Hard but fair. Thus, what Edmund McMillen offers on this occasion can be defined. The main mastermind behind the great Super Meat Boy and the remarkable The Binding of Isaac returns to the charge with his new work. In this analysis of The End is Nigh I tell you if it is worth living the post-apocalyptic nightmare of platforms of an Ash that must overcome a real hell to find (make) a friend.
Edmund McMillen is a name that means a lot of things for video game fans. Difficulty devilish crashed knobs against the ground and some crazy desire to kill. Why does that happen? Obviously, because their video games tend to have an amazing level of challenge, one that the most veteran takes us back to past times and that allows young people to taste the honey of what was the real challenge of interactive eighties entertainment. Although also, and this is more important because his works are extraordinary releases. If we abstract from paraphilias, no one likes to suffer, however, what McMillen and Tyler Glaiel have achieved again is that there is a healthy reason to do so, and that is that The End is Nigh It’s fun and that rewards all those minutes of spending money.
It is something that the works of this creative have repeated since he started his career at the beginning of the century when his uncontrollable torrent of imagination was projected in cascades of Flash-cut launches. Then came the well-known Super Meat Boy and The Binding of Isaac; and now, with the intention of repeating their successes, we find The End is Nigh, which reiterates its strengths.
What does that mean? Yes, as you liked the title of Team Meat, here you will find a phenomenal “more of the same”, but well understood. That phrase, which is abused when talking about certain sagas accustomed to the exploitation of their concepts, I find it has a lot of value here. The concept of that without being is reinvented, in reality, a continuation of the already legendary piece of meat. If I made a carnivorous analogy I could say that it is like the difference between the tenderloin and the tenderloin of veal, both leave the same place and have many common elements … But they taste very different.
Welcome to the end of the world
The concept of The End is Nigh is simple and, at the same time, as bizarre as can be expected from a work by McMillen. Here we are Ash, one of the few survivors of an apocalypse that has left the planet turned into a real ruin. Ash is isolated and demoralized: he does not leave home, suffers from constant paranoia and is beginning to lose his mind. In his absurd plan to fight the loneliness that invades him, he thought of a plan worthy of an 8-year-old boy or Dr. Frankenstein, making a friend by collecting small pieces of floating meat. To this end, they are finally encouraged to leave their refuge and tour the different worlds that make up the video game and offer two aspects when it comes to overcoming them. We can finish the campaign without complicating our lives and limiting ourselves to exceeding all levels, or we can fulfill Ash’s dream of having a fatigue partner and collecting the tumors (yes, yes … tumors) that dot the sets and that will allow us to compose it.
This works very intelligently when it is the player himself who decides the difficulty. Do you think that overcoming each chapter is enough to challenge in itself? Forget about collectibles and just get from point A to B making life as simple as possible. In some cases, it will be enough challenge. Do you want a challenge to live up to? Try to take all the objects, since they represent the highest level of demand for the user. I recommend patience, yes, because getting them all is a titanic task.
In a first pass I have never felt that I am doing the same
thing. The good thing is that you give up the scroll style that is so abundant in the genre of platforms, and that in Super Meat Boy I was, although very nuanced. In The End, is Nigh, each screen is a chapter, and we can only give it a complete completion when we go out the other end having bypassed its obstacles and collected (or not) the collectible that is in each of them. There are those that are overcome in five seconds, and there are those that will take us a little longer if we want to squeeze them to the fullest. Thus the user can create strategies, and the game, in general, is considered as a platform title but also a puzzle. How do I get to the end of each chapter? The first question to ask, the second is a bit more convoluted … How do I get that little tumor that floats around waiting for someone to pick it up? With these two unknowns of, sometimes difficult resolution, we contemplate the entire level on our screen and begin to devise a plan that allows us to achieve a goal or if we are ambitious, both. That part is delightful. In the first levels, it is done instinctively and without considering practically anything, we are going to have it resolved in fractions of a second. As things get more complicated, it becomes increasingly necessary, and the last segments of each zone reach such degrees of complexity that they not only require millimeter execution but also a thoughtful strategy.
