One look at the visuals, and it’s easy to think that Slick (80 MSP) must have started on its monochromatic way to the Game Boy circa 1989, got lost making one too many left turns when it should have gone right, took odd jobs, probably dabbled in drugs and / or prostitution (just speculation), and has somehow found its way to XBLIG, now 2012. If there is an actual history behind it, I’m unaware, though I quite like my NSFW timeline.

A decidedly-retro platformer, your hero is Mick Slick, in all his jumpy glory. You won’t get a backstory on how he got that name, but you will get 100 levels spread across five themed worlds (Sky Slicker, Sahara Slicker, etc.). I had hoped for a City Slickers reference in there somewhere, but Halcyon Softworks is not a Billy Crystal fan it seems. Understandable, but Daniel Stern, Bruno Kirby? Come on. It’s a classic!

The setup is straightforward; fireballs and spikes, bad, bopping enemies and reaching the exit, good. There’s a slight stutter to Mick’s landing after every jump, giving you a crucial half-tic to touch down safely. It’s appreciated. It’s a one-hit, one life to live game, and hazards are aplenty, but you can acclimate to Slick pretty easily. That led me to believe things were going well. I was settling in for the long run.

Then I met world 1-17, and our relationship soured. This stage contained one too many ‘chokepoints’, designed for me to die and to ratchet up the frustration quickly, and in that it succeeded. Corridors of fire, spikes everywhere, and split second timing, done on repeat without the luxury of checkpoints— all my old favorite things to dread. And for the record, I’m not easily deterred. I literally threw a hundred lives into Death’s blender over three sessions trying to advance. The buzzer signaling another demise was soon all I heard.

Long story short (leaving out the rage), I eventually bested 1-17, but soon reached snags on 2-6, 2-8, 2-11… you see the pattern emerging here? You are going to die, and Slick will be responsible for it.

The controls are fine for a platformer, but they’re not quite tweaked for the precision required of a punishformer. That ‘stutter’ landing can hurt as much as it helps. Oh, and keep your finger on the jump button (a natural reflex) after a tricky sequence, you’ll see what I mean. To complicate matters, the hit detection is shit in some instances. The game pauses at the point where you die, and on more than one occasion you could clearly see I wasn’t touching an enemy or fireball, yet the game insisted I was. (A patch is in the works to correct this.)

I’d really like to tell you about the other worlds, which don’t (according to these screenshots) appear any easier, though do have some new visuals, tricks, and enemies. Looks like. I wouldn’t know, as I was stopped cold in my tracks early and often. I’m not a sniveling baby or someone that decries the difficulty in punishformers. I’m old school, I ‘get’ it, but I do believe in reasonable escalation. With 70+ levels still beyond my current nemesis, I can only imagine the horror some of you will face. You’re more than welcome to send a postcard and tell me all about it. Guess I’m sitting this adventure out.

7 thoughts on “REVIEW: Slick”

  1. Hey ^^

    Nice review, looks like someone throw Mario Land, Kirby and Pac-Man together to create this in a Game Boy-ish style ;D

    As you speak of “Punishformers” I’m currently playing Obsessive Collecting Disorder and it’s getting harder and harder but still looks laughable compared to Super Meat Boy or N+

    Oh yeah…Just one more thing(Columbo-style) #SlickCode

    1. Haha. For Columbo, I’d give you a code even if I didn’t have one. That sounds like a pretty accurate take, minus the Pac-Man, maybe, but you could see something I didn’t.

      Playing Obsessive Collecting Disorder myself, looking to get a review up for that by Friday or Saturday. I finished on Casual, and OCD is, by far, easier than SMB, N+, and Slick. It’s also more fun than Slick, easily. I’m working my way slowly through Slick, because that’s the only way you can get through it. I’m on 2-14 currently. I wish you luck, because unless you’re the greatest platforming player the world has ever known, you’ll need it. 🙂

      Check your email soon for the code, and thanks for stopping by!

    2. Just love the series 🙂 too bad Peter Falk is dead 😦
      Thank you very much for the code, I will try my best! I love challenging games even if they get frustrating…was currently working on Trials HD…so… many… faults… but what a relieve when you get it done…

      Oh yeah about the Pac-Man thing, I only said that because of the ghosts in the picture, this is why Pac-man came to my mind…

      And thanks for the heads-up about the one code per month rule…but well tomorrow IS a new month already haha 😀

      Didn’t know though that giving away things could you give a hard time ôo anyway, I will stick around and try to read trough the reviews whenever I’ve got the chance. Cheers!

    3. Ah, the Pac-Man vibe makes sense now. It’s from a later level, that’s why I missed out on it.

      And true, it technically will be a new month. I’d have to consider that you beating me with my own rules. 🙂

    4. Hehe I thought so…haven’t started it yet, but will be sure to come back and discuss is 🙂

      Well, the giveaways are just a nice addition 😉 but I will mainly come back to see if I can find some XBLIGs that seem worth to buy 🙂

  2. In your list of tags where it says ‘repetitious death’ immediately followed by ‘Slick’ my brain, upon seeing those in my peripheral vision, read it as ‘repetitious dick’…

    I’ve played the demo and seemed fun but I didn’t buy the full version because even at that early stage the levels were, if not too hard, then at least showing signs that they would become so. I don’t like punishformers. I dislike even the well respected ones. I can’t abide Super Meat Boy. Even the Mega Man series makes me grimace in distaste (before Mega Man X, anyway).

    Sigh.It’s a shame. I like the presentation. Almost entirely nostalgia I’m sure, but the Game Boy visuals gave me a warm glow. I spent a lot of time with Link’s Awakening and Mole Mania back in the day.

    1. Punishformers aren’t usually my thing either. There’s always exceptions. I consider myself a reasonably-skilled player, so to die a hundred times on level 17 of 100, either I’m having a really bad day or something is out of sorts. Presentation was solid though. I will wait for the patch, then give it another try.

      Oh, and for the record, I won’t say never, but it is very unlikely that I’ll ever tag a post on here with ‘repetitious dick’. This is a family site, Mr. Charlesworth. I don’t peddle that filth here.

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