Review

Continue?9876543210

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Failure offers the best sense of tranquility.


Continue?9876543210 takes place inside the Random Access Memory(RAM) where our fallen hero has been left to be deleted by the Garbage Collector. Help him/her find peace with the nothingness of being deleted.

Everyone must be familiar with that infamous countdown that we see at the arcades or in much older games and how we used to rush into our pockets for that one coin that would let us continue our failed journey. Do you remember how bad we felt when we didn’t have a coin? Feeling bad because we were so close to end our quest. The game Continue takes us to the troubles of the fallen hero. Continue is the story of the video game character that failed their quest and is now on the verge of deletion. In the game, deletion is inevitable but your characters feelings regarding it is not. After your death, you’re in the middle of nowhere with other fallen heroes who have accepted their fate and ask you to do the same. To be at peace with the thought of being embedded into nothingness.


Your player being send to the middle of nowhere to be deleted

But our hero has still not given up on their quest; they don’t want to be deleted and hence starts their new journey to find the answers of life and death, of their fallen quest, and to find some peace with the nothingness of being deleted forever. Continue contains of eleven different levels but you can only experience any random six of them in one playthrough. You wander each level asking the locals for help. The locals help you by opening doors in the area either for money (which in this game is called ‘foo’) or, in some levels, they can open them directly. Some locals give you important things to remember (answers for quizzes) and some of them blabber nonsense. These doors will help you get ‘My lightning’ or ‘My prayer’ (a choice I will explain shortly) either by opening them or by stating the answers you got for the quizzes, after you open the doors. Now to understand the concept of ‘My lightning’ and ‘My prayer’, you must understand how the levels work. You go through the levels two at a time. Each level’s exit points are blocked by crates and to destroy these crates and exit the levels you need ‘My lightning’. My lightning will randomly destroy various crates blocking the exits of that level. After you are done with a set of two levels you enter a little town. In this level, you face the garbage collectors rage. The garbage collector tries to delete you and all you can do is hide in shelters to save yourself. The more the shelters the better; they are created by ‘My prayer’s from within the levels you faced earlier. So the basic aim of the game is to create enough shelters to save yourself from the garbage collector. Confusing, right? Well, play it once and you will get everything.

Storyline:

Continue is able to create deep and intriguing thoughts in the player’s mind, something that games nowadays aren’t easily able to accomplish. Carrying a very broad message about morality, Continue manages to make the player think about their lives. The developer Jason Oda explains it better:

"In developing this game, I thought about how in music, a song by Nirvana for example, can have a series of abstract notions that combine to paint a picture of a larger idea. No one questions Nirvana for saying a bunch of things that don't make clear sense, because it's implied that we're supposed to try to glean our own meaning and interpretation of the artist's work. I wanted to see if I could do this with a game."

"I wanted the interpretation of these things to be part of the challenge and progression of play. I also structured the game so that "beating it" has less to do with getting to the end and more to do with developing an interpretation. Just like a Nirvana song, you can't "beat" it, you can only grow to understand it. Getting to the end of it won't suddenly reveal what it's all about. Only by thinking about it and coming up with your own thoughts and interpretations can you truly "beat" the game."

At the end of the game, whether you cleared all the 6 levels perfectly or you died earlier, your score will be evaluated and, based on that, you will get a message explaining how your character felt while dying. That is the goal of Continue. When you have cleared all the six levels perfectly, and you feel you have completed the game, will you get the complete meaning of the game, because at that point you will stop and be faced with the ultimate question: if I were to die today, will I be at peace with it?

Graphics:

The game is a very beautiful and astonishing rendition of traditional 8-bit games. While not being downgraded to the level of 8-bit games, you will definitely feel like you’re playing one.


This is the beautiful representation of 8-bit games

One of the things I liked about this representation, apart from the graphics, was a very minor detail: you have to restart all over again when you die. Haven’t all of us gotten too familiar with the game restarting at the checkpoint we were last at? Continue doesn’t follow modern conventions. Though it can get annoying and time consuming, it makes things tougher and gives the true representation of playing an 8-bit game.

Background Scores:

There are few games out there with perfect music in them. Continue is definitely one of them. The background scores of Continue match the game’s theme extremely well. Listening to the music, you feel disconnected from the outside world, just as the developer wants you to be. The developer wants you to think about what’s happening in the game and then think about your life. He doesn’t want you to be distracted by your surroundings. Another good thing about the scores is they don’t disconnect you completely. You will still be able to focus on everything that’s happening in the game.

Gameplay and Mechanism:

Gameplay is the major part of Continue, and this is where the game becomes pretty irregular. You move using the arrow keys or WSAD and you can attack with a sword using space bar. The player moves with no momentum what so ever. Sometimes, the high paced movement caused by this helps in running through the levels faster, which is helpful because of the low amount of time given to you per level, but in cramped places it can be a nightmare. Offense is the most disappointing mechanism of Continue. The player attacks in the direction it is facing, and while in the normal 2D environment of 8-bit games that works fine, in 3D representations of 8-bit games attacking diagonally just doesn’t work well and there are times when you need that.


It took me 5-6 tries just to get my player standing in the diagonal position.

All this combined with the constant amount of failures actually develops a love/hate relationship with Continue. Some might even be stuck in between, hating it and being frustrated by it because of constant failures but not being able to quit the game. The only part I liked about the gameplay was the randomness that existed, because it actually made things tougher and more interesting. There are six characters in the game namely Billy, Layla, Eden, Simon, Maggie and Kye. You get any one of them randomly. Then, out of the eleven levels you face six of them randomly, in every single playthrough. Then, the part that makes things tougher, every element inside the level is randomized: things behind every door, the things random locals give you and where they give it to you and even the answer to the quizzes are randomized, so you can’t answer it from the previous playthrough.

Continue?9876543210 is an original and unique journey, the kind that can make you think twice about your life. The road to this journey might contain some minor bumps so it requires patience. These bumps might cause some to turn back around but if you’re willing to put them aside, it might all be worth the while.



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Score

Graphics
7.5
Sound
8.5
Story
8
Gameplay
5
Overall
7.3

Pros & Cons

Pros
  • Very unique and thought-provoking storyline.
  • Very artsy, detailed and beautiful representation of 8-bit games.
  • Randomization makes the game hard to predict.
  • No restart from checkpoints. You restart from the beginning.
  • Very soothing background scores.
Cons
  • Very confusing at first
  • Very bad gameplay and controls
  • Bad movement and attacking mechanism

Reviewer

Slayslot avatar
Slayslot Offline
Member Joined 3y
175 points Ranked 18944th

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Stats

Posts
11
Views
2,786
Date Added
3y
Date Modified
11mo