But there'd better be some amazing content in here Charly, you'd better not let me down!
This guy is Charly, he's a 3D rendered clown. He wears dark glasses, has sticks for arms, exists in some kind of nightmarish hellscape under a perpetual eclipse, and he wears boxing gloves. This is all I know. Though judging by the light bulb floating next to that white ball he calls a head he's apparently just had the bright idea to go on an platforming adventure taking place over 25 or so exciting levels!
The harsh purifying light of the sun has been obscured, so let the clowning hour commence.
I'm playing the unregistered version of the game though, so I get just five levels to play. I can only hope I'm able to form a fair opinion on the game by then!
I took a step forward and collected that powerup floating in front of me, and now I have the ability to throw deadly blue balls in a short arc, though only one at a time. I'm going to go try them out on that flappy thing on the right in the hopes that it'll shut him up.
Those bats over there are guarding a health pickup, though they're so easy to kill they might as well have not bothered turning up. My greatest threat right now is the edge of the screen, as when I'm moving I don't have enough space to see what's coming up in front of me. I have to keep tapping forward instead.
Usually these things race at me and explode the second they're on screen (another reason why I can't run forward), but this one seems pretty chill. Wait, if these things don't hurt me and they don't push me back, then why am I even avoiding them? I could just run right through the things and ignore them and I'd be totally fine.
Hang on, Charly's magic blue balls have shrunken, when did that happen? I guess he gets de-powered a little every time he takes damage. A couple more like this and he'll be defenceless.
I'd grab a mushroom and turn into Super Charly, but even though the things couldn't be more obvious if they glowed with the blinding glare of a million exploding stars, mushrooms are actually just part of the background in this game.
Fate seems to like the cut of Charly's jib though and has blessed him with five more lives, and fortunately I don't even have to replay much at all, as I'm put right back at the start of the water. It's like the developers actually wanted people to keep playing or something.
Well I'm at level four now and the music still hasn't changed. I actually started to like it after a while, it's a pretty catchy module tune using samples instead of midi synths, but at this point I'd very much appreciate being allowed to listen to anything else.
I'm really hoping that this arcade machine takes me away to some kind of bonus minigame, just so I can listen to the minigame music instead.
I'd talk about all the frustrations I've been having getting past these death traps, but truth is I just walked forwards onto the next ball and then stepped off again on the other side of the pit. It has not been a tricky game so far.
It's a shame I can't pull the screen up to see what I'm jumping into, but the way this game's been so far I'm not massively concerned. The game wants me to succeed and keep playing, because it wants to keep me hoping that I can ever reach a level with different music playing.
It'd be cool if the game could find some middle ground between 'I'm literally walking through the enemies' and 'fired off into a spike I had no chance to see' in its level of challenge, because right now I have to say I'm not feeling it.
Didn't even need to find an arcade machine this time, I just completed the level as normal.
This really isn't the worst surprise shoot 'em up stage I've come across in a platformer (that would probably be the one in James Bond Jr.), but it suffers the same problem as the regular stages. There's no weight to it, there's no challenge to it, there's no speed, there's no variation, there's no inspiration and there's no fun in the act of navigating the level.
I'll be the first person to say that a game doesn't have to be difficult to be good, but this game definitely needs something.
"Please input your address and your personal registration key."Don't think I have one of those.
"If you don't have a registration key, order it for $50 now."... no.
C'mon, just let me quit already!
Charly the Clown is a solid tech demo for a platformer engine, but I can't imagine many people bought this after playing the shareware version.
I could list so many things the game gets right, like not having a timer, letting me choose my levels (via passwords), giving me invulnerability after taking a hit, marking safe paths with coins, mid-level checkpoints, Charly's over dramatic ducking animation...
Basically, it's not a total disaster of a game and it's obviously been made by people who've played a platformer or two before, but I got no joy out of making my way across the platforms and there's no fun in dealing with these enemies. I spent most of my time just waiting for an excuse to turn it off, so I can't really recommend this one I'm afraid.
Anyway that's what I think, but maybe you disagree! Maybe you'd rather I'd start playing more games you may have actually heard of. Maybe you prefer that I play more weird obscure titles. Maybe you just want me to stop playing so many PC games. I'm always eager to read your feedback, so leave a comment if you've got an opinion.