Camy Adventures is a super cool side-scrolling platform game, out now for Windows PC. Run, jump, shoot and dodge your way through the gorgeous levels in search of your beloved Camy, who has been abducted by a mysterious flying saucer.
What We Think:
When developers set out to make a consciously “retro” game, they often produce a game with deliberately low-res, blocky graphics and simple gameplay. For many gamers, especially those of us of a certain age, the formula plays to our nostalgia–the low-fi aspect is part of the appeal.
Intergalactic Creations, the developers of Camy Adventures – Episode 1, did something different. They took that most classic game genre–the platform jumper–and created a quirky little game with strikingly crisp, high-resolution graphics. It’s a testament to the fact that you can make a game with all the modern trappings that stays true to its classic gaming roots.
Scampy, the protagonist (a dog who looks a bit like a sock-puppet I made in elementary school) is enjoying a picnic with Camy, his sweetheart (also a sock-puppet dog, but pink) when, out of nowhere, a UFO kidnaps her. Chivalrous Scampy then sets out to rescue her by, of all things, “borrowing” tools from a local construction site and constructing a rocket. So yes, it’s kid-friendly.
I did, however, say some fairly kid-unfriendly things to poor Scampy during several levels. Camy Adventures is G-rated, but it’s not easy by any means. True to the genre, each successive level tests your reflexes, timing, and–to a certain extent–ability to memorize the level’s hazards. I’m afraid poor Scampy was electrocuted several times on my watch. There are no difficulty settings, so you don’t have the option to cruise through on easy just to find out if he saves his girl.
The graphics are very impressive, not for their complexity, per se, but for their crispness, sophisticated use of parallax effects, and general appeal. Camy Adventures doesn’t go for realism, although it might have been interesting to motion-capture a beagle climbing a ladder. Instead, the game uses simple shapes to great effect, making it look almost like papercraft was involved.
The result is a 2-D game that’s easy on hardware requirements, and yet looks almost shockingly real. Again, no slight to 8-bit graphics, but I was pleasantly surprised to see a retro-inspired platformer with characters that look like they might fall off the screen on to my desk.
There are some minor flaws, of course. I experienced some crashes when pausing the game. Camy Adventures saves your progress at checkpoints which occur every few levels, so if something happens between checkpoints, e.g. the game crashes when you pause, you’ll have to repeat the levels from the last checkpoint. That’s not a showstopper by any means, but it would have been nice to see checkpoints at the end of each level, with an option for the hardcore to turn them off entirely.
Also, while I didn’t miss the absence of difficulty adjustment, some might want a more (or less) challenging experience. Again, that’s not something that I found especially problematic, but hardcore platformer gamers and the casual audience might be turned off by that.
Camy Adventures – Episode 1 can be had for the low cost of $4.95, and for that price it offers a very entertaining platform experience. If you’re afraid of commitment, there’s a demo. It’s a refreshingly unpretentious take on the most retro of genres, and certainly worth a test drive. While it’s not going to do much for the hardcore gamer, genre fans and casual players will find solid entertainment here.