The Nardio Review
Is Taiker Worth Your Time?
What Should You Play it On?
How it Plays and Why it fails:
Taiker is a metroidvania game full of potential, but it needed more time in development. It’s honestly just bad right now. The game devs behind Taiker sound like they aren’t done tweaking the game. Hopefully, one day this could be the amazing game it has the potential to become.
I wanted to love this game.
Taiker was a Steam Early Access game that I had my eye on for a good long while. Sure it looked a lil rough around the edges, but it had potential. I love metroidvana games and I love platformers that allow me to power up my character as much as I want. Taiker seemed like it would be my kinda game when it was finished in Early Access. So I kept it on my watch list and hopped for the best. A couple of days ago I was notified of it’s release officially and I jumped right in.
That was a mistake.
Taiker should not have left Steam Early Access. The game is rife with control, writing, level design problems and bugs. I found myself able to get to the very last area, but have finally given up. Taiker’s biggest problem besides not being good, is it’s just not fun.
I played through eleven hours of the game hoping for it to get better. Early on I had hope, but then the completionist in me took over and I just wanted to finish it. Even then I found it to be a frustrating and boring task. Towards the end I really only pushed on for the sake of this review. I really, really, wanted to give this game a solid chance before I reviewed it on Nardio and on Steam. It’s upsetting to end up hating a game that I looked forward to and wanted to love.
The basic controls are OK. Unfortunately the more intricate controls to pull off special attacks don’t work right. This is mostly tied to the developer using one button to pull off almost all of the special attacks. Most of the additional attacks you unlock during the game are pretty much impossible to pull off. While the basic attack combo can get you through the majority of the game, it’s frustrating to know that there are moves I just can’t use that I should be able to. I will say I’ve tested this on three separate controllers and it’s the same fail with each of them. The only reliable special move is the block shield attack. Unfortunately that often comes out when I am trying to do other moves. Other times it comes out twice in a row when I have only did the command for it to happen once. This leads to wasted attack energy and a frustrated player.
Special moves and the block shield require that you have energy that you gain from attacking. It’s an OK idea, that tends to suck and fall apart when you are jammed in a corner or are totally surrounded by enemies that will not stop coming at you. This tended to drive me the crazyiest during long boss fights and later on in the game when I fought some powerful and persistent enemies that made me have to spam my block shield to have a chance at surviving. I really, really wish I was able to have a block that didn’t require energy. This also makes even attempting to pull off some of the special attacks seem kinda pointless because:
1 The controls to pull off the attack is so convoluted it most likely wont work.
2. The energy is better saved for blocking and pushing back enemies with the block shield.
Even if the special attacks were useful and easy to pull off I get the feeling that I would still not use them in the tough fights and areas because of my desperate need of shields for the many, many cheap areas/boss fights of the game. You see the block shield blocks most of the incoming attacks and pushes back enemies. This is absolutely necessary as enemies can chain attack you until you are dead. Enemies can also use their own shields at random or block your attacks at random. If you don’t have a block shield to counter that counter you are screwed.
I think my final problem with the block shield is like many other parts of Taiker it doesn’t work as intended. There are times when I used it and I still ended up taking damage. How? I have no idea, but it’s really frustrating and makes me hate the game.
Level design in Taiker is just a mess. I really wonder how much playtesting was actually done here. There are some area’s that you need to get pixel perfect jumps and specific enemies need to be left alive to use as jumping boards in order to progress. To make matters even worse later on there are bouncy platforms introduced that you need to jump off of to progress. Unfortunately the jumps/bounces off of those platforms are not consistent. I spent over an hour on one area that needed perfect jumps to and from these platforms. To make matters even worse these are chained later on to having to use your special hook pull ability. Unfortunately that ability is also very, very unreliable. Later on in game you need to deal with this horrible level design very often. I have no desire at all to replay this game knowing I will have to go through so many frustrating areas. Most of those areas I am sure I only made it through by luck and persistence.
The level art also feels like it needed more quality control. I will first say that the levels initially all look great. Unfortunately, playing through them is the problem. All too often areas often blend together. In a metroidvania style game that is horrible. It’s hard to know where you are in relation to where you need to go. Important and minor switches look the same. Big area blocking gates just blend into the background. I think a lot of my time spent and wasted playing though Taiker was backtracking and trying to figure out just where to go. In most good metroidvania games you can almost always tell what is the next big gate that you need to find a way through. Here, it’s hard to know.
The map is so bare bones it’s just a small step above total uselessness. Some of the larger chunks in the map could/should have been broken up. There are no important markers to what was a boss room and no way to see where the entrances and to the areas are. It’s lazily done.
I can’t really wrap my head around the fact that this game was on Steam Early Access. Did the developer just get no worthwhile feedback or did they just ignore it all? There are so many problems in this game that I found myself at a loss and frustrated as I play. Did I really pay twelve dollars for this mess? Yes I did, and I am angry at myself for it.
There is a flying level in the game that feels totally shoehorned in. It’s boring, tedious and worst of all it screams no testing was don. You see you can die as dialog text pops up on the screen if you don’t tap through it fast enough. Enemies are attacking you as text dialogs pop up. WHY?!?!? This happens and the beginning and end of the level for the intro and outro dialog. This is so broken and obviously broken I cannot for the life of me fathom how it made it into the final game.
Speaking of text, the writing here is just bad. Not only is it poorly translated to English, but the story really doesn’t pull you in at all. The broken English along with the bare bones nonsensical story never gets better. In fact it just got worse and worse. Towards the end I found myself more and more annoyed as I read through it all.
This game has the potential to be good, The core elements of a strong metroidvania game are here. I enjoy the ability to upgrade my self through killing enemies. I enjoy that I can grind as much as I want. I love the initial art design. I want this game to be better. I know this game can be better. Unfortunately, all too often it feels like no one played through any of it to see if it was actually any fun.
As the game progresses level design gets more nonsensical and more seemingly pixel jumpy luck based. The player’s left and right flip ability is never explained in game. It’s great early in game to dodge some enemy attacks but randomly it doesn’t work all of the time. I just forgot about it throughout most of the game. Later on this move is essential in platforming to pass some insane gaps in that you need to traverse. I only figured this out on a lark when I was stuck trying to figure out how to progress for the past few hours. Right now I am stuck at and officially given up on the game thanks to one stupid area that for the life of me I cannot fathom how to progress through.
I can go on and on, but I obviously don’t like and cannot recommend this game. Taiker is a halfassed mess that should be pulled immediately from Steam store. The game needs a top to bottom overhaul. I kept going back to Taiker trying, trying to find some way to enjoy this game. I think it’s because I know it’s from a two person indie game developer team. I really want to support indie game devs, but this is just bad. Honestly, it’d inexcusable that the game was released in this state. I get that they probably needed the influx of money, but this is not a finish product.
Agree? Disagree? Write your comments below
- Single player
- Steam Achievements
- Controller Support
- I can’t promote this mess.