Friday, September 28, 2007

XBLA review: Geon: Emotions (6/10)

Okay, I've been slacking. Too much Crackdown and not enough reviewing. I'll work on catching up.

Geon: Emotions is a cute little game: you roll around various 3D boards, picking up emotes and scoring goals while your opponent does the same. From a distance, it almost looks like a New Wave Pac-Man ...

which, well, it is. It has some interesting tweaks: there are eight different "emotions", each of which has a corresponding powerup that works better for that emotion than the others (for example, Rapture gets extended speed from the speed burst). The boards are fairly simple at the beginning, but get more complex twists as the difficulty increases.

In Time Attack mode, you race the computer to five goals with time as a factor (you score a goal by eating a certain number of dots, flipping over to his side of the board, and returning to the center); in Duel mode, you simply play to five; Minigame mode, for some reason, is just Time Attack mode with automatic bad guys and no computer opponents.

The gameplay is interesting, and over time, it becomes a bit more natural, but it's still just fancy Pac-Man with no ghosts.

Now, imagine Super Pac-Man (yes, when you've eaten the super dot) in 3D, and you may spot a problem.

Oh yes, frustration. It doesn't happen much, but when it does, it maxes out very quickly. It's easy to miss a dot because you went up instead of over; worse yet is when you spend an extra 10 seconds in one corner of the board because you keep missing your turn, or because the stupid moving platform flipped you over instead of letting you cross, or some nonsense like that.

On top of that, as the AI gets better, it's more likely to reach "spoiler mode": rather than trying to win, it simply tries to stop you from winning. On one board, it decided to sit on a switch and prevent me from activating a slide for about 2 minutes. (You can clear most board in 2 to 3 minutes.) Then again, once he moved, I still couldn't activate it, so that one was probably a bug.

Naturally, some of the achievements require online play. I guess you can do that, if you really want to play Pac-Man against someone else. Some people would rather play, I don't know, Halo 3, but what do they know?

Overall, Geon: Emotions is a decent game, but not much more than that. Enjoy it during the breaks you're taking from a Halofest. You are taking breaks, aren't you?

zlionsfan's rating: 6 fears out of 10.

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