Super Ubie Island REMIX is a side-scrolling platformer about a little alien who crashed his ship and must recover its broken pieces. That’s about all there is to the plot. There’s an evil brain in a jar flying around, creating creatures for you to fight. The game starts off in an over-world. Here you can view your ship, go into levels, and visit different shops. Each level is locked until you beat the previous level. The game’s style is very cartoonish, with large characters and bright colors.
The levels are laid out similarly to other platformers. Enemies patrol, although none of them give chase. They just move back and forth along a set path. When you kill them they respawn after a few seconds. Getting hit by an enemy will knock off one of your hearts instead of killing you instantly. Your various moves include double jumps, wall jumps, and a floating mechanic. The movement, including the frames of animation for the character, is a little imprecise. But for the first few levels, they felt as though they meshed well with the style of a platformer the game was going for.
The first “land” (set of levels) was fairly casual in its layout. The platforming wasn’t too difficult, and with the heart system, even a minor slip-up with enemies meant you could keep going. The second land was drastically different. It introduced more precision into the platforming; relying on tighter timing and perfect jumps. The levels by themselves are interesting and well-designed. I feel like this is where most of the love went. In these later levels, enemies became fewer, while hazards like spikes and explosives became greater. Getting hit by one of these didn’t remove a heart; it killed me instantly. Upon death, you’re taken back to the overworld and must enter the level again. This whole process slows down the flow of the game immensely. With precision platformers you know you’re going to die a lot and want to get back into the action as quickly as possible so as to keep your momentum. With Super Ubie Island REMIX, you don’t. It’s frustrating to waste time getting back into the action.
This game is all over the place. With some mechanics, it feels like it wants to be a casual platformer, and with others, it feels like it wants to be a hardcore precision platformer. These different sets of mechanics don’t meld well at all. It’s trying to do too many things, and nothing seems to come together in a coherent way. The loose movement mechanics don’t go with having to wall-jump off an explosive crate and land on another one as they’re all exploding. The health system doesn’t really work when you only lose a heart every once in a while. Returning to the over-world doesn’t go well with the game’s pace. When everything does come together (which is seldom) the game feels good. Everything is copacetic. But those moments are few and far between. The game is disjointed, the bosses are lacking in any real substance and there’s nothing unique or interesting to the concept.
Apart from the game itself, I’d like to talk a little about some technical issues. Upon closing Super Ubie Island REMIX, the game shuts down but Steam continues to think it’s running. This happened every time I closed the game. You can’t subsequently exit the game from this state, since the game is closed for everything but Steam. And you can’t close Steam because it thinks the game is still running! I had to open Windows Task Manager each time, close Steam there, and re-open it. You can play other games on top of that, so it’s not a huge issue. For me, however, it was extremely annoying and I just want to make sure everyone is aware of this issue.
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