Aftergrinder: An Exercise in Frustration

This is going to be one of my shortest reviews of a game ever. There simply isn’t much game here, so let’s see how long I can make this as we look at the good the bad and the ugly of Aftergrinder by Meridian4. Aftergrinder is simple; a Romeo & Juliet tale. When a gang member (The Dude) falls for his rival’s sister (The Lady) his life is forfeit. The Lady must skate her way to the big city while grinding rails and dodging death to save her Dude. I did say it was simple.

The Good

Aftergrinder doesn’t attempt to hide what it is. It is a frustration game. Like Super Meat Boy or The Impossible Game this game is designed to test your skill at twitch gaming and then annoy you if you aren’t good enough. That’s not to say there aren’t good aspects to this game, just not ones I find relatively entertaining personally. One of the best things about this game is the control options; with controller support from the get go it eases the frustration a small amount. Unfortunately for me the majority of time I spent playing this was at uni with the sound off while in lectures which means I couldn’t really use a controller without being caught. When I did get to play it at home the controller was responsive and crisp.

One advantage this has over similar games is the world level system, which means you don’t have to start from the first level every time you start up the game or fail at a level. It just respawns you back with one more skull to your tally, and boy do you get to hate those skulls, at the start of the level. 3 worlds make up the game with 30 levels to each of those worlds for a total of 90 levels. The three worlds increase in difficulty from the lady at the lowest, dude in the middle and the shark if you want to be tearing your hair out in short order.

The sounds are very basic, consisting of bleeps and bloops, as seems standard with these sorts of games. This is actually a nice aesthetic in my personal opinion; anything more flashy in the sound department would have taken away from the simplistic nature of the game. The same can be said for the nature of the graphics. The simplistic style just works with this style of game.

The Bad

In saying that, however, the graphics are going to get a mention here. While they are simplistic and work with the game, the lack of colour depth used is a detriment. These consist (at least in the early stages as that’s all I got to, my twitch gaming skills are not great) of lots of purples and blacks as the predominant colours which are only offset by the bright neon of the player sprite. This choice of colours can cause a strain of the eyes which means this is not a game you will be sitting down to play hours of at a go but more as a distraction while waiting for a file download or some printing to be done.

The Ugly

I will state it right here, the ugliest part of this game is for me personally the music. While the game sounds are fine the music is like some kind of electronica mixed with the sounds of a dial tone and someone beating to death a keyboard. But I want to stress that this point in particular is a very personal opinion. I have specific tastes in music and this doesn’t appeal to me in any sense. I just ended up playing without the music on, even if it did leave the game a bit dull. Some people may enjoy this music though and I definitely suggest anyone playing the game give it a try.

The Wrap Up

It’s a simple game, little story to it (a point the game is quite insistent on your knowing), you are literally just trying not to fall into pits or run into walls. It’s a good time killer if you want to spend the money on it or you could just as easily find a similar game done in flash to play while you wait for the whatever you are doing to finish.  For me if I wasn’t given a review copy to play I wouldn’t have played this game. I have no interest in this kind of game and if I did there are plenty of free games out there that give the same experience.

In saying that, for anyone who likes this style of game I recommend they try it but it certainly isn’t for everyone. 6/10

Aftergrinder is available now on Steam for PC – http://store.steampowered.com/app/618310/AFTERGRINDER/

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