Thursday, April 16, 2009

The Maw

I'm about to make a few enemies, because what I did was download the demo of this game and then promptly refuse to purchase it. Oh I know, everybody just lurves this game and it won the Pax10 and it's cute and innovative and cartoony. I'm sure it's great. Its demo is awful.

We have a cinematic cutscene with high production value and a plot that is sort of a knockoff of Lilo & Stitch. By the developers own admission, the characters and ideas are meant to be easily marketable. That's not a bad thing in itself, but I also find the charming nature of the game to be a bit forced. Maybe I'm just being a grouch, but I'm also not the sort of person to hate something popular just because it's popular, (Come on we all know a few of those people).

Anyway, the real problem is that the demo ends well before the game reaches "interesting" status. What on Earth is the risk of letting me play more of your game than the first 10 minutes? Couldn't I have at least finished the first level? Given the community response to this game, I have faith that it is everything they say it is, but the demo proves nothing. Somebody who just glances at this on Steam is not likely to be impressed.

In fact, the demo demonstrates so few mechanics that you don't even use all of the controls listed on the help screen. And the weird control-two-characters-at-once-with-a-leash thing is potentially awesome, but so underproven in this tiny demo that you feel like you are fighting against it before you even get to understand why it could be so fun.

So in conclusion, I kept my ten bucks. I imagine I will have reason to purchase this game later - it's just too well received to ignore, but right now I want to hold it up as a perfect example of how not to do a demo. Developers, heed my words: There is nothing wrong with giving away a lot of content for free.