As it is the case with every video game promotion, there are some great games as well as some less awesome titles. Unfortunately, the Indie Games Uprising 3 promotion is no exception, even with such a great start. Sententia (from Michael Arts) is what I would consider a weird choice for the promotion’s selection. Let me explain my disappointment.
Sententia is a platformer game with puzzle elements. You take the characters through the game’s worlds by jumping from platform to platform while attacking enemies with words. Then every couple of screens, you come across puzzles which require you to match dots to others while taking some connection limits into consideration. It’s nothing too complicated at first but the level layouts and the puzzles get a bit more challenging, requiring a more time to figure out.
To be honest, that’s pretty much everything there is to the game. The gameplay, the level design, the way the puzzle interface is designed: everything makes you wish for the game to end quickly. For example, there are many parts in the levels where enemies cannot be reached with your projectiles at ground level. What about jumping and shooting? You’re out of luck since you can’t do this. What about killing the enemies and then respawning to go through the level freely? That won’t work either as the enemies respawn a mere fraction of a second after they have died. I could go on and on talking about cheap disappearing platforms, bad platforms placement making simple jumps extremely hard to execute, inconsistencies in the buttons usage in the bridge puzzles, puzzles that bring in new rules without being properly introduced first, unskippable dialogs (which highly slow down the pace of the game)… Sententia is for the most part badly designed.
Based on the game’s description found on the Indie Games Uprising 3 website, Sententia was designed to be an “art game”. Unfortunately, the game’s art is what hits you the hardest at first. The game’s artwork looks like most of the bad Xbox LIVE Indie Games out there with crude and even childish looking drawings. The animations are rather simple too and not very good looking for the most part. I will admit though that I really like the death animation composed of lines of words bursting out of the enemy/player, making for a rather cool effect. As for the audio, it is as simple and generic as it gets and it doesn’t help you get immersed into the game’s world in the least. In short, the game is very bland-looking and unappealing.
I do not recommend Sententia to anyone tempted to buy it, no matter what. This game is flawed in many ways, from the gameplay mechanics to the level design to even the simplest aspects of the game. Although many people tell you not to judge a book by its cover, I would strongly suggest that you go against that rule in this case. Stay away from Sententia and spend your money on another Xbox LIVE Indie Games title instead.
Sententia is available on the Xbox LIVE Indies Games channel for the Xbox 360 for 80 Microsoft Points ($1 USD).
Game experience at time of redaction: Game cleared.
- Puzzle system is nice
- Gameplay suffers from many inconsistencies
- Music feels like an infomercial
- Graphics do not match the artistic ambition of the game
- Long and unskippable dialogs
- Irregularities in the difficulty curve