Review: 1000 Amps – An Illuminated Puzzle Platformer

Review: 1000 Amps – An Illuminated Puzzle Platformer
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Platforms:

Windows PC, Steam

Game Name:

1000 Amps

Developer(s):

Brandon Brizzi

Genre(s):

Puzzle, Adventure, Platformer

Release Date:

February 22, 2012

Developer Summary

Light up the world! As Plug, you are charged with restoring the expansive Amp-Tree-System, and thwarting an enigmatic intruder. Solve puzzles and explore in 1000 Amps! Key Features: Illuminate the darkness by lighting up whatever you touch. Teleport into any un-occupied space with a simple mouse click.

What We Think

1000 Amps is a 2D platformer coupled with puzzle solving and adventure gameplay based on the Flash platform. At first glance the game’s uniqueness is gracefully hidden behind its most obvious platforming characteristics. It doesn’t take too much more exploration, however, to realise that 1000 Amps has more to offer and is considerably more challenging than your standard platformer.

1000_Amps game Screenshot

1000 Amps features very simple but aesthetically pleasing visuals with the world being represented entirely through an assortment of shades of grey, black and white. Plug, the player character, explores over 150 rooms in this world, lighting up areas along the way. The player manoeuvres Plug with a combination of traditional platforming controls and something a little different, but we’ll get around to that shortly.

The environment of 1000 Amps is split into a vast collection of rooms separated only by barely visible borders. These rooms are made up of blocks and are largely plunged in darkness, only lighting up as Plug explores them. Powerful blocks called nodes light up as Plug touches them and when all nodes are lit a room will be fully revealed.

The gameplay is linked to this process of illumination; Plug’s ability to jump is feeble as he enters a room but as more nodes are lit he can jump higher, allowing for travel to harder to reach areas. If Plug leaves a room before all of the nodes are lit then the room will reset, plunging it back into darkness and requiring Plug to explore it once again. If, however, Plug manages to touch every node in room then the area will be revealed and the room will be left permanently illuminated.

The gameplay is given a considerable shake-up after the first few chambers as Plug is given the ability to teleport. This power allows you to click anywhere there is an unoccupied space in a room to teleport to that location. Doing so will drain power from any surrounding nodes that are already illuminated and so it’s imported to plan the use of this ability carefully. Moreover, it’s impossible to teleport in a room with no lit nodes, meaning that a poorly planned teleport can leave you in some awkward situations.

This power to teleport with a mouse-click may make this game sound rather easy; this would be a grievous miscalculation. The design of many rooms makes the use of the teleport ability extremely difficult and there are background blocks with the explicit purpose of making it impossible to teleport to certain areas. Despite this, the teleport ability contributes to some of the more rewarding puzzles in 1000 Amps.

There are many obstacles worked into the labyrinth, from conveyor blocks that force you in a particular direction to mobile enemies that specifically hunt down and deactivate lit nodes- these are especially maddening and will likely have you choosing to back away and explore a different room if only to save your keyboard from the ensuing rage. Suffice to say the obstacles present in the game make for some extremely challenging puzzles.

Perhaps the most difficult aspect of lighting up rooms is the simple fact that if you leave a room that is half finished it will reset. This may seem like a minor drawback but unfortunately in the darkness the edges of rooms are poorly marked and you can easily exit a room accidentally while exploring. This problem is compounded by the fact that your jump height grows as you light more nodes, making it easy to inadvertently jump out of a room. This aspect of the game may be intentional (there are some fiddly puzzles that make use of this resetting feature) but it’s extremely frustrating at times.

1000 Amps Screenshot 2

The visual and sound design of 1000 Amps is extremely minimalist and generally quite charming. Lighting nodes gives off a distinct tone of sound and once a room is fully lit these tones link together to form a looping tune. Some rooms end up with reasonably cheerful ditties while others have a more discordant sound to them that creates a slightly more eerie atmosphere. This all works well to create a distinct, if basic, look and feel for 1000 Amps.

1000 Amps is an enjoyable and unique puzzle platformer that has crafted a style for itself that helps it to stand out. The gameplay is challenging, different and sometimes frustrating. It is held back somewhat by one or two elements of its gameplay that could drive a player away but ultimately 1000 Amps is a sizable and well crafted challenge that is great value for money.

1000 Amps – Official Site

Get 1000 Amps on Steam

Rating: ★★★★☆ 

Kit Goodliffe

Kit is a freelance writer specialising in gaming, film and digital media. His passion for games began at a very young age and has only grown since then. Kit is IGR's U.K. correspondent.

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