Ayyy, official Jatsko review, written on here because
a) The Sub10 review I wrote on Tumblr translated spacing weirdly when Mateusz put it on his website, and
b) Increased forum traffic
To round up 2016, a year which has had the world see many issues, events, and emotions tossed into the air (and, unfortunately, too many bodies as well), maybe this game was needed to help bring everyone back "down to Earth".
Mission to Earth is the latest and last game in the "Solar System" series by Mateusz Skutnik, which features a little hazmat suit with arms and legs that runs, flies, and jumps its way between all the planets of the solar system purely to explore, collect space boogers, and to test its capabilities against the cold expansive void. The series is quite the fun little time to spend, offering a wide range of game mechanics that keeps you on your toes as you try out different missions.
However, for the series finale Skutnik decides to go back to the platformer mechanic featured in the first installment "Mission to Mars", a mechanic which I personally enjoy the most since I was raised on games such as Super Mario 63, Fancy Pants Adventures, and Dot Action 2.
So yeah, it's got that mechanic, which flows beautifully in the seemingly flawless and perfectly smooth GameMaker engine. It's really growing on me. No lag at all. Makes me wonder when the developer's critically acclaimed games from the series known as "Submachine" and "Daymare Town" will get ported over from Flash to GM...all the more reason to support Mateusz on Patreon, methinks...
Anyways, I'll cut the wishful thinking and summarize this game's highest points (a pun which will make itself clear later) in one question:
"Can I hang the levels on a wall in my house?"
As in, the level design is absolutely BEAUTIFUL. A bright but somehow reserved color scheme illuminates red and teal bricks that construct dizzying towers and ornate walls and pillars, which our hero has to traverse at great heights (there's the pun catch) to collect space boogers and activate teleporters to carry the traveler to the next level. Some simple-in-usage-but-complex-in-visual-design switches and levers push and pull different floating elements in the stage, which are designed with a mixture of wood and stone that makes me think of an underground vault with 32 separate chambers...filled with sand...and the Olmec-style heads only add to that vision. However the colors are not nearly as subdued as that of a Submachine spinoff game; rest assured, we are playing a game from the more lighthearted side of Skutnik's creative processes. The night sky in the background, the dangling and swinging vines and plants, everything works together to create a colorful but wild terrain.
By the way, the music track helps a lot too. The track screams "EXPLORATION" in its most basic and conveyable form, fitting the atmosphere of an Earth that's as alien to our hero as it may be to us, removed from advanced civilizations and things that make us feel comfortable and lazy. Much appreciated.
As usual when it comes to games by Mateusz Skutnik, it's important that a unique environment is created, and it's executed very well. It's just pure fun, appropriate for an end-of-the-year release. Not to mention that it's rounded off a series which has become a living meme among community members in its completion, though nothing to rival the anticipation of releases from Valve. It's a relief that's easy to pick up and definitely worth a couple playthroughs if you have 20 minutes to spare.
And the last room makes sure you reap the rewards of your hero's hard work.
If you would like to help Mateusz Skutnik out in making more fun games, visit his Patreon and consider supporting him. Even little games like this, especially at this stage in his development with Game Maker, are crucial to bigger successes down the road.