Counterweight Kate (C64)

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Summary

A sickly cute and charming presentation that hides a frustratingly challenging game. Deserves your attention.

Overall
70%
70%
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User Review
4.33 (3 votes)

Do you like to play challenging platformers wrapped up in a charming and cute presentation? Well, Alexander Martinelle & Cogitare Computing have the game just for you in the guise of Counterweight Kate.

You take on the role of Kate who wakes up one night to find that her toys have come alive and found themselves in a bit of trouble. So, it’s up to you to put on your bike helmet and set off to save them across the 12 challenging levels, bouncing off various items, flipping switches, and using see-saws to your advantage. 

From the outset, Counterweight Kate stands out as a good-looking game, featuring bright multi colours and adorably defined characters. The title screen is sickly cute, with the multiple versions of Kate looking like they are having the time of their lives jumping up and down, hiding the challenge that lies beyond.

When I first started playing Counterweight Kate, I was expecting the game to be your typical platforming game with a few puzzles thrown in to keep things interesting. My initial attempts at playing the game resulted in immediate failure and confusion as to the very limited progression I was making.  I remembered Martinelle saying the game was challenging but this was proving to be ridiculous I thought.

After a bit of persistence, I was able to safely jump up a couple of platforms, and flip my first switch to see Kate get flung across the screen to another platform and I quickly came to a realization that timing, pattern memory and quick responses are critical to progressing through Counterweight Kate with just the three lives at your disposal. 

There is a great deal of variation in each of the 12 levels that the game has to offer with every vertical platform jumping level being intersected by a boss battle mini game to break up the game play style, with good effect. The main character and background movement is smooth, and you can really appreciate the technical coding skill involved with making Counterweight Kate all come together.

The music soundtrack is superb., the tunes pumping out of your speaking when playing Counterweight Kate are so good that it is on par, if not exceeds, the music found in Sam’s Journey.

As good as Counterweight Kate looks, sounds and moves, the game’s difficulty setting is set very high, to its own detriment. Vertical platform jumping levels do require specific timing of moves, jumps and falls which we result in a high level of frustration and befuddlement. Early gamer feedback about the game’s difficulty compelled Martinelle to put up walkthrough videos showing how to complete each level. Upon reviewing these videos, you will notice that the vertical platform jumping levels will typically take less than a minute to complete once you know the right path and get your timing right and that perhaps the reason behind the game difficulty is to prolong the gaming experience. The difficulty level drops down to a reasonable level during the boss battle mini game levels and can be completed without following a specific linear path. As a result, the mini games are enjoyable to play.

Counterweight Kate does a lot of things right. It is a very well-presented product that deserves the C64 community’s attention. Counterweight Kate could have achieved great game status, but the difficulty and linearity of some of its game design pushes it down to be just a good game. I would be very eager to see Martinelle build upon his impressive C64 debut with a game of a similar premise but with a multi-dimensional approach to game design applied throughout the game, not just the mini game levels.

Game Credits
Programming, Graphics, Sound buy Alexander Martinelle.

Game Link
Itch.Io

Video Link

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