Talent Not Included Review

Who doesn’t like the theatre? The beautiful scenery, the great performances of the actors, the excitement of the audience, what is there not to like? One of the most inspiring parts of the theatre experience is the talent of the actors, well most of the time it is anyway.

Talent not included is a platforming game in a theatrical setting, but as the title of the game suggest, the actors aren’t the most talented bunch. Not at acting anyway. Their jumping and combat abilities are much better though and in this instance, that is a very good thing.

Like any good play, Talent Not Included is split into three different acts each with their own setting and protagonist. In turn each act is then split into different scenes. As the scenes change so does the scenery and when this happens the cogs beneath the stage start to turn and some of the scenery collapses to be replaced with new, different pieces. This adds an element to the game that is different to most platforming games as you can still be killed by the hazards in the scenery as it’s falling away.

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Talent Not Included revisits many elements of classic platforming games of yesteryear. There is a heart system that gives you a certain number of lives that are replenished either at the end of a scene or by collecting hearts that are placed on the stage. When you die you restart the scene that you are on. You also score points by collecting what looks like candies and the idea is to score as many points as you can in each scene. There are also enemies scattered around the stage for you to either avoid or kill. Each protagonist has two different attacks. The main one is a weapon that you can wield while the other is a dash attack. This dash can also be used to traverse jumps that you wouldn’t be able to make using just your double jump.

Some of the stages of each scene seem relatively easy and can be overcome at the first attempt. Others are much trickier and will require several attempts to master. We found that beating these stages require a combination of skill whilst also learning the patterns of enemies and hazards. This is an element of the game that it excels at. Platforming games often suffer from either been too easy or so hard that they become infuriating. Talent Not Included seems to get this balance just right and you never get the feeling that something is impossible. If you fail you always feel as if there is a very good chance that you will be able to beat it the next time around.

At several points of each act you will have to face a boss. These boss battles are never too challenging but generally take a couple of attempts to master. The key here, like many platforming games of the past is to learn the pattern that the attacks follow. For example, the first boss that you face summons clouds that fire lightning at you. At first it seems as if these attacks are random but then you realise that there is a pattern to them and that there is an indicator as to where the strikes will come from making them easy to avoid.

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The game drip feeds you different mechanics as you go, meaning that you are constantly being introduced to something new that you will have to learn. This succeeds in keeping the game feeling fresh and not too repetitive which is something of an achievement, considering that the setting doesn’t actually change throughout an act.

Talent Not Included is filled with humour and it is definitely a game that doesn’t take itself too seriously. This is shown right off the bat with the name of the land that the game is set in, Notthatmuchfurther land. The game also has a few pop culture references subtly thrown in that are a nice touch.

This is a bright and entertaining game that will keep you playing for hours, if you are so inclined. There isn’t a great deal of story to get involved in but that isn’t why you are here. Fans of the platforming genre will find a lot to keep them busy and there is a real sense of achievement once you have passed a stage, especially the later ones that are a little more difficult.

For £11.99 there is a lot of fun included. The platforming takes us back to games from another era and this is no bad thing. The graphics are fresh and enticing and the game is a challenge in all of the right ways. You can download Talent Not Included from the Xbox Store.

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