Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Growing up with Seedling.

In 2012, developer Connor Ullman released a game called "Seedling" which revisited the aesthetics of games like Zelda, Arkistas Ring, and the DQ series. Renamed from the beta "Shrum" title, Seedling is easily one of my favorite neoclassic indie games. The ominous music composed by Rekcahdam sets players in a dreamlike world where lands are to be explored, monsters destroyed, and treasure found. 

Seedling follows the very classic tambour of overhead action-adventure games. Players begin in their home village, seek out cryptic clues from friendly NPC's, gain power ups and unlock 100+ areas and dungeons to progress further. Each screen is carefully crafted to suit the storyline, keeping players learning along the entire 3-5 hours it should take to beat this game. Like some of it's "Nintendo hard" adventure game predecessors, Seedling NPC's offer minimal advice to the main character, which for some players has been frustrating. When Ullman received this feedback from the stuck/lost, he commented "You're not stuck, you're just not much of an adventurer." 
THAT fucking rules. 
In fact, Ullman has released an entire expo on his process while creating, releasing, and answering feedback to the game. [Read Here]

Seedling's bosses are generally pretty easy. Getting to them can be a bit challenging (especially in Basiniad//Lava World) but the overwhelming fun of this game and it's puzzles is anything but frustrating. The elements of "wander around" are certainly celebrated in Seedling. The whole way through, I was falling in love, experiencing nostalgia, taking breaks and reading up on easter eggs/hidden features online. It reminded me of that Xmas game you got and played obsessively all the way through winter vacation until school was back in session. The game WAS your vacation. The world was real for a fleeting moment.

Wicked Basement gives Seedling a 8/10
This game is certainly a wonderful homage, full of originality, smooth gameplay, and a very full world.

A quick spoileresque tip for the end of the game, which was my only complaint. You must knock the owl boss into the lava pit 3 SEPARATE times after it has gone to it's nest. Players can knock it into the lava for hours and it will accomplish nothing if the boss has not "sat down" three times. This had me fighting the owl endlessly, until I finally read up on this small issue. So take your time, he/she is a surprisingly easy boss for the finale.

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