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Gripe with John's Games

Posted Mar 9, '13 at 6:45pm

Reton8

Reton8

2,669 posts

Moderator

Let me first say, I definitely enjoy the games that John has put out and he has offered the site many great games and mascot characters. The graphics/art always looks great in the games too. But, I have a huge gripe with nearly all of his games. They are fun, but they nearly all fall short because of bugs, balance issues, lag, and lack of depth.

Let me start by mention the games that I see as nearly perfect in living up to there full potential. Those games are:
- This is the Only level (the whole series)
- Exit Path (the whole series)

This is the Only Level series, these games are short but that works for them as it is fun to try and beat your old times and to try and improve your rank on the leaderboards. There are no major bugs (if any at all) and the controls are very responsive.

Exit Path series, these two games are great. They are a challenge and fun to play. The online mode is fun as well and the controls respond well too. The single player mode maybe could have been a little long, but these games are great.

Now, on to why the games fall short.
balance issues, these are far too many for almost all the games. One perfect examples of this is LOOT The Game. I  remember that a certain weapon type was over powered, but almost necessary to get to beat the game. This means the game is either far too hard without the weapon or far too easy with the weapon. Also, the weapon ruins getting any additional loot, because it all ends up being useless compared to it.
Again, with balance and difficulty issues, most of the carts were easy to destroy with the over powered weapon, but two or three of the carts were nearly impossible to destroy. That, to me is a design flaw. The game had a lot of weapons, armour, and level ups, but it all seemed so arbitrary. Why put in so much time for a game with a great and unique concept, nice graphics, that starts out fun to play, but then just let it fall short? I understand that most of John's games are supposed to be short, but why not make a few longer games with more depth? I mean the game is already more than halfway there.

Bugs, this is the next issue. The perfect example for bug issues is Run Right. Again, this  has a novel concept, but it is ruined by how short it is, the lack of depth, and bugs. This game had a bug in it that made it completely unplayable. You did not always cause the bug to occur, but after beating the game I went back to play it and get all the upgrades. I was playing and then all of a sudden I couldn't select the proper level, I would automatically die, and all sorts of other crazy stuff would happen. It's like the game went nuts and I am unaware of any attempt to fix these issues. Also, the game was short, but somewhat difficult, and the player's reward for beating it was lame. It's like a slap in our faces for all the effort we put into the game. Again, it has a great foundation for a game, but if fails in the execution. Graphics are great, music is cool and there is some fun to be had, but the shortness and bugs ruin it.

Lag issues, I recall a lot of games by John lagging, Corporation Inc and Coinbox Hero to name a few, but the ultimate lag filled game is Epic Combo Redux. I understand the game is allowing a lot of animation to occur on screen and that lag is bound to occur, but you need to own a top of the line machine to minimize the lag and from what I gather you will see lag no matter what. I played this game Dell XPS laptop with a Core i7 processor, and the game still had more lag than it should have. I feel like the lag issues were do more to poor programming than the nature of the game itself. As with earning the One Hundred Freaking Million badge, it took me nearly 12 hours real time  about 3 hours in game time to earn the achievement on my laptop (mine is not the XPS, but somewhat old) . The difference in time shows that the game is running nearly 4 times slower than it should when lots of action is happening on screen. Other people reported similar times in the Epic Combo Redux quest thread.

Other of John's games suffer from these problems as well. Chuck the Sheep although it did receive patch has balance issues. Some missions are overly difficult all together. Nothing  is as difficult as getting the perfect launches, it's just way too difficult compared to the sandbox level of the rest of the entire game.
Only three missions given at a time. That really slows the game progress down. Experience and level mean nothing. Only completing missions gives experience, so whoever plays the game will end up with the same level. Why not just hand out that bonus after every five missions completed and then forgo the experience and leveling system all together. All the leveling and experience is, is a cheap trick to make the game seem like there is more to it, when there is not. Again, this game could have been better than it is with just a few simple fixes.

