I know I know, I seem to be on an abstract indie platforming stint at the moment, what with 6180 the moon last Friday and this week indie hit 140. I mean, who can blame me? These games are short, but both award winners because of how far they push their simplistic mechanics. Having restrictions really is a fantastic thing in the world of games, helping to push creatives to their limits when it comes to original and refreshing games.
So what is 140? As with last weeks 6180 The moon, the title really doesn’t tell you anything about the game, and seemingly feels quite random. Again, like 6180, 140 is an abstract (think simple shapes and colours) platformer, where the player must make their way through 3 different levels, making sure to keep their jumping and movements in tune with the music constantly playing in the background.
Simple premise again I know, but where I genuinely got hooked to 140 was in it’s fantastic style, and brilliant music mechanic, where the patterns you see and hear truly help you to advance throughout each level. Each level introduces new obstacles and mechanics to take advantage of; some blocks for example may change in size depending on the beat, whilst others may become deadly at set intervals. Regardless how you start out playing 140, you eventually get into a rhythm where you listen to the music whilst observing what new obstacles lay before you. After a few attempts, you’ll manage to successfully pass the puzzle before you, only to see it mutate and naturally become more advanced later on.
This simple repeated premise helps keep 140 enticing for the entirety of its hour playtime, with myself raging when my controller ran out of battery and couldn’t reconnect until I restarted the game. I didn’t mind too much; replaying an entire level was really enjoyable, especially when you’ve learnt how a level reacts to the music. It helps to make you feel intelligent for overcoming the challenges laid before you.
There’s no story to speak of, but the game has got “boss” battles, which are all different and challenging in their own right. Whilst there’s no context as to why you’re advancing through each of the levels other than progression for progressions sake, it was fairly refreshing to play a game that was purely about the mechanics, rather than trying to knit a story into an otherwise abstract game.
Now onto the music. It genuinely cannot be stated how good the music in 140 is, and how important a role it plays in the gameplay itself. As an example, listen to an excerpt of the music below:
(yes, I know that’s not the game’s official soundtrack, but unfortunately the developer never got around to separating the games audio from the game itself, so somethings bette than nothing!)
It’s genuinely stunning. I’m just annoyed there isn’t an official soundtrack for the game, as I’m fairly certain it’d become my new go-to programming/generic background soundtrack.
All in all, I’m genuinely glad I played 140. It’s been in my steam library for yonks (2 years apparently; I wasn’t even aware) and was a game I always overlooked. So my recommendation to you: should you look in your steam library and see 140 towards the top, do me and yourself a favour and play the game. It’ll only take an hour (two hours if you want to do the optional 3 levels where you have no lives), and is thoroughly enjoyable.