I have a bittersweet feeling towards GASOLIQ, which features an alien protagonist who can change in substance from a solid, liquid, or gas in an attempt to rebuild a large drill by visiting planets and obtaining materials. This colorful and vibrant world suffers from fury-enduring gameplay, which is hard to ignore on what could’ve been a true hidden gem.
What sets GASOLIQ out from other platform titles is the “mass” mechanic. You can remain your sturdy alien self for jumping across stationary and moving platforms while auto kicking your enemies. However, by disintegrating into a green liquid, you can squeeze through tight spots as well as evaporate into a cloud of menacing green gas to catch air flows to higher platforms.
It’s a small but beautiful world after all
GASOLIQ opens with an introductory comic strip explaining your predicament. From this point on, the game doesn’t quite communicate with you, opting instead for hint icons within stages on what to do for the section that lies ahead.
This game is without a doubt, a quality work of art and sound design from developer Bros Universe. The visuals are crisp and look fantastic on retina displays including pre-game menus, planet maps, and a blueprint of parts acquired for the drill.
As you journey around the universe and their levels, a variety of pickups such as red crystals, green tanks and drill parts will provide some classic platform grabbing action. However on top of the interesting “mass” mechanic, this is slightly hindered and pressured due to your air tank meter.
Every breath you take..may be your last
The game screenis rather busy, with a meter for just about everything. The digital controls are awkwardly positioned with the adjacent directional arrows making it very difficult to run and jump at the same time. It’s unfortunate that this mechanical and mundane system takes away a large part of the basics of platform gameplay.
Your initial air supply will last for around 40 seconds before you die and the game is over. There’s one thing having a timed segment within a game and but there’s another while forcing you to try and use difficult controls. This becomes an annoyance as you collect more time to finish the stage and then eventually reach the end of said stage. I feel like I didn’t have time to take in the beautifully crafted world that stood before me and there was a real urgency to get out of the way as quick as possible. Not to mention the unfair speed of which moving platforms would arrive and leave.
Going back to basics of the game, there is a bittersweet absence of running jumps. I found myself creeping up to an edge, stopping, pressing jump, moving in mid air and landing. There has been a large rise in gamers attracted with challenging controls such as I Am Bread which has multiple lets plays of YouTubers losing their cool attempting to launch a piece of bread around a kitchen. But it isn’t quite the the same story here with less of an intended challenge. You can tell, the mechanics were not designed very well as every single time I fell from the last section of a platform I had previously navigated with extreme caution.
GASOLIQ has some fantastic strengths in its favor, fantastic graphics, audio and a genuinely interesting mechanic that is unfortunately let down by poor controls and bugs. This would result in instant death if you attempted to jump on an enemies head. In-app purchases are also present but are non intrusive and are used only for resurrecting in a stage or for level skips. The crystals can be collected on your journeys so you can grind or jump ahead at your own pace, however keep in mind that this is a premium priced game.
If you don’t mind replaying the same level repeatedly until you bend to whims of GASOLIQ then this adventure is for you, hopefully an update will be released to address the control issues which will allow players to enjoy the fruits of the visually appetizing space walk.