So here's my finally verdict. Most of John's games are made to be short but have mechanics in them that should be used in games that are longer or have more depth (Think Gemcraft and leveling systems, bonus). The games have great concepts to build off of, but they fall short. Increase the amount of content, patch the games more, add some more features (Example: Chuck the Sheep allow the user to do more than three quests at a time), make the game longer, because right when you start to enjoy the game it ends and the shortness of a lot of the games makes the upgrades feel overly arbitrary.
I feel a lot of these games earn about an 8 out of 10, but with a little more work could be 10 out of 10.

Why make this post? I figure I will be playing more of John's older games in the future as many of them receive quests, but it is a shame to see games that have a really solid core and are fun not live up to what they really could be. I also don't understand why you would put so much effort into making these games and then allow it to fall short. By just adding a few more levels, add a more satisfying ending, and fix the bugs, this games would be hall-of- famers.

 

Posted Mar 10, '13 at 12:54pm

09philj

09philj

1,237 posts

Arguably, John's greatest game is Treadmillasaurus Rex. The reason? You have so much fun, you don't notice it's imperfect.

 

Posted Mar 10, '13 at 7:58pm

jeol

jeol

3,565 posts

I understand the game is allowing a lot of animation to occur on screen and that lag is bound to occur, but you need to own a top of the line machine to minimize the lag and from what I gather you will see lag no matter what. I played this game Dell XPS laptop with a Core i7 processor, and the game still had more lag than it should have.

Actually, might I mention that lag might be the limitations of flash and not the computer or game itself. I am using a pretty good computer myself, and when I played it lagged horribly. I was doing other tasks on the computer as well, and it seemed like it hardly affected the system.

 

Posted Mar 11, '13 at 10:07am

Reton8

Reton8

2,669 posts

Moderator

Actually, might I mention that lag might be the limitations of flash and not the computer or game itself. I am using a pretty good computer myself, and when I played it lagged horribly. I was doing other tasks on the computer as well, and it seemed like it hardly affected the system.

True, but the game could have been programmed to reduce animation or on screen effects when the level of activity increased. I mean after a certain point everything looks like a green blob (the turtle being hit animation) is it necessary to display that at that point?

In comparison Gemcraft Labyrinth will have several monsters on screen at once (endurance mode, high levels with 1000 plus monsters on screen at once), the user can shut off certain effects to help improve game play and the game does seem to lag at such a ridiculous amount.
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I just want to restate, that it bothers me that these games fall short (in my opinion) because they are (as is) already fun to play (like a solid 7.5 to 8 rating). I just can't understand why you would spend the time to make a game really good, but with just a few patches or an additional few concepts added to the game, they would be like solid 9.5 or 10 scoring games.

 

Posted Mar 11, '13 at 10:08am

Reton8

Reton8

2,669 posts

Moderator

the game doesn't* seem to lag at such a ridiculous amount.

 

Posted Mar 11, '13 at 7:35pm

Salvidian

Salvidian

3,950 posts

Once you're done with a game you see it from a completely different perspective than how your audience sees it. You see the little gears, they see how the gears work.

 

Posted Mar 11, '13 at 7:49pm

soccerdude2

soccerdude2

1,588 posts

I have to say that I agree with you. I've always thought that John's games are never as good as ones from other developers; they're kind of just a step down quality-wise from the perfect game that mesmerizes everyone. I feel like he sacrifices quality for quantity when making games.

 

Posted Mar 11, '13 at 9:06pm

Reton8

Reton8

2,669 posts

Moderator

Yes, yes I agree. I've only had limited experience with coding (I've taken a few classes, but it was Visual Basic lol) but the a lot of the games have very interesting concepts, but fall short.

Take for example, LOOT the Game, I really like the look and feel of the game. And the idea of just blowing up all the train cars and getting loot. It was like an RPG that jumps right to the action, very nice and a fun start. It already had a lot of weapons and armour, but right away it falls short, there are some weapon imbalances, so all the variety of weapons goes down the tubes, and the game didn't have enough cart types or enemies to keep it from being repetitive. I would venture to say, if the game was patched or a sequel was made, with more level more weapons, work out the kinks, it would be a hit.

This is were my question  lies, why come so far and then not give it the finishing touch?

 
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