This may be one of the hardest reviews I have ever had to write. Not because I’m having trouble finding the words to describe Qlione, but because I’m having trouble finding enough words to keep my editor happy. This turkey of a game has no story, uses only two buttons and the left stick and has to be the worst looking game I have seen on the PS3.
At least the premise is simple; you take control of a micro-organism whose job it is to defeat a number of enemies before tackling a boss on each of the stages. Armed with only two weapons, an explosive bomb and an implosive bomb (that creates a vacuum); you clear each screen before moving on. The waves of enemies differ in size depending on how far you progress through the game. Imagine flOw, but remove the artistic qualities and add bombs.
The game’s controls are simple, if a bit sluggish. Use the left stick to control the organism and use X and O to drop the bombs. It sounds incredibly simple, but because your organism moves with the grace of a drunk, three legged ferret, this simple task becomes a chore. The bombs they give you are also piss poor. There seems to be no rhyme or reason to the effectiveness of the bombs and so you can spend ages trying to attract the enemies to you and then plant a bomb, only to find it hasn’t destroyed a single enemy.
With these types of games the enemies normally move in patterns, so that you can learn to pre-empt their attacks. There is none of that in Qlione. They follow you around until you plant a bomb, and then they scarper like wimps. It all becomes very frustrating and leaves you with no sense of accomplishment.
You can collect power-ups that will aid you when you collect enough of them. But it’s unlikely that you will last long enough to use them as you will either get bored and turn the game off or you will have died long before you have collected enough of the orbs.
One of the most frustrating things about the gameplay is that if you die and respawn you get a few seconds of invulnerability as your next life kicks in. Whilst is this state the enemies all get a rush of confidence and start sticking to you like glue, so that when you return to normal you die almost straight away. It just makes the whole experience that much more annoying.
Looks wise the game is a stinker. I have seen DS games that look better. Surely we are at the point where all downloadable games are of a certain standard? Very few colours on the screen, poor animation and music to make your ears bleed. It’s all very 1980’s, but without the retro feel.
The games one plus point is that the download comes with two games, Qlione-.. and Qlione 2. Which is almost exactly the same game but with slightly (and I mean SLIGHTLY) better visuals. It’s comparable to putting lipstick on a turd, sure it may look prettier but it’s still a turd.
With the success of flOw earlier in the PS3’s life, the publishers may have thought that their game would appeal to the same crowd. But the game lacks everything that flOw excelled at and just because they added bombs doesn’t make it fun.
My advice to anyone thinking about buying this game is to stop, think about what you are doing and then walk away, just walk away.
Review copy provided by publisher.