“DMCA’s Sky” Review
No Man’s Sky was a very bad game produced by some very naughty developers who promised us the world and instead gave us a billion reasons why we should never trust indie devs with a AAA marketing budget. They promised us multiplayer (All Men Lied), gave us a half – baked and barely – functional mashup of Minecraft and Spore that took the very worst of both titles (No Man Tried) and earned the Zero Punctuation Blandest Game of 2016 award as a result (No Man’s Buy), and made the developers of that game into a laughing stock overnight while killing the careers of everyone who ever worked on the title (Sean Murray Cried).
It was, in diplomatic terms, a gigantic clusterfuck for Hello Games, Sony, Valve, and anybody else who put their hand into this bear trap, backpedaling for weeks afterwards as those users dumb enough to pre – order the title rioted on Steam and Reddit, the British Advertising Standards Authority investigated just what all the hubbub was about, and the Gamergate hate mob used it as an excuse to be twats to everybody — so no change there. The servers were broken, the game was broken, the public’s trust was broken, and games marketing would never be the same again, with No Man’s Sky being the prime case study of how not to publish a video game in a world where the Internet exists. Naturally nobody learned anything and the exact same scenario would happen with Mass Effect: Andromeda, which earned a 7.7 from IGN and made a hundred million dollars.
Of course, being an indie developer means you have carte blanche authority to rip off every idea that has ever existed in video games, so one might as well crib notes from one of the worst games of the decade. Enter DMCA’s Sky, who decided to smash together Super Mario Brothers — a good game — with No Man’s Sky — which got a 6 from IGN, so a negative 8 on a normal scale — purely on the basis that “Mario” and “Man” starts with the letter M, kind of like how teenagers use “Homesmut”, “Undertail”, and “Neoporn” to identify the questionably – legal pornography they are amassing at younger and younger ages. But like a Shoryu’s weathered snatch, this game is just not that tight at all.
More like… no game!
At least you can appreciate DMCA’s Sky for being true to the source material. You do a bunch of walking around… why is this the third game in a row to feature a bunch of walking and so little gameplay? This game is making Gone Home look like DOOM 2! At least in the mouse novel all I had to do was sit down and read some words, then write some words and make my words snarkier than their words. Now I have to be subject to, yet again, a game where you’re supposed to hold down one button for several minutes in the hope that you see something interesting real soon. At least you can fly in this game. Good luck trying to pull your ship out your ass, because even after thirty tries I still have no idea what causes it to appear beyond jumping and mashing buttons.
So that’s the No Man’s Sky portion: explore a bunch of boring planets with minor changes in innovation and with nothing to do on them. The Super Mario Brothers portion comes from everything looking like a bootleg Mario game, with the world featuring similar geometry, the enemies all looking like Goombas, and being able to jump. Unlike Super Mario, the controls in here are bad, bad, very bad, go to your room and think about what you’ve done. Come on, guys: it should be simple! Press a button to walk, release it to stop walking. When you add in unnecessary acceleration and physics that make everything feel like ice even when you’re supposed to be on clay bricks, it denigrates the concept of platforming. Although all you get to platform on are some sparse bricks and enemies, so might as well remove those as well.
There are no power – ups to collect, only a bunch of gems (and they are always gems, aren’t they?), and with no action, narrative, or excitement to hold some interest. I don’t even remember if this game has a soundtrack, that’s how much of an impact the thing had on me. The box art tells me this uses Creative Commons licensed music, and because this is proprietary software, I can’t even give the developers the benefit of assuming they care about free culture. What does it matter what assets your game contains if the entire package is parasitic, where you take so much from the hard work and generosity of others but you don’t even give back by producing free software and letting your fans see how your games are made? You have produced a bad game by taking the concept of the bad game that came before you, and now nobody will be able to produce another bad game because they don’t know how your bad game works. You monster.
I would have added in another section about how Nintendo’s corporate lawyers are a bunch of corporate cunts for taking their monopoly on the culture they gave to us but we’re not allowed to partake in (because that’s totally fair and not at all a manipulative relationship), and abusing this monopoly to send a takedown notice to this fan game that had zero effect on either Nintendo’s reputation or their profits, the only reason for sending such a takedown being a grand “fuck you” to the fans who make Nintendo far more relevant and successful than they have ever deserved from the past five years.
But really, the less time I spend thinking about this pedestrian experience, the more time I have to play something actually fun. Like, I don’t know, Super Mario Brothers? By the way, buy the Tao of Mario and make me eight bucks for oatmeal. Come on, you rats. Give tithe to your rat king!
Alright, that’s it. Review’s over. Now if you excuse me I have to feast on my own children and hoard cookie crumbs until the owners of my domicile enfeeble me with pesticides.