Friday, 14 October 2016

Korokoro Post Nin (Playstation)

It's a trite, lazy and annoying thing, when someone describes a work by calling it a mix of other works, but I'm going to do it now anyway: Korokoro Post Nin is like a combination of elements from Cameltry, Paperboy and Sonic the Hedgehog. This really is a description of it at its basest level, though: it's a game where you rotate a maze to move a character inside, and that character is not only tasked with delivering small packages to mailboxes, but her movement speed is also heavily dependent on the slope of the surface on which she's stepping, and the momentum she's built up.

So yeah, it's some kind of (possibly post-apocalyptic?) future, and you're a delivery girl working for some kind of robot guy. You're tasked with delivering to every postbox in the area, then getting to the door within the time limit. Although, referring to the game's protagonist as "you" isn't exactly accurate, as like I mentioned earlier, you actually control the maze in which the delivery girl, postboxes and door exist. It's a mystery why this game was released for the Playstation in 2002, as it's exactly the sort of thing that would have become a beloved cult hit, had it been released on the GBA in the same period.

Playing the game is incredibly simple: R1 and L1 turn the maze left and right. If the ground upon which the delivery girl is standing is a slope, she'll walk down it. If it's a steep slope, she'll run down it (which is not only faster, but also essentially for smashing through certain obstacles). If there's no ground directly beneath her, she'll fall. The thing is, though, this game is actually a masterclass in old-school game design, by which I mean that it is entirely based around these (and a couple of other) simple rules, and the stages are all tests of both your knowledge of these rules and the precision of your dexterity in pulling them off.

On a larger scale, it also introduces new elements every few stages: first there are obstacles, both moving and stationary, which will knock three seconds off your remaining time you you hit them while you're not running. Next, there are spikes, which you are to avoid altogether, with a brutal penalty of five seconds for each violation. Further than that, I can't tell you about, as I'm just not good enough to get through more than the first couple of stages with spikes. However, that's fine, it doesn't feel like an unfair game, or an artificially difficult one. In fact, I'd love to see this game make the rounds in the speedrunning community, as each stage is obviously designed with an optimum or perfect path in mind, and I know there are people out there who would love the challenge of learning the layout of each stage by heart, and mastering the controls so that they can get through perfectly, and it's clear to me that this game was designed with that in mind.

In summary, Korokoro Postnin is a game that was slightly too hard for me, but it's also a game I can't help but respect, and I hope it somehow, someday gets the attention of the audience for whom it's truly intended. (Even if it is well over a decade too late for it to matter to the developers or publisher).

2 comments:

  1. I always figured this game was released so late in the ps1 lifetime because it was a budget title like all the other games developed by this company.

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  2. It isn't a budget title anymore
    Apparently it's trying to go up towards the $100 mark on Amazon
    Glad I got my copy a while back
    I've always wondered though, is Akane (the papergirl) and alien or something?
    I've gotten pretty far in this, and you talk to one dude who kinda looks like ALF : (

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