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REVIEW | Gravity Is A Hassle In “Constant C”

By
Posted on May 5, 2014 AT 10:19am

The concept of Constant C sounds like a good idea: solve a bunch of puzzle-based rooms via the usage of time and gravity. At first the game plays pretty well. Then the deeper you go the problems start to arise…

Constant C focuses on a Rescue Robot created to prevent massive disasters. You wake up to find your area in shambles, with the Artificial Intelligence on the space station not knowing exactly what happened. In order to figure out what caused the damage to the station you’ll need to run through the various levels to collect pieces of information to feed to the AI.

The Rescue Robot is given the ability to change the room’s gravity somewhat on the fly (though it takes a second or two for you to do it again), which is done to help get through various areas in each level. There is also the Time Circle, which allows you to send objects into motion when nearby, only to keep them at a standstill when you move away from them. All this sounds fairly easy to maintain, until you see how most levels are laid out.

As you travel through each level many a hazard lies dormant to make you bite the dust, and I say “dormant” because they don’t come to life until the Time Circle that surrounds you is in its vicinity. Buzz saws, lasers, giant balls, boxes, and endless pits fill up the screen, and it’s up to one’s quick thinking to not just get from Point A to Point B, but to also grab enough data needed to figure out what had happened on the space station that had put it in disarray.

Normally I am all about these types of video games, as I tend to be a sucker for puzzlers that use your brain at almost every turn. Titles like Portal and Toki Tori make you feel like you’re being rewarded as you progress through its duration, adding that fun element that makes you want to play them nonstop. Sadly this cannot be said about Constant C.

In the beginning the game is fun, thanks to some solid challenges and the humorous dialogue heard from Artificial Intelligence. However as you progress the levels become more and more frustrating, many of which require so much quick thinking that by the time you complete one task you have only about half a second to figure out the next game plan. Case in point there’s one level that had you evading lasers using your Time Circle to help a box plummet down to shield you from attack. Immediately after you evade the laser you’ll need to quickly avoid being hit by the buzz saws that lay below. On paper it sounds like an easy challenge, but it took me almost 30 minutes to complete it! It’s moments like this that can suck out all the fun that Constant C should be.

There’s also the issue of glitches found throughout the game. In one instance I was in the middle of a jump, when suddenly the action on the screen froze on me, only to restart just as soon as I landed on one of the deadly traps. While watching some of the videos the action froze, as well, but fortunately I didn’t miss any important elements of the story since you are needed to push a command to continue on with the dialogue. Still for a game that’s been out for almost two months you’d think that a patch to fix these issues would be out by now.

The overall appearance of Constant C is okay, although it looks more like something you’d see in an Xbox Live Indie section than in the main Arcade. Rather it looks like a Flash game that you’d find on the Newgrounds site, and not necessarily one of the good ones. Its soundtrack gets repetitive fast, as it’s roughly the same few songs on repeat over and over again. Lastly there’s the controls, which — while they work well — can be confusing to figure out in last-minute situations. Usually I’m a quick learner when it comes to these sorts of titles, but almost every time I find myself in a life-or-death situation I press the wrong button and have to start the level all over again.

Perhaps the best thing about the game has to be its story, as it deal with what happens when science goes too far in order to achieve greatness. A massive discovery is about to be unlocked by the human race, but one of the scientists wants to hold off from performing the final task until more testing is done to make sure it’s safe. Sure enough the majority sides with wanting to unearth the discovery posthaste, leading towards some bad juju about to happen on the ship. Sadly in order to experience the story you’ll have to play the game and go through some of the most infuriating level designs I’ve come across in recent memory.

PROS:

  • Great story, humorous dialogue
  • Nice puzzle elements
  • Tons of levels…

CONS:

  • ..but most of them side with frustration rather than fun
  • Glitches out on the most dire moments of gameplay
  • Graphics, music on the “meh” side of things

FINAL THOUGHTS:

Constant C starts off on the right foot, only to stumble and fall halfway through. Its unforgivably hard levels and glitches make it difficult to fully enjoy in its entirety. A shame, considering with enough polish and some better coding it could’ve been a great game.

FINAL GRADE: 5.3 (out of ten)

Xbox Live Arcade review code provided by Gail Salamanca of Strangely Compelling

Evan Bourgault is an accomplished music, anime, and video game critic. His passion for discovering new bands, developers, and Japanese pop culture began in his college radio days and continues on today. Evan joined the ElectricSistaHood team in 2008, where he is a contributing editor and host of one of the network's weekly podcasts. Follow Evan on Twitter at twitter.com/King_Baby_Duck




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