iPad Fission Quest - early gameplay impressions

Discussion in 'iPhone and iPad Games' started by spiffyone, Mar 1, 2009.

  1. spiffyone

    spiffyone Well-Known Member

    Dec 7, 2008
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    #1 spiffyone, Mar 1, 2009
    Last edited: Mar 9, 2009
    For those that are still on the fence, there's a free lite version of the game to try:

    Fission Quest Lite


    Here are my original impressions of the game from a week or so ago, with some instances in bold to reflect some changes in the newly released update to this game:

    I created another topic attempting to get someone to TOFTT (take one for the team) and buy and try this game to tell us how it was. The screenshots intrigued me, but with no takers I took it upon myself to try the game.

    The initial release was $2.99. About a day later, most likely due to not enough visibility, the dev dropped price to $1.99. I figured: why not take the plunge?

    I'm glad I did.

    Fission Quest is one of the more surprising finds in the App Store for Games. A well crafted small team effort that shows an extreme amount of polish. When I booted up the game I was immediately satisfied to find auto screen orientation flip, which way too many developers, even "big name" developers, seem to ignore. From the start I had a feeling that the dev understood the iTouch/Phone audience isn't limited to iPhone users only. Kudos. :D

    So how does the game itself play?

    Here's a video of it in action supplied by the developer:



    As you can see, in terms of gameplay this is squarely within the environmental puzzle genre. Think of it like a 3D version of games like Sokoban (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sokoban), Bobby Carrot, etc. It's block puzzles. Move the blocks, barrels, etc. to pass otherwise impenetrable areas and find your way to the exit. Of course, moving the blocks in this case means solving environmental puzzles. You have to think out your moves before you perform them.

    The gameplay extends beyond block puzzles as well. There are levels where one has to find the correct route downwards by strategically falling one "floor" (you cannot fall two or more, as you will die in your heavy hazmat suit). There are levels where one has to find the correct routes on conveyor belts that travel in different directions. And there are, of course, puzzles where all three happen. Right now I'm on a level of the game where I have to find a key to the exit. So, y'know...this is a straight up environmental puzzler as stated. If you don't dig those, you most likely will not dig this. If you do, however, like games like the aforementioned Bobby Carrot, Sokoban, and even get a kick out of the puzzles in Tomb Raider and Legend of Zelda, then you'll like this game quite a bit.

    As for spit and polish, the video shows the quality of the graphics quite well. There's nifty lighting effects as well. There's the aforementioned auto screen orientation flip. In addition there are three options for controls, all using a virtual control pad of sorts (really control arrows): one that places the arrows on the left side of the screen, another on the right, and other places it in the center but increases the area of the arrows. You can also look around by moving your other free thumb around the screen in "free look", zoom in and out with the usual two finger pinch and spread methods, and even change the camera angle to overhead using "free look" so as to get a better view of your surroundings and plot your moves. In fact, I'd say that changing camera angles in integral to solving the puzzles in this game.

    There were issues raised with the original version of the game, which had the camera tethered to the characters back so that when one moved the camera would spin to follow, and this caused the arrows to spin as well (to change orientation), or, if one kept their thumbs on an arrow for, say, left, left would become the new forward. The "camera constantly following you" issue has been fixed a great deal with the new static camera option with the recent update.

    Also, there was an issue of level progression. Some felt that the first Cooling Towers level, which is a handful of levels in, ramped up difficulty considerably. The developer has responded by editing that level and some others, making them a bit easier in the process and thus helping with the difficulty progression.


    As stated, it's only $1.99. There are apparently 30 levels in the game, and since it is an environmental puzzler the length of play can be quite long depending on how good you are at these games. It's quite a bit of bang for you bucks. IMHO, had this game not been released when we've gotten so many "high profile" releases and news of upcoming "high profile" games, we'd see a lot more of this game. Fission Quest is almost destined to be one of those hidden gems that might get lost in the jungle that is the App Store. That's why I've taken the time to give it a spotlight. People want more polished efforts, and IMHO this fits the bill. If you're in the market for this type of game, but don't want to spend too much, I highly recommend Fission Quest.

