Drama

23/08/2021

Drama is a puzzle platforming game that seems to have been designed for phones first and then ported to pc with little to no changes. Just by taking a look at the options menu you will find a lack of control options and only the ability to mute the sound effects and music, not turn them down.

The story of the game is nothing special, it is a single, short text crawl at the beginning of the game establishing that you play as a man called Frank who decided to jump into a portal that led to a dangerous world and must now escape it. After that little bit of exposition, you are dropped into the game.

Most stages of the game are designed in a similar way, a single screen with the player on the left side and you need to make it to the right side. Many of the objects in the game will kill the character and leave behind gibs that become objects themselves, however these get in the way more often than not. You have a hint button in the top left corner which will in most cases just tell you what you need to do to beat the stage. The controls for the game are a bit odd, you move Frank with the arrow keys and the up arrow makes you jump, unless you are on a rope in which case you need to use spacebar to jump off of it. None of this is shown to you in any way you just need to figure it out.

Speaking of figuring things out, you had better enjoy doing that since that's what most of the gameplay of this puzzle game comes down to. Every level has a cryptic title that is supposed to hint at the way you solve the level, for some of the levels this is fine, but the problem comes in when the game introduces some new mechanic with no real hint that it is now in play. Sometimes this can just be a small setback, such as one point in the game the lever that opens the door in previous levels suddenly kills you when you touch it; it's just a small setback. It becomes a bigger problem when you need to figure out that the whole way you play the game has changed, such as you being able to move some objects with your mouse in some levels. These mechanics can be turned on and off at random and have no warning in the level title that suddenly you have the play the game differently. 

Not to say that this is a terrible thing, it leads to a mix up in the gameplay and is what the game considers to be the reason it is a puzzle platformer. It becomes an issue when the only reason you are stuck on a level is because you need to do something that you have never done before and have never been told to do. This leads to a cycle of trial and error where you just throw yourself at the level and keep dying over and over until you either solve it or give up.

This issue with the game is slightly solved by the hint system. Most of the time when a new mechanic is introduced, even if the title hints at it poorly, the hint option will tell you exactly what to do in order to beat the level. Sadly, this is not the only issue the game has

The platforming of the game is not great. Your character will only grab onto the edge of a platform if you are at head height with it, even if your head is above the platform you will not grab onto it, you will just smack into the side of it and fall. The slight curves on the edges of the platforms can also slide you off of them and you are unable to run up them to prevent this.

For most of the levels in the game these issues don't get in the way. Since the levels are so short a death or 20 doesn't add that much more time onto the level. These issues do become more apparent in some of the games longer level. One level around the middle of the game forces the player to use the trial-and-error style to make it through. The level has no hint for it and has the player running through a scrolling stage. Many of the traps in the stage are things the player has seen before, a spike pit here and there with some bear traps that will get you on your first encounter if you are not paying attention. The issue of this level is that dying resets you all the way to the beginning and the level takes a few minutes to walk through for you to reach where you died just to try some new strategy to avoid dying to the trap again.

Overall, the game is not great. While it does have a few levels that shine on their own and are genuinely interesting, most of the levels in the game are tedious and annoying. I would have to give this game a 2 out of 5, it's just not really worth it unless you are willing to put up with all the issues of the game.

Jonathan Isenhour