Technosphere Reload Review
When I first saw the trailer for Technosphere Reload, I was instantly hooked – it looked awesome. A platform-style game that appeared to blend the gameplay of Sega’s “Super Monkey Ball” games with the puzzling aspects of Valve’s “Portal” games, how could it not be great? Well, during my playtime I would learn that blending beloved games together doesn’t always give you a rich smoothie of gaming goodness. Instead, I encountered a frustrating mess of a game that is nowhere near ready for the gaming public.
In the distant future, an asteroid is orbiting Earth. The Atlas Corporation begins digging for crystals within the asteroid when something goes terribly wrong causing the asteroid to fall out of orbit. Fortunately, the Atlas Corporation has deployed the Technosphere, a spherical machine operated by you that will navigate the inner workings of the asteroid and repair the orbit correction system. But you’ll need to work fast because, in ten hours, the asteroid will collide with Earth causing catastrophic damage.
Keep Rollin’, Rollin’, Rollin’
In Technosphere Reload, you’ll navigate the Technosphere, a giant ball, through a series of paths, with the objective of progressing through eight different levels. The level design is generally quite linear, with the occasional fork-in-the-road to provide a small sense of freedom. Each level is littered with all manner of obstacles to prevent you from progressing. Obstacles could be anything from vast gaps requiring precision jumps to piston-like panels that’ll push you away from your destination. In addition, our little Technosphere runs on energy that depletes at a fairly steady rate, and you’ll need to collect little energy canisters along the way to keep alive. Run out of energy and you’re dead.
In addition to the obstacles and depleting energy, there are two more ways the game increases the overall challenge. First, you’re given a limited number of lives – five – and once they’re depleted, you’ll need to restart the level over again. However, here’s where it gets weird. Let’s say you make it to the second level with only two lives – after you deplete those two lives, you’ll be forced to restart level two with only two lives again. It’s another means of adding challenge, but the execution is just awful. I don’t know how many times I’d get into a level, get as far as I could – die, then be forced to restart the entire level with just one life. And sure, you can find extra lives throughout the levels, but they’re so few and far between, they’re hardly a factor at all. Finally, you’ll have a literal ten hours to complete the entire game. If you’re unable to finish the game in ten hours, that too will result in failure. Had the game not already been ridiculously overstacked in challenges, the ten-hour limit would have been a fun motivator, but given the overall package, it really doesn’t add much.
Admittedly, the game has some nice visual elements to it. The Technosphere itself looks like Swiss cheese wrapped up in the shape of a ball – but the holes each project a green light that shines the surfaces it navigates creating a neat effect. The levels are mostly comprised of shiny metallic with bright lights adorning various objects and each level has a distinct look as it comprises of a different section of the asteroid. However, I did find the overall look to the game was often a bit too dark and difficult to see – not to mention the fact that the game’s camera is incredibly awkward – so you could imagine how frustrating a death is when it’s simply because you couldn’t see the obstacle.
I had high hopes for Technosphere Reload. In fact, Reload is apparently a remake of a previous game, Technosphere (which I never played), but I have no idea how similar the two titles are. Technosphere Reload is a neat game in concept only – the gameplay mechanics are all there, but the level design and excessive difficulty ruin any potential fun. There’s just too much pressure on the gamer – whether it’s managing your Technosphere’s battery, or carefully navigating the end of a level because you only have one life left and don’t want to start it from scratch. I will say this though, the game has received two updates in the past week that I’ve been playing – one of which brought some much-needed changes to help make some aspects less frustrating – so clearly the developer is continually working to make at least some adjustments to improve the game. If you’re looking for a challenge, you might find Technosphere Reload is worth your time – however, in its current state, I just can’t recommend it.
***Technosphere PC Reload key provided by the publisher***
- Some nice visual effects
- Cool concept
- Way too challenging
- Awful save/checkpoint system