A common misconception is that the length of a game tells you the quality of said title. While some say unlimited play of a game is best,I disagree. Eventually every title needs to be moved on from, and I personally would rather leave on a high. Now I’m no stranger to games like Monster Hunter Generations Ultimate where I’ve sunk hundreds of hours into multiple files in both the english port and the Monster Hunter Double Cross Japanese version. Yet a game I reviewed once, Detective Gallo, still pops into my mind despite it lasting only a few hours. It’s on the shorter side of things that Gelly Break ended up, taking up only a single night of my time.
Gelly Break blends together a plethora of ideas boiled down to their simplest variations. It’s a predominately 3D platformer, occasionally going to a side scrolling build. Combat wise you have two methods of attacking; a powerful spinning hit, and an unlimited ammo pea shooter. However these physical moves are most often utilized in puzzle solving and overcoming obstacles.
What I want to first discuss though is my biggest issue with the game, the visuals. Now I rarely have issues with the audio/visuals of a game, yet for once I find myself being critical of the audio/visuals of a game. Aesthetically the world is fine enough, using the cartoony CGI look and mixing in colors that get the job done. Where the issue lies is in the main character’s designs.
The unnamed controllable protagonists are almost identical except one is green while the other is red. For a large majority of players this isn’t an issue, but as someone who is partial red-green color blind I had major issues with this. The platforming is crafted using the colors of the characters in mind by having to switch between who’s top and bottom to navigate. Red and green platforms would only let the corresponding color stand upon them. As someone who couldn’t tell the difference between them by looking, I suffered damage and took extra attempts because the game lacked the ability to cater to my slight disability.
What did help diminish this issue was that even at the end of the game the platforming isn’t so difficult that I couldn’t trial and error my way through the obstacles. You’re given a generously sized health bar to take hits from hazards and enemies. In my entire playthrough I died maybe once or twice.
On the subject of enemies, they serve more as a nuisance than a threat. While you can take the equivalent of a warhead to the face, they perish after a spin attack or two. You can fire projectiles, but between their low damage and scattering nature it ends up not being worth it compared to the spin. The biggest challenge the enemies provide is that the aforementioned spin attack also swaps your character’s positions, causing me to lose track of who my bottom dude was after encounters.
The game lacks an overall challenge for the vast majority of the play time. Enemies were never overwhelming or problematic and the platforming was so-so at best. Each level features two little critters to free from glass jars, but the rewards for it are, to my knowledge non-existent, so there’s no reason to bother with it. Overall the stages feel sluggish and sticky, the challenges so start and stop that they become boring and just not fun. There is one area that does absolute shine and was the highlight of my playthrough though; the boss fights.
Large contraptions that take animalistic forms, these fights were fast and engaging. In the main levels a lot of the ideas were disjointed and would slow down the game. Here the antagonists instead used them as extensions of themselves by making them accents rather than featured. A solid mixture of melee and ranged combat was also on display. It required you to master both, timing your spin strikes or keeping up a barrage of shots while avoiding attacks.
Visually, these monsters were unique and looked great. A standout was the flying snake like monster that was a glorified platforming section that pressured you to move and hide from laser strikes. This sped up the movement in a way the rest of the game couldn’t. If my time with Monster Hunter has taught me anything, these are the kinds of fights that could have carried the entire game and in my opinion should have been extended and/or expanded upon.
However as good as the bosses were, the lack of background on them, the playable characters, or the world was also a massive disappointment. Knowing more about anything else could have upgraded my time. Knowing why I was embarking on the journey or where the outstanding bosses came from would have been a massive boon. Instead the complete lack of any form of lore does nothing to help make the game stand out.
Ultimately, I find myself disappointed by Gelly Break. I never want a game to leave a sour taste in my mouth, but ultimately I find myself looking like a Warhead wrapper. The lack of color blind options or consideration is admittedly a very personal issue, but there is nothing to help me get past this when I look back.
The best moments of the game were spent fighting unique adversaries that lacked character. The complete absence of lore makes the game easily forgettable. Deep in the bones of Gelly Break there are potentially strong ideas, but the failure to capitalize on them left me just wanting to go back to playing Monster Hunter Generations Ultimate.