If you look really carefully, every gamer is belonging to one of two opposite schools of thought. There’s the more casual gaming crowd, who prefer their games easy, so that they can enjoy the storylines and characters to their fullest. On the other side, we have the hardcore dudes who find themselves preferring a more challenging experience. As weird as this might sound, The Impossible Game can be enjoyed by just about every gamer out there. I know, I was stunned as well, but this is the story about one of those little games that could.
Firstly, the casual crowd is going to adore it because it’s small, fast and slick, all the while providing an interesting and hypnotising experience, as the „big“ games often do. It will also be interesting to the hardcore gamers for the same reasons, plus the difficulty. There’s no storyline a la Thomas Was Alone here. It’s just pure, unrestrained gameplay at its best. Playing The Impossible Game isn’t something you’ll want to do for hours on end, but it’s going to be there when you’ve got nothing else to do or only fifteen minutes of free time.
It’s about the way ever element of the game works in nigh perfect synergy with one another. Quite simply, you control a red square that’s trying to slide over (and under) obstacles to move to the right side of the screen. The game is really keeping it simple, and it’s for the best. The Impossible Game is as much about rhythm as it is about a jumping, rolling square. The levels are aligned to the music and you will quickly find yourself listening to the soundtrack changes to time your jumps. The tunes are also incredibly rewarding. Playing this game, you will surely die a lot, and with every death, the soundtrack is reset to start anew. Following this logic, if you want to hear the whole song, you’ve got to finish the level. A Herculean task, I assure you.
Our protagonist cube and the limbo it found itself in are both drawn using simplistic shapes and textures, as well as only mild colours. While looking a bit ugly at first, it quickly becomes obvious why the game too this approach to the graphical side of things. If there were more interesting things to look at, there’s a good chance the player would be less focused on the test at hand. And if you’re planning to complete The Impossible Game, you’ll be needing loads of concentration. The game has only five levels, with each of them taking approximately five minutes to complete in one go. There’s absolutely no way you will finish any of them with the first try. You will need precision, training and a healthy amount of patience to bring the game to its knees. And even when you do, there’s a certain thingy called Steam Workshop, where you can download even more levels to cringe over.
Truth be told, the gameplay mechanics are as distilled as they can be, with jump being the only available function. There’s the checkpoint system, too, which gives you the ability to set up custom saves all across the level. This way, you will be able to start at these flags post mortem, instead of going back to the very beginning. However, the game isn’t trying to be easy or anything – as soon as you right-click to set a checkpoint, the game switches to practice mode. While it is possible to finish the level in practice mode, there’s no awesome soundtrack and it doesn’t count as if you’ve actually cleared the level. This means you’ll have to memorize the obstacles as well as you can and complete it in a single try, in its entirety.
To sum it all up, The Impossible Game manages to do what few other games can, combining hardcore gameplay with some casual elements. This way, we’ve been given one of those games you just have to try out. It’s difficult, but also incredibly fulfilling to complete any of the given levels. This also makes it somewhat similar to the Dark Souls franchise, right? Take of that what you will, as I’m off to try my hand at the third level now.