For once, a game review is related to blender directly.
The good people at the Blender Foundation, as many of us should already know, invited a small group of people together to take part in another Blender project. Project Apricot started out as a game based on the Project Peach characters and setting and to be made using Crystal Space as it's primary game engine. The the built in Blender Game Engine was to be for prototyping only.
Over time the project built up and made progress, Assets where made and game play defined and then refined. Then suddenly, the goal was shifted. No longer was the goal to make a game with the Crystal Space Game Engine, but rather directly with the BGE.
At first I was afraid, I was petrify. But after looking at what was comming out in the Tech Demo versions I realized this was nothing to worry about. The BGE was starting to get some programming love it has not seen in a long time.
So lets get the review rolling.
The player takes on the role of Frankie. The bully Flying Squirrel from the previous Blender Project Peach. With the ability to hurl acorns and what not at others, a spinning tail whip action, the ability to double jump, glide and hang off of key ledges. The player navigates Frankie around the areas while avoiding taking too much damage from the NPC in the levels.
It's kind of a Super Mario Brothers like game.
It apparent this game was meant for adults even with the kiddy premise. There really not real violence or nudity or course language. but it's really a game anyone can pick up and play, which makes it fun, and funny at times.
The character model are great, as are the world models. the animation is pretty funny, I some time just leave the game running as watch as Frankie shows off.
A new character to the game was a monkey character, a donation from the blender community to the game. This monkey is actually pretty well designed to be simple and yet effective but some times i see it and it just doesn't seem to fit in with the game. But this is something that won't destroy the overall game value.
The level designs are tight and detailed. This is what really is in the show.
There are a lot of Ghosted object all over the world space telling the characters if it a ground surface, a hanging ledge or something that Frankie can run it and do an about face off of. An interesting fact of the last surface type, called slip, is that if the player has Frankie running (Holding down the action/tail whip key) they can make Frankie get up onto that surface and run along the walls for a short while and not make him do the about face.
Don't get fooled by the child like premise of the game. this is a challenging game to lay. especially since the only help you get is a help page found by holding the F1 key down. I've been having a hell of a time trying to get past the second level of the HOME branch of the game.
I seem to need a lot of work Gliding Frankie with the keyboard controls.
Speaking of which, the split screen multi player function.
If this was an XBOX/Playstation/Wii game I can see the value of having a split screen multi player, but it's been a very long time since the Computer game industry used Split screen multi player and to be honest more then one set of hand on my keyboard at one time is way too many hands.
Sure the Game detects Game Pad's connected to the computer, but my game pads are so out of whack that i threw then away long ago. beside most of the game i play I play using Keyboard and mouse combos.
plus can it detect two game Pads at once? and if so, can it tell which one is for player 1 and which one if for player 2?
My computer monitor is 17 inches, this is not bad for me as it allows a personal view from the distance I usually sit from my computer. i have a cubicle like space for me carved out in my bedroom and it not very open. It is meant for me to have a sort of office space for myself a private area. Cramming another person into my space to play a multi player game is out of the question.
I would have liked Network/Internet multi player as replacement or in addition to the split screen. but thats just me so we should move along now.
The Documentation is one of the key selling points for the DVD copy. The packaging and what not is fine and very professional looking, defiantly worth the effort if you ask me. but what on the Disk is what really makes this project so awesome. On the disk, Like other Blender "Fruit" Projects are all the source materials and documentation on what they did to make the game, giving insight to new feature added just for the project, tutorials for how to make a project of your own, and the like.
This was one of the key selling points for me. However I do hope that some day they will revisit the Open Game Project idea and use OGRE or Crystal Space this time. using the BGE was a good sound decision this time but i want to learn about making games with other engines as well. The tutorials found at the http://www.yofrankie.com/download/
are only about 5 minute long at max. but they get the idea across and are simple to learn. there just more of them on the Disk itself.
Thats another thing great about this game. you can download it for free with a few Video Tutorials about how to do some things with the game. but it worth every penny to by the DVD if you ask me. but you have a choice and either one is a good one. just remember, Buying the DVD helps to fund other Open Projects from the Blender Foundation.
Now on to music, Te music in the game is really on the mellow side. a lot of string work but it's also very fitting music. this time around they didn't use Jan Morgenstern like they had in both Project Orange (Elephants Dream) or Project Peach (Big Buck Bunny) to score the music. No this time they choose a new Person. A Woman named, Claire Fitch, who is a great composer. Te music was soft and light just still there and still keeping the mood in it's place.
Like for instance when Frankie is attacked my a horde of undead rat, it was awesome... No that didn't happen, as far as I can tell.
the music is in .wav formats however. would have preferred .ogg but I'm not going to complain as the .wav version got the job done after all is said and done.
when you get the DVD there are several version of the game. Installation for several operating systems. Windows, Mac and Linux for sure. This make the game pretty open to anyone with a computer. However I've read there is an issue with some mac users, this is an easy fix to over come but thats something i think they will have to patch real soon to keep the lazy happy.
I guess some people still don't realize they have all the source files needed to rebuild the game from scratch.
All and all this was a great game, there are some issue I found for me the Linux user, and some Mac users are having a small issue. but the game is fun and it runs very well on a lot of computers types.
I'm giving yo frankie an 8 out of 10 for it's achievements.