Constant C

Constant C puts you in the shoes of an Emergency Rescue Robot on a space station where all of its scientists have gone missing. Eventually you find out their experiment went south and caused the station to be stuck in time. As you progress you unlock pieces of the story to solve the mystery of what truly happened and how to fix it. I won’t say any more about the story so that you can try to piece it together on your own time.

The main objective is fairly simple. At the start of the game you are introduced to the ship's AI system that asks for you to locate tubes of data so that he can, eventually, restore the functions of the ship. Obtaining these parts is more difficult than it may seem, especially later in the game. As you grab these parts you'll locate video clips that depict what transpired before the start of the game in order to explain the ship's current situation. These video snips are the only way to discover the story so they become an integral part of the game. Video clips are not the only function of the data tubes. You also need to gather a certain amount of them before progressing into further areas.

Tying the story to data parts is both a brilliant idea and a gimmick, as it forces the player to actually want to reach these items which turns them into something more than just a collectible. However, doing so often results in replaying levels repeatedly to find out what happened. This wouldn’t be an issue if some parts didn’t require perfect execution of a level playthrough. The feeling for doing so, however, is very rewarding. But with such little room for error, I often found myself frustrated because I was mainly trying to progress the story. Eventually I had to accept that some of data tubes were simply too hard for me to get. This is not to say I gave up wanting to figure the story out but sometimes you have to cut your losses. The difficulty really took its toll near the end of the game because that is where much of the challenge lays.

As you advance in the game you unlock new areas with new challenges. Each level is different and unique. There is an initial learning curve that becomes very steep for the final stages. Levels will change, not only in design but in the different obstacles they contain. They range from hanging ramps, buzz saws, blocks, to lasers. The blocks and ramps are effected by a gravity field which the player has surrounding them. Through the use of the changing gravity field it is possible to position the items to block lasers and other things that would normally kill the player. Eventually you are given another tool that allows you to cause items to move without having to physically be near it. As I got to the later stages of the game I noticed something that I typically notice in these kinds of games. They just get too difficult.

What starts off as a fun sci-fi platformer quickly transforms into something so difficult that you don’t even want to play it anymore. Some levels that I thought were really challenging grew easier after discovering the right approach. I then realized that other levels were just plain hard. The game's definitive fault lies in its story being directly tied to player performance. There is no easy mode to breeze through and find out what happened. You are stuck on the same scale as everyone else. If you find yourself struggling and unable to get through the last set of levels then you won’t be able find out the story through natural means. Sure, you can look it up online but that isn’t the point of a video game. The point is to discover these things organically by playing them. Towards the end of the game, Constant C becomes a chore that drags on. I kept thinking to myself “I have to be close to done, I just have to!” and then new doors would unlock. I grew to dislike a game that, in the beginning, I liked quite a bit. It gave me no reason to ever want to go back beyond finding additional data tubes. Of course, if you do manage to finish the game there is a “Time Attack” mode that pits you in a race against time to complete stages. This was something I had no interest in doing.

Constant C are is a game that is too difficult for its own good. It has little to no room for error, especially near the end. Lacking a tutorial system forces the player to figure everything out on his or her own. It started off very fun with just the right level of challenge. As more is introduced it quickly  became overwhelming. The story being tied to collectible items was faulty. It forced you to become a perfectionist just to learn what happens next. It turned from, what I thought was, an interesting take on the platformer genre into a forgettable game that had quickly become too hard.