Adventure Forward Brings Classic Gameplay to the Modern Age

May

22, 2014

by JacksSmirkingRevenge


Archive

Platformers, while fun, are often more of exercises in precision than immersive game experiences. Think about the last obstacle course you visited — chances are, it consisted of tiered skill-based challenges to navigate in a predetermined order. There’s nothing wrong with that, but gamers who have come up playing things like Mario 64, Super Mario Galaxy, or any 3D entry in the Legend of Zelda series know that jumping games can test your skill and capture your imagination and challenge your brain. So when we came across Adventure Forward: Star Savior, we were kicked right in the nostalgic feels. This game manages to blend facets from all the games listed above, and establish its own ROBLOXian personality. Put more simply: it’s old school meets new school, and we love that.

Adventure-Forward-World-Map

The 3D hub world is where the adventure begins.

Adventure Forward: Star Savior is a throwback to a generation past with the modern twist of being multiplayer. Closely resembling Mario 64 (Google it, young’ns, there are epic speed runs), the game is a large world with a hub that lets you warp to different levels based on the amount of stars you’ve collected. Each level you unlock has a distinct theme — expect to find lush tropical levels, forests with sky-high canopies, frozen levels coated in ice, desert levels with deadly sand swells, and sweltering volcano levels oozing with magma. The aesthetic — both visual and aural — of each level keeps you coming back, as does the challenge, which rises dramatically with your star count.

“I drew heavily from Super Mario 64 and Super Mario Sunshine,” Explode1 tells me. “Some of the levels I’ve brainstormed years ago, though I’m adding entirely new ones as well. What separates Adventure Forward from other obstacle courses is its clever complexity and innovation with simple obstacles.”

Ow. These rotating pillars make getting red coins an extra big pain.

Ow. These rotating pillars make getting red coins an extra big pain.

Having played through a vast portion of the game, Explode1 is not kidding. I encountered jumps and obstacles that made me hold my breath. I found that some obstacles took careful analysis — one star in particular was on top of a narrow tower, and the only way to get there was to climb platforms circling the tower at different speeds and depths. It’s not just about well timed jumps, either — Explode1 has implemented gameplay features that require timing and skill. For instance, there are bubbles scattered throughout levels that shield you from dying when touching elemental forces like water or quicksand for a limited time (which is cleanly displayed as a GUI at the top of your screen), and buttons you can push to open paths you don’t otherwise see.

Another awesome feature he’s implemented is tripping. Many obstacles won’t kill you outright, but will cause you to fall down (which, in later levels you actually have to leverage to get under certain obstacles). With these ideas grounded as core gameplay mechanics, the challenge seemingly never ends.

The game isn’t a cake walk, nor is it a game designed around repetition. This is oldschool, hardcore platforming, where the only way to get further is to try, try, and try again. Adventure Forward also features several awesome throwbacks to platformers that paved the way. In addition to featuring the aforementioned visual flourishes, the audio shines just as bright. Each level has its own soundtrack, and the selections are a perfect match for the level design. Whether you’re hearing heavily distorted 90’s rock riffs or ancient, desolate Egyptian tunes, the music will keep you tapping your feet. It also serves as an audio cue — many times while playing I found that the music would change, immediately prompting me to think, “uh oh, something is about to happen.” And it always did.

Pharoah Falls

The second level, Pharaoh Falls.

“My favorite world is Vintage Voltage, which features nut-based spinning platforms and massive climbable nails,” Explode1 says. “Shapes are key in designing platform games — how they move, react, spin, disappear and tilt. This is represented best by Shadows in the Sky, the final level of the game.”

“Deciding how to organize your ideas about a level in an effective way is the biggest challenge,” he continues. “Finding ways to re-invent the obstacles you’ve created to visually look like something different, like an ice cream, a lighting bolt, or a piece of candy, can be tough.”

Adventure Forward has seen a rise in popularity over the past couple of weeks — due mostly to recent updates Explode1 and team (Bobbysayhi, TylerMcBride, Oozlebachr, and Maelstronomer all have credit’s in the game’s description) have been making to the game. The same team is also hard at work on a sequel to the game, which you can experience now for the price of 25 ROBUX. The test level is far from complete, but shows a lot of promise, especially visually. Don’t take my word for it, check out this screenshot.

Now with Dynamic Lighting and shadows!

Now with dynamic lighting and shadows!

“I’m trying to create worlds with global shadows and light, as well as working on more interesting and unique themes,” Explode1 tells me. “I want a broader range of worlds — dark, cavernous levels will be a new addition to look out for.”

The reaction to Adventure Forward: Star Savior has been extremely positive. It’s interesting also to note that, like the classic games that inspired it, Adventure Forward can be beaten. There is a final boss, known in the game as Stratosfear, though defeating him doesn’t mean you’ve finished the game. Like Mario 64, true enthusiasts are looking to find ways to earn every one of the 51 stars scattered throughout the game, some of which are nearly impossible to get. To that effect, users have banded together to create walkthroughs of the game, one of which is on YouTube.

“I’m fascinated by the sheer amount of walkthroughs this game has generated,” he tells me. “There’s like 200 videos out there. They really caught our attention. I think the Star Index, which keeps track of the progress you’ve made, gives players a sense of completion.”

Sweet Skies. No, I mean, they're sweet and all, but that's the name of the level.

Sweet Skies. No, I mean, they’re sweet and all, but that’s the name of the level.

With the weekend approaching, if you’ve got a couple of hours (or more), Adventure Forward: Star Savior may be the game for you. I can safely say this having played through a large portion of the game: Adventure Forward will make you a more skilled ROBLOXian. Just get ready for a challenge unlike anything you’ve probably experienced on ROBLOX.

Oh, and one last pro-tip: make sure and save your progress using the button at the top of the screen — you wouldn’t believe how sad I was when I forgot to save and lost four hard-earned stars.