Sam's Journey (Knights of Bytes) €19.99 (digital) / €45.00+ (physical)
Game title: Sam's Journey
Game description: Sam’s Journey sees you play the role of Sam who wakes up in the middle of the night to investigate noise coming from his wardrobe when he is all of a sudden pulled in by a giant claw, waking up in a strange new world. Your task is to guide Sam through 30 levels across 3 world maps to help him find his way back home. The game levels are littered with a vast array of enemies who are all set on stopping Sam from continuing his journey across the worlds. You will need to utilise switches, trampolines, hidden passages, owls and collect keys to make progress through the various levels and figuring out how to use all of these items in the right place or right way provides the main challenge within the game. Special costumes can be picked up throughout the worlds which change Sam’s appearance and give him special capabilities. Pirate Sam can attack enemies with his cutlass, Ninja Sam can cling to walls, while Disco Sam can do a spinning twist that allows him to stay in the air longer during jumps. Costumes are also useful in that they provide a layer of protection from enemies, so that lives are not lost after just one hit (think Sir Arthur’s armour in Ghost’n’Goblins). However, Sam can only wear one costume at a time, so choices need to be made as to whether you swap your existing costume whenever you come across another. In addition to trying to get Sam back to safety, the game also contains collectible diamonds, coins and trophies as an additional challenge to collect them all with the goal of obtaining an overall score of 100%. This is not an easy task as the games features a number secret sections that are not necessarily hard to unveil but they are not so obvious and will require you to be somewhat inquisitive.
Production - 96%
Fun - 85%
Depth - 96%
To refer to Sam’s Journey as a good game would be an understatement. The overall presentation and gameplay is nothing short of wonderful. Sam’s Journey features smooth and fast free-directional scrolling that overwhelms the visual and audio senses with with spectacular colour and detail, accompanied with a bouncy soundtrack that varies based on the game setting location.
Moving Sam around his new world is a pleasure. Sam is somewhat versatile with his ability to run, jump, climb, swim and pick up large items to throw at enemies. The enemies are very well defined and all having differing movements or behaviours which means that eliminating them will often require different approaches. The inclusion of the costume pickup is a really clever feature of the game that introduces strategy element in so far as trying to determine the best costume to tackle a boss battle or a puzzle.
As Sam’s Journey contains over 30 hours of challenging gameplay, I am thankful that the game features checkpoints placed throughout all the levels, which allows the game to be played and completed over multiple gaming sessions but I do wish that Sam had more than on life as it can get frustrating trying to overcome some sections and having to go back to checkpoints rather than continuing from where you died. I would also prefer that checkpoints were not triggered automatically as there are times through out the game where I did not want to restart from certain points in the event that Sam ‘lost’ his life. A similar criticism can be applied with walking past costumes, I would have preferred to have been given the choice to accept a new costume rather than have it automatically applied.
Minor issues aside, Sam’s Journey is a technical marvel that delivers equally when it comes to gameplay. The Knights of Bytes have displayed their talent and passion to deliver the best C64 game in 25 years and a game that I will most likely revisit many times again.
It is not a perfect game and I am not exactly a fan for the game console style of play that influences the game but it does set a high benchmark for all future games developed for the C64 and should be enjoyed by all C64 gamers alike.
User Review( votes)
- High quality graphics with smooth multi-directional scrolling
- Great variation in music tracks to suit the level theme
- Over 30 hours of gameplay
- Secret areas
- Costumes power ups must be used if you walk past them
- Only one life & continuing from checkpoints may frustrate
- Would benefit with a stronger intro and cutscenes
Video Link Included