Set in the fantasy land of Notthatmuchfurther, Talent Not Included tells the story of three actors, ready for anything, in order to give the performance of their life even if that means facing mechanical soldiers, animals, hardheaded monsters as well as rotating cylinders at their feet. Break a leg, you’ll need it !
Are you gamer that enjoys platformers? Do you love jumping around, gathering points and items, racing against the clock, dodging enemies, trying to earn the highest possible score for a level? Do you find yourself yearning for a Mario type game, without having to go to Nintendo? Yes?! Then you need to go play Talent Not Included.
Talent Not Included is a great platformer game that taps into all the elements that made Mario (and your childhood) great, but Frima Studios clearly makes this game their own with memorable flare and game play. Talent Not Included executes the platformer genre, and what whats platforming games so much fun with neat precision, dresses itself up with crisp and distinct graphics, memorable character dialogue, and some decent replayability factors.
Talent Not Included doesn’t have much a story line, but Frima Studios creates a game that makes sense to the story that is playing out. As you start up Talent Not Included the gamer is introduced to some poor demons who were bored and wanted to create their own play and in the process were swindled. The hired actors, aren’t really actors, but instead a knight, a ranger, and mage. They attempt to put on a play, but in reality is that you’re playing as a said character who is simply trying to clear the “stage” of the obstacles in order to entertain the audience. Not much talent, in the way of acting–but plenty of talent in other things. Like wall climbing, smashing robots, jumping onto moving platforms, dodging lightening and balls of fire. End results? Lots of entertainment.
This is where I applaud Firma Studio. It was pretty clear that they wanted to make a platformer game, and focused on making exactly that: a good game with good game play. Firma didn’t sweat it too much in regards to creating this grandiose story, but kept it simple. They weren’t trying to force their audience into a convoluted story or plot, but instead made something enjoyable and light–but didn’t get lazy in their story telling either. Firma may have designed a simplistic story, but took extra care with the small story they created- striking a balance of not throwing too much at the audience, but making sure everything that was presented was at 100%. The characters are memorable and distinct from each other, the dialogue is fun, and there were plenty of times where I found myself enjoying Talent Not Included because of the humor written into the game. The story isn’t exactly layered and complex- it wasn’t suppose to be- but doesn’t fall flat.
The game play itself is engaging. Personally, I love platforming games. I find that the genre keeps me on my toes and challenges in some aspects that other genres do not–I like being able to time jumps, attacks, all while racing the clock and getting high scores. But the platformer genre is pretty standard; what sets good platformers apart from bad ones is how well it plays and controls. Talent Not Included plays smoothly; I love how the game is set up, the type of talents each character has, and the types of stages that are available for me to clear. Talent Not Included understands that this type of game play can get old pretty quick so it makes itself diverse by offering various characters with different abilities and set ups. Further more, it provides a plethora stages that challenges the players to think and act differently each time depending on the character their playing.
Its a pretty standard way of breaking up the monotony of platformer games, but Talent Not Included–as stated before–is a game that does all of these with flawless execution.
Talent Not Included provides additional challenge by adding a lot of dodging, double jumps, spell casting, and such. Players simply can not run through the the stages head on, without thinking, or at least reacting to certain things. There were a few times where I had to look at the stages and figure out what was required of me, and what would be the best way to go about completion. Generally the first run through of stages is just trying to get a handle on the lay out, whats where, where to go, and so forth; Talent Not Included likes to give players varying degrees of completion. Meaning, your first run through the level was just good enough to clear, but you could have done it better by going faster, or picking up all the points–causing your score/bracket (in this case type of mask) to go up. This gives Talent Not Included an average replayability; gamers usually like to go in and beast their old scores, just in general, so this is one thing the game could improve on. It banks on its audience, knowing we would go back and replay levels for the satisfaction of getting a higher score but doesn’t entice the gamers to do so in any other fashion.
Talent Not Included earns a serious round of applause for their art direction and graphics. Its new and modern, fun, bright, and sets the over all tone for the game. When you fist look at Talent Not Included you know this isn’t a serious game, its made to be entertaining, get a few laughs out of the player, and be casual (but can be challenging, depending the mood you’re in). Following the story, everything takes place on stage, and that is kept in mind the entire time while playing. Its adorable to see the stage change with this quirky touches of “low budget props.” For instance one the bosses is suppose to fly–well, he cant really fly so they keep him tethered on ropes and jerkily swing him around. Its those small touches, that make the graphics and the art of Talent Not Included enjoyable and immersive. I dont feel like the game ever breaks the premise and tone that it sets itself up for.
The only issue that I have with Talent Not Included is that it doesn’t really push it’s game play, or the platformer genre, forward. There is nothing particularly ground breaking about Talent Not Included, instead it rests pretty on the laurels of what defines the genre. And thats okay, it not a blindingly negative mark against Talent Not Included, because its clear that Firma Studios wanted to make a GOOD platforming game–not looking to redefine the genre, but make a game that’s fun and comfortable for all gamers of any experience Its pretty standard platform game; but its done wonderfully on all levels.
Overall, Talent Not Included is an excellent game and worth the asking retail price. Gamers will spend an easy 10 plus hours on the game, trying to clear it or beat their previous scores. Its a good game that anybody can just pick up and play. Its intuitive and simple, a game where you can just relax and have a good time with; but can be made challenging for gamers who are looking to do more. Firma Studios also has a great understanding of what they can and can not accomplish in Talent Not Included- they do not attempt make things bigger or overwhelming, in a grab for player’s attention. Instead, Firma focuses on their strengths: clean game play with distinctive graphics and art direction, to make an impression on their audience.