When I asked Legoseed what game deserved a feature on the Roblox Blog, he lowered his mix tape of songs about being nice to your mother long enough to answer, “Adventure Forward 2: Points of Conflict.”
“You mean the sequel to Explode1’s platforming classic?” I asked. “I’ve played that once, but I don’t remember much about it. Is it easy? I mean, will I look good for the internet?” But then Legoseed saw the building next door was on fire and excused himself to go help carry people out. Basically, I’ve got no idea what I’m getting into. How hard could it be?
Spawning into Points of Conflict for the first time is like cannonballing into a pool of Jello. The bright colors, happy music, and gleeful patrons hit you with that “through the gates at the theme park” feeling: wherever you go, whatever you do, it’s all gonna be fine. You’re on an adventure! Hey, look, fish with goggles! Let’s go see what they’re all about!
Fifteen seconds later, I was bobbing on a raft ringed by hungry mutant piranhas.
Here’s the key to playing Adventure Forward 2: you’re going to want to keep your guard up. Because the colors are bright, the music is happy, and things will be okay. And every time you slip up, you get your block knocked off.
The game’s intro explains that a great evil known as Celesteal has emerged to threaten the fabric of existence. The benevolent Cyalm has summoned you to collect stars of power needed to prove your worth and rally the galaxy together. Cyalm believes that he has found the next Star Savior. In my case, I respectfully suggest that he’s mistaken.
Right out the gate, I discover that on my long-ago first run I’d unlocked some kind of “challenge area.” A challenge, you say? Like “remembering how the game works” and “not running straight into a pool of piranhas”? Sounds great! Let’s have a challenge.
All right then.
Re-learned lesson #1: things that are red are unfriendly. If you’re ever curious when the last checkpoint was, run into one. Bullet point of lesson #1: if the red thing is swinging around, respect its personal space.
Re-learned lesson #2: messing up doesn’t always mean falling to pieces. Sometimes, like when you miss this simple super-jump over and over, the only penalty is that you need to climb back up from the Concrete Shame Pit and try again.
Either way, failing a dodge or a jump or a timing puzzle gives you a chance to catch your breath, figure out what you did wrong, and try again. I don’t mean to brag, but I have gotten extremely good at catching my breath.
The challenge mode might not have been the best place to try to re-acquaint myself with Adventure Forward 2, since it definitely represents the game at its most intense. The main portion is less about difficulty and more about the joy of exploration. There’s stuff to do everywhere: puzzles in caves, puzzles underwater, puzzles in the sky, puzzles you can only get to if you figure out how to shoot yourself out of a cannon. Everywhere you roam in the open level is a new arrow pointing to a new puzzle with new music and new obstacles. The main thing I discovered was new ways to get crushed by giant hammers, but I still found the main game quite relaxing.
Part of the appeal is that there are so many layers of puzzles. The simplest are the straightforward jumping puzzles, which just take a little effort and timing. Then every so often, there’s a jumping puzzle where you need to figure out not just where you’re jumping to, but what you need to jump from. Then there are the little mysteries hidden in the level: how do I get to that red coin? What’s this button do? How do I unlock the next area? I spent nearly all of my time with Adventure Forward 2 exploring the first area, and I’m pretty sure I only uncovered a fraction of its secrets.
I should probably tell you that despite a valiant effort, I did not gather enough stars to unite the cosmos and save all of existence from Celesteal. I think I saved up enough to put together a strongly-worded letter of complaint. Which means two things: firstly, that I should stay away from giant hammers in my daily life, and secondly, that the Star Savior is still out there somewhere.
Maybe you should give it a try. I hear the Savior gig’s got some pretty good benefits.
If you’d like to share your pro giant hammer strats or suggest a game to be featured, you can message OldBaronMondo through his Roblox or Twitter profiles.