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G.G Series: HORIZONTAL BAR - DSiWare Review

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G.G Series: HORIZONTAL BAR (a.k.a  GO Series: Let's Swing!)

DSiWare | Genterprise / SUZAK | 1 Player | Out Now | 200 Nintendo Points
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19th June 2012; By KnucklesSonic8

Athletes are known to be perseverant in the face of hurdles. They are indeed the sort of people that don't easily give in to pressure when the going gets rough -- the onset of a quitter mentality; to take it easy or give up entirely. A game attempting to channel those same feelings and motivations should be able to make the player feel a certain way. Maybe not that they themselves are athletes vying for the same goals and overall purpose, but at the very least that they are engaged in whatever process has been created and encouraged. Sad to say, prowess and gumption are two things that G.G Series: HORIZONTAL BAR lacks. Like a coaster marked by straight rails, the experience here really is a horizontal one, never developing into anything beyond its capabilities or even surprising players in any fashion with vertical-like changes.

    Much like other titles in this series, HORIZONTAL BAR is easy to get into and features accessible controls and no overly-complicated elements to get the hang of. Your goal, as a robotic gymnast, is simply to get to the end platform located somewhere in the level, using mid-air grips (or bars) to help you navigate the playing field. A usually reasonable time limit keeps you focused with a sense of urgency, and understanding that running out of time will instigate a seizure-like malfunction theoretically motivates you to prevent such an event from taking place. Along the way, you'll also find items sprinkled around levels to give you something else to go after. If you manage to gather all of these before making it to the exit, you'll achieve a perfect performance. Whether you made mistakes in your delivery or not is negligible here. Good thing, too, for if that element of pressure was added to the game for the sake of realism, it would've actually had an opposite effect of its actual intentions and turned people off. 

    Taking control of this android in a digital simulator of sorts, players use the A Button to jump and hold down Left or Right to have him automatically swing back and forth while holding onto a bar. It takes about six seconds to build up enough momentum for a full spin around the bar. As your trainee continues spinning, you can press the A Button to release your grip and launch yourself forward to another bar nearby. Momentum is one thing, but timing is everything in this game. These bars are usually situated close-by, but little consideration is given if you're off by a small margin in your delivery. This is really how it should be as this game is attempting to replicate an athletic experience. Yet, having said that, the team's decision to do so isn't complemented well by the other aspects to the gameplay.

Acrobatics do play a considerable role in how the gameplay is perceived, but with no tangible rewards to offer the player in the face of an admittedly simple premise, this element becomes less of a spectacle and a bit of a liability for players to throw back at the developers for mistakenly choosing not to add to. When you mess up in your timing and either wind up spiraling back down to a path you already passed or landing on a side platform, it feels defeating through and through. Whatever motivation should exist reveals itself to be quite shallow during these moments, as scaling the level in the largely uneventful way that you do fails to produce even a temporary sense of engagement. All of this says to me that the game, while simple in its scope, needed more to build up the experience so that it could become a more satisfying experience. Perhaps, on the note of engagement, customized routines in the way of aerial tricks would have added more involvement from the player. As is, the gameplay isn't bad, but it's an experience that you'll ultimately only play once if you do decide to take the plunge. 

    HORIZONTAL BAR doesn't serve any further purpose beyond the gameplay that's presented in the 30 stages, thus leaving players with a lack of understanding as to how valuable this experience is and what to gain from it. More pitfalls are added close to the halfway mark by way of electrical barriers and a reduction in the amount of platforms you can use to protect yourself when you mess up on your swing. But even before these slight changes, players can quickly surmise that HORIZONTAL BAR will not progress to any point where they will feel more inclined to stick around, and once that sets in, your reason for continuing to play becomes more of a duty (over the fact that you paid for it) and not because you're actually having fun jumping all over the place. 

    The presentation they went for with this title was an interesting choice, having this digital environment in lieu of something more realistic. It makes it a bit harder to connect with the experience, I found. But the music goes with what they're going for, so I suppose they made it work. Overall, the effort is basic and adequate, but just like the game itself, there's never anything more to it than that.

    G.G. Series: HORIZONTAL BAR isn't all that pleasing in all honesty. It gets the job done and as a more unique experience, I did expect a bit more from it going in. Unless you're okay with a linear experience that never develops or is even all that fun at its core, I wouldn't bother reaching for something you won't want to hold onto.

17/30 - Okay/Average

Gameplay 6/10 - Generally mediocre with the acrobatics not being well-supported, perhaps a bit too simple, new elements don't do much, needs more
Presentation 6/10 - An interesting digital feel present, music works within the template, works just fine but nothing to impress or excite
Enjoyment 2/5 - Motivation isn't really there, loosened grip sooner than expected, feels defeating when you mess up ever so slightly in your delivery
Extra Content 3/5 - Decent length consisting of 30 stages, only $2 but it ultimately will not prove to be worth coming back to

Equivalent to a score of 57% (percentage score is approximate and based solely on the previously stated rating) - Our Rating System

Review by KnucklesSonic8

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