Humanity Asset – What We Think
Humanity Asset is a 2D platformer inspired by Mega Man and Metroid. Though it takes the retro-tribute approach, it does attempt some more modern design updates while attempting to capture what made those games so great with a focus on combat.
My Brother is an Alien Scientist
2D platformers continue to flourish in this First-Person-Shooter-dominated world, though they now tend to include a more forgiving save system, a greater amount of variation and interesting narratives.
The only information you are given as you begin Humanity Asset is that your brother is an alien scientist that embarked on a mission to Earth and that you must embark on a journey to find him. The game doesn’t ease you in, nor does it culminate in any sort of compelling narrative or character development. It’s wasted potential, and something that – if elaborated upon – could have made this game a more interesting, instead you end up feeling disconnected from the game’s world, characters and plot. But hey, it’s an action platformer, so action ho!
Much like one of its natural progenitors – Castlevania – Humanity Asset is broken up into 16 levels which are made up of rooms that can be revisited. It’s hard to stay engaged, however, when you are fighting your way through boring areas that feel haphazardly assembled. Levels tend to be large and offer a lot of different paths to take and areas to explore, but since finding keys to unlock doors usually require you to double back or just explore every room, it isn’t really more than the illusion of choice.
Speaking of level design, during one level I fell into a pit and couldn’t jump high enough to reach the platform from which I fell. There was no other way out, so I had to reload my save and make sure that next time I didn’t fall into that deep pit.
Who’s The Boss
Humanity Asset’s gameplay mechanics are simplified, summoning the feel of the games that inspired it, but ultimately end up feeling incomplete. You basically move and jump using the keyboard, and shoot using your mouse. It’s OK, but not stellar or particularly fun. There are some slightly more evolved elements like regenerating health and checkpoints when you enter every single room, but this is really just par for the course and probably underwrites just how much I had to reach to describe anything progressive about the title.
Ironically, these aspects take away a lot of tension and challenge from the game, making combat and travel boring and unrewarding. The enemies don’t offer much of a challenge, except in those instances wherein you are overwhelmed by hostile projectiles.
You can swap out your weapon for other weapons you find or enemies drop in each level – semi-automatic and shotgun equivalent weapons, in addition to a couple of more unique weapons like a gun that shoots fireballs, but none of which felt particularly mind-blowing or even novel.
The most exciting events in the game are the bosses, naturally, and offer a good amount of challenge, but too often they were the only interesting part about any given level. Kind of like frosting being the only good part of an otherwise chewy sponge cake.
Stretching The Imagination
Visually the game is just as bland as the narrative. Areas look and feel uninteresting, 3D objects in the world have muddy textures and enemies are generic and plain. The lighting engine in the game makes 3D objects look worse; everything look disjointed and broken. A lot of the textures also feel provisional at best, and left me wondering exactly what they were meant to evoke. They were also tiny, so when slapped onto a platform or object, repeated in an unappealing manner.
Humanity Asset also suffers from a lot of coding/optimization issues. In my experience, the game would randomly grind into a slowdown. I could be in an area where there were no enemies in sight, and the framerate would drop substantially. This was even more of a problem in areas where there were: 3 or more enemies, too many enemy projectiles onscreen, too many real time lighting effects, and enemy explosion effects. I would often wait until the explosion effect was over before I would jump onto another platform or else the framerate issues would interfere.
Even more disappointing, the game will fail to boot up. It would crash immediately after launching. Sometimes it would crash when I tried to go fullscreen. I can’t speak for everyone, but just know that my PC specs were well above the game’s recommended PC requirements.
Humanity Asset is hard to recommend. It has a lot of glaring issues not only in the game itself but also on the technical side of things. All of the game’s issues marred my experience. If you are looking for a new 2D platformer to play, I highly suggest looking somewhere else.