THIRTY flights OF LO VING is a fizzling magic spell you can finish on a fag break
As a baby, you drop your spoon from your high chair, testing the reaction of the big idiots around you. You note their actions and intricate honks, and make a memo to copy those honks once you’re finished with your spoon experiment. By the time you’re 35, the science is complete, and you can reliably predict the reaction of your peers if you drop a spoon and start screaming. You now understand the world better, but at what cost?
Now imagine I’m talking like one of those vicars on Radio 4’s Thought For The Day, when I say “and when you think about it, that’s a bit like the first time you play videogames, isn’t it?” A new world, with astonishing new rules. You set fire to that pillar, and that door unlocks? You just learned door magic! Now the door is connected by a visible cable to a fuse box. You just learned door science! Now this room has eight doors, seven lit red and one lit green. You just learned that the developer is disguising the linearity of the game, but trying to respect your time by not asking you to approach every door! And just like that, doors have lost their magic. Doors, spoons – is nothing actually magic?
What I’m saying is, a fairy dies when someone describes a fireball as “an area-of-effect ranged attack with a chance to inflict damage over time”. And every now and then, I play a game that makes me squint, and think “wait a minute, what am I actually doing? Is this something
else?” Thirty Flights of
Loving lit that flame briefly. It’s a red rag to the tedious breed who snipe about “walking simulators”. Describing it feels like a spoiler, which is why I’m blathering about magic.
It’s short. Straying from the path, on the rare occasions you can, doesn’t offer any rewards, or even nod at you for being a clever boy. It’s just not that sort of game, Mildred. This strange, jittery creature is telling a story, through a series of shattered scenes. Is it a touching story? Only if you can imagine backstory from familiar scenes you’ve seen before.
It comes bundled with its predecessor. Gravity Bone is similar in style, and a narrative prequel. But it has a platforming bit. Instead of teleportation on death, you have to reload from a save menu. Gravity
Bone even lets you use the middle wheel to cycle through equipped objects. It’s like those videogame defaults are so ingrained, that the developer, Brendan Chung, forgot to leave them out the first time.
If your metric for game quality is hours per pound, the minutes-long
TFoL will leave you with ratio-fuelled outrage. If you judge games on laughter, graphics, replayability, and a giddying climax, this won’t scratch those itches either. I’m not selling this well at all, am I? Umm, it’s like trying to revive that dead fairy I mentioned, only to have a doctor say “she’s gone, Jon, you’re defibrillating a corpse”. Just cos it didn’t work, didn’t mean you shouldn’t try. Tell you what, buy Chung’s next game, Quadrilateral Cowboy.
“She’s gone, Jon, you’re defibrillating a corpse”
This image hints deceptively at “action”. Sorry.
In love, or drunk? Either way, look at road please.
Feel profoundly nonplussed for £5!
You can push this goose!
People float away without consequence!