    App Store link:

    Fission Quest
     
  2. GatorDeb

    GatorDeb Well-Known Member

    Feb 1, 2009
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    Las Vegas, NV, USA
    How much stealth is there and how easy is it to pass?
     
  3. anduril_ukr

    anduril_ukr Well-Known Member

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    looks very interesting. i wonder why it hasn't gotten any publicity. i think i might take the plunge and buy it. any other feedback (no app store reviews)?
     
  4. Big Albie

    Big Albie Well-Known Member

    Feb 12, 2009
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    Casual gamer/marketing dude
    San Francisco, California
    Thanks for the video. The game looks amazing...I was getting nauseous just watching this guy walk around on the high platforms.
     
  5. spiffyone

    spiffyone Well-Known Member

    Dec 7, 2008
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    No stealth from my experience. I've only gone though slightly less than half of the quoted 30 levels though. The new twist is the "find the key" for the level I just got to on the subway ride home.

    How easy?

    Depends. The early levels are more like tutorials, getting you up to speed on what to do. There is a hint of unbalanced progression, I'll admit. You might breeze through the first few levels then get stuck on a later level quite a bit only to finally pass that one and find yourself breezing through a couple more.

    There's an "undo" button, so you'll never really get stuck, though. And you can restart the level at any time, and there are no real "lives". You die, you just restart the level. There's no "game over" screen to my knowledge.

    Again, if you dig games like Bobby Carrot, Sokoban, and the environmental puzzles in Tomb Raider and Legend of Zelda, this is that type of game and will be appreciated. If you aren't big on the gameplay in environmental puzzle games, this one might not be for you.
     
  6. ozron

    ozron Well-Known Member

    Jan 1, 2009
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    Melbourne, Australia
    Thanks for the heads up on this @spiffyone. Hadn't heard of it but looks very interesting. I like this type of game and I've got plenty of credit atm, so bought it. Will try it out and report back...
     
  7. anduril_ukr

    anduril_ukr Well-Known Member

    Feb 4, 2009
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    so is it as hard as bobby carrot (perfect difficulty for me)?
     
  8. PointOfLight

    PointOfLight Well-Known Member

    Dec 29, 2008
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    Sorry, spiffyone, I was going to TOFTT it, but I just hadn't had the chance yet :) I like it so far, but the fact that the orientation of the movement arrows changes when you move kind of bugs me. If spiffyone didn't cover that in his first long post regarding the game, basically what I mean is that when I click east, for example, the character turns and moves in that direction, and then east becomes the new north. I guess I must be spatially challenged in that regards, because I much prefer the "north is always north" orientation of 2D games. I'm also apparently finding it a little more difficult than spiffyone, as I'm only on level 8 or so. Speaking of which, spiffyone, and suggestions you can PM me on the Cooling Towers level would be greatly appreciated.
     
  9. spiffyone

    spiffyone Well-Known Member

    Dec 7, 2008
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    ^^I dunno. I've only played the lite version of Bobby Carrot. I can state that I breezed through that lite version quite quickly after getting stuck only once (the area with the steeping on the dragon's tail). But that was my own fault for not checking the area first (that is, zooming out to see the entire play area and plan my moves better).

    This game is the same. You've really got to change the camera angle using free look to the overhead angle in order to plot moves. Of course, since the stages are 3D, you've got more to think about.

    That said...I don't think it's too difficult nor too easy. Seems to be the right sort of difficulty overall. There is that issue with progression (again, some areas are much easier than others), but that's the only real issue I have overall. Well, that and the camera spins to follow you when using behind the back view which can get a bit disorienting at times for some players, but I can understand why it is used. That said, if enough people request it I'm sure the dev can work a "static" camera option into a future update.

    I do think that this is one of those games that would benefit from a "lite" version. That said, I really do think if you're a fan of environmental puzzle games, you'll like this one and think it a steal at $1.99.

    Oh, added bonus:

    You can play your own music while playing the game if the atmospheric sound track gets old for you.

    Again...I just get the feeling that the dev "gets" the platform and its consumers.
     
  10. spiffyone

    spiffyone Well-Known Member

    Dec 7, 2008
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    Cooling Towers was that level I was referring to as hard after all the easy levels. When you beat it, it'll be followed by a bunch of easy levels.

