Over the recent years we’ve seen several indie developers put out some pretty challenging games. Games such as Super Meat Boy, Fenix Furia and others are games that punish you over and over again with their tough as nails gameplay. I personally am not a big fan of those games. I’ve tried several of them and just don’t find them very fun. Turns out I’m not the only one as the creator of Binaries found them too hard as well and decided to make a game that is similar to them but actually beatable in his eyes. The question is: Is Binaries really any less frustrating that those other games?
The idea of Binaries is pretty simple. You take control of two balls, one blue and one orange, and must get each of them to their color coded finish point in the level. You move using the left analog stick but the hard part comes from the fact that you are moving both balls at the same time. You quickly will realize just how difficult it can be especially when you are having to avoid obstacles with one ball that aren’t there for the other. The levels start out pretty simple but quickly ramp up in difficulty. Levels are laid out on a menu in a honeycomb structure and when you finish one you unlock all other levels that are around the one you just beat. This is done to hopefully help the player move on to another level and not get stuck on just one.
The levels themselves are designed well and are always offering some new challenge to figure out how to solve. There are over 100 levels in total and beating each one in a certain amount of time earns you a better rank. Early on I was easily getting S ranks but then started to struggle to even get a B rank. If you set out to achieve S ranks on every level good luck to you. While the game is difficult you will find text pop up on the screen sometimes. These are meant to be jokes to try and make you laugh so that you don’t throw your controller through the screen after failing over and over. Now all the levels are beatable which is what the developer set out to do with this game. You can unlock the next set of levels no matter how long you take on a level so long as you beat it. Sure your rank will be terrible but you’ll be able to progress.
So what is so hard about the levels? Well sometimes you’ll be moving one ball and have no obstacles around but the other ball has spikes on the ceiling. This means should you be going to fast or not paying attention jumping too high with the blue ball could end up making the orange ball jump into spikes. You could be rolling along a straight pathway with the blue ball while the orange ball has spikes all along it’s path. That’s just one of the simple obstacles. Sometimes you’ll have to trap one of the balls in a certain area so that you can move the other one without worry. While I like the idea of the game I just found it too hard and not very fun having to control both at the same time while avoiding all of these different hazards. S ranks quickly seemed to become impossible to achieve in my eyes. Now I’m sure the people who can beat games like Super Meat Boy will be able to do it but for the rest of us it really seems like there is no chance. One of the nice things about Binaries though is the lack of loading in it. It would add so much more frustration to the game if you had to wait for a load every time you died but thankfully there is none of that here. As soon as you die you are right back starting over. Leaving a level back to the menu is just as fast. This is great to see in a game like this.
The visuals are simplistic with all of the levels using a orange and blue art style. It looks clean and simple and fits the game well. The sound and music in the game is cool though in that it responds to how you are doing in the level. If you’re doing good the music ramps up but if you are failing over and over expect it to tone it down as to not distract you. If you want to earn all of the trophies in Binaries including the Platinum you’ll have to earn an S rank on every level. I don’t expect too many people to get this platinum.
Overall while I enjoyed my time with Binaries it really just proved to be too frustrating to have to control both balls at the same time. Yes the game is beatable for me which is more than I can say for other games such as Super Meat Boy but getting the S rank seems just as hard as those other games. I really think much like those other brutally tough games that Binaries isn’t for everyone. If you are a fan of hard puzzle/platformers or just want to try something a little bit different I do recommend picking it up.
*Review copy of Binaries provided by the publisher