Developer: Adventure Islands
Publisher: Adventure Islands
Format: PC (browser/flash), Android
Persist is yet another one of the many neat flash games I didn't enjoy when I first took interest and played it, and then later grew to understand and enjoy. That's why I've known about this game for an awfully long time before reviewing it. Persist is a niftily little platformer that could take no longer than maybe five or so minutes to beat. That's reasonable, considering it's a game made in under 48 hours for the Ludum Dare 26. Regardless of it's completion time or production time, Persist is still a pleasant experience through and through.
Mechanically, this game is a basic platformer. You run around and jump at most. Running is at a solid pace and jumping controls well for the most part. The jumping is a tad floaty in midair, so this is really one of those games you have to use video game physics to move backwards in the air to negate your excess forward momentum. It's basic, yes, but it works and works well. Considering the theme for the 26th Ludum Dare was "Minimalistic" I think it's a smart design choice.
The thing in Persist is that no matter what happens to the main character, he will persist. What happens to him, you ask? Well after each segment of the game you reach a sort of cutscene room where this goddess (who you're trying to reach the entire game) takes more and more away from you. First she takes away your arms, then your legs, and so on. Each time she takes away something the gameplay is altered. When she takes away your arms you cannot swim and all water or waterfalls will kill you. And when she takes away your legs you cannot jump, only walk. It's refreshing and fun and adds memorability to each segment.
There are multiple segments to this small game, each one being more memorable than the last. It starts with a sort of basic intro of simple platforming, and then kicks up the obstacle rate and lowers the amount of platforms, and then when it takes away your ability to jump throws a good amount of decent challenges at you. Each part is well designed, memorable, and fair. For the most part the game is a side-scroller, but from time to time you move screens. Each time you move to a new screen is pretty much a checkpoint. The screens aren't too long and there's maybe two or three per segment. Every part of the game is thoroughly fun and entertaining.
This game holds up in both departments of aesthetics. Visually it's simple yet appealing retro-style pixel art with solid animations. It's got a good color pallet and uses negative space in a way almost akin to vector graphics. It's got a lot of black, which is actually pretty easy on the eyes so not bad, but uses just enough color to be a decently colorful game. It's not drab and bleak in the slightest. Music and sound design is also rather good. Sound effects are punctual and retro. The music is a bunch of classical piano pieces that range from alright so rather good. They at least fit the segment that they play during, so that's nice.
A thing that caught me off guard in this game was the narrative. It's the first thing I can remember in recent history that has sent chills throughout me. Whenever you reach the before mentioned cutscene rooms you talk to the goddess. You learn that you and she have a history together. She mentions things about forgiveness and how you really don't deserve it and all. It's all somewhat vague up until the last cutscene room and the dialogue after that, but let's just say that it turns out to be a really interesting plot that caught my interest and did it well.
Persist was originally a flash game, and what prompted me to review it was my discovery of it's mobile version. There aren't a whole lot of differences between the two versions. One uses a keyboard, the other a virtual gamepad. One is on a phone and has a wider screen, and the other is a little box in your browser. One thing about the mobile version though is if you close the app you lose for place in the game and have to restart. It's an easy game to play in one sitting though, so no biggie. Which version should you play? Which ever platform you'd prefer, really
All in all, Persist is a simple yet fun game. It's got good mechanics, good aesthetics, and even a good narrative. It's a nifty little flash gem that I've neglected to shed some light on until now. It's free and fun and doesn't take up to much time, so maybe give it a little look, huh?
Play Persist HERE