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If Quietus were to be renamed so the title was more indicative of what playing it feels like, it should be called m@&*#$^&f*#(c&$(*s(&&b*(!@!!!!. The game was hard enough as a hit Flash release on PC, but Quietus has been made that much harder by being ported to the iPhone and iPad. It'll work better on the iPad, actually, as this is a platformer of the most grueling order: You've entered a pact with Death himself: IF you can complete his nearly impossible obstacle course, he'll return you to the land of the living. Of course, anyone even remotely familiar with Charlie Daniels songs or the Bible should know that Death's business savvy is rarely beneficial to both partners. Quietus is aggravatingly hard, and each screen is filled to the brim with elaborately timed hazards that will kill you with a single hit. Picture Super Meat Boy in Hell – it’s a lot like that.
The touch-screen factor does make Quietus a lot tougher, but it's manageable after spending some time with it. It helps that the joystick will appear onscreen anywhere you place your finger, so you'll be able to get a better lay of the land as you push through each screen.
Navigating the levels should feel familiar to anyone who's ever played a Mario game - this is strictly a running and jumping affair. However, there are no power-ups to collect or invincibility stars. To survive, you need to carefully survey each stage's tricks. Usually, a level that seems not even worth embarking upon, after a few tries, turns out to be a carefully orchestrated dance: Keep an eye on the rhythm, don't lose your place, and you'll do fine. Of course, you'll have to die about 50 times to get to that Zen-like mental state, so this isn't for gamers taking blood-pressure medication.
The nearly monochromatic color scheme doesn't help matters, as you’ll occasionally fail to notice, say, revolving spiky ball because it was blending in with the background – then it impales you. But still, considering the mark of a successful game, movie, or book is whether it got you to feel something while experiencing it, the 99-cent Quietus is a great bargain given how much cussing and frustration – and the attendant “one more try” mentality – it will provoke.
Apr 11, 2011