Format: PC (browser/flash)
Being yet another game that I played once and skipped over due to not understanding, Through is a minimalistic puzzle-platformer made for GameBoy Jam 4. It's a short and sweet game, consisting of a mere 12 levels. Honestly, this game is so short that I'm having trouble coming up with something to say about it to introduce it better. That's pretty short, folks.
The platforming itself is simple run-and-jump formula. No wall-jumping, double-jumping, super-jumping, or any other fancy platforming goodies (aside from bounce pads places in parts of levels). Then again a puzzle-platformer like this doesn't exactly need all that, and instead needs a solid puzzle mechanic to work with. Does this game have that? Yes. You see, Through has an apt title because of it's puzzle mechanic. It's mechanic completely revolves around the player smashing their little player character through walls, and in doing so changes not only the platforms in existence but the direction of gravity as well. Think of it like this: there are multiple planes of existence and you get to each new one and it's respective platforms and gravity via running into a wall.
It's a weird mechanic in my mind. It's clever and has lots of room for strategic thinking, but when I played I found it hard not to just run around into the walls I find and eventually end up at the end of a level. I mean, doing so worked well, which is why I never put a whole lot of thought into what walls I would run into. The mechanic is one of those that seems like it could involve a lot of thinking multiple steps ahead, but since it can be not only a pain to think of it all at once but also pretty easy just to blaze through, this potential for multi-step thinking it somewhat lost.
The levels, despite being short and for the most part easy, aren't poorly designed for the mechanic they sport. When the player does make a mistake the game doesn't usually punish them by throwing them off the map to a short-term death, but instead loops the player back to a previous place in the level, forcing them to just get back to where they were and figure out what different wall to run into next. The levels are at least satisfying, which, for a game that doesn't suck up a whole lot of time, is really the only requirement. It should also probably be noted that this game does death very similarly to Fez, where you just immediately respawn on the last platform you were on.
A little nitpick I have with Through is the little jump thing that happens after running through a wall. I know it's to add the little effect of pushing through the wall, and hey, it does that nicely, but at times it would screw with my timing jumping and lead to me annoyingly falling off of ledges. Once the timing of the game is gotten down this is easy to avoid but it just bothered me a little. Like I said: just a little nitpick. Not like the real flaws that hinder the game's potential, like the lack of difficulty.
The aesthetics are basic, but what else would you expect from a game made for a GameBoy Jam? Its visual use a simple color pallet of manilla, green, darker green, and black. All of this is expressed in a clean pixelated art style with animations to go swimmingly with it as well. All in all, this game isn't bad with it's visuals, albeit a touch minimalistic and colorless, which isn't necessarily bad.
Now on the sound side of things my judgement is a bit different. The game music is a single, very basic chip-tune loop. I call it a loop because it loops often. Quite often. It's not entirely bad and fits the game, but can wear out it's welcome after a while. The sounds themselves are fitting and solid, and also a bit sharp and kind of annoying.
Over all Through was an interesting little game. It came out of nowhere for me and didn't take up much time at all, which is why I almost immediately decided to review it. It's more of an experimental game than anything, even ending with a "to be continued…" It would be nice to see more of this concept, as I still see potential in it. Hopefully a sequel will come out and will not only be longer but also more challenging.
Play Through HERE