Talent Not Included is set in the fantasy land of Notthatmuchfurther, and tells the story of 3 actors. Every actor does their best to give the performance of their lives but in this case, it is really true. Their lives literally depend on the performance they give. In each act, the actors will face mechanical soldiers, animals, hardheaded monsters, and so much more. These aren’t your average actors. As a matter of fact, they aren’t actors at all. They are seasoned, adventurers.
Zordok, Kevin, and Derp are three of the most dreaded monsters ever but they are tired of slaughtering people. They decide to make a play about video games. They spent all their money buying props and costumes at allmymoneysgone.com. As a result, they didn’t have any money left to hire real actors. They sought the help of Zot, a three-headed demonic critique. Zot agrees to find them, 3 actors, if they give him much of the revenue. Zot finds Cecil the warrior, Bonnie the rogue, and Gundelf the mage. You get to play as all three actors. Each act features a different actor. There are multiple scenes in each act.
The entire game takes place on a theater stage. Each piece of the stage is set on rolling cylinders. When you complete a series of obstacles a new set appears. You get points for every piece of candy you collect, defeated enemy,and gear you collect. You get graded on the points you collect but the points don’t really matter. Completing each act doesn’t depend on the points you get. They only matter to compete with others on the leaderboards. Getting more points doesn’t unlock anything either. To unlock the next act you must complete the previous one.
The first thing I noticed about this game was the style. There are so many aspects of the overall style that stand out. First, I thought the whole theater motif was very cool and original. All the small touches really make you feel you are watching a play. The curtain rises when you start playing and closes when it ends. I loved the audience reaction throughout the game. Whether you fail or succeed you get a reaction. If you die the audience even throws tomatoes at the curtain and you hear them saying”boo”. It is kind of nice to have that kind of support. It adds to the fun of the game and its originality. Yet the game doesn’t take itself seriously and has a comedic tone throughout.
The constant change in scenery makes things interesting as well. As I stated before whenever you complete a set of obstacles a new set appears. You never know what will appear next in your first run. There are 46 levels in total and you can play in co-op mode as well. Each character is a different class: mage, rogue, and knight. All three characters have their own skills and abilities. In act 1 you play as the knight, act 2 as the rogue, and act 3 as the mage. The difficulty does progress as you do. What I hated was that your progress doesn’t save. If you get close to completing a scene but die you have to start that scene all over again. It gets annoying after a while. My suggestion would be to do your best not to lose any health at all. You start the scene off with a certain amount of hearts. Always keep your hearts filled throughout each scene.
There isn’t exactly any tutorial but there are signs that give you suggestions on what moves to use. In order to figure out how to use those moves, you have to go to the menu. From there access the controls screen to find out. The controls aren’t explained either. Once again you have to either figure it out yourself or go to the controls screen. The plus side is that you can use a controller if you wish or change the controls to whatever is easier for you. Another issue I came across was that actually controlling your character was a challenge. There was no lag but I thought the characters had too much speed or were too responsive.
The graphics look amazing. The developers didn’t shy away from using color. Each piece of the set is well designed. There is no confusion about what is what in the various obstacles. The soundtrack has a light and upbeat tone to it. You can hear your character grunt or make various sounds. If your character uses a weapon you can hear that sound. I have played many games where you didn’t get any sounds whatsoever. Replayability is there depending on you. For me personally, once I passed a scene or an act I didn’t go back to replay it. There isn’t any story progression here either but the game has so much personality that it didn’t matter.
Talent Not Included is one of the most original platformers I have played. It does a great job of being a game that people of all ages and skill levels can play. The graphics were bright, colorful and cheery. The game isn’t without its flaws but they don’t keep you from wanting to play the game. It is a perfect game for lovers of the platform genre that are looking for something different and fun to play.
REVIEW CODE: A complimentary PC code was provided to Brash Games for this review. Please send all review code enquiries to firstname.lastname@example.org.
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