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A disappointing waste of a good physics engine

I'm very impressed with the physics of this game. I'm still trying to figure out how to implement hinges and pins myself. I don't know whether you wrote the engine yourself or if you used something premade like Box2D Flash, but it's a very nice engine either way.

But this game hardly does anything with the engine! Not only did you neglect your chance to do something awesome with all this physics, you made a direct copy of the game Crayon Physics instead. If you're going to borrow someone's ideas, you might as well have the decency to only keep the good parts of it and throw out the bad. But I see no evidence of such discrimination here.

What do I mean? Well, you have this great physics engine, but then you force us to go through frustratingly awkward lengths just to interact with it. I want to be able to revel in the wild bouncing and swinging and falling and collapsing and exploding of a screen full of crazy physical objects, all easily stirred up and built up and broken down and mixed around by me, in real time! You could have done that with this engine, but you didn't! Why didn't you?

I hope your next game rectifies this unforgivable error. ;)

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I am overcome with awe... and fear

My g*d, that was both horrifying and overwhelmingly awe-inspiring. Maybe I'm just jaded with the whole Madness thing by now, but this felt so much more gut-wrenchingly violent than almost anything produced by Krinkels. I hate it and at the same time I'm strangely drawn to it.

I've never played any of the sort of video games you might have been inspired by in your use of this style, but there were so many new things I had never seen before... It gave me so many ideas. Even if all of that stuff - the style, the setting, the moves, the fights - was taken from existing games, putting it all together like that is much more original than most anything I've seen here.

And the technical ability necessary to pull off such complex scenes with such a high level of polish - it seems incredible to me. Did you just code your own fighting engine and record one play-through for this animation? It seems like it. You should release the game and profit mightily.

In all, you succeeded at something I never thought possible: You took Madness, and from it made something even more violent, more horrifying, more offensive, more dazzling... Somehow, taking the epic, archetypal characters of Madness and combining them with the slick, exaggerated, flashy style of, well whatever you call that style, pushes things to an even higher extreme. Only time will tell whether this altitudinous high will fade, or stand to challenge the exalted throne of Madness itself. ;p

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Good animation, unoriginal story

I laughed at the Shadow of the Colossus parody. :D That was my favorite part! (or not)

This must have been a colossal undertaking, especially for one person. Congratulations. I didn't find the story or characters particularly compelling (Madness was better in that respect) but there were a lot of interesting bits. And of course, the anime-ification of Madness was pretty original.

Though I wonder, couldn't you have tried a little harder to make your female character actually out of Madness parts? Like with just her goggles instead of those big anime eyes, on an oval and cross head? It was kind of silly to see one non-Madness character, but whatever.

At the very end there, I saw something that was very cool. When it went completely dark, and all you could see were the glowing lines of that one guy, that was a really cool style. Maybe I'll try it in a game.

Keep up the good work! :)

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Does a lot of things well, less fun than expected

Nice adaptation of Madness to a platform shooting game. At first I was surprised at how tiny the characters were on the screen, and how big the levels were, but I realized that those are standard for the platform shooter genre. As a result the Madness-ness of the game was relatively low, but perhaps that was your intention.

I really liked the way you moved around physically to access different options and levels. It's an approach that I've also thought would be very useful. I think you could have expanded on it to allow several exits from each level, where some are easier levels and some are harder, to allow the player to control difficulty level and increase enjoyment, like flOw.

The coding and design to include as many features and touches as you did must have been a lot of work. There's not much to say here, but good job. I think that the feel would have been improved by reducing the bounciness and slipperiness of the platforms - the movement didn't feel very solid.

The graphics were decent, except... I think you made a very poor decision in frequently including colors outside of Madness' usual gray tones and red. At the very least, the crates scattered around for decoration should have been a shade of gray, not green. In my opinion they greatly weakened what otherwise would have been a very strong aesthetic feel. The enemies could have used fewer colors too - at least use a single color for each enemy, even if it's not a traditional Madness color.

I think the color choice was the poorest aspect of the game, relative to how easy it would have been to change with a bit of feedback from an artist. In fact, it wouldn't be a bad idea to change the colors and update the file. Seriously. My rating would go up to 8/10 if you really captured the Madness feel.

The gameplay started to become stale - I think partly because of the emphasis on maneuvering platforms (which was a weak part of the design anyway) instead of using different weapons and fighting more, and more varied, enemies. Put more enemies and weapons in there - and make dodging easier with bullet time or something - and the fun would last a lot longer.

I liked the developer view. It would have been nice to add more unlockables though. Overall, nice work. A real accomplishment. :)

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Different, interesting feel

I quite liked this one - enough to review it. The music complemented the animation well, giving it an unusual but appropriate feel. It felt kind of casual and epic at the same time. And of course the subject matter was thought provoking.

I really liked the underwater scene. It felt very underwatery - reminded me of Shadow of the Colossus a bit. I wish there were a scene select for the animation, so I could study that scene more easily. You might think about doing a whole animation set underwater like that.

Keep up the good work.

Ultimate7777 responds:

Thanks for the review, and... you're in luck!

I am indeed planning an entire Flash set completely (or almost completely) underwater :)

Again, thanks for the review and have a great day.

