Cute Things Dying Violently Review

Cute Things Dying Violently
1-2 Players Local
$1 (80 msp)
Rating: 8.5/10
Similar Indie Games: None

Finally, the game I predicted to be best in the IGSU is here! So far it has lived up to my goal and is the best in the first 4 games of the summer uprising. It will have some tough competition among the rest of the games, but lets not focus on that right now. Let me explain the gameplay of CTDV. The whole idea is to get at least one (better to get all) of your critters into an elevator. You do this by slingshoting them like some birds with a certain disposition of anger towards life that everyone knows of. The critters bounce, float, spring, and walk their way through the levels. The critters move around by nature, so sometimes that requires a little bit of speed in some puzzles.  Most of the time you have to hit a button in order to open the elevators. Throw in sawblades, spikes, fire, electricity, and explosive barrels and you have challenging, yet fun, puzzles. The critters can bounce off of springs, or float across the level in bubbles. Also a few of the items can be shot across the screen like the critters. This adds a whole new aspect to the game.

The game is broken down this way in my opinion:

55% good puzzles
35% great puzzles
10% frustrating puzzles

Now this is a bit unfortunate, because frustrating levels pop up frequently, but most frustration comes from getting 100%, not beating the puzzle. So you should be able to beat the game with little to no frustration. The puzzles that were just flat out ridiculous were ridiculous because they required fast reactions or ridiculous precision over and over again. These puzzles really detracted from the game as a whole because it was super frustrating to try to save all 7 critters from the same predicament. I wish that the number of critters in those puzzles would have been reduced to 2 or 3 because I saw no point in having to do 14 ridiculously hard flicks of critters in one level. This might sound bad, but only if you are going for 100% on a level will this come into  play. The last paragraph sounds like it would make the game a ton worse, but it doesn’t, only a little less great.

Who knew they could bounce so well?

Let me discuss the thing in gaming that very few game developers appreciate or pay attention to, the learning curve. The best example for a learning curve would be Valve’s Portal. That game had a great learning curve, always throwing in new things while you mastered the old. CTDV also has a good learning curve. I never once felt like the puzzle was too complicated for my knowledge of the game. Some of the puzzles did feel way to easy to be so late in the game. The bosses you had to beat in order to progress were usually challenging, but relatively easy. I feel like this was a great design choice because no one likes to be stuck on the same level for 30 minutes because there are no other levels to play. Speaking of great design choices, the variety of levels is great, I never felt like I was playing the same level over and over again, which is hard to say about most games like this.

At least he died cute

Also, as the title of the game suggests, the deaths in this game are violent, but hilarious. The first time I set fire to a critter I almost fell on the ground laughing. As you can see in the picture above, the graphics are very well done, yet simple. This was a great style choice for a game like this. This game does not take itself seriously at all, and that is a great aspect of it. All of the menu options have an aspect of humor, the in game instructions often taunt you, and the entire game the critters will either applaud you with compliments, cuss at you, or plead for their lives. The music is so calm and almost soothing, which really contrasts the sound of a critter getting torn in half. This contrast, cuteness vs. goryness, and calmness vs. crazy death, makes the game all the better. Also there are things called “Achieve Mints” that unlock special levels. There are 7 special levels that can test your skill. Whether it be aiming or keeping your critter alive, these games are fun and a great diversion from normal gameplay. The way to earn achieve mints is specified on the bonus levels page.

Puzzles like this require you to think before you act

The complexity of some of the puzzles was astounding. For example take the puzzle above me (skip this section to avoid a puzzle solution). You have to shoot the explosive barrel up into the crevice on the right in order to spread the fire. This fire will spread all the way along the top of the screen until it blows up another barrel, which sends the spring down onto the blue button, opening up the elevator while destroying the bridge your critters are on. This requires you to flick them onto the first half on the platforms in the middles at the right time so the critters will stay alive, but not get to the elevator before it opens.  (SPOILERS OVER)

Complexity like this makes you think, but also makes you feel like a genius in the process. Those moments are what make CTDV so great.

Speaking of making CTDV great, let me enlighten you on the level editor. Every level you see in the single player game can be remade in the level editor. Period. This allows you to create your own puzzles for torture of critters, or to test your own skills. Unfortunately there is no online level sharing system yet, but ApathyWorks is being un-apathetic and working on that for a future update. In the level editor you build the scene, add the critters, add the items, add the elevator and specific buttons, etc. This is a very well done level editor with many things to learn about it. Go to ApathyWorks’ level editor tutorials to find out all the cool things you can do.

A genius level

All in all, CTDV is a great game that requires a little patience, but is completely worth it in the end. The fact that this game is 80 msp makes it even more appealing. It is so uncommon to find a game that I can pick up and play for 20 minutes, laugh hysterically, and have fun no matter how much progress I make. The fact that you can make your own levels to challenge yourself and your family is great. CTDV is one of the better deals on the Indie Game Marketplace, and is definitely one of my top 10 indie games. This game truly shows what indie games should be about, fun.


About Dcon
Just a 20 something dude who like to think a lot about things, sometimes even write about them.

One Response to Cute Things Dying Violently Review

  1. Pingback: Indie Game Summer Uprising Update 8/25 « Dcon's Xbox Indie Reviews

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