Aborigenus a quaint little indie 2D platformer with roleplaying game (RPG) elements that revolve around combat. Picture Link from The Legend of Zelda running through Mario levels for a detailed vibe of the game. The story is... there. It's there and it's not good or pleasant or insightful or interesting or even necessary; You're the best warrior of a peaceful tribe, which I assume is comparable to being the thinnest person at a McDonald's, and it's up to you to save your ENTIRE tribe (and "beloved") from the enemy 'fauna' clan. You will also have to murder around 100 hyper-aggressive animals throughout the adventure to earn experience points (XP) to upgrade your weapons and abilities (the RPG elements). With that being said;
There are 10 things I rate games on:
Are the achievements fair?
Does the game sound good?
Does the game look good?
Does the game pull off whatever it's trying to pull off?
Is the game well designed?
Is the story good if it has one, and if it doesn't do that hurt the game?
Is the game glitchy or broken, and if it is does it make the game more or less fun?
Is the game fun to play?
Is the game original/creative?
For each category/question I feel positive about I reward half a star. Aborigenus gets 1.5 stars out of 5. Yikes.
Let's try the compliment pizza approach to this game. Much like the compliment sandwich, which is sandwiching criticism between two compliments, the compliment pizza is laying a few compliments down as a foundation (like the dough, sauce, and cheese of a pizza) and then topping it with so much criticism and negativity you may even forget there was the sauce on the pizza in the first place.
This game is fantastic for achievements. Not a single achievement is hard to get, broken, or unobtainable, they all make sense for the game and reward progression and exploration. It's a very rare combination of easy and rewarding which I enjoy immensely. Usually, these games are either too braindead to have fun (I.e. Avatar: The Last Airbender – The Burning Earth) or an hour-long, oddly specific drudge through a developer's fever dream. In terms of achievements, this game did everything a five-dollar game could've done.
I also like Aborigenus in concept, I think the 2D platformer adventure RPG amalgamation they have going here is something special, and I would've loved to see it in a better game. I'd even like to see it better executed in this game because I did have some fun playing this game. I enjoyed upgrading the different paths and exploring the best way to defeat enemies with my setup. Unfortunately, we don't get enough time with a full loadout before the game is over to fully enjoy it. I feel if there was one or two more stages/levels to explore and a level select so we could go back and fight harder enemies this game would've been a lot more fun. You could make the argument that would hurt the story, but given the current state of the abysmal story anyways I doubt it would've made a difference. Now that I have the putrid taste of the story in my mouth, let's move on to the toppings.
The story is beyond bland. It's the same lame 'dur dur dur big man save day and woman' narrative that has been rehashed thousands of times by thousands of movies, tv shows, video games, finger puppet theatres, plays, smoke signals, and spoken word poems since the dawn of dawn. Sure, sometimes they're cool, comfortable, and creative, but this is not one of those. It's painful. Painfully unaware, painfully predictable, and physically painful (I broke out in hives just thinking about it). The heinous story is also communicated in the ugliest way possible; teal slide shows consisting of one low res picture taking up the top half of your screen and text on the bottom half that looks like someone with Parkinson's tried to write in comic sans. Everything about this narrative is pretty much offensive to all six senses.
It's not just the story parts that look bad, the whole game looks bad. I understand aiming for the whole retro pixel look that a lot of indie games aim for, but this isn't the right way to do it. Instead of coming across old and pixels and cool, it looks like something my little brother drew on Flipnote on my DS after picking his nose, and I'm looking at this hideous abomination through my snot smeared screen. If you want to see a game that pulled off the old classy look wonderfully check out Cuphead. That's a great example of keeping something modern and clean but it's DNA is composed of old 30's cartoons and 70's platformers so it looks old without actually being old. Cuphead is taking all the finest material and building a quality couch that looks like it could've been from the '30s, Aborigenus is equivalent to building a couch out of used firewood and then defecting on it to prove that it's been used before.
The game doesn't sound good either, it's more generic and lazy than this section of the review.
Unfortunately, the game is also designed to make you backtrack almost constantly, which increases the time you have to see and hear the poor thing. There's also an inconsistency with how the game tells you to play it which is always annoying. For example, it dumps you into the world with just a few instructions, which would be fine if they stuck with it, but they're still giving you instructions through the first third of the game. Most of which are redundant or we already figured out, if memory serves they tell you how to jump when you reach the second or third sign...that you have to jump to get too. If it was a meta-joke or an accident or even funny I could understand it, but those are simply not the case. Not to mention while going through this first portion semi-blind there's a weird glitch that sends you straight through the floor to your death. I haven't figured out what causes it entirely, but it has something to do with jumping to many times in one spot. A minor inconvenience for sure, it happens far too early in the game for it to be too annoying, but it's surrounded by such nonsense and garbage it can really get under your skin.
This frozen pizza of a game is only good for achievement hunters and those who enjoy it when things don't live up to their full potential. If you're not either of those two, I can't see a reason why you should play let alone enjoy it. It's a shame because the game can be fun at certain points, but it's fun the same way that paddle ball is fun: it's better than nothing, but I'd rather do something else, like taxes. I'd rather do my taxes.