Ignatius – a side-scrolling puzzler with a noir twist. [Review]

Overview –

Ignatius is, at its heart, a side-scrolling puzzle game. Run around black-and-white levels solving puzzles and collecting film reels to move onto the next stage.

Developer: Sons of welder

Price: free (ad-supported)

Highlights:

  • Unique, noir-inspired graphics.
  • Creepy music.
  • Side-scrolling platformer with puzzle elements.

Setup –

Zero. None. Download the game and go. (No Google Play, sadly.)

Impressions –

The first thing that strikes you when you open Ignatius is the music. Slow, haunting, music-box style notes drift through the menus, accentuating the equally-creepy black and white menu screen. You start the game, and a short intro video details the events leading up to the beginning of the game; a young boy sucked into a black and white film, resulting in a 2D universe.

At first, the only splash of color in the main UI is your life bar – this becomes important very quickly. Upon encountering your first enemy – a sinister-looking crow with glowing red eyes – and then, following that, a red health vial – you realize that things that affect your health – for better or worse – are red. Sure enough, the next enemy – a bouncing black glob – is accented with red pustules. 

Color is something of a theme in this game; the more levels you pass through, the more colors you’ll see – but never more than two or three at a time. It’s used sparingly, always accentuating the noir style of the setting – never overwhelming it. Aside from red, the rest of the color spectrum is used to highlight interesting things in the environment; very well implemented.

The actual gameplay is solid; it’s well animated, the enemies behave in predictable, consistent patterns – a must for any timing-based platformer – and the puzzles can, with few exceptions, always be solved with logic – not trial and error, or luck. Each level your goal is to collect the pieces of a film reel to take you to a portal – which I suspect is a film projector – to move on to the next level.

As with every game, I have a couple of gripes. The first is that Ignatius clearly takes inspiration from another black and white, sidescrolling platforming puzzle game – Limbo. Now, this isn’t a bad thing. Limbo is an amazing, near-universally loved game by all that have played it. That being said, I feel like just a little too much was borrowed in the process – right down to the faceless hero with glowing eyes.

My second – admittedly minor – complaint is that the controls sometimes abruptly cease to function for a moment, at times. This is not a deal breaker, as simple re-pressing the screen will end the problem, but for a platformer that requires timing, a missed jump can mean a re-started level. Finally, there are occasional – but in my opinion, too common – fullscreen ads that come after you die- compounding your frustration, at times. Further, there does not appear to be a way to remove them. Sigh.

What I like

  • Beautiful artwork and use of color.
  • Well-designed platforming and puzzles.
  • Strong narrative.

What I don’t

  • Low replay value.
  • Echoes of Limbo.
  • Frustrating ad structure.
  • At times inconsistent controls.

Conclusion –

Ignatius is a strong addition to the platforming world. It’s great art direction and use of color, combined with a solid platforming and puzzles, make it a fun experience despite a frustrating use of ads. Download this – it’s free, and it tells a great tale.

Google Play Store –  Ignatius

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