Like many of you, we here at WPCentral were excited about Windows Phone-exclusive Xbox Live game Tentacles prior to its release. Press Play’s follow-up to Max and the Magic Marker shows all the creativity we would expect from them, with a control method that’s unlike any other game, ever.
But if you actually play the game and get farther into it, you may notice something seems a bit off… Namely, this game is hard! I mean Ninja Gaiden, put your groin into a vice grip and spin the handle hard. The latter half of the game is just tortuous rather than fun. Every little mistake results in the death of Lemmy, the tentacled hero. Levels win which currents push Lemmy into spikes are particularly frustrating. A small percentage of gamers (masochists, I call them) prefer games to be uber-challenging, but most don’t – especially on mobile phones. Why should Tentacles be this tough?
As it turns out, the developers hold no animosity toward gamers. According to Ole Teglbjærg, the game's director:
...We probably underestimated the difficulty a bit.... When we saw how few [players] actually made it through the game, we decided that it would be silly not to have more people enjoy the later levels and bosses, that we have put so much effort into creating.
Press Play has informed us that a future update will address Tentacles’ challenge in a couple of ways:
Easy mode: We have made an easy mode, which basically lets Lemmy take more damage without dying. At the same time we really back the idea that achievements should be earned and not be too easy to get. So when you play in easy mode, you will not get the “No Death” star at the end of the level. So if you want all the achievements, you still need to be hardcore.
Furthermore we polished a few problematic areas and tweaked here and there – see if you can find them!!!
It's great to see them taking steps to extend the game's appeal to a wider audience, because the game has a lot to love – when it’s not trying to break players’ spirits. Locking a couple of the Achievements out of Easy mode is not so great, but maybe those extra refinements they mention will reduce the frustration for Achievement hunters too. We’re willing to give Press Play the benefit of a doubt, so we’ll hold off on our review until the update lands.