A perfect evolution of the series

You did it. I feel like this Madness has gone deeper into its world than any of the others before it. After the shocking tension of Madness Antipathy, we find an almost gentle feel to Consternation. No longer fighting the overwhelming chaos and disintegration of order that has evolved throughout the series, we, and Hank, have come to an almost peaceful acceptance of the situation. And through it, discover a deeper, fuller world.

I really didn't know what would happen after Antipathy. But I really like the way this follows up to it. It's definitely not anything I expected, but it fits perfectly. I think the strange gentleness of the violence, the chainsaw sequence really the direct opposite of the one in Tricky Madness 2, was a brilliant touch.

Hank's look in this movie is probably my favorite so far. And the solid red sky and glasses, contrasting with the gradients of the last few movies, really contributed to that feeling of being deep within this mood. It's like going from the rough and violent surface of the ocean to being completely submerged - on the outside things seem gentle, but in actuality the power behind it is much greater.

The main critique I would have is with the flames of Tricky's demon form. Based on what I saw at the end of Antipathy, I would have expected the flames to grow from the ground, to have some inertia and movement of their own. Instead, they were statically attached to the rest of the puppet body, which made the demon seem much less impressive and more like a usual, solid, killable character. Giving the flames a life of their own, though it may have increased the animating time, would in my opinion have been worth another month's wait.

All in all, I was very happy with Madness Consternation. Thank you.

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Simple concept, well executed

8 balls. :D

Wow, that was the first Flash game for a while that I really enjoyed. I'm impressed Matteo, you have shown that you are a good game designer, not just a guy who makes a bunch of ragdoll games. :)

The sound was great. I liked the bounce sounds, they were subtle but added to the feel of the game, and never got annoying. And the music was really good! I wanted to keep playing just so I could keep listening to it! And I was sad to lose because the music stopped. :(

I was impressed at the attention to detail and user-friendliness, how the new ball appeared for a few seconds before it dropped in, allowing you to get out of the way in time. The simplicity of the concept and controls was very nice too.

I think the main thing that could be added is a high score board, both across the web if you can do that, or even charting your progress within one play session by yourself. It would help increase motivation if the player is able to make progress each time. I was stuck at 8, and it would have been nice to have a record of my previous times on a graph or something.

Lastly, I am really inspired to do a graphical skin of this game, with fancy visuals like lines sparking between the balls, and colorful explosions and stuff. When are you going to open up the source code for modding? :D

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One of my favorites so far

Wow, I found this after watching Birds of a Feather, and I think I actually like this one better. The animation and music was rougher, but I really liked the atmosphere and snapshot of a wider story that this animation conveyed.

Really the only bad part was the tweened grass waving in the wind. It went back and forth way too fast, and rotated around the wrong point, which was enough to jar me out of the story a bit. If you fixed that little part, I would probably give this a 10.

The character design is nice; the whole situation reminded me of Lilo & Stitch, which is the best Disney movie ever. The facial expressions and interaction were well done.

I liked the little camera angle switch where you're looking into the dragon's face. That was a nice touch, which I think really added to the immersiveness of the environment. The dappled light was good too.

The music was okay, but a little too obtrusive. It wasn't bad though, and part of it sounded like a Turkish ney or maybe some Asian type of flute, which is cool. I like flutes, so it was kind of interesting to hear background music mostly consisting of different flutes.

Overall, I found this animation inspiring, in showing what is possible with fairly simple graphic techniques. I'd love to make a game or some sort of interactive artwork with this kind of display. I just finished watching Princess Mononoke, which was very inspiring, but kind of intimidating by its high level of detail. Pandora's Book showed me that you can have the same effect with simpler graphics more appropriate to Flash. Thank you!

Awesome concept, nice execution

Wow, this is so cool! I love the idea of a real-time arcade game based on the rules of chess. I also think it could be very helpful for people learning to play chess. It's a great example of how to use the strengths of casual games to help people learn and practice skills, like getting familiar with how a knight moves, or doing calculus...

I think this game has a lot of potential to expand, using all the different chess pieces in later levels, introducing them one at a time of course. They could either be controlled by the player, or use enemies.

Also, it would be nice to have greater variety in the graphics. Why not have different graphics with different levels? You could have one where they look like soldiers, for example, with attack animations.

The music is nice, though it's a little repetitive.

Overall, this is a nice simple game that has a lot of potential to expand on.

Near perfect for what it is

This game is very simple, smooth, stylish, fun, like Flash games are supposed to be.

I really liked the basic mechanic, of deflecting the oncoming circles. It reminded me of Aikido, like randori practice, where people keep coming at you and you have to sort of deflect them and stay calm and anticipate. It's a lot like playing this game. Not to say that I'm good at Aikido or anything. But I can appreciate the similarities intellectually.

Also, the music was an interesting contrast to most game music. It seemed to fit the red color scheme, also kind of reminding me of the Afro Celt song Release. It sounded like you layered different loops with ActionScript. Is this true? I've been trying to do something like that for my last project.

You may notice I keep going on about Aikido and the Afro Celt Sound System. Well, somebody has to do it. :p

Well, good luck with the contest.

I like making awesome things.


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