A few hours in
So, inbetween that sentence and this one, I shut down the game. I shut it down by pressing Escape, which put the game in Windowed mode, and then closing down the Flash Player. Can you see why this might have been a bad idea?
Alright… so I lost all my progress through faults entirely my own. That’s, that’s not too big a problem. I can just replay through everything I did before, I guess. Only faster this time. Plus, on the ‘upside’, my post-new-game frantic hunting-for-the-save-function button mashing did lead me to a fairly important discovery:
In fairness, the game ‘tells’ you this. ‘Press Enter to pause the game’. It doesn’t exactly tell you that there’s a map, save function and progress indicator there, but on the other hand, I wasn’t exactly in a hurry to check. I’ve been spoiled rotten by auto-save functions, I guess.
I still don’t have much of a purpose, mind. I’ve reached Auto again, and paying actual attention to what he or she is saying, I’m supposed to restore power to the four branches of the Amp-Tree system. I pick a direction — upper right, for posterity — and I go off.
What follows can only be described as an interminable slog through an endless succession of samey rooms. Enter room, find nearest node. Find out room gimmick. Energy-resetters? Giant field of no-teleport-squares? Conveyor belts, elevators? Try not to fall through gaps in the floor, walk through open walls, or jump through the ceiling, because that resets everything. Clear room. Use map to locate exit that brings me closer to upper right corner. Rinse, repeat, eternity.
Why am I doing anything? I’m only tagging the Energy Nodes because I have nothing better to do, and because it makes it easier to navigate whenever I have to backtrack, or whenever the game decides to dump me back into an earlier traversed room because I didn’t catch one of its Gotcha-pits. I’m collecting seeds because they’re there, but I don’t really feel like using them because it feels like cheating, and because they’re sufficiently rare that I can only really do it once, now. Twice, later on. I check the map every now and again, but apart from a general overview it doesn’t really tell me where I am, where I’m going, or how my journey is impacting things overall. Currently, I’m just running ahead, full pelt, desperate to find something that puts this whole thing into perspective.
Aesthetic’s nice as ever, though. If there’s one thing this game does really well, it’s keeping the theme. It’s just too bad that as far as I can tell, that’s all this game really has going for it.
And have I mentioned the slowdown yet? Because this game is played in Flash Player, I assume, it doesn’t handle heavy computing loads very well. Whenever you’re in larger rooms with lots of blocks going on — even if these blocks are still hidden — the game will chug, delay, and generally throw a hissy fit.
Still, I persevere. I fight my way the upper left corner of the map, through enemies, pits, and timed-release blocks. And when I finally get there, I find…
Well, that and an ‘upgrade pillar’, which… doesn’t seem to do much of anything? I guess I’ve restored power, somewhere, now?
The doors teleport me to seemingly random locations. Two of these contain seeds. One brings me back to an early level from the game’s beginning. I… did I actually achieve anything here? Game? Are you going to tell me what’s what?
Dejected, I pick another random direction and set off. I play through a couple of rooms, but my heart’s really not into it. This game isn’t telling me much, it isn’t changing in accordance with my achieving things, and most of all, it isn’t much fun.
Finally, I catch myself rushing through a couple of rooms without much success, just falling or running through random walls without much care for energy nodes or whatever, and I stop myself. This isn’t getting me anywhere. I’m bored, I’m frustrated, and I’m bored. Time to set this thing aside for a bit.
Yeah, I tried to go back in once more. I made it three rooms before getting bored.
I feel bad talking this negatively about 1000 Amps because it feels very much like a labour of love. It’s almost the quintessential indie game: short, cheap, low production values, developed by a small team (one dude, this one, it seems) and focusing on gameplay over flash. It’s just that this game’s gameplay isn’t very good. It’s not bad, either, per se: It’s just boring. It didn’t grab me, it didn’t entertain me, and it didn’t really give me a reason to keep going. So, I didn’t.
If you feel like you’d have more fun with 1000 Amps than I had, you can find it here; a browser-based demo is available here, as an alternative. The demo gives a good impression of the game as a whole, playing you through the starting area: if you’re at all interested in 1000 Amps, I’d suggest starting there.
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