My Wife is having a baby. Soon. ***Editor’s note – The newest generation of Midlife Gamers was born on the 29th April and she is called Mila.*** As a result of the impending arrival to the Tuds clan, it’s been vitally important for me to go and learn stuff about childbirth, being a dad, how to clean the poop etc. During My AnteNatal classes, a funny thing happened. We’re all talking about what we do as a job etc, and a chap piped up with “I Make Video Games”. I nearly lost my mind. Someone who made games was having a baby at the same time as me and lived in the same lump of Suburban London as me, joy unbounded.
Turns out he’s worked on or consulted on so many AAA titles that it’s unlikely that we’ve not seen smidges of his work somewhere in our gaming life. He told me he’d just released his own game – mind blown. That’s quite literally living the dream, right? I mentioned that I review for Midlife Gamer and could I get a copy to get a review done, he and his publisher were gracious enough to send me a code, which I promptly lost before they sent it again.
His game is Called ‘Perfect Universe. Some of you may have even played it’s predecessor and part of this offering ‘Perfect Moon’ on your phones/ tablets (if not, and you fancy a crack, it’s been my train fodder since playing this game for review). Perfect universe is essentially 3 solo mini games and 6 multiplayer games (or A.I. if you have no friends). The game was written and coded by Will Sykes, of Will Sykes games. Will has made a game that both at once feels comfortable and like ‘home’ in a gaming sense whilst also adding a few twists to some formulas we all know and love.
Stylistically the game is quite basic at first glance, it’s black and white theme allowing you to take everything in, and it’s only when you do take everything in that you see the game is quite detail filled, and those little details make parts of the levels really stand out for me. This approach, coupled with the sparse yet very apt piano soundtrack are at odds with the way you feel with some of the game’s seemingly simple but infuriatingly tricky to do levels. The game actually recommends playing with a controller, music to my console convert ears I still can’t keyboad game, and I don’t care if you think less of me, you pesky master race!
First up is Perfect Moon, as mentioned earlier, it’s a bit of a Port with a few added twists on it’s mobile predecessor. We play ‘A Man’ as we guide him through some gravity based platform fayre. The tutorial tells us what we’re all used to here, jumping controls. Following that we’re let loose on Perfect Moon’s levels, we’re charged with collecting Diamonds (Coins, Rings, you get the drill) as quickly as possible from worlds where your viewpoint doesn’t matter as much as the directions ‘A Man’ is going, it’s both simple and complex at the same time, and running upside down and trying to jump for collectibles invokes ‘James’ from Thomas Was Alone with the added difficulty of getting your bearings. There is a sense of achievement when you finish a level and see a 3 star rating. Jumping between planets and finding the sweet spot between the 2 gravitational pulls becomes tense as you need to get those 3 star ratings as quickly as possible in order to unlock the later levels.
Following on from Perfect Moon is ‘Moon Life’ where we control ‘Mr. Legs’. And this is where Perfect Universe really pulls out its innovative side. Mr Legs is a creature that I assume is found on the moon judging by his sections title. He’s controlled in a way that is reminiscent of ‘Octodad’ but there are some differences, and Mr. Legs can JUMP! You’ll need full control of his faculties though before you get him to do that in ways you want him to! His levels again want us to collect something – Leaves this time – and there are planets instead of stars for our rating, but the premise is the same.
Starlight, the last of the solo experiences is a personal favourite, adding a touch of ‘Solar Jetman’ to the stylised world Will Sykes has created, simple, effective space ship flying and object collecting action, I felt my 7 year old self with my wired NES controller enjoying that bit along with me, it was great. Following these is a cornucopia of couch co-op that I’ve not had a chance to try with others, but if the rest of the game is anything to go by will be just as fun, fresh and infuriating as the rest.
I’ve really Enjoyed my Foray into the ‘Perfect Universe’ and Judging by the Steam Feedback, others are too. I’d recommend it for anyone looking for something to dip into for a small and frantic session, but then find the perfectionist in them coming back to try and better their times! Perfect Moon is currently on steam but there are rumblings of a PS4 release
Midlife Gamer Rating: 7/10 Format: PlayStation 4 / PC Release Date: Out Now
Disclosure: Toby James was given a copy of Perfect Universe during an antenatal session with other expectant dads for review with Midlife Gamer. The title was reviewed over the course of a week. For more information on what our scores mean, plus details of our reviews policy, click here.