    And, yeah...I kinda forgot about the arrow orientation thing. Guess I kinda got used to it, but I can see where it would be an issue. Looks like another thing to let the dev know they should add for a future update. So it's "fixed camera option", "static control arrow option", and "level editor/creator".

    Yeah...I know that last one is a pipe dream...but it'd be cool.

    I'll PM you suggestions on Cooling Towers soon. It took me about 45 minutes to get past that one...and I've forgotten the nightmare :D
     
  11. anduril_ukr

    anduril_ukr Well-Known Member

    Feb 4, 2009
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    well, i decided to make the plunge and buy this game. its downloading right now. btw, the reason you (spiffyone) found bobby carrot lite easy is because it only takes levels from the first level, a 1 star world (1 star - easy, 2 star - medium, 3 star - hard). i highly recommend the full version - its my favorite game for the ipod touch/iphone. i will leave gameplay impressions after i try it out.
     
  12. spiffyone

    spiffyone Well-Known Member

    Dec 7, 2008
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    The Dungeon & Hero sale was part of the reason I didn't get Bobby Carrot yet. I had a $7.99 limit I set for myself, and it was either one potentially great game (Bobby) or a few good to potentially very good games. I went with the latter. I'll get Bobby Carrot in a week or so, though.
     
  13. spiffyone

    spiffyone Well-Known Member

    Dec 7, 2008
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    Bump, just because I think the game deserves more recognition.

    Seriously...you know that Feb. was a good month for iTouch/Phone games when gems like this slip through the cracks.

    Again, for those of you that are fans of games like Bobby Carrot, I cannot recommend this game enough. It really is very well made.
     
  14. anduril_ukr

    anduril_ukr Well-Known Member

    Feb 4, 2009
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    first impressions . . . has potential. i have done about ten levels so far. i see potential, but there are some aspects that really get in the way of the gameplay. first off the camera and controls. it just doesn't feel right. sometimes you lose your sense of direction, and the constant turning of the arrows is annoying. secondly, the undo button needs to be better. it just goes to still pictures of earlier positions, and its hard to know where you were in those images. thirdly, the game needs music. it seems kinda bland without it, and i need something thats fits the game better than music i listen to regularly. fourthly, the look around needs to be better. perhaps some kind of overhead of way to easily see whats in your way, where to go, and what things you can do to plan ahead. a mini map might help, or just a less restricted free look camera so that you can scan the level from any place (any perspective). fifthy, it seems very very very easy. the first levels were a joke. the level, cooling towers, was about medium (five to ten minutes), then it got easy again. i need more challenge.

    it sounds like i am being really hard on the game, but its actually pretty good. i like the 3-d effect and the idea. it has good potential. however, those five things i mention really keep it from being something that is truly great. hopefully it gets better in the later levels and with future updates.

    do i recommend it? sort of. i say, its pretty cheap, so just check it out. hopefully there will be some improvements in updates to make this game live up to its potential.
     
  15. jchampl

    jchampl Well-Known Member

    1.1.0 has been released.
     
  16. Misguided

    Misguided Well-Known Member

    Jan 27, 2009
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    Watching the video, I had no sense of why the player was doing anything they were doing. There's no indicator that I saw to tell you where the exit is, so how do you know what you're trying to do?
     
  17. jchampl

    jchampl Well-Known Member

    there is something labeled exit,

    sometimes you have to go through the level unsucessfully in order get the correct solution, not you can also spin the camera around easily.

    I wish the dev would post a better video
     
  18. iloverightangles111

    iloverightangles111 Well-Known Member

    Feb 18, 2009
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    Terrapin Station
    looks like block dude in 3d

    it's a little too complex for me, I can't imagine playing without a minimap
     
  19. jchampl

    jchampl Well-Known Member

    until you play it, thats an easy impression to get, but because its not so much of a giant maze, it's more of a push the barrels off in the correct order and such things it works very well. if you could get lost or not know where the exit is, then a map would be handy, but more than halfway through the game this has not happened.
     
  20. jchampl

    jchampl Well-Known Member

    actually I think the best way to put it would be, sokoban (sp?) in 3d

    it works very well.
     

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