Wooden Sen’SeY
Gameplay 8
Graphics 8
Sound 8

Wooden Sen’SeY is perfect for gamers looking for an old school platform challenge but prefer modern visuals. With nine unique and varied levels as well as an addictive Time Attack mode, there is a lot to like about Wooden Sen’SeY. It can all be over a bit soon if you rush the game, but completionists will be busy for ages.

Gameplay: Old school platform action at its best.

Graphics: Beautiful and varied.

Sound: Very fitting tunes for each level

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Wooden Sen’SeY

Developer: Upper Byte Studio | Publisher: Neko Entertainment | Release Date: 2013 | Genre: Platformer / Action / Indie | Website: Official Website | Purchase: Steam

When a nefarious thief steals all the Sey, it is up to village chief Goro to set out in hot pursuit. His quest to retrieve the stolen booze will take him to some pretty exotic locations filled with nasty critters, but he is armed to the teeth and ready for revenge.

The developers describe Wooden Sen’SeY as an action platformer set in a “Japan Steam Rock” universe and while I’m not quite sure what that is, one thing is for sure, it is very pretty. Goro has to fight his way across nine levels and each one is not only beautiful but unique as well. You’ll travel through the countryside with cherry blossoms blowing in the wind while windmills turn merrily in the background, spider infested caverns, a flying boat and even the depths of the ocean using a bathysphere. One of my favorite levels is set against the backdrop of a setting sun which casts everything in silhouette. The variety on offer is pretty impressive; especially considering the game was made by only two people and their trusty coffee machine.

While the gameplay is strictly 2D the visual are rendered in 3D giving the levels and characters some nice depth. The game uses bright, bold colors to bring the levels to life and the water effects are also pretty darn impressive. Because of the 3D models, the game can also zoom in or pull back during certain sections without losing any detail. While I usually prefer high definition 2D graphics in my platform titles I certainly didn’t find Wooden Sen’SeY lacking in the visual department.

Thankfully the game is more than just some pretty visuals as the gameplay is definitely up to scratch as well. Platform games have gotten pretty lenient these days, so it is nice to see that Wooden Sen’SeY packs a decent challenge. The old school gameplay is refreshing, but there is still an abundance of extra lives and checkpoints to prevent things from becoming frustrating. If you lose all your lives its back to the start of the level, but platform veterans shouldn’t have too much trouble.

Goro’s primary weapon is his two axes, but he can also launch them upwards to use as a grappling hook or downwards for a jump boost. You can perform a three hit combo with the axes, but because the range is so short, I found the downward boost attack to be much more effective at dealing with enemies. Along the way you can also collect shurikens and bombs to take down foes. Combat plays a big role in the game, but there are also some precision platforming to be done. Levels are fairly linear and not too big, but reaching the end is just half of the challenge. You are also tasked with finding all the SeY bottles on a level, killing all the enemies and beating the par times of the developers. These goals are completely optional, but add some longevity to the game.

Making your way through the story mode can be done in only a couple of hours if you rush things but this is only half the game. You also have access to a Time Attack mode which features 30 new levels to test your skills. These levels require you to use all your moves to reach the exit in the shortest amount of time possible. Achieving a “Tiny” score is easy enough, but the “Cool” and “Upper” sores require some serious reflexes. This mode also features leaderboards for extra incentive.

While Wooden Sen’SeY can be played using a keyboard and mouse I would recommend using a gamepad for the most precision. The controls are responsive, but some moves like grappling and swinging are just easier to pull off with a gamepad. The audio in the game is very good and each level has its own track that manages to perfectly capture the theme of the level. Goro makes all kinds of grunts and groans while fighting which makes the game sound like a martial arts movie.

The unique theme and excellent visuals ensure that Wooden Sen’SeY stands out in a crowded genre. The developers have also clearly been influenced by classic platform games and some of the levels brought back fond memories of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles on the NES and Earthworm Jim on the SNES. There is even a reference to Another World with matching achievement for one of the levels. The Steam version of the game features some very nice trading cards and of course Steam achievements.

Overall Wooden Sen’SeY is a very polished title that will appeal to platform fans that yearn for some old school gameplay. It is a nice fusion of modern visuals with classic gameplay and the Time Attack mode alone will keep you busy for ages.

System Requirements

  • OS: Windows Vista / 7 / 8 / XP
  • Processor: 2.0 GHz CPU (Dual Core recommended)
  • Memory: 2 GB RAM
  • Graphics: ATi Radeon HD 2400 or NVIDIA GeForce 7600 or better
  • DirectX: Version 9.0c
  • Hard Drive: 700 MB available space
  • Sound Card: DirectX 9.0c compatible
  • OS: Mac OS 10.6 and higher
  • Processor: Intel 2.0 GHz CPU (Dual Core recommended)
  • Memory: 2 GB RAM
  • Graphics: Geforce 6600 or better, Radeon X1300 or better
  • Hard Drive: 700 MB available space
  • OS: Ubuntu 12.04 32-bit (Unity2D session preferred) or Ubuntu 12.10 32-bit
  • Processor: 2.0 GHz CPU (Dual Core recommended)
  • Memory: 2 GB RAM
  • Graphics: OpenGL 2.0 compatible video card with 256 MB shared or dedicated RAM (ATI or NVIDIA)
  • Hard Drive: 700 MB available space

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