We at Geeky Hobbies would like to thank BIGosaur for the review copy of Seeders used for this review. Other than receiving a free copy of the game to review, we at Geeky Hobbies received no other compensation for this review. Receiving the review copy for free had no impact on the content of this review or the final score.
Being a big fan of the puzzle platformer genre I am always excited to try out a new game from the genre. Most puzzle platformers can be grouped into one of three different varieties. First there are the easy puzzle platformers. While fun these games can become boring since they are so easy and thus provide little challenge. Next are the moderately difficult puzzle platformers. These games provide a decent amount of challenge but are not frustratingly hard. Last but not least are the frustratingly hard puzzle platformers. I usually am not a fan of these type of games because while I like to be challenged, I don’t like being frustrated.
With Seeders I was wondering which group it would end up in. The description on the Steam page claims that the game was designed to be a real challenge unlike other easier puzzle platformers. I was skeptical though since a lot of games claim they are a lot harder than they actually are. Well after playing some of Seeders I can confirm that the designer was not exaggerating. While Seeders has some interesting and uniquely designed puzzles, due to some inconsistent physics the game is frustratingly hard.
A Skateboarding Puzzle Platformer
In Seeders you play as a skateboarder who is on a quest to find his lost friend. To help you in your journey you have a rocket powered skateboard that you will use to jump and traverse over many obstacles you will encounter in the game. As you progress through the game weird things begin to happen to your character as things aren’t as they appear.
For the most part Seeders is like a lot of other puzzle platformers. The game mixes elements from both puzzle and platforming games. Of the two I would say that the game is more of a puzzle game than a platformer. The player needs to use objects in their environment in order to find ways to progress to the next puzzle. What is different about Seeders is that the game does a good job of using the objects in ways you don’t typically expect in puzzle platformers. I won’t really get into details to avoid spoilers but some of the puzzles really make you think.
While not as prominent as the puzzle elements, you will need good platforming skills to progress in the game. In order to complete some of the puzzles you will need precise jumping/timing in order to avoid the hazards on the screen. The platforming sections are pretty straight forward but that doesn’t make them easy since if you are not precise you will have quite a few troubles in the game. The good thing is that for the most part the controls are pretty responsible so you really can’t blame many of your failures on the controls.
Seeder’s Steam page claims that the puzzles are not easy and they are definitely telling the truth. Seeders is far from easy and is actually one of the hardest puzzle platformers that I have played in a long time. I would consider myself to be quite good at puzzle platformers and I got to the point that I was so frustrated with some of the puzzles that I just couldn’t play the game any longer. This is why I ended up giving the game a NA rating instead of a star rating since it would not be fair to give the game a star rating if I was unable to finish it.
I found Seeders to be frustratingly hard for a couple reasons.
The first problem comes from the puzzle designs. The puzzles are crafted in a way that you need to think outside the box in order to come up with the solution. Some of the earlier puzzles took forever to figure out since I was thinking about them like a traditional puzzle game. I actually thought some of the puzzles were broken since I couldn’t figure them out. Eventually you figure them out and you think to yourself why it took so long to figure out.
Seeders refuses to hold your hand and quite regularly forces you to figure out mechanics for yourself. Since new mechanics aren’t introduced to you, you usually just need to fiddle around with everything on screen trying every combination until you stumble upon the correct solution. Once you get a handle on how the puzzles are designed though, this aspect of the game becomes more manageable. You start thinking outside the box which is usually the correct solution to the puzzle. This doesn’t mean that the puzzles are easy since they are still quite difficult.
The biggest problem leading to the difficulty of the game though is the inconsistent physics. Maybe it was just me but I never felt like the physics acted consistently. One time you push a block it will fall one way and the next time it will fall a totally different way. This is with you pressing the block identically both times. This is the main reason the game is so frustrating since you never know what you can expect. You can find the solution to a puzzle quickly but actually completing the puzzle is another thing entirely. Since the physics don’t want to work with you, you may have to do the same puzzle 50+ times just because you can’t get the physics to work the way you want them to.
Eventually I got so frustrated by the physics that I ended up giving up on the game. When playing a game I like to be challenged but I don’t like games that are so hard that they just become frustrating and seem unfair.