This brings out our more tactical side. What do we want to achieve and how do we want to do it? Collecting all the unlockables is a challenge that will not be up to everyone, I already tell you, although I can also tell you that the reward is worth it. I will not go into details and, in fact, in the Gameplay Comment that accompanies the analysis I have premeditated to take many of them, both in order not to show how it is done in some of the convoluted situations that arise, so as not to teach the rewards. However, there are, and they work perfectly when extending the life of the video game even further. It doesn’t take much more than two hours to finish all the scenarios of The End is Nigh If our idea is not to complicate our lives, but if we intend to obtain all the items and enjoy all the “things” that are unlocked with them, we can easily quintuple the duration of the program.
Worlds, Worlds, and More Worlds
Because each zone of the story mode, which in turn is composed of several chapters (up to over 600 in total), offers a series of themes. The thing is that they are presented on the first screens and little by little ideas are being developed, so I really like how the user hunts them on the fly in the first bars and then he sees how he can turn those basic concepts into much more complex things. For example? In the first levels we run into buildings that fall apart when we touch them, so at first, they simply invite us not to come down with them since falling into the void is a sure death and they encourage us to jump from one to another quickly. While the most advanced include the fact that the collapse of one before the other can generate a way out, and they play with us “activating” their fall and thus we make our way. Of course, that sounds simple with words,
So, on the one hand, there is the “puzzle” side and, on the other, the most purely linked to the platform genre. Here our ability enters the equation, and the game is also very demanding in this field. Of course, as we have said before it is hard but it is fair, something that can be applied to the most important works of McMillen. The controls are precise, so if we die we can only blame ourselves. Yes it is true that sometimes Edmund himself, who is the one who deals with the design of the levels, goes a little long and creates some traps that fool us premeditated with their appearance (for example, skewers that cause our death even on non-sharp sides where they should not cause us harm); However, with a careful exploration of the stage and with a memorization of what is lethal and what is not, everything remains in our hands when it comes to moving forward.
The great thing about the game, among many other things, seems to me to be linked to the fact that on the first pass I have never felt that I am doing the same. Everything revolves around the platforms, that is clear, but each zone changes the rules enough so that we never get tired. To that, we must add the fact that the aesthetic style also changes, with many surprises and very pleasant. The End is Nigh is a visually economic job, of course, this does not necessarily mean something bad or negative, it means that with its limited technological resources it achieves fantastic results supported by a sensational artistic direction. The same happens in changing terms with music: the scores are somewhat repetitive within each zone if we return again and again if in our head is the goal of completing the work 100%, but they are harmless enough not to arrive to bother.
Of the best and most challenging platform experiences today.
Of course, taking everything that Ash’s adventure offers is an exercise not only for patients but also for a certain repetition component. Wanting to fully enjoy the work of McMillen and Himsl includes assuming their rules, and these may be choked on some. What do I mean? Squeezing all the juice of the title is also a long way back and forth. Reproducing a certain component of the factor known as Metroidvania , and that includes much of what in the jargon of anglicisms is defined as “ backtracking“, often if we intend to allocate an X number of tumors to release a new area we have to go through the same scenario several times, to give a single example. Go and return, come on. It is true that the game has shortcuts and accesses directly at the beginning of the different worlds once we are finishing them, and that these have an important diversity as I have clarified above, but it is also true that a certain fan profile may be drawn to return again and again for the places. I like it when a scenario forces me to repeat its proposal many times because I do not reach the tumor in question because of my lack of ability, or when I squeeze my brain to find it since it is somewhere that can only be accessed by a secret door. In all these cases, the fun mechanism seems very stimulating to me. However, when I have to repeat sections for free that I had already made the most of, it seems like a free tad. A catch, yes, lowercase;
Everything that makes Edmund McMillen’s work great is present in The End is Nigh. Collecting the formula of Super Meat Boy, 7 years ago, and debugging it to surprising extremes, the title offers one of the best and most challenging platform experiences that can be enjoyed today. A memorable, intelligent and addictive video game that skillfully mixes our skill at the controls with the need to “give the coconut” and thus overcome its greatest challenges. That today, is tremendous merit.
- Simple to understand and very difficult to master. Success formula!
- Terribly fun and addictive. It’s hard to let go
- The “puzzle” concept of its platforms is very intelligent
- A level design worthy of a true teacher
- Collectibles are a challenge and a great reward
- If we want to finish it 100% we will return a lot about our steps, and it is not so fun
- Some traps in particular are so scoundrels that touch the unfair