Home > Platformer, Xbox Indie > The Impossible Game [REVIEW]

The Impossible Game [REVIEW]

The Impossible Game: released November 23rd, 2009
Developer:  FlukeDude
Platforms: Xbox Live Indie Game Marketplace

Not capable of being accomplished;
Unacceptable; Intolerable;
Extremely difficult to deal with or tolerate.

All of these definitions and then some are more than a little appropriate when describing the aptly titled, The Impossible Game. It’s risky business naming your game something as foreboding as “impossible,” but I can confirm by way of first-hand experience that while it may not truly be impossible, for many it will certainly seem that way as this game more than earns its title. I’ll also be lumping the level pack in with this review since they’re all essentially the same game.

In The Impossible Game, you play as the little orange square that could. He is on a quest to journey across some pretty strange lands; lands filled with dangers such as random drop offs, spikes, platforms appearing out of nowhere, and a case of a bipolar gravitational pull. But, despite the certainty that he can, and will, die hundreds upon hundreds of times, he just never gives up. Now that’s determination.

Of course, whether or not you the player can match that determination, is another case entirely. Our little orange friend is more than content to continue respawning, trying over and over again to make it to the coveted stairway at the end of the level, but what about you? How many times can you miss that hair-trigger jump without crushing your controller between your fingers? How many times can you forget to let off the jump and just slide off that ledge before you starting kick-punching the skulls of innocent kittens? These are the questions you’ll need to consider as you contemplate whether or not you’re going to commit to taking on The Impossible Game.

I personally have an affinity for challenging platformers, so I stuck it out and spent hours upon hours, trial and erroring my way through each one of the levels presented in these games, and I loved every moment of it. The sense of satisfaction I got from accomplishing these feats is infinitely more rewarding than almost anything gaming has had to offer me in the last decade. But that’s me. I love the challenge inherent in these titles, but as I understand it, some people may hit attempt fourty or so and decide they’re better off taking a bath in a tub full of broken glass. Yes, it can be that frustrating.


The gameplay is simple enough. There is only one button command, assigned to the ‘A’ button, for jumping. You always move along at the same speed, your jumps are always the exact same height and distance, and nothing ever changes. Ever. You travel along at a set speed, moving along the ground of the level until you’re confronted with various obstacles such as a series of platforms to jump across, a set of spikes to leap over, or a complex series of jumps and ledges you’ll need to navigate your way through. So being as the game is so simple, what makes it so hard?

It’s the precision timing and extreme focus required in order to actually survive. The levels usually start off fairly simple, but they get progressively more hectic and require various levels of concentration to pick apart where you need to jump, and when. If your timing is just a hair off, you will get burned. You have to be spot on, and have to be able to feel your way through these trials. This may sound somewhat cheesy, but it’s true.

The music is a huge part of what makes this game so addicting. I know a lot of people who were determined to make it through the game just to hear the rest of the songs play, because they’re just that fantastic. They start off a little slower, but get progressively more intense as the level moves on. If you die however, not only will our orange, boxy buddy have to start over, but so too will that wonderful, entrancing beat we’ve been truckin along to.

And when I say you’ll need to feel your way through a level, I mean that in the sense that the music will be your guide to figuring out your patterns. The levels are set up in a way that their flow matches up with the flow of the song, so you’ll know when you hear certain beats or a certain drop, that’s your queue to do whatever strategy it is that fits in at that moment. The music is integral to this game not just because of how it draws you in, or because of how it enhances the fun, but also because it acts as another aspect of the gameplay.

Another feature of the game that some people may be interested in is the “practice mode.” Basically, at any time during the level you have the option of hitting ‘Y’ to place a flag, and when you die, you will respawn wherever you placed your last flag, as oppose to all the way back at the beginning. It can be a useful tool for learning the later parts of the levels without having to replay the entire beginning over and over again, but while it makes things a great deal easier to complete, it also does away with the fantastic music that usually accompanies your journey and replaces it with a softer, duller beat, which is appropriately tame compared to the original tracks. Oh, and you also won’t be able to earn the completion medals for each level if you do it in practice mode. Lack of bragging rights is kind of a huge deal in a game like this.


The visuals of this game are also quite simple, but that’s definitely a good thing. Colors are plain and help to differentiate background from obstacle, and the shapes are all simple. Nothing is ever too cluttered or confusing to navigate. Once you understand the ebb and flow of the obstacles, it’s all a matter of learning the patterns and mastering your own hand eye coordination.

Some people have called this game unfair in its difficulty, but many people have actually accomplished the task of completing these levels. It’s all up to you. How willing are you to put up with the frustration of constant failure? How determined are you to accomplish the impossible? Can you accept the challenge? This game is only for the hardcore; for the people who want a challenge, who want to feel a sense of accomplishment for having done something that not everybody can actually do. If you don’t think you can take the heat, then run. Run far, far away and don’t ever look back. This game can get tough, and your appreciation for tough games is what will ultimately determine the amount of fun you’ll end up having with The Impossible Game.

Punishing difficulty aside, the music is bumpin, and the sense of accomplishment is like nothing you’ll find in almost any game out these days. If you possess the cojones necessary to challenge a game as taxing and brutal as The Impossible Game, you will find in it a worthy opponent. And, as with many indie titles on XBL, The Impossible Game is only one dollar, and so is the additional level pack which contains levels two and three. Two dollars for one of the most rewarding games I’ve played in the past decade, as well as a kick ass soundtrack to boot? What’s not to love?

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