Note: After talking with the developer of the game I would like to clarify what I said about the physics. As it turns out one of the puzzles that I was having a lot of trouble with I was trying to solve in an incorrect fashion. This lead to a lot of the physics issues I had with the game. I would also like to do a better job explaining what I meant by the physics issues (which I did a poor job explaining at first). I should have said that the game required a lot of trial and error. In some situations you need to be really precise in your movements because if you move a block too far in one direction you will end up messing up the puzzle and having to reset it. At times I wish the game would have given you a little more leeway in not having to have objects in the exact perfect spot in order to still work. This gets frustrating when you have to keep resetting the puzzle because you moved a little too far in one direction.
Two Is Not Necessarily Better Than One
Since the game comes with a co-op mode I decided to give it a try. The main part of the multiplayer is playing the main campaign co-op. While I didn’t play much of it, this mode seems to share a lot of the puzzles from the single player campaign. Every so often there is a unique puzzle for the co-op game but a majority are rehashes from the single player campaign.
While you will be doing a lot of the same puzzles, the co-op is still a somewhat unique experience. Having two players makes some of the puzzles quite a bit easier since you can work together which makes the puzzles less complicated. Unfortunately having a second player also makes a lot of the platforming considerably harder since both players regularly get in each others way.
The co-op experience also includes a race and hunt mode but I didn’t end up trying either.
Bang For Your Buck
Since I was unable to complete the game, I can’t give you a precise estimate of how long the game truly is. The Steam page claims that there are over 100 puzzles in the game. Based on the puzzles I completed, I would say that it would take quite a while to finish all of them. You will not be able to solve all of the puzzles immediately and you will be forced to sit there thinking about what you are missing. I am guessing that the game will take at least seven hours and likely considerably more if you struggle with some of the puzzles.
While the co-op mode is pretty similar to the single player game, it is a unique experience so it could add some additional time to your game. The Steam page also mentions that the game has a level editor which could be interesting to look at.
While I found the game to be frustratingly hard, there is not really a lot to complain about as far as value is concerned. The game retails at $10 and I am guessing you will get around ten hours out of it. So if the game is the type of game that you generally enjoy, I think you could get your money’s worth out of it.
- I found the graphics to be adequate. They are nothing special but they also aren’t distracting or hurt the gameplay in any way.
- The music is okay but it gets kind of tiring when the game replays the same music over and over again.
While the game includes controller support, the game ends up using the directional pad instead of the analog sticks. With a game that requires such precision over the controls, it would have been nice to have been able to use the analog sticks instead of the directional pad.Thanks to the developers comment I found out that it is possible to change the controls to use the analog stick. I never actually went into the controller settings since most games automatically detect my controller so I don’t have to edit anything in the settings.
I can’t say that I really enjoyed Seeders. The game advertises being a hard game and it is not exaggerating. The difficulty comes from some out-of-the-box/abstract puzzle design and some very inconsistent physics. The physics got so frustrating at one point that I eventually gave up on the game since it wasn’t worth playing through all of the frustrating parts. If you don’t like frustratingly hard puzzle platformers, you should stay away from Seeders.
While I didn’t like the game, that doesn’t mean that it is a bad game. If you really like hard puzzle platformers, I think you could really enjoy Seeders. The game has some creative puzzles that should really challenge you. If you are sick of easy puzzle platformers, Seeders may be for you.
Wednesday 26th of August 2015
I'm a dev who made this game, so just a couple of pointers:
1. controller can be set up to use analog stick instead of d-pad. You go to Settings and set up the controls for left, right, up and down.
2. I think the inconsistent physics feel comes from difference between green blocks and grey rocks. Looks like the game fails to communicate that and I should have made it more obvious: the green blocks rotate, while grey rocks always stay upright. That's the main difference and also what makes the physics feel weird sometimes.
Thanks for the honest review.
Thursday 27th of August 2015
Overall I found the game to be interesting but it was a little frustrating for me. I think people who like harder puzzle platformers will enjoy your game.
As far as the inconsistent physics I will give you an example of what I mean. For example in some of the puzzles you need to push the green blocks off a ledge and it has to land on another block (I don't want to get more specific since it might ruin some of the puzzles). The problem is that the green blocks rarely fell in the same spot so it was hard to predict where to move the other block so the green block would fall on it. If the green block ended up falling a little too far left or right this would lead to the green block usually falling off the other block forcing a reset of the puzzle.