Talent Not Included review – A platformer for the (m)ages
There was a time not too long ago when we thought 2-D platformers were a dying breed. Thankfully, the indie scene would soon disagree. Talent Not Included by Frima Studios is one such game.
Set in the mystical land of Notthatmuchfurther, three monsters team up with a demon to fund a play about video games because they were “bored out of their minds.” This leads them to hire three actors (a warrior, rogue, and mage) to perform in said play. The game aims to be humorous through its text-based storytelling, and for the most part it succeeded at giving me a few chuckles here and there. Even though it can be obnoxious, it doesn’t overstay its welcome thanks to the focus being primarily on gameplay and less on story.
I think it would be a tad bit unfair to simply label Talent Not Included as a 2-D platformer only. Does it run on a two-dimensional plane? Yes. Are there platforms to be jumped on? Yes. Do you consistently go from left to right in order to reach your goal? Not exactly.
There are 3 different areas for each character in the game along with a final area. Each have their own levels and bosses, but since they’re designed like a stage play, they have mechanisms that will shift depending on the segment. You start out collecting pieces of candy to build up your score until you get a rotating gear item that will shift the platforms differently. In order to build up the best score possible, you should collect all the pieces of candy before you get the mechanism or until the time runs out. Enemies like mechanized wolves and knights will also try and get in your way so be sure to destroy or get past them.
Being used to platformers on console, I used my Xbox One controller to play and it feels damn good. The controls are responsive and the smooth framerate makes platforming and fighting a breeze. It encourages me to revisit some levels to beat my high score; it’s almost addicting. Boss battles don’t achieve anything new, but even the most predictable foes can present quite the challenge thanks to their attack range.
The gameplay in Talent Not Included is a sight to behold. It’s unfortunate that it has to be riddled with tech issues…
Keep in mind, thanks to the nature of PC gaming, that the problems I am about to mention may just be exclusive to me and me alone. However, I could not let this slide as this severely impacted my feelings about the game.
My PC’s graphics card is up-to-date (an R9 390 to be exact), but even then Talent Not Included is not a graphically demanding game. The framerate has been smooth a majority of the time, except when I get attacked by an enemy or hit a hazard. Randomly, the game’s framerate will pause for half a second right before my player receives the damage, which can disrupt the flow of my control.
This pales in comparison to how many times the game has crashed on me. It will just freeze and I’d have to CTRL+ALT+DEL myself out of it. The problem would persist among later updates of the game and I hope many other players have not experienced the same misfortune.
Talent Not Included is a great game, but I would have rated it higher had it not been for the technical issues. If you can look past them though, I can’t recommend the game enough! It’s a solid action platformer with great controls and a humorous tone that gives it even more spirit. I do hope Frima Studios gets a chance to put Talent Not Included on consoles as it would fair better there, but in the meantime you can play it on just about any PC through Steam so check it out.
Rating: 3.5/5 Atoms
This product was reviewed using a retail download code provided by Frima Studios.