Jan 29, 2010

Claustrum Lite

I've decided to ditch the whole 'Freebie Friday' concept as I felt I wasn't giving enough space to good games. After all, if a game is good shouldn't it be worthy of a full length review instead of a footnote regardless of price? Furthermore, we're seeing more and more ad supported games that blur the picture between free and paid.

Last week I pulled down a free Qix clone called Claustrum Lite. I presume a full, paid version is coming based on the title, but so far I don't see a Claustrum. The developer seems pretty active on his blog with regard to development and it sounds like the game is still in beta.

In this game you're basically trying to cut off areas and trap the little doohickie thing in a small enough area. Once a predetermined percentage of space has been cut off you'll score points based on by how much you exceeded this predetermined amount and more on to the next, presumably harder level. The game itself seems to play pretty well. My problem with the game is that if I recall the original Qix had a timer, and this does not. What that means is my strategy of cutting off a sliver of space along the top, waiting for the doohickie to enter that space, and then quickly slice it off worked very well for scoring points. I played through at least four levels doing that to perfection scoring more and more points each time. Sure that strategy makes for a boring game as in some cases I have to wait a couple of minutes for the stars to align themselves property and have the doohickie enter my trap, but that also points to a broken game when it's that easy to rack up a score. Am I doing something wrong or is this because it's beta?

I find the dev's blog quite interesting and perhaps it's not fair to review this game yet. I'm happy to update it once the game is finished. I did find the dev's blog comments interesting as one of his reviewers claims that the game doesn't work on the Droid when it does (and I can vouch for that). It is frustrating to have such inaccuracy posted and he's generally interesting in trying to resolve the problem with someone he cannot contact. By the same token it's not every end user's job to contact the dev and work through a debugging session (not that the Dev implies that it is). Welcome to the jungle of software development!

In summary, this game could be good, but it's not there yet. I see one thing being worked on is an enemy that roams the perimeter so that one can't sit still (part of my aforementioned strategy). Maybe that's what the original Qix did and there wasn't a timer? Actually I just found a Flash version of Qix here and it does rely on enemies that traverse the perimeter to halt my strategy and not a timer. Things will definitely be looking up if that gets added.

1 comment:

  1. Hey, I just found your blog by searching for my game. Great blog, and thank you for the review.

    You are correct that Claustrum is still in beta. As a new game developer, I questioned releasing a beta. I still can see good and bad each way, but mostly I was excited to get something to market so I couldn't resist.

    I am also not sure if there will be a paid version or not. I'm not interested in putting ads in my apps, but I do want "Lite" versions to be playable and fun. Finding what to hold off for a paid version may be too dificult for this game while keeping the lite version a solid game.

    There are still some holes before this game comes out of beta. A better scoring system: right now the score is the total percent you have captured. I plan to reward larger captures, capturing point bonuses, and perhaps speed of completion. Border enenmies are in development. They could be a feature of a paid version, but like you said, something would still need to keep the player moving in the Lite version. A timer might fill that requirement, but I haven't figured that out yet.

    I will be sure to let you know when the final version is released because I've got a bookmark on your blog now.