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140 Reviewed by Cyril Lachel on . Although the music is good and some will like the minimalist look, 140 ends up being a disappointingly derivative affair. It does just enough to be average, and not much else. And in a world where dozens of indie platformers are released every month, I'm not sure average is going to cut it. Rating: 50%
140
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  • Review Score:

  • C
There are a few things I've come to expect from a new Double Fine release. Thanks to a steady stream of games like Psychonauts, Brutal Legend and Costume Quest, I expect their games to be creative, to blend genres and, more than anything else, to be funny. Unfortunately, none of that is on display in their newest game -- 140. Instead of giving us a truly unique platforming experience, the publisher behind Broken Age plays it safe with a 2D action game that is the very definition of middle of the road.

To be fair to Double Fine, this is not one of their home-grown titles. 140 comes to us from developer Jeppe Carlsen, who originally worked as the gameplay director on Limbo. The 2D platformer originally hit computers and indie game festivals in 2013, and is now getting a console release thanks to Abstraction Games and Double Fine. With so much talent behind the game, it's a shame 140 turns out to be a giant bore.


This is an incredibly simple platformer where the goal is to make it through a series of increasingly complicated obstacles in an effort to hit the next checkpoint. There isn't a story to follow or even characters to get attached to, because you play a simple square. This is the kind of square who can morph into a circle when it needs to get around and then turn into a triangle when jumping. That's pretty much the extent of the gameplay and story.

The idea is to avoid static fields, jump on disappearing platforms and go head-to-head with three challenging bosses. It's the kind of game timing and precision is everything; where you'll die countless times just to make the exact jump. And as you make it past these difficult obstacles, you'll find that the game is ready to throw an all new batch of challenges your way.

While this is typically the recipe for success, I found 140 to be depressingly rote. The gimmick is that the world is reacting to the overpowering techno music, so players will need to pay close attention to the beat. These songs become more complicated as you make it through the game's three short stages. Sure, we've seen this type of mechanic employed in other platformers, but the music helps give this simple 2D game some much-needed energy.

140 (PlayStation 4)Click For the Full Picture Archive

140 may have a lot of tricks up its sleeve, but none of them feel especially original or fresh. I couldn't help but feel like I had done and seen it all before with every new obstacle, to the point where it started to bother me. Instead of innovating on the formula, we're left with one derivative platforming puzzle after another. It may have a unique minimalist design, but 140 never bothers to come up with an original thought.

It doesn't help that the gameplay is slow and often feels a bit sluggish. This isn't a big deal early on, but things get hairy in the final stages. The game demands precise timing, yet the slow controls don't always lend themselves to the task. I eventually got used to the sluggish pace, but never could shake the feeling that I've seen all these obstacles before in better games.

It could be that I had higher expectations based on the quality track record of Double Fine, or maybe I've played too many similar platformers. I don't know. Whatever the reason, I was let down by this budget-priced action game. It does just enough to be average, and not much else. And in a world where dozens of indie platformers are released every month, I'm not sure average is going to cut it.
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