Prisonela DX Logo
Prisonela DX Icon
Prisonela DX

Developer: Ratalaika Games

  • Price: $4.99
  • Release Date: Feb 9, 2024
  • Number of Players: 1
  • Last on Sale: -
  • Lowest Historic Price: -
  • ESRB Rating: E10+ [Everyone 10+]
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    A nightmare mix of precision platformer level design and woefully touchy and imprecise controls

    I would think that one key component of solid game design would be understanding your strengths and weaknesses, both in terms of aesthetics and in terms of the core game experience. Any disconnect or shortcoming you have in seeing your problem areas would seemingly open the door to issues not just existing in your final product, but also likely being directly pointed out by your own design. For me Prisonela DX absolutely picks one of the worst control schemes to pair with a precision platformer, one that struggles with anything resembling accuracy, and the game experience suffers for this. 

    Starting with the basics, from the get-go I’ll admit the game confused me a bit. Granted, this is a budget-friendly title, but some sort of introduction and even basics on the controls would have been greatly appreciated. Thankfully there’s not much to know beyond the fact that you can double jump, but when you combine that lack of initial direction with the fact that the game serves you up stages in a random order every time, and it's a bit of a challenge to get your bearings initially. What I mean by that is that more likely than not you’ll start out by quickly dying… a lot. 

    Now, at first you’re likely to assume that more often than not all of this death is your fault… that you just haven’t settled into the groove and feel of the game yet. The thing is, with some simple testing of your movement and how loose or crisp the controls are you’ll quickly discover that while your precision could always be improved, the deck on a general level is stacked against you to begin with. Considering the fact that most of the stages are designed to give you precious little leeway in nailing every move and jump, the fact that attempts to simply make subtle moves are maddening. When you’re trying to line up your next jump better, and then accidentally die instead because your character lacks proper fine control movement, it becomes really aggravating. 

    The fact is that there are already titles like Super Meat Boy out there which are far more punishing than this, but whose degree of difficulty is met with amazingly responsive and precise controls, putting your success or failure squarely in your own lap. Here, lacking those crisp and predictable movements, you feel like you’re fighting your controller as much as, if not more than, your environment, and that’s a terrible place to find yourself. All things considered, because the controls are so fundamentally flawed, and not matched well with the demands the game puts on you, it’s hard to give it much of any recommendation.

    Justin Nation, Score:
    Bad [5.2]

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