140 is a strange, psychedelic platform game developed by Jeppe Carlsen of Abstraction games, published by Double Fine. Originally released in 2013, it has now been released on Playstation 4 and Xbox One.
You take the roll of a morphing shape, switching between a circle, triangle and square when you jump or move. In terms of gameplay, 140 doesn’t really have a lot to offer. The control scheme and objectives for each level are all incredibly simple, you navigate the level and try to get yourself to the checkpoint. In order to do this, you will have to traverse moving or appearing and disappearing obstacles using timing to the best of your ability. 140 is not so much a rhythm game, but having a good sense of it will definitely aid your ability to progress.
The music combined with the background and obstacles will move at a synchronised and interchanging beat, so in order to avoid traps and jump over chasms, timing, patience and focus are needed. Boss encounters offer a bit of a different experience and in order to beat them you will need the utmost concentration and reflexes. I use the term ‘boss’ rather loosely, it would likely be more fitting to say ‘bigger shape than the one you’re controlling that you have to shoot lasers at with a triangle’.
“Psychedelic” sums this game up fairly well. The music is electronic and often distorted, such as the world in which you’re playing. The colours change very often, all using schemes that contrast each other. It’s how I’d imagine looking at a kaleidoscope through the eyes of an android to be. It’s a mess of colours and shapes, but organised and constructed to not look so confusing that you wouldn’t be able to navigate your way through it. I wouldn’t go as far as to say the look of this game is unique however, this art style has certainly been done before by other indie developers and, in some cases, done quite a bit better. It would have been nice to see the environments convey more of a world in which other living shapes exist, as opposed to just implied cuboid towers in the distance that could well have been crudely knocked up in MS Paint by the developer’s pet snake. Although, it’s simplicity is it’s style, and it’s definitely not ugly.
The game will likely take about an hour to complete, costs about £4 and is a interesting experiment in video game minimalism. If you’re a Trophy hoarder like I am, you’ll be pleased to know the set for this game should be very easy to obtain, albeit without a Platinum.
The big question with any game is, “is it fun?”. And my answer to that would be yes. If it were any longer than an hour however, it would have to start adding a lot more in the way of mechanics and environments because it would no doubt become very tedious and samey very quickly. Realistically, this game could very easily be a flash game that you find online. However the fact it’s published by Double Fine undoubtedly had something to do with the price tag. This is not a Double Fine game as you know them, so do not buy this game on that merit. The only thing separating this from a flash game is the polish and the obvious experience behind its development.
I would highly recommend giving this a play if you are an aspiring games designer or even if you already are one. However if you’re more of a casual gamer, I couldn’t recommend this to you unless you have a good appetite for quirky platform games as the asking price is fairly high considering what this is.
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