Review: Bloody Trapland 2: Curiosity

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Review copy provided by developer via Curator Connect

There are infinite ways to make a good platformer, but some elements must be constant. No one wants to play a platformer with awkward movement, for example, because controlling your character is absolutely core to the experience. Similarly, a stuttering, unoptimized platformer is never going to fly with anyone because that would interfere with whatever challenges are in store. That’s why I’m so confused as to why Bloody Trapland 2 is even in Early Access, because both of these issues are very clearly dragging the game down like a pair of cement shoes. And it’s not like those are the only issues with the game, either.

trapland1

If there’s a plot to Bloody Trapland I don’t know what it is. I saw one guy that looked like my character triggering traps to kill me, so presumably you’re on the trail of some little asshole or something. It’s not a big deal because the real point is to get to the end of each level un-murdered so you can go on to the next one. Some levels hide secrets that can be used to open up alternate paths and levels on the world map, which is laid out like a big archipelago of Super Mario Bros 3 worlds. Since this one is designed with an eye towards multiplayer as well, you can open shortcuts and turn off traps to help your less nimble compatriots join you at the finish line.

We’re not going to talk about the multiplayer though, because there’s enough wrong with this game that no amount of buddies can make it better. I can forgive most platforming sins if the movement is solid but your character in Bloody Trapland toddles around lazily and has a depressingly weak jump. You can wall jump but it’s the same anemic launch and scaling a single wall is impossible thanks to agonizing diminishing returns on your jumps. There’s also some weird conditional double jump that I still haven’t figured out, which is a pretty big red flag if your game can’t clarify how a central ability works after thirty minutes and two dozen levels. Lastly there’s a slide for scooting under hazards and tight spaces but the hit detection is so garbage that it’s a total toss-up if it’s even going to work the way you think.

trapland2

Even when the movement works, the game might hiccup hard enough to slam you into spikes anyway. I have no idea how a 2D platformer could be this badly optimized but it turns into a slideshow at pretty regular intervals, enough to make some levels nigh impossible until it passes. Technical issues in a game that doesn’t look all that impressive are inexcusable, and should be a cautionary tale against anyone thinking about putting a platformer into Early Access. Really I don’t know why you would put a platformer in Early Access at all, unless you want people to get a terrible first impression of a game in the most overcrowded of genres.

There are plenty of appealing features in Bloody Trapland 2, like item-based secrets and a level editor. It’s just that they’re attached to a technically incompetent game. The movement feels slow, sticky, and imprecise, and even when it works the poor optimization makes it feel like it doesn’t. Some of the levels can be real assholes too, putting extra tricky jumps and maneuvers at the very end of long gauntlets and placing secrets all the way at the start of a level to backtrack to. And this is all with every level being a single screen, too, which makes the game feel small and cheap. I suppose it is, really, small in ambition and cheap in production, which is more than enough reason to give it a pass.

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