On their website, Developer infinite Madaa write; “We are a group of gamers that have grown up with games and we would like to give back to the gaming community, so we decided to create our games and release them to the world to enjoy them”. I really wish they hadn’t.
Imagine gentle reader if you will, your favourite game. Now picture what makes it stand out? The time well spent, Good character design, engaging worlds, diverse sound design? Now take all of those things away and what you’re left with is Little Adventure on the Prairie. Now let me premise this, game design is hard. I have plenty of friends of colleagues who are concept artists and programmers and it’s a difficult industry. However, Little Adventure on the Prairie is so consistently underwhelming, nay outright meagre it is more akin to a knock off game on the Terminator 1.8 [see Ashens if unfamiliar] handheld system than the Playstation 4. After installing the game, I was immediately concerned. The game’s artwork on the dashboard is a simple headless figure of the main protagonist against a white background. It immediately looks not only cheap, but like it was a very small photo which has been enlarged to give it a not quite in focus look. Let’s start at the beginning, you play as aforementioned nameless hero on a nameless quest to eliminate nameless enemies through 12 different levels across three different stages. If it sounds like I’m being vague well that is exactly the amount of context which the game presents.
The design of the game leaves something to be desired. The presentation feels like an early 2000’s mini clip game, and that’s being generous. The blue haired protagonist you find yourself playing as is, in theory a well designed and cute sprite, marred with issues of being far too close to the camera. I dread to imagine playing this on the 3DS. The enemies are similarly cute variations of each other with no different in animation [I use the term loosely] or combat. The environmental aesthetics vary after each four levels, akin to various world styles but the one feature that is consistent throughout is lazy design to the point where you can constantly see the beginning of one texture to the next. They don’t even match up and they absolutely repeat all the time.
There is little that can be said about the game’s soundtrack and sound design, purely because it is non-existent. There are no sound effects, no sword swipes, no enemy noises, just stock looping music which is repeated all to frequently. This music is neither catchy or jaunty, it sounds like music one finds on a loyalty free website and then endlessly looped.
Strong gameplay can do a lot to save a game and this is exactly what you don’t have here. Each level consists of moving to the right to destroy the enemies. The platforming and navigation of levels is the most rudimentary of platform mechanics. The running and jumping feels floaty and inconsistent, often I found myself getting stuck in the environment or on a ledge I was jumping onto. It made for a very frustrating, but bafflingly amusing experience. Along the way, there are pickups to increase your weapon and shield efficiency. However, there was never a moment where I felt or noticed any kind of difference as these numbers increased. In fact, enemies often seemed to die at random – sometimes after one hit sometimes after many. This is your lot, there are no boss battles, no quest lines, nothing to stave off the boredom of this mundanity.
Ultimately, this game is an example of not only poor design, but no consistent ideology in aesthetics and ideas. There is no sense of quality control or pride in the project. The only silver lining in this very dark cloud, is the game can be completed in around thirty minutes (being generous), and that includes what is probably the easiest, but least fun platinum trophy in existence and I fear that its entire existence is to act in this capacity, which would ensure the public exposure. I recommend that anyone considering buying this game invest their money in something more prudent, perhaps a nice cup of coffee. The game isn’t so much that it is so bad it’s good. More, it’s just plain bad.
REVIEW CODE: A complimentary Sony Playstation 4 code was provided to Bonus Stage for this review. Please send all review code enquiries to firstname.lastname@example.org.
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