This review for Gibbage has taken far longer to write than I ever expected so before I give my verdict I figure I should tell you why.
I downloaded the Gibbage demo months ago, well before Binary Joy was born, and tried to play it then. I got stuck on the tutorial. I wasn’t enjoying myself so gave up. A month or so later Binary Joy was released and Dan Marshall, the developer behind Gibbage, asked if I would like a review copy. I said I had played it and wasn’t keen but would ask if anyone else was interested, and they were. A few weeks after that the interested reviewer contacted me and said he couldn’t get on with it either so I figured I would give it another go myself – and actually try to work past the tutorial… and I’m glad I did…
Gibbage takes some getting into, and there are many flaws, but once you work your way around them you will find there is a very enjoyable game hidden away in there.
I started with the single player game. The tutorial was draining – the wall grabbing was awkward and the double jumping took lots of practice, and I had to keep waiting a ridiculous amount of time for the special weapon to spawn so that I could shoot all the bullets at nothing. This isn’t how to make a tutorial level.
Once I finally got past that I was onto single player mode. Wow – this game is hard! I ended up playing against myself to unlock the levels, because even on the easiest difficulty I was having problems getting anywhere. I feel I should point out here that I played Gibbage at work as well and I did considerably better, so wonder if the AI is better on faster computers (my home pc is better than my work one).
So if I didn’t enjoy the single player game (I think I would have if it was easier) – then why is the game on Binary Joy – after all we only review enjoyable games right?
Easy. One word. Multiplayer.
Once you can convince someone else to complete the tutorial you can have multiplayer competitions, and it’s when the two of you are both fighting for space on the keyboard that the game become fun. This game makes me wish my keyboard wasn’t wireless so that my opponent wouldn’t be able to steal the thing from me 🙁
The objective of the game is to get your opponents power total down to 0. Collect Power Cubes, and your power goes up and your opponents goes down. Kill the opponent and they get a permanent decrease, and you get a chance to run around grabbing cubes unimpeded. Whilst collecting the cubes you can also shoot each other which is where the games title comes in to play.
Gibbage contains chunky bloody body parts, “Gibs” for the uninitiated, and lots of it. The red stuff sprays all over the place and it doesn’t take long for the screen to be a sea of crimson, but being pixellated old school stylee you can’t help but be amused by it all rather than disgusted.
Personally I think the graphic styling is great, but it is a love it or hate it thing, I can understand why some gamers would be disappointed by the look but I feel that it adds to the charm.
The level design is also worth a mention. The levels are many and varied. No two levels use the same theme (at least of the ones I have unlocked) and they all have unique things going on – for example one level features blobs of green goo that make you bounce all over the place whilst others have extra characters to turn into gibs.
The biggest problem with the game for me, and the reason it didn’t get a higher score, is that the single player game is too hard – so not as enjoyable as the multiplayer one. If that had been tweaked, and the game made more accessible, it would have gotten at least 1 extra point.
Gibbage isn’t perfect, but it is fun, and that’s all we care about here at Binary Joy. Now what I want is for the sequel to be finished, hopefully fixing all the things that just aren’t quite right with this version. Having played an early control scheme demo things are certainly looking up in the world of independent gaming.