VolChaos First Impressions


VolChaos

Game: VolChaos
Genre: Punish-former (or Punishformer for the anti-hyphens out there)
1 player
Creators: Fun Infused Games (twitter) (youtube)
80 msp

I think it is official. I have an odd habit of playing through a game and putting up a First Impression, and never doing a review. I am going to assume it is the sheer quantity of games on the XBLIG that I see and like enough to buy, but never finish. I believe I have only one game that I did a First Impressions and a Review for (Cute Things Dying Violently). All of that aside, I don’t do reviews much anyway because of school and other assorted things that get in the way. That will change because through my genius maneuvers I have managed to manipulate my school schedule next semester to be way more favorable. Go me. But thanks for reading, cause as long as somebody gets to find an indie game they love to play I helped in some way right? RIGHT?! Thanks for agreeing. Anyway, onto my First Impressions of VolChaos, which is a very fun game so far.

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Image from VolChaos

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Pros:

— Great level design
— The mix between collecting gems and actually surviving
— The music and graphics are quite enjoyable
— The humor of the background story and captions before each level
— Gameplay is easy to get used to
— Addition of Expert levels

Cons:

— Loading between death and respawn (will be fixed in about a week)
— Slow saving (will be fixed in a week)
— Jump controls are a bit floaty and feel off a bit (will be maybe tweaked in about a week)
— No countdown (will be maybe fixed in about a week)
— Lack of online leaderboards (although those are always next to useless on XBLIG)

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Image from VolChaos

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The premise of VolChaos is that you have to get to the finish line before the lava rises and kills you. Naturally when you get to the finish your guy stops to celebrate instead of continuing to run. Obviously I am just joking, I love the fact that there are so many levels instead of 20 long, difficult levels. It has the Super Meat Boy feel of “If I die I won’t go back that far, so it is not that bad”.
So far I have really enjoyed the first half of VolChaos. I have finished levels 1-20, collecting all the gems, and beating expert mode. I do not list this to brag, but to show what I have played. I have heard that some levels in the end become difficult to a point of frustration, but to each their own. I highly suggest you get this game just for the sheer amount of content it has. I would have been completely fine with just the 20 levels I played for 80 msp, so the rest for me is just gravy on the cake, or something like that. The controls are a bit floaty, but feel like they are tuned enough  for the task at hand. After about 45 minutes to an hour of playing I started to feel like I was getting very good with the controls.
There are also many different ways of getting through the levels. You start out with your standard platforming, then throw in some trampolines, moving platforms, and enemies and you start to a great time. The level design itself is somewhat of a marvel. It is not often XBLIG gets levels designed this well for what they have to do. In the standard stages you have to beat the level with the option of picking up all the gems on the way to the finish in order to unlock expert mode for that level. I would advise everyone to just play like you are going for all of the gems from the beginning, because that is more fun than just finishing the level. The Expert levels suffer from the slow loading bug (that will be patched) as of right now. They are still playable, you just have to deal with it every time you respawn. I will probably wait until the patch goes live to play through those levels, since all you do on those levels are get to the finish, and being a half second off will kill you.
In the end, VolChaos is very fun so far. The upcoming patch seems to be geared towards fixing a lot of issues gamers are having with the game. My suggestion, even after only playing the first 20 levels (out of 42) is to get it. Unless you hate fun.
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Here are some other reviews:
NeoGAF awarded VolChaos the Gold Award for the month of November (even though it is titled December)
Kairi Vice’s (IndieGamerChick) review/rant about old games with a very nice discussion in the comments
Extra Guy gave VolChaos an A