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Game Maker Games - Cursor Run
Cursor Run by RICANJO
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Review by Joewoof
Cursor Run is so simple, yet so brilliant. In fact, most beginners are probably capable of making this game with little problem at all. The main concept in this puzzle game is nothing special. With your mouse, you basically guide the cursor through an obstacle course. There are a number of different levels, each with progressively higher challenges. Several powerups and graphical effects are thrown in to spice up the game, but other than that, there seems to be nothing amazing about it.

However, guiding the cursor through minimalistic obstacle courses is surprisingly more fun and addicting than it sounds. This seemingly simple idea is executed nicely with just enough powerups and graphical effects to create an overall satisfying experience.

= Target Appeal =

Poor.

There is little "personality" given to this game. The graphics neither create any context nor work uniformly towards a certain apparent theme. The RICANJO mascot provides a nice, cute touch, but it contradicts with the overall graphical direction of the game.

= Immersiveness =

Fair.

Some graphics are interesting, while others are completely dull. During a level, the cursor is represented by a flashing circle that is followed by a trailing, nondescript, rainbow tail as it moves. As you gain new powerups, the whole thing changes. For example, getting a "Defence" powerup will transform the cursor into a grayish, spiked ball. The "Ghost" powerup will turn it partially transparent. On the other hand, the menus, sprites and powerups are lackluster.

There are sound effects for half of the events in this game. They are nothing fancy, though fitting. The other half, including "victory" (winning a level) and the "Smallness" powerup, do not have sound effects.

The music is excellent. There are two songs - a general theme and a boss theme. The general theme creates an ideal, relaxing ambience that supports the patience and concentration needed to overcome the puzzles. It generates the essential immersive factor the game requires. It makes up for the dull graphics and lack of sound effects in certain areas. The boss theme creates a strong sense of urgency, letting the players know that they should no longer be patient.

This game has no story context. This is forgivable for puzzle games, but having an emotive connection to the game can further enhance immersion.

= Polish =

Fair.

There are a number of glitches throughout the game. The most notable is the final level. There, the game may suddenly become unplayable and/or a hidden message may not appear. Since there is no save feature, and you must complete the game level-by-level, you may be forced to start from the beginning again. Additionally, the "Smallness" powerup does not work on rare occasions. Not only that, some sound effects sometimes do not play when they are supposed to, such as the "failed level" sound.

Otherwise, however, the game plays fine. The final level is only sometimes bugged; you can complete the game if you are fortunate.

As for the "Instructions" window, the font should've been much bigger. You have to squint your eyes to read them.

= Originality =

Good.

Although dragging objects around with your mouse is not a new idea, dragging it through obstacles in a puzzle game is a rarity. This game manages to present it as fresh and interesting, through the use of powerups and having to drag the cursor in one go from the starting point to the ending point.

= Smooth Curves =

Excellent.

This game does a great job of scaling the learning and difficulty curves. The levels start off being very simple, first teaching you the basic movements. Afterwards, it presents you each new feature in a "simple level", before challenging you in a "complex level". All the while, the game becomes a little harder.

= Variety =

Fair.

Many features keep this game fairly interesting. The first powerup you get is "Smallness". This allows you to squeeze into tight tunnels, but you must get through them before the powerup wears out. The "Defense" powerup allows you to break thin walls. The "Ghost" powerup gives you access to hidden areas. There is also an extra life powerup, but it is hardly important, because there is no real penalty for getting "Game Over" (from running out of lives). There are also "Teleportation" boxes, allowing you to warp to a different section of the level. Finally, some of the later levels have multiple ending points. All, except one, are "Fakes".

There is little gameplay variety, unfortunately. All you really do is guiding the cursor around for the entire game.

= Challenge =

Good.

Except for the last boss level, where the difficulty level jumps incredibly high, the amount of challenge provided is generally good.

There is a "playroom" for experimenting with graphical effects. This gives you a little distraction, should you become frustrated with the harder levels.

= Depth =

Fair.

For a puzzle game, it is a little lacking in the cognitive department. Most levels are straightforward; most of them don't involve making choices or any reasoning. Also, since each level is very short, there should be more levels to lengthen the playtime of the game. There is an acceptable amount, but barely. Fortunately, a level editor may alleviate this problem a little.

= Overall =

Fair.

Cursor Run is a lackluster puzzle game with a number of problems. On the other hand, the simple concept of guiding the cursor around obstacle courses may be very attractive to some people. It may prove to be surprisingly addictive, but even eager fans may find themselves wishing for more variety and levels.

This game is worth a shot. Despite its flaws, don't be surprised to find yourself hooked to its simple charm.




- Creator's Descriptions -

Using the mouse, you must lead a line from start to finish, without touch any walls or enemies.

Using items to help you on your way, complete 27 levels, and bosses.

Also included is the level creator mode, in which you can do my job and create a simple room to play, and paint mode, where you can just mess around with the cool effects...

Have Fun!

Download Cursor Run (EXE, ~4 MB , Suitable for everyone )

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Comments (Add your own):
2006.05.31 Aboriginal
Rating: 4

I was very disappointed by this game. I read the review and it sounded like a good game by a new programmer. Most of those are decent. This however, was not that much fun. I would sometimes accidentaly let go of the mouse button and have to start over. I finished the game and I must say that I never felt like I had to push on. Also, the extras weren't that appealing.
2006.05.27 blackpod5420
Rating: 5

Honestly, I didn't like it. I wasn't hooked in the least, and i thought it was way too simple...could have used another week or so of polishing.
2006.05.21 jmanjman47
Rating: 6

I think the game could use more polish.
2006.05.14 sc(+)pe
Rating: 5

i played the beta version, and i didnt like it. then I played this and still didnt like it. Meybe if it werent so dificult and had somesort of a dificulty, like enemies, it would be better. So really, it wasnt enough.
2006.05.06 Quimp
Rating: --

The game was actually more fun than I thought it would be. Good game idea.
2006.04.04 E.B
Rating: 8

Good game, liked the trail effects. Nice power-ups too. Keep them coming RICANJO!
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