Talent Not Included is a very good platformer, in a day and age where games are trying to push cinematic experiences, it is great to see a game delve into the origin of all movies and go back in time to show a very accurate description of how theater culture became popular.
Talent Not Included
(+) Talent Included
It is pretty hard for me to actually describe the game without delving into spoiler territory. While the game is like many other platformers, the aspects that set it apart are the chirpy quips, dialogues and lots of Easter Eggs. The game is set in Notthatmuchfurther and the characters are simply professionals in their respective fields who have been hired as actors- A knight, a rogue and a mage and the main objective of each level is to rack up as much points as possible by collecting candy and killing enemies.
The platforming in the game is pretty impressive, and the controls are responsive which leaves little space for game design flaws and every time something wrong happens, it is generally human error. I haven’t been much of a 2D-platforming liker in the past (Mostly because I didn’t play many of them), but fortunately most platformers that I have played recently have been good and I am happy to say that Talent Not Included continues that trend.
The gameplay is kept simple- Jump, Double Jump, Attack, Wall jump etc which is good because I was using the controller for this game. Being a PC gamer, I am more accustomed to a mouse and keyboard setup, for which the controls are pretty uncomfortable in this game, the reason being no mouse support. With the controller this game is pretty neat and plays very well. The difficulty curve is pretty much balanced and by the end of each story arc, the platforming gets challenging enough to keep things interesting.
(+) Rolling Stones
The art direction of the game is superb. It seems that a lot of developers have started paying attention to small details in the past few months (Or years). From a technical standpoint it is not something very flashy, but the way the stage rolls over and transitions to the next scenario really impressed me. They have really been able to capture the atmosphere of a theater, through the some neat sound effects and decent visuals. I would highly recommend using headphones for the game, because the way that the crowd chuckles when you stab an enemy in the back or the way that the crowd cheers when you are low on health can only be appreciated when hearing through headphones.
There is no voice overs for characters, but the comic style of expressing emotions are pretty good. One annoying aspect about each character in the voice department is that you’ll be hearing a lot of exertion noises which becomes annoying after some time. And the bosses’ don’t have very interesting sounds, the first boss simply sounds wrong.
(-) Same Pinch Robot
Well it is hard to fault a game when it does things well, but also has a lot in common with many other games in the genre. What Talent Not Included does is mix a bit of Mario and a bit of Super Meatboy and give you an awesome experience, but if you have played a lot (And by a lot, I mean a huge) of 2D-platformers, this game does nothing new to make you wanna purchase the game.
Another thing that set me off a bit was the AI of the enemies. In the time when Mario came out, we didn’t have powerful hardware to program the AIs into enemies and hence the enemies were highly scripted. In TNI this does not change, the enemies just keep getting hit and only attack you when their script allows them to look at you. It would have been a lot more challenging (Not saying that it already isn’t) if the enemy had good AIs and they responded more aggressively.
The boss fights were another factor which were not upto the mark when considering the game as a whole and were surprisingly very easy. We get to fight each boss 3 times with little varation in attacks which makes them a tedious affair.