Two Parsecs From Earth is a platformer with Metroidvania elements sprinkled in. Originally released on Oct. 13. By ABX Games Studio, Two Parsecs From Earth has a solid enough base, but when it comes to the finer details it trips up. The setup for the game is simple enough. You play as a robot delivering cargo to earth whose ship gets too close to a black hole, leading to a crash landing and your cargo getting scattered. After getting yourself patched up, you need to recollect the missing cargo and batteries to power up your ship. This involves avoiding the dangerous wildlife and terrain of the planet, picking up upgrades to help you do so.
The premise for the game is fine, setting up a sound enough reason for you to get the game going. What isn’t so fine though is a lot of the dialogue the game dumps on you in its opening portions. There’s a quote from a later season of Game of Thrones, “every person who makes a joke about a dwarf’s height acts like they’re the first person to make a joke about a dwarf’s height.” The same thing can be said for the writing of Two Parsecs From Earth, just replace “dwarf’s height” with “fourth wall joke.”
The first half hour of the game has the gameplay constantly stopping to either give a tutorial message or make a snippy comment to you. These will usually be capped off with some comment about how you could just look at the menu or how a video game convention is kind of wacky. It grates on you very quickly, and while it drops off quite a bit after the first quarter or so of the game, it hurts the initial pacing and leaves a poor impression. The tutorial messages are themselves pretty evident of this, as they even acknowledge some of them being redundant. It’s also topped off by the actual sentence structure of the messages being pretty poor. The game almost immediately makes a joke about this, but joking about how the script needed another look instead of just giving it another look leaves you in the same position, just slightly more annoyed.
Gameplay wise, the game is solid enough. The bulk of the game has you using precision platforming to make your way through areas, collecting cargo and batteries as you go. Touching a hazard, such as spikes, will instantly lead to death, bringing you back to where you entered the area from. As you trek across the planet you’ll find upgrade terminals that will give you access to new abilities. These abilities will unlock new paths throughout the map, leading to the player needing to backtrack to unlock new routes.
While death means you have to start an entire area over again, the time between dying and starting over is really brief, preventing the punishment from being overbearing. As progressing to new areas isn’t attached to cargo, you are also free to go explore different areas and come back later for a particularly hard to grab piece. The game does have a few issues with the finer details though. For one thing, while there are six different abilities, the player is only allowed to collect three of them. While each of these has their uses, some seem to have a lot more utility than others. For example, the dash was almost always a better option than the double jump, but you can only choose one of these on your first playthrough.
The actual level design itself could also use some improvement. The majority of the levels are designed in a way where you have to stop what you’re doing to re-examine the map to avoid going face first into a pit of spikes. >One of the leading causes of this is the leaps of faith, which the game has too many of. The game does give you the option of zooming out the camera, but you can only do this while standing still, meaning you are constantly having to stop and observe. Presentation wise, the game is also pretty mixed. For one thing, the game’s sound design is very basic, while its soundtrack consists of a track for the opening and closing cutscenes, and then one long track throughout gameplay that doesn’t fit the gameplay.
Visually, the game has some very pretty background textures, and the player character model has some decent animations. The platforms themselves though are really disappointing, consisting of black boxes with textured borders. The biggest issues with the presentation is variety. Within the first five minutes you will see every hazard you’re going to go against while playing; spikes, a wall crawling porcupine and a bug thing that shoots at you when it gets close.
When it comes to the bare basics, Two Parsecs From Earth does alright. But issues with finer details and a very poor first impression lead to the game feeling like nothing more than that basic. If you’re a fan of precision platformers or Metroidvania games, there are several better options with far more content in them. Two Parsecs From Earth ends up becoming a hard pass, not having enough positives to overcome its shortcomings.
REVIEW CODE: A complimentary Playstation 4 code was provided to Bonus Stage for this review. Please send all review code enquiries to email@example.com.
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Two Parsecs from Earth Review
Gameplay - 6/10
Graphics - 6/10
Sound - 4/10
Replay Value - 5/10
User Review( votes)
The package of Two Parsecs From Earth is very basic, with its good points far outnumbered by its bad. With other platformers and Metroidvania games providing far more content and quality, it’s very hard to recommend Two Parsecs From Earth to anyone.
+Very little wait between death and respawn
-Level design leads to slow pace
-Text dump at the beginning hurts first impressions
-Lack of variety in presentation
– Noticeable errors in sentence structure