Friday, 4 December 2015

Koma (X68000)

Koma, or Beigoma, are a kind of traditional Japanese wooden spinning top. In this game, you play as one in the odd situation of having to collect exclamation marks while trying to stay to moving platforms above an endless black void. Each stage has a different set of platforms, and though they move in the same patterns every time, the exclamation marks appear in random positions.

The biggest strength of Koma is that the aesthetics and mechanics are inseperably intertwined: because anything that's not black is safe ground, the more complex and psychedelic a stage looks, generally the more difficult it'll be. The stages were each obviously designed with this in mind, each having both its own look and an individual set of challenges and tests of dexterity in navigating to different areas of the screen.

The thing you have to try and do is to stop seeing the different coloured platforms as seperate entities and instead to see the gaps between them as shifting and warping things to avoid. But then again, after a few stages, you'll start to be presented with very small platforms, and single pixel-width bridges, so that advice doesn't really hole up in those situations.

The old cliche "easy to play, difficult to master" definitely applies to Koma, and it's definitely worth playing, at least until the difficulty starts to try your patience.

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