greenTechPLUS+ Review—More of a Minus

greenTechPlusTitle

One of the more interesting recent developments of the Minis program was that YoYo Games was adapting the engine that runs its Gamemaker games to it. In essence, Gamemaker lets anyone make games using a fairly simple scripting language. While it still takes a great deal of effort to make a game, it does take out much of the difficulty in programming the game.

This is something of a double-edged sword—personally, I’ve found that programming is actually the easiest part, at least in simple games. It’s creating a content-rich, fun, visually appealing game that is the hardest aspect. So while Gamemaker has let anyone make a game, you end up with a lot of games that are, well, bad, because the effort just wasn’t there in one area or another. And this is one of them. From what I’ve read, it took the creator two weeks to make it, and, well, it shows.

Kind of looks like something out of a health film

Kind of looks like something out of a health film

As can be surmised from the name, greenTechPLUS+ has you saving the planet. In this case, from clouds of pollution. Your goal is to move these clouds of pollution from the factories producing them into an air purifier machine while avoiding certain zones (high pressure areas that will disperse the gases). This is done through the use of controlling a hurricane with the D-pad.

The hurricane you control attracts the pollution to it. So, you need to move the hurricane around the screen to draw the pollution clouds to where you want them to go. It’s kind of like using a vacuum cleaner to move a ping pong ball into a cup. Only not as fun.

Split pea soup?

Split pea soup?

Putting aside the irony of the whole concept (is there a bigger waste of energy and resources than video games? They are inherently un-green, like muscle cars), the premise could make a good video game. In practice, though, you are moving a tiny circle towards another tiny circle by moving yet another tiny circle at it. It’s not helped by overly sensitive controls and rather confusing graphics.

The graphics are deliberately designed to be retro. Extremely retro. Somewhere between a Pong console and a TRS-80. Well, probably more like an original IBM PC with CGA graphics hooked up to a 4-color monitor. Sound effects are equally primitive, about what you would get out of a built-in IBM PC speaker. It also features classical music, which is an interesting touch, I imagine inspired by Soylent Green.

Ribbons or frogs?

Ribbons or frogs?

The biggest problem with the title is that I think it’s just not that fun a game at its core. This is not helped by the extremely ugly retro graphics, which really look terrible on a PSP. While undoubtedly better on the PS3 than PSP, it’s probably best on the PC, where you can apparently get it for free.

Still, I think for most people, color is something that helps you distinguish objects quickly. Having everything the same basic color and shape is very confusing. Perhaps the best experience this game offers is how it must feel to be colorblind.

And while the developer did make an effort to give this game some depth, with unlockables (different screen colors) and 30 levels, it’s still quite shallow as a game. If you really want to be “green” and save the planet, use the money you save by not buying this to plant a tree.

3/10

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Comments

2 Responses to “greenTechPLUS+ Review—More of a Minus”
  1. volcane says:

    I played this on the PC, where I found it a fun distraction for 5 minutes or so but it didn’t engage me for any longer. I quite like the retro visuals actually (but I suspect that they do look a bit cleaner on the PC).

  2. z3tz3r says:

    ewwww

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