I Want To Be Human is the perfect example of an emo kids maths textbook, scrawlings of weird and disturbing imagery, inexplicable vampires and unfunny rhetoric closed within speech bubbles.
Sinclair Strange have tried to carve out their own artistic style, and they have done so quite well. Sadly it only works when looking at stills and screen caps. As soon as the game starts moving and the action begins, your eyes will be bombarded with so much information you’ll have to become Ozymandias from the Watchmen, to understand any of it.
The NPC’s spout one-liners along with the protagonist in the form of speech bubbles, which at first is quite charming but when you’re trying to master the platforming, it becomes nothing more than an annoyance. The jokes aren’t funny anyway. Although the visuals are striking, they’re not particularly original, a vampire love story? Really? If you can call what’s on offer a story. You’ll be provided with the same amount of narrative direction as a Mario game and as much as we love Nintendo, their ‘stories’ consist of, Bowser takes Peach, go save Peach. That’s it.
Watch the I Want To Be Human PS4 trailer below:
With an action platformer, controls are the most important thing. They have to be top notch, Super Meat Boy comes to mind. Extremely hard but you learn the nuance of the game’s controls and eventually triumph. It’s a great, old school method. I Want To Be Human doesn’t have great controls. The first problem is the shooting, on PC with a mouse you’ll fare much better, but on console, it’s infuriating. The problem is that you aim with the left stick and you move with the left stick. This means you can’t shoot while moving in the opposite direction, which in some sections is essential. You’ll be desperate to shoot an enemy while you wall jump but you can’t. Second, there’s a layer of inconsistency with everything, from the enemy hit-boxes to the jumping itself. Sometimes buttons don’t register at all, causing you to fall into a pit or get shot by an enemy. It’s unacceptable, a game’s challenge should come from level design and a fair learning curve, not having to deal with crappy controls.
Also, this sounds like a small thing, but when put into contest it makes sense, some of the enemies take more than one shot to kill. Why is this a problem, Liam? Well, I’ll explain. You’re building up speed, finding a nice rhythm of shooting and wall jumping, blasting through the level and it’s actually pretty exhilarating. Suddenly you’re entire run is blockaded by an enemy that you have to stop and shoot and jump and shoot. Boring. With the bad hit detection, it can take even longer. I’ve been playing the re-release of Crash Bandicoot, and that’s a perfect example of smooth platforming. If you find the right timing between low and high jumps and spinning at the right time, you can move smoothly through the entire level, and it’s the most satisfying feeling there is. I Want To Be Human doesn’t put the same level of care into their level designs, and it’s noticeable.
View some screenshots from I Want To Be Human in our gallery:
You’ll find yourself trying to speed-run every level, there is little incentive to get the collectables or the ‘P’ block multipliers. You might get a D grade at the end but who cares. The story unfolds with the main character being a vampire with her boyfriend being turned into her hat because of experimentation. Yeah, so cool and quirky. Not (Borat voice). It is told using comic book panel cutscenes, and at first, you’ll appreciate the design, but they are too dull to really delve into. The blacks and whites and greys melt into each other, and you’ll skip to the main game, just to race through the level as fast as you can.
There’s little here that you can’t find anywhere else. Side-scrolling platformers are a dime a dozen, they’ve been going since the first consoles crawled out of the electrostatic soup stirred by Miyamoto himself like the beginning credits of the Powerpuff Girls. Messy visuals combined with unreliable controls and bland humour makes I Want To Be Human more of a robotic affair. Skip.
I Want To Be Human was reviewed using a digital code supplied by the publisher.
Publisher: Rising Star Games Developer: Sinclair Strange / Red Phantom Games Release Date: June 21, 2017 Reviewed On: PS4 Also Available On: PC/Steam