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Game Maker Games - Dingbat
Dingbat by Mu6502
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Review by Jabberwock
Dingbat is a short flying platformer in the vein of Joust, though it takes cues more from, say, Jumper in regard to its difficulty. In it, you control a flying skull (see image) who must avoid electricity, bullets, and, uh, walls (see image) on his epic quest to - finish the game in under an hour?

It's pretty simple. The game consists of a circular course of one-screen levels which generally require precise navigation and minor object manipulation (mostly in the form of defecating on unsuspecting switches [see image]). It's a simple formula, and mostly effective. However, this game has few level elements - bullets, walls, falling spikes, switch-controlled electricity - and it wrings them for basically all they're worth. In fact, after a while I started to wonder if I had accidentally backtracked, simply because some of the levels are nearly identical. Fortunately, the game doesn't quite outstay its welcome - I completed the circuit in 15 harrowing minutes and 12 seconds. Unfortunately, though, the rewards are sort of nonexistant. [Aside: the game documentation doesn't explain that you actually have to hold the up key to fly rather than just pressing it over and over like in other games of this type. Once I realized this the game became a lot easier.]

Graphically the game is pleasant - clean and stylish, with minimal but nice particle effects. Unfortunately, the tileset is pretty small (by which I mean like five tiles maybe), and thus gets monotonous quickly. In fact, you'd better like the screenshot you see there, because it contains almost all there is to see in this game. [Aside: the game advertises six color settings, but gives no information on how to access them. So if you wanted to know, pooping on the main title changes the color scheme. Classy.]

The music is a relatively soothing affair. It claims to be "chamber music", but I'm not sure if I believe this given the MIDI congas in the mix. In any case, it finds an unpleasant counterpoint in the sound effects, which are less than soothing. I suppose they're all innoffensive enough except for the loud cackling (I think it might be a chicken) which happens whenever you die. I'm sure it wouldn't be an issue, but this is the sort of game where that happens often (the dying, I mean). If the game had been five minutes longer I'd probably have muted it.

In spite of its best efforts, the game has little replay value. Or at least, I felt very little incentive to complete the same set of already-repetitious levels, maybe in reverse, maybe in a different color, just to beat my own time record.

Ultimately, if you don't enjoy challenging and finicky platformers, you will get little out of this game. I'm on the fence about such games, to be quite honest, but this one was short enough and unique enough to hold my attention all the way through, so I guess you could say I recommend it.

Download Dingbat (EXE, ~1.3 MB , Suitable for everyone )

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Opinions about Dingbat

Overall: indifferent

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Comments (Add your own):
2010.09.30 madmurf
Rating: --

Since when are flying skulls weird?
2010.04.22 yalmic
Rating: 3

Weird and difficult.
I like retro graphics,but
this is pretty much a run of the mill
flying platformer.
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