PC

  News 
  Reviews
  Previews
  Hardware
  Interviews
  All Features

Areas

  3DS
  Android
  iPad
  iPhone
  Mac
  PC
  PlayStation 3
  Vita
  Wii U
  Xbox 360
  Media
  Archives
  Search
  Contests

 

CreaVures

Score: 65%
ESRB: Not Rated
Publisher: Steam
Developer: Muse Games
Media: Download/1
Players: 1
Genre: Platformer (2D)/ Puzzle

Graphics & Sound:

CreaVures is an anomaly to me. It is one of those games that tries to compensate for it's lack of design with an interesting aesthetic. Not to say that it's design doesn't succeed; it does, but just barely. The woodland creatures of CreaVures are trying survive the dangerous wilderness by working together to ensure their own safety.

The greatest strength of CreaVures is its distinct black-light art style. All of the pastel colors radiate against the black backdrops.The cutesy animations help add character to already super saccharine creatures and the overall appeal is undeniably charming. As I said earlier though, the issue with CreaVures is the unengaging gameplay, not the aesthetic (although the canned animations can be rough around the edges at times.)

For instance, the sound effects often don't play properly or get cut short during the playback. In any other game, these sorts of issues would be irrelevant, but in CreaVures, the only method of communicating the creatures' (sorry. CreaVures) actions is through their grunts and growls. It becomes more of a non-issue the further you play because the soothing music tends to wash over you while you navigate the CreaVures around the neon forest. The look and feel of CreaVures most definitely captures the heart of being an indie game, but it doesn't go far enough to cover up the sub-par platforming.


Gameplay:

CreaVures is, without a doubt, a heartfelt, linear platformer made by a small development team. It is always harsh to criticize independent developers because they are the future of our industry, but in an effort to offer constructive criticism, I will offer something positive before going further; CreaVures is often a fun time that entertains with cute characters and some clever level design, but only in short bursts.

The idea behind CreaVures is a novel one. Small and sweet forest creatures are trying to save their home from an invading darkness by gathering bright "essence" that can restore the forest to it's natural beauty. Switching on the fly between a friendly feline named "Bitey," a precocious porcupine named "Pokey," a sly salamander named "Zappy," and a few other portly creatures provides an interesting stop-and-swap mechanic. That means controlling no more than two characters at a time and using their traits, such as hanging from trees to swing across pits or using their innate electrical ability to light the path to navigate the treacherous landscape.

The fundamental flaw that ruins CreaVures for me is the iffy platforming controls. While I am playing, I am fully aware and capable of navigating the world to its end, but I am consistently held back by poor gameplay controls. Timing certain jumps is frustrating and the simple act of jumping shouldn't be a major constraint in a game that is primarily about jumping. The teamwork design works well enough by allowing the CreaVures to be switched out at any checkpoint throughout the level.

I guess the real issue is that many of the specific beats and jumps that need to be made in CreaVures feel half-finished. If the design allowed for more open and organic paths, then the specific instances of poorly spaced jumps and awkwardly timed running sequences wouldn't be as prominent.


Difficulty:

Assuming you can adjust to the controls early on, you can expect to play through five worlds and two boss battles with five different CreaVures assisting you along the way. CreaVures is a very bare bones experience that seldom challenges the player's ability to logically think through lengthy platforming sections. All in all, you can expect a to spend at least a few hours seeing all the sights of a pastel night time forest.

Game Mechanics:

Luckily, CreaVures offers support for an Xbox 360 gamepad and really increases the playability of a platforming experience over a simple mouse and keyboard setup. While the gameplay options and menu systems are lacking, the ability to plug in a gamepad really makes all the difference when precision movements are such an integral part of the gameplay.

There are only three commands to issue to your diminutive and furry troopers: jump, attack, and switch out. The gameplay vocabulary is rather simple but unfortunately the simplicity doesn't ever really translate into depth. When approached with a challenging situation, the answer is usually to move one of the CreaVures down the path far enough so the other can follow. It just doesn't feel... fresh.

If i sound conflicted throughout this review, it is because I am. One the one hand, I admire what a few independent developers are capable of producing. In the case of CreaVures, that is an appealing and cute night time playground in which to fool around. The cynic in me can't deny the problems, however. The poor controls feel too loose or not properly tested before major decision choices were made and the (presumably) small project (presumably) didn't have time to fully test each level, because bugs and glitches are somewhat common. Although I would ultimately recommend giving CreaVures a look, I only do so based on the art style. Though, I suppose you could do much worse than the ten dollar asking price.


-HanChi, GameVortex Communications
AKA Matt Hanchey

Minimum System Requirements:



OS: Windows XP or later, Processor: 2 GHz CPU, Memory: 512 Mb (1 GB for Windows Vista), Graphics: Dedicated Video Card w/128 Mb of Video Memory, DirectX(r): 9.0c, Hard Drive: 400MB, Sound:DirectX 9.0c compliant video card
 

Test System:



Windows Vista, 3.16 GHz Intel Core 2 Duo, 4 GB RAM, DVD Drive, 500 GB Hard Drive, NVIDIA GeForce 9800 GT

Related Links:



iPhone Nostradamus: The Last Prophecy - Part 1 Microsoft Xbox 360 Fight Night: Champion

 
Game Vortex :: PSIllustrated