Author Topic: "Steeling the World" - A Review of Through the Steel and Rubble 2 by giratina8000  (Read 447 times)

Offline Bricc

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* I was already accepted for reviewer but since I don't have my main site badge yet I thought I'd post my review here for now.

Welcome to the second part of my editor application! I'm Bricc, and this time I'll be reviewing "Through the Steel and Rubble 2", a game created by giratina8000. I got really far through the featured page, determined to find a game that was old but gold even to today's standards, and I may have just done that. I saw the title of this game and I recognised it and the game maker's name, giratina8000, for some strange reason. I later remembered playing this game a few years back and it still stands as strong as steel. Let's get right into my second review of the day!

I may have played this game a few years ago, but being years ago I didn't remember much about it before trying it out again. I checked out giratina8000's profile, and with only one featured game, I didn't quite know what to expect. Considering this game had made enough of an impression years ago for me to remember it even now, I set my expectations a little above average. I'm usually really picky when it comes to thumbnails; I expect to be able to get some sort of idea of what to expect from the game and prefer it to be vibrant and stand out. However, I actually feel slightly different about this one. It's got a brown background that's not too dark but light enough for you to see the (what appear to be floating) dark structures that appear to be a factory or evil base. The thumbnail provides a sense of mystery which, in my eyes, is very appropriate here as the player begins the game with no knowledge of their surroundings and slowly being fed information throughout the levels. It would be extremely anticlimactic for us to figure everything out from the thumbnail to then be told the story in the game. I think it might actually be a snapshot of one of the later levels of the game. Whether or not this was intentional or because giratina8000 didn't think to create a custom thumbnail, it certainly works well in this scenario.

I think the story in this game works really well. While looking at some of the contenders for this review to be written on, I noticed a lot of the games had complicated storylines. It's great having a storyline, but they were so lengthy and detailed that it was a bit... too much. I think Through the Steel and Rubble 2 gives the right amount of information to the player so that they can comprehend it and even add more details on their own accord. Maybe the evil villain has an afro, wears green sunglasses and has pink slippers. Throughout the game, our knowledge of the situation increases, which is something I really like. A lot of games will just shove a story under your nose right at the beginning and you'll either not bother reading it, or you'll have forgotten half of it by the end. At the end, the player learns that they hold valuable information that is required to conquer an alternate world, and that an evil mastermind is trying to obtain it and has therefore captured you. Overall, it's not too generic and works for this sort of game, so I see no issues with it.

The gameplay in this level is not bad. It for sure has its flaws, but doesn't every game? In general, I hate platforming PPGs. That's just how it is. If I wanted to play a platforming game, I'd head over to the Platformer or Arcade creator games, because I see physics puzzle games as minigames. However, this one controls much better than most. It felt much more responsive and I felt like I was in control, the way the player should feel. The player being a circle shape definitely helps and reduces the amount of times you get stuck, for example on ledges. The goal is to escape the base, and to do so you usually have to enter through pipes at the end of the levels. This isn't anything new, don't get me wrong, but it's still much better than placing a coin at the end to collect, and given the storyline it does work well. Lots of games fail to mix the story and gameplay well, but Through the Steel and Rubble 2 doesn't. In this game, giratina8000 makes sure each obstacle makes sense in the location of the game (an enemy base). We expect to see things such as lava and various traps in an enemy base, and that's what we get. I agree it isn't the most original, but it fits in this instance. I liked the timing elements mixed in with the platforming gameplay. Together, they just worked. Having to time your jumps rather than just jumping around willy nilly adds to the stress and overall feel. If you woke up in a secret base in real life, how would you feel? Probably tense, anxious and not knowing whether you're going to make it. This is the feeling you get from Through the Steel and Rubble 2.

This game, particularly for the time it was made, looks fantastic. You get the right vibe from it and you really do feel like you're in some sort of base or factory setting. You probably know by now that I'm a fan of the default PPG textures - when used correctly they can look great, and giratina8000 did not fail to impress. There are plenty of structures to be seen, collidable and non-collidable and I'm confident in saying all of them are well placed and fill up the perfect amount of space. An essential part to a game is being able to tell what is safe and what isn't and you probably already guessed that is no issue here. Giratina8000 uses default textures such as skulls to signify that an object is deadly and the player doesn't have to sit there questioning it. Through the Steel and Rubble 2 sticks to using the default textures as opposed to mixing them with graphics, which I would say only looks good if done very well, and I think giratina8000 has made a good decision to keep things fluent here. Another thing I absolutely love about this game compared to many others is how alive the environment feels; there aren't just static spikes but also crushers, spilling acid, etc. Small touches like this are what we take for granted and don't pay attention to when these all add to the game's overall atmosphere. I can't even say my usual line about the game maker not using the full potential out of the design, because I really think giratina8000 has. All in all, I'm really impressed. The way this game looks is fab, even 7 years on.

Through the Steel and Rubble 2 has fairly good difficulty. The first level isn't too hard, and allows for the player to get comfortable with the speed, shape and jump height of the player, since all of these can be a little different from game to game. The game's difficulty increases the further you go, but not by much. A few levels in and it begins to get too easy, slowly driving the player to boredom. As long as you don't make many slip ups, you won't lose your patience with this game and can easily persevere through it... until level 7. There was a huge difficulty spike here. I get that it's the final level of gameplay, but that difficulty jump is like going from Super Mario Bros to Super Meat Boy and it just becomes tedious if anything. Apart from that little issue, the replayability is pretty good for this game. I rebeat it before writing this review in order to refresh my memory on a couple of things and it didn't feel like a chore at all. The final thing I have to say in this section is that, even at its top difficulty, any gamer with any level of skill could beat this, which is great as it's accessible to a wider audience and allows everyone to experience what it feels like to stop a supervillain from steeling the world.

Ratings

Story • 4/5 • I like how it is presented and its simpicity.
Thumbnail • 4/5 • Genuinely one of the most intriguing PPG thumbnails I've seen in a long time.
Visuals • 3.5/5 • Executed really well and suits the style of game.
Gameplay • 3.5/5 • Not original as such, but fluent controls and smooth gameplay.
Difficulty • 3/5 • Pretty good, needs work and level 7 definitely needs a nerf.

Maybe it's just because I'm a huge fan of games like this, but I love it! I may have praised it quite a lot, though admittedly it is only just about feature worthy nowadays. However, when considering it was made in 2012, it is quite impressive that a game could still have been featured 7 years on. I enjoyed returning to Through the Steel and Rubble 2 after all these years and hope I've inspired you to give it a go. Thanks for reading, see you again soon!


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