October 13th, 2012 | By Alex Wilkinson
This week I had the pleasure to meet Ollie Clarke via the magic of Twitter. He informed me he makes some awesome games with a small group of colleges. Within minutes I had checked out their former game, a free to play online abstract maze game (previous post), and loved it. This lead to him promised me a sneak peek at their latest venture called The Button Affair.
Although only a very short demo containing the first two levels, I fell in love with what this fantastic development team had produced. The Button Affair allows you to play as master thief Enzo Gabriel on his quest to steal the Button Diamond. The story plays out in short cut scenes highlighting important pivotal points in the game, which has been artistically styled to feel like a comic book or graphic novel.
The levels have been drawn to a very high specification with a lot of variety in scenery, both in the background and the foreground. The foreground scenery is a great addition and makes it feel like you are an onlooker, almost filming this epic escape. Though the inclusion of foreground scenery really does add another element to the skill level, which I found to work very well within the game.
The Button Affair has very striking visuals and is one of the reasons I loved it so much. The art direction chosen is just fantastic and really resonates with me. The broad stroked pop art styling used suits the idea of the game perfectly and creates a fun overtone, reminiscent of shows like Archer. Yet does create a very James Bond feel to the game (but i guess the suit and music help with that).
It was an interesting decision to utilizes cut scenes in the game for when you die, I expected this to get annoying but it doesn’t. They are smooth, exaggerated and often times humorous. Especially when you run into the same damn electric fence ten times in a row. Although luckily for people like me (bad at games) there is a checkpoint system, used to help prevent levels getting too frustrating.
To top off this fantastic art style the music used is just sensational. The Latin music used in the menus adds a nice overall feel, of the heist taking place in an exotic Latina location such as Cuba. Which becomes a stark contrast to the fast paced spy typed music used on the levels. The music and sound, overall have been added with a lot of care, adding a great deal to the general feel of the game. I hope the rest of the soundtrack is as well formed and provides even more fantastic tunes to escape death by.
The Button Affairs gameplay is very much along the same lines as many titles around at the moment. The continually moving jumping games, such as Temple Run and Agent Dash. That said The Button Affair really embraces this genre and really… runs with it. Essentially a lot of the same dynamics are implemented, I just feel that The Button Affair overall appeals to me much more.
The inclusion of some story element I think really helps grab my interest, along with the setting and artstyle of course. The short breaks in the game, provided by checkpoints really add a nice touch, and allows the levels to last quite a bit longer than the average.
The game plays out as you would expect really, it throws you into this heist of which the controls are overall quite limited. Just using Up and Down to progress over the obstacles, which is of course much harder than it initially sounds. The obstacles come fast and frequent, with many new obstacles requiring a slight trial and error approach. Such as when you try and guess what that nice man is doing standing…… only to wide up with a gunshot wound, much to my dismay.
Although the demo does not have everything fully fleshed out yet. With the respawn system seeming to currently not penalize you, and the score system still in the early stages, there is of course still a decent amount of work to still go into The Button Affair. As it stands however, the game is looking great and there is no pressing issues that I have managed to find with it. Really the only problem I have is there is not more of it at the moment.
Helana Santos, Chris Randle, Jonathan Mann and Ollie Clarke aim to be releasing The Button Affair this coming December, so be sure to keep a close eye on this one. Expect more news on The Button Affair in the coming months, here on The Indie Game Magazine.