The spark in question is Stone Tales, the first game from Madrid based indie developer Yellow Worm Studios. At its core it’s a fairly breezy platformer; Sure there’s a story, and we’ll get to that, but I wanted to let you know what we’re talking about first.
The game is set in ‘Caveman times’ and is allegedly based on ‘true paintings’ By which I’m assuming that at one point the developers saw some cave paintings and decided that’d be a good basis for a game, which, while totally fair enough and I’ve played games with less of a basis, from what I’ve seen so far, it’s hardly a Unique selling point.
In Stone Tales, we take control of two brothers; Buga and Uga (nope, I’m not joking). Buga is our ‘tank’ he’s the slower of the two, and he’s very much your defence and he carries a shield at all times. Uga is billed as being fast as a gazelle, which in reality means he’s a smidge faster than Buga, and as you move them both at the same time it’s kind of a moot point. Uga Throws spears, not with much accuracy, and you’re pretty much at the mercy of trying to figure out the game’s physics and hoping for the best. The control for this game is the first and probably main thing that lets it down for me. There is no controller support, which is all well and good for those of us who are used to gaming with a keyboard, but this is a platformer that would have been right at home on a controller and it really suffers as a result. There are no options to map buttons as you’d like them, so, A and D are our move left and right keys. Buga Jumps with W, Uga jumps with ‘Space bar’ meaning you’re pressing in two different places as you need both brothers to jump at the same time. To Raise Buga’s shield is ‘right click’ on the mouse and to throw a spear with Uga is ‘left click’. That’s right, everything is on the keyboard except, except the attacking and defending, again, crying out for controller support!
The soundtrack to the game is a bit jarring too, I get the idea, cave drums, wistful synths, with the occasional sense of impending dread. But it’s all seemingly done on a midi keyboard with some pretty basic samples. There is no effect, for instance, when there is fire on screen, so I took it as something in the background, until it killed me, a heads up of this new threat would have been nice Gusanos Amarillo’s!
The visuals are somewhere I was impressed though, they’ve kept it muted, to look like it HAS been drawn on a cave wall, the two brothers are barely any more than stick men, buffalo are rudimentary, as are spears etc.
It’s another one of those games that, I get the idea, but the execution is off, the poor, multi placed controls and the bad sound, coupled with how short the game is (6 levels) just leave me wondering what else they’ve got in their hat, I was half expecting them to pull out a rabbit, only for them to display a limp carrot.
Midlife Gamer Rating: 4/10 Format: PC Release Date: Out Now
Disclosure: Midlife Gamer were provided with a copy of Stone Tales for review purposes. The title was reviewed over the course of 5 days. For more information on what our scores mean, plus details of our reviews policy, click here.