August 22nd, 2009
Upon editing my last article on Trash Panic I realized there there were a few points which I forgot to mention or emphasize as heavily as I probably should’ve;
The unpredictability of the fire and decomposition ball are probably the most significant issues contributing to the slippery nature of the title. Trash Panic clamps down on difficulty early on, yet a huge deciding factor of success is luck, therefore rendering much play time as simply testing the odds. The fire/decomposition is mostly unpredictable, sometimes completely random It’s a little worrying and cuts off access to a good chunk of content to the player.
This oversight is rather far-flung too. The first mission in the ‘Mission Mode’ requires you to hit 118 logs against one of the large bells. Problem is the logs don’t break easily, but even if they did a tall pile up of logs ensues, smothering the surface area of the bell, ie there is no room to smash logs against it! Fire torches are there to alleviate the problem, yet fire for some reason or another hardly damages the logs, let alone remove them. Furthermore, the means to gain torches falls into the same trap too. To gain a torch you must drop the Mottainai item into the bin and allow the Mottainai to collect it. Problem is they can’t reach because of the amounting logs. I only managed 18 dongs of the bell! It’s beyond me how these issues of difficulty were never considered.
I also never properly explained why I felt to game to be so compulsive, despite it’s unfathomable difficulty. The unitless nature of the game feels very freeform, it’s fun to throw things at each other and have the destruction trickle between the cracks of rubbish, or just turn your stockpile into a blazing inferno. I guess the compulsion comes from the way the slipperiness persuades you into believing the odds will be better next time, this is of course spurred on by the difficulty. So, when you put these pieces together, Trash Panic is fun because the foundations elicit a heavily experimental type of playfulness (similar to that of many physics sims) yet this experimentation is turned into a game and then challenged heavily. So retrying isn’t so bad as you’re just mucking about anyways.
Hmmm…I’m not sure whether this post has served it’s purpose, but that’s more or less the skinny of what I missed.