Brad: Subterrania features one of the worst control schemes I’ve encountered since starting this project.You fly a ship through tunnels, blasting enemies and completing various mission objectives.The catch is that the ship doesn’t just fly on its own – you have to hold down a thrust button or else it falls like a rock.And of course, your thrust only has two settings – full blast and off, so piloting your ship is like trying to steer a tin can with a bottle rocket taped to it.The whole damn game is such a confusing mess of poor control, momentum, and gravity, that it’s almost impossible to even consider trying to play it seriously.
Look, if you have to put a little diagram of a controller up during the demo just to show people how to do the simplest of tasks, you made your control scheme too hard. Fix your interface. Whatever you do, don’t get lazy and overcompensate by giving me a ridiculous number of lives instead.
Stryker: Remember Joust?The game where you flew on the back of a giant bird, and you had to keep hitting the “flap” button to keep him airborne?Remember what a pain in the ass it was?Well Joust is gaming nirvana compared to Subterrania.In Joust, hitting the button made your bird go up slightly – a pretty simple concept.You want to go left?Push the joystick left, hit the flap button a few times to get off the ground, and whenever you start to sink a bit, hit the button again to gain a bit of altitude.That’s not how Subterrania works.You want to go left in Subterrania?Hit the thrusters to get off the ground, then press left to turn your ship left, and then give it some thrust to start moving in that direction.Once your ship starts sinking again, you’ll have to turn it upward and give it some more boost, then turn left again and give it some more thrust in the direction you were trying to go.And since you’ll be going full speed, you’ll probably overshoot your target and crash into a wall.And unlike Joust, crashing into a wall a few times kills you.
Oh, and remember how in Joust, in order to kill your enemies, you just had to crash into them?That’s not how it works in Subterrania.You have to shoot them, which requires a different button, which means you’ll have to let go of the thrust, which makes you fall.Good luck hitting anything like that.