IndieTrials
qrth-phyl
Developed by hermitgames
Released on September 9th 2012
Sold on XBLIG for 80 MSP
Review details
Reviewed on September 10th 2012 by Martin Caine
First impressions
The box art for qrth-phyl is very minimalist and doesn't really give much away about the theme of the game. Upon loading you are quickly presented with a neat splash screen and the game menu pops up. This has a retro feel but also feels very responsive and pretty cool. First impressions are good but there's still not much indication as to what the game is about.
Trial experience
Upon starting the game you're presented to a view of a snake turning in to a bright yellow space bound snake which flies on to the grid. It's little touches like this that really make games feel more immersive and when control is handed over to the player it's very easy to get straight in to the action.

You're controlling the snake on a 2D grid which is floating around in space (using a cool effect where each grid panel is independently moving around ever so slightly) and I found after dying the first time that it wasn't too hard collecting all the little glowing orbs. I then figured out I could direct my snake off the edge of the grid and it flipped around so I was on the back-side. I quickly died after I got zapped by a laser beam though! After collecting all the glowing orbs I found I could influence the colour of tiles on the grid, when I lit up a ring of tiles the game shifted in to a full 3D view where I was flying my snake around in 3D.

In this mode you hit the lit-up nodes and are presented with some information on the development and history of the Snake style gameplay. I have to admit after hitting a few nodes I did wonder what I was meant to be doing and was flying around with no real aim. So I quit the game and returned to the menu to see if I had missed something, but no.. I read the 'notes' on the game and it claimed to be a game/documentary so I started up another new game. I proceeded to eat up the orbs and enter documentary mode again, flew around for a minute or two and then thought I'd head back to the grid... then the next level started. I was still in full 3D mode but was contained within a large cube, this was pretty cool flying round in 3D and collecting the orbs but my time was quickly up and the trial ended.
Overall thoughts
Overall the quality of the game really shines through and while I only got to play a very small portion of the game I could probably start the trial and get much further the next time knowing that I have to head back to the grid after viewing the documentary parts! The game is Snake in 3D but built with more polish and attention to detail than any other Snake game I've played in the past! The documentary parts are also very well presented and move with the Snake while flying around in 3D space. It's an interesting touch adding that to a game like this and is something I think would only be of real interest to developers and not so much to the general consumer audience.
Rating