Nostalgia is a dangerous thing. When I got given the code for Triple Take I had no clue what I was signing myself up to. A nice and simple 2D side scrolling game taking me back to the days of Super Mario Bros jumping over obstacles and clearing levels. After the tutorial is where the nostalgia ended and the never ending “I’ll just finish this level and then write this review” began.
The main rule of this beautiful game is in the title. You must run each level 3 times to clear it with a twist of course, as each time you finish a run through that level will change until beaten that crucial 3rd time for you to advance onto the next level. At first it seems like a great way to ease new players into the game and get them used to the mechanics and movement of your little buddy. Playing your way through each world stage by stage seeking to set free a captive who seeks to overthrow the machine that has placed him inside this digital prison. And of course we can’t forget about those unforgiving boss battles at the end of each world which draws you into the story more and more with each fight, Keeping you latched onto your keyboard and urging you to beat what ever computer coded demon is stopping you from progressing. OH! Did I mention you also have to beat the boss 3 times as well with the level slightly changing each time as well?
Each “world” you venture through sets up new obstacles and challenges for you to face, along with different themes and frustrations (especially the classic water level we all dread to swim through). With quirky characters and interactions to come across after each level to develop and engross you into the story line and plot. Shortly after starting this master piece of a game, you wonder across the “Ghost in the machine” who is trapped in the game’s programming files and asks you as the player to help. When I say the player, I also don’t mean your character, I mean you physically. Asking you to delve into your actual computer storage and move files from one to another to progress a level or to help him out. The 4th wall breaking element of this game keeps you enticed and hooked onto what will happen next with even the games AI questioning what they are saying and why they just told you the arrow keys will help you move. Yet with all these genius little tricks and objectives, the game never draws you away from the core of the game and wanting to know just how many levels I was going to be able to actually beat.
First glance of the game gives you all you need to know about the art style, a beautiful and classic 8-bit retro theme with an amazing soundtrack to suit. (Hence the nostalgia at first glance). Giving you that false sense of security, with little 8-bit spikes and enemies, yet still fitting the whole theme and vibe when the game addresses the player directly and somehow drawing you in further and further with each level. With fantastic effects of the game minimising or shifting across my screen, to a point where actually error codes pop up on your screen with warning to stop playing the game making me genuinely question if it was a virus or not. Making me understand the psychological horror warning Mr Alex had given me on giving me the code.
The core mechanics of this game are simple and easy for any player to pick up, but take time to master and believe me when I say you will soon want to master them. Just like every other game I get given, environmental damage was and always will be my worst enemy. From not timing my jump just right to complete that third and final run of the boss, to just blatantly jumping incorrectly to land on a flaming box, this game will have you learning your timing and controls to a T. Rage inducing is an understatement at times. With little simple things killing you whilst you were to focused on a flaming floating demonic fire shooting boss who is taking up so much of your time that you can no longer feel your fingers, for you just to die to a stupid little fire sprite that you weren’t paying attention to. *Cough cough* Sorry as the memories of that boss still haunt me, drawing me back to Triple Take with blood curdling rage to beat him. (Alex himself can testify with his laughter of how much this game had me screaming at times trying to beat certain parts of the game, isn’t that right?)
All in all this game is an all round masterpiece. It has to be one of the best games I have played in a while that has and will keep me coming back to it, even if its just to collect all the collectables. With a solid story line, beautiful yet simple art style and unforgiving spikes, Triple Take take the cake. If you are looking for something to keep you occupied and give your mind a challenge then you would be daft not to give this game a download. Now if you would excuse me, I need to go and try free the ghost from his digital mission and beat this rage inducing demon for once and for all (I hope)
This review was based on a retail copy of the game provided by the publisher.