June 22, 2015 12:45 PM | John Bridgman
UPDATE: This article represents the honest opinion of its writer regarding the early build of the game he played. However, it was written more like a final review than a preview of a game still in development. In the interest of fairness, a new preview article was written a few weeks later with a newer build. We recommend that you read that article instead of this one.
It's hard to get more basic than the 3D action platformer in concept. You run around, you jump, and you overcome enemies and obstacles. And so, well, there's a lot of them. It's a fairly standard genre to try and make something in; obviously some truly great games have been made with this formula. Prismic Studios is entering the fray with their upcoming title Gnomes vs. Fairies.
It enters the fray and is clearly not ready for it. The game is, unfortunately, not good. Trying to carry itself on a cute fantasy aesthetic, it is still somehow difficult to look at. There is so much screen blurring that despite some pretty nice texture work it's hard to tell most of the time. The character model for Greckel is visually unappealing, and not particularly well animated, something that is consistent through all the character models in fact.
Luckily you won't be able to see the visuals too well at all, since the camera is a terrible mess. From the very start of the game you are constantly fighting with it to even attempt to see in front of you. It whips around constantly, trying to follow behind you, and it frequently moves into places where you can't see your character at all.
Somehow, it manages to get worse if you decide to play far enough to get into the unresponsive combat. Greckel appears to have a three hit combo with his sword that ends with a magic effect, but calling it a combo is both extremely generous to the game and possibly untrue since the camera generally won't let you see what's going on. Enemies which aren't dealing with the same controls you are will be able to stun-lock you and kill you quickly.
Should you still be playing after this, you will eventually get to attempt platforming with a camera that doesn't cooperate and controls that don't respond to you. Unsurprisingly this is not a winning combination. Just making it to one adjacent platform is a trial, and from there you have to hope that the laggy controls don't result in you falling into a pit that the camera won't let you see.
Usually this is the point where I suggest who the game I'm discussing would appeal best to. In most circumstances, at least devoted enthusiasts of a genre or setting can find enough to warrant consideration, but in this case I'm not sure. Platformer fans are not going to be impressed with the horrible controls, and the setting is so bland it's nonexistent.
The one redeeming quality is that this game is still a work in progress. With some major overhauling, Gnomes vs. Fairies could be a passable game. But that would be so far removed from its current state, I don't think it would remotely resemble the game as it exists right now.