Developer: Creat Studios
Publisher: Sony Online Entertainment
Release Date: September 10th, 2010
Players: 1-4 (Local)
What I Liked:
- Bright, cutesy graphics
- Good level design
What I Disliked:
- The controls
I swear TerRover knows how frustrating it is. As you control your little buggy, you can make out a faint grimace on his face, as if he’s been listening to the constant stream of profanity that has been coming out of your mouth, and is slightly embarrassed to know that its entirely directed at him. Had TerRover been blessed with a more streamlined control system, then it likely would have been a better game for it. As it stands, it is a frustrating experience, with moments where the player is able to overcome the hellish controls, and is actually able to enjoy the game on its own merits.
TerRover certainly doesn’t look frustrating, with bright and colorful environments being teamed up with some great sound design, with the wheels of your buggy making different sounds on each and every variety of terrain. Every time you die, the game places a little sad face at your point of death upon your respawn, which can certainly feel mocking when there are about 15 of these faces within a centimeter of each other. The buggy you play as is also fairly expressive, with his facial expressions changing according to which obstacle you are trying to overcome (oddly enough mimicking the expressions coming over my face on the very same obstacles, though perhaps without the steam coming out of my ears).
However, the well put together levels in the game are all but dismantled by the controls in TerRover. I’ve played games where the controls lead to minor frustrations, but TerRover appears to be wholly against the player in some situations, where the controls, combined with the onscreen obstacles, create far more frustration than is entirely necessary. Why on earth can’t I dictate the height of my jump, with a tap only letting my hop, and a longer press sending me further off the ground? That alone would have allowed me to pass a certain level in the game, which I have now died on (at the same point, no less), over 50 times, thanks to the control scheme seemingly plotting against me. Ironically, the moments of TerRover which find the game at its most playable are the moments in which you lose most of your controls, when attempting to steer your craft on low grip surfaces, which lead to some moments that would pass as fun. Although these are quickly countered by a sudden jumping puzzle.
TerRover isn’t a bad game, but the controls don’t let it soar to the heights that I could have hoped for. They’re far too complicated, and though they offer the player a lot of possible options, they don’t provide an adequate way of traversing the environments that doesn’t resort to crawling at a snail’s pace through them. The game is fun at times, but you’ll really have to dig deep to muster up the patience to reach the game’s conclusion.
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