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Gaming Evolution
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Gaming Evolution
Gaming Evolution
Published By: Bolat Games
Developed By: Boolat Games
Genre: Puzzle/Platformer
Players: 1-2
Rated: E (Everyone)
Screenshots: Link
Price: $7.99
Written By: Marcus Prunty

April 30, 2010 - “Look ma I don’t need the training wheels no more”. This is what you will be saying as you play the second chapter in the Topatoi series. Pillar of the Skies; like the Great Tree Story, were released via the PlayStation Network and part of a greater whole. Pillar of the Skies takes place after Topatoi: The Great Tree Story and is brought to use once again by Boolat Games. In Pillar of the Skies the abilities that you learned in the previous game are still used but the difficulty level has been raised up a bit. This game does a better job of blending fighting and puzzle solving than the previous game.

If you’re new to this series, I suggest you go back to the first part of the game; The Great Tree Story, if you want to know more about what’s going on in the story and how to pilot the GEMMA (Gyroscopic Exploration Multidimensional Multiterrain Apparatus). The reason for that is the first game has fewer enemies and the pace of the game is a bit slower in my opinion. However, for those who don’t want to do that, it’s not necessary as the learning curve for Pillars of the Skies is very low for this puzzle platformer. The gist of the story is you control Raph as he attempts to rescue his girlfriend who was kidnapped by a great big black raven, as well as find spare parts to fix up their ship, which crash-landed on a weird planet. Raph pilots a GEMMA, which features similar physics to a spinning top; requiring precise controlling in order to keep from falling off walkways, branches and edges as he traverses the landscapes. As you progress further in the game, you will receive updates and advice from the old scientist who is back with the ship.

There isn’t much to the story in this game as there was the previous game, which laid the foundation of what is occurring. In Pillar of the Skies, you will combat what seems to be several new enemies, though taking a close look only reveals that the ‘supposed’ new enemies are only recycled character models from the first installment. Although not many original enemies in this game, they did improve upon the gameplay. Now as you attempt to solve puzzles you are attacked by many more enemies then the usual one or two you might have in first installment. This adds to the frustration and the complexity of the puzzle solving. The same options are available for you this time around as in the first installment; so you can push, pull and jump over items and enemies. All these moves come in handy as your trying to defend yourself. The computer AI helps you out a bit as there not very bright, so tricking them to charge you as you jump over them and they fall off a cliff or a bridge is easy to do. In addition, if you happen to get several enemies at once they will gladly knock each other out of the way to get to you. The complexity of the puzzles gets harder as you progress also, so do not be surprised if you are scratching your head trying to figure out what to do next. I was stuck on the first puzzle for a bit before I realize what to do.

Boolat Games introduced a new casual mode to the control setup, which means you do not have to press the R2 button continuously, which is the button you use to make the Gemma spin to speed it up, as it will do this automatically now. This will help the newer players out as this is a simpler method and helps avoid too much of the frustration that was experienced when playing The Great Tree Story. However with this tweak come a sacrifice and that sacrifice is to your score after each level. Therefore, if you are big on looking at the leader boards to see where you are ranked you probably should not use the casual control method because it lowers the chances of you getting a higher multiplier to raise your score. I was not big on leader boards I prefer to play the game for the game so I used the casual setup and still did decent.

The sound design is pretty similar to the first game in the sense that nothing really stands out too much especially when compared to other games. There are moments where you get a weird vibe like you are playing an old school Nintendo game. The graphics look improved upon, though it’s really hard to tell since you are traversing an entirely different environment to the tree tops of the ‘Great Tree Story’. I do have to say that the diversity brought about by the unique levels within ‘Pillars of the Skies’ adds to the complexity of some of the puzzles within the game, but also allows for the visual presentation to truly shine through.

Topatoi: Pillar of the Skies is a great follow up to the Great Tree Story and expands upon this unique platformer that takes real-world physics of a spinning top and ties it into the gameplay. Though there are moments where you wonder if you will ever get a chance to rescue your girlfriend and repair your playing ship, the adventure you set out on to do so can be an interesting and entertaining ride from beginning to end. If you have played and completed the ‘Great Tree Story’, you owe it to yourself to go pick up ‘Pillars of the Skies’ and see where the epic journey takes you next. If you are new to this game, Topatoi can create a gaming experience that is both fun and frustrating at times, however when putting in the time and effort, the entertaining moments out weight the frustrating ones.


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