The game that wants you to die
Review written by
July 24th, 2014
There are gamers out there who just want to relax and unwind when playing a video game. These gamers don't go out of their way to seek out the hardest games possible, and just want to have a nice, pleasant experience with their games. And of course, there are the gamers who love to be challenged to the extreme. They want the obstacles in their games to require blood, sweat, and tears in order to be surpassed. Easy games bore them, while hard games excite them. Wooden Sen'SeY here is definitely an example of the latter.
You play as Goro, whom comes equipped with axes and grapples, as he embarks on a quest for revenge. He will travel through a variety of different locations, including Japanese temples, flying boats, and even the bottom of the ocean. During all this, he also needs to acquire more SeY, a tasty beverage, for his village.
Wooden Sen'Sey is a 2D platformer, a popular genre amongst the indie crowd. You jump, attack, and grapple your way across each of the nine levels in the game, gathering as much SeY as you can and killing as many enemies as you can. Goro also has the ability to use shurikens (ninja stars to the layperson) and bombs, if he so happens to come across them.
The level design found in Wooden Sen'SeY certainly isn't bad, but it's nothing remarkable either. It never really becomes more than just your standard platforming fare. The game does throw in some variety though, like one level where you're in a submarine, and in another where you'll encounter mushrooms that launch you high into the air. Little things like these that get brought into the mix help prevent the game from getting duller than it already is, but none of these inclusions are particularly inventive or exciting.
Goro has combat skills, but they're very limited and get repetitive fast. Using the axe to attack amounts to nothing more than mashing the Y button, and there are no different combos or variations in his swings or attack power. Shurikens and bombs can be used for combat as well, but these too are used by constantly mashing a single button. Combat may not have been the primary focus of Wooden Sen'SeY, but if you're going to bother including it, you need to keep it fun and interesting.
I stated earlier that Wooden Sen'SeY belonged in the category of games that really test you, and that is very true. You will die in this game. A lot. However, I had a hard time deciding whether or not the game was hard thanks to ingenious level design in some areas, or if it was because the game was focusing on an element that it just wasn't cut out to focus on. The more I progressed through the game, I noticed that it started to lean heavily on intricate precision-based platforming. This wouldn't usually be a problem, but because of the way the physics work, it doesn't seem like the game is giving you fair and well-designed challenges.
Wooden Sen'SeY certainly does look the part, though. While the textures themselves are nothing impressive, the game has a variety of different aesthetics, fluid animation, and beautiful colors that really are a treat to take in. The soundtrack is nice too, obviously being very inspired by the Japanese music found in various ninja movies and such. Each level has its own song too, so you won't be hearing the same exact song for 3 levels straight.
The game has a fair amount of content, considering the price. Aside from the nine main and rather lengthy levels, you can unlock various achievements during gameplay if you perform specific tasks. Not only that, but there are also thirty different time attack missions you can play and unlock. There's an online leaderboard included for these time attack levels as well.
Wooden Sen'SeY isn't a bad game, but it's one with unrealized potential. If you're itching for a difficult platformer, it wouldn't hurt giving this a shot. For anyone else, though, you probably won't find much in this title that will grab your attention for long.
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