A Relic Of The Past
HIGH Nails the classic NES aesthetic.
LOW Also nails the bad aspects of the NES aesthetic.
WTF Enemies that match the color of the background.
DISCLOSURE: One of the developers, John Vanderhoef, is a former staff member of GameCritics.com.
Hi Everyone! Eugene Sax here with another review from GameCritics.com.
Orebody: Binder’s Tale puts players in the role of Binder, an orphaned robot in a run-and-gun platformer that will take them across the alien world of Orebody. Players will be able to jump and shoot through each level to obtain power-ups, defeat enemies and end each area with a boss fight. As players defeat bosses, they will unlock more of Binder’s powers to help them proceed — things like a double jump or a slide.
It’s obvious to see some of Orebody‘s inspiration from games like Mega Man or Contra – the movement of the character, fighting enemies and bosses, shooting chests for powerups, and the pixel art style all remind me of NES classics growing up, and it brings some wonderful nostalgia to the table. But for all the good memories it brings, Orebody also comes with many frustrating elements from the old titles it’s paying homage to.
Classic NES-style action-platformers require a level of precision with the controls — many old-school gems require absolute mastery and precision to survive, and it’s a wonderful feeling to nail it. However, Binder’s Tale does not have any of that precision. There were multiple occasions where the game wouldn’t recognize a button press, leading me to death. The hitbox for some projectiles are also quite fuzzy, so I couldn’t always be sure that I was safe, and this hitbox seems to be different for the same type of enemy in different areas, so it makes it doubly hard to get a good feel for things.
While I did enjoy the pixel art style, there’s also some serious issues with the color palette. For example, one level is mostly purple cityscape, but there are enemies that fire projectiles of a similar shade, so they tend to get lost in the background. I died several times, not realizing that there was a bullet coming my way. This is even more annoying when in another level, an entire enemy blends in completely with the background.
The most egregious issue, though, is the lack of any type of save system. At the moment, players must play through the entire game in one sitting. If a player loses all their lives on a level, they can continue and start from the beginning of that level. If players quit the game, then they must replay the entire game from level one. There is no password system to jump to a later level, nor save states to start from. While the whole adventure may only be five levels long, the difficulty is steep enough that it’s tough to get through all five levels in one sitting. While it looks like the developers are working on this currently, that point alone makes Binder’s Tale an extremely rough play.
With all that said, there’s an itch that Orebody: Binder’s Tale is scratching for me. I enjoy classic run-and-gun games, even with their old-school difficulty. Unfortunately, the lack of quality-of-life features, imprecise controls and poor color choices mean this one is currently a difficult one to recommend.
For me, Orebody: Binder’s Tale gets a 4 out of 10.
EDITOR’S NOTE: After this review was completed, the developer contacted GameCritics and informed us that as of January 6, 2023, the game now has save states.
Disclosures: This game is developed by Orebody Inc and John Vanderhoef, and published by Nami Tentou. It is currently available on PC. This copy of the game was obtained via publisher and reviewed on the PC. Approximately 8 hours of play were spent playing the game, and the game was not completed. There are no multiplayer modes.
Parents: The game doesn’t currently have an ESRB rating. Players will control a robot that fires projectiles at other robot enemies or the occasional alien creature. Enemies disappear into smoke when shot.
Colorblind Modes: There are different color styles, and some visual changes possible, but there are no colorblind modes.
Deaf & Hard of Hearing Gamers: There is text in game, but text is not resizable. Audio mostly serves aesthetic purposes and is not needed for gameplay. The game is fully accessible.
Remappable controls: Controls are not remappable, and there is not a “great” control scheme reference. There is a manual that can be viewed in the pause menu, but the specific page for basic controls is missing from it. Players use WASD (or keyboard) to move, J to shoot, and K to jump.