Super Hipster Lumberjack – What We Think:
When I started playing Super Hipster Lumberjack by Day Dreamer Games, I was confused. Once you start the game, there is no opening cut scene or text on screen letting you know what is going on. You instead are thrown into the game and sent on your way to move and jump. Since there was no setup, I decided to look at the game’s Steam Store web page, and I saw in the game’s description that the main protagonist’s name is Noah and he “…attempts to make a game for the first time. He then gets trapped in his own creation. He learns that making games is a lot harder than he thought.”
Our culture has changed to be more accepting of games that are “works in progress.” Game developers know that they have the option to release the game early or just release it as is and create patches or updates that owners can download later. Many consumers now understand these new developer practices and are more understanding at the amount of effort it takes to create a game.
No Questions Axed
The fact that this narrative and premise was not conveyed or expanded upon was disappointing. It is an interesting setting for a game that breaks the fourth wall in a interesting way. It could potentially have a message about the current state of video games, but unfortunately it’s not fully realized. I think it would have been interesting to explore an unfinished game, like recently released game The Magic Circle. Instead the game has no narrative whatsoever and focuses more on its I Wanna Be The Guy!-style platforming.
Super Hipster Lumberjack seems to be inspired by other challenging, indie platformers out there. It attempts to make tricky twitchy action its bread and butter, but it fails to create something rewarding. There is a certain flow and pace to difficult platformers that require the right amount of precision and intensity so that when you finally get through a difficult section, you get that great feeling of accomplishment. That balance isn’t struck here at all.
Chopping With a Dull Blade
Good level design in 2D platformers goes a long way. With games like Super Meat Boy, platforming is fast and intense, thanks to hazards like spinning blades or forward-pushing systems like nonstop timers. You have to be on your toes and stay highly focused. This creates a rewarding and engaging experience.
In Super Hipster Lumberjack the pace is slow and shallow. The jumping feels too stiff and the level design is uninteresting and bland. There were some instances where the game would try and play tricks on you, thanks to blocks moving slightly differently than normal, but that’s as complex as the challenges in this game get.
It’s also not even interesting to look at. Mostly everything in this game is made out of solid colored geometric shapes and completely devoid of texture. There is no subtlety to the graphics to sink your teeth into. It’s unfortunate, because there are some platformers out there, like Limbo, that help add more engagement thanks to their setting or entertaining visuals.
Falling Trees and Other Crashes
At one point during the game I fell through the ground. It was an odd moment because I thought it was part of the game. After having playing it for some time I figured that this glitch was part of the game’s unfinished, underdeveloped aesthetic. After watching the protagonist slowly get smaller and smaller as he fell into white nothingness, I realized that it was just an actual glitch, so I exited the game. Then, when I tried to load the game, it froze and continued to do so in the future no matter where I was in the game.
Frankly, We’re Stumped
The fact that I questioned whether an instance like that was part of the game means something. It means that for a moment I believed the game was more clever than it was–that it was intentionally nailing the feel it was going for as my character slowly fell, royalty-free classical music playing in the background. And yet, this was just a case of faulty code. It goes to show how strong of an idea the game’s premise was. It’s a neat setup that could have worked if the game was along for the ride with more thought and effort put into it. Instead, it just feels like an actual unfinished game.
Get Super Hipster Lumberjack on Desura
Watch the trailer for Super Hipster Lumberjack below: