they need to be. Some levels require you to climb up and this requires you to cling to the vertical surfaces as you go. Thankfully it’s a simple process as you push into the surface and then leap across to the next where you just rinse and repeat. Hang for to long though and you’ll start to lose your grip and slide slide back down so don’t think you’ll be getting a breather.
The one part of the control scheme I don’t like is the run up you have to take before attempting to jump over a long gap. It’s not as intuitive as the rest of the controls and caught me out time after time. It’s not something I’m used to doing so it would constantly catch me out. You need to move in the opposite direction until and then quickly switch to the direction you need to be going. This gives you a run up and when you have hit the required speed the cube will pulse and your good to go.
I may have mentioned in my opening paragraph that Almost There is a punishing game that takes no prisoners and it is. The level layouts start off nice and simple with nothing more than long jumps and a few tricky platforming sections to negotiate but all this is just a ruse. Almost There quickly turns the screw and you’ll soon find yourself facing saw blades, missiles/bullets, rotating sticks of death or even being chased down by deadly triangles. You won’t be given a second to breathe in some levels before you need to move.
I don’t consider myself to be a rage quitter but Almost There’s sole purpose in life was to make that a reality. It’s the kind of game that makes bald men balder, created by sadists who wouldn’t be out of place in a maximum security prison for their crimes against gamers. Yet there is a lot to love about Almost There’s back to basics gameplay and slick control scheme. You’ll need the patience of a saint to complete the game but it’s worth it just so you can sit back and say I beat you, ya bastard.
Review code supplied by The Quantum Astrophysicists Guild