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DRAMA – Game Review

DRAMA answers the question ‘what if I could use all my dead bodies from Limbo as helpful platforms’. Whether intentional or not (and I’m not always sure it is), DRAMA gives you 1000 lives to complete 96 levels of death traps and physics warps. It has some great ideas but its execution doesn’t show them all off.

Hello Limbo my old friend. The level names are slightly odd throughout too.

Firstly, this being a mobile port, there is no full screen mode, sound or control options. Indeed, the lack of control options or help becomes a problem early on. You control Frank, a boy trapped in a dark portal, with the arrow keys on your keyboard. That is until you have to jump off of a rope and then its space bar. Then it turns out DRAMA wants to break the fourth wall and then then mouse comes into play. Here you’ll be rubbing out spikes, drawing platforms or ripping the doors off of the exits. DRAMA’s best asset is that it finds new ways to throw random ideas into how to solve things. The bad news is that the logic is so obtuse at times, you’ll be reaching for the hint feature because the rules change every level.

On the bones of my forbearers I will skip across spike pits freely and cheat the game.

What starts out as a Limbo-like ends up playing more with gravity and rage platforming ideas later on. I was reminded of the excellent ‘And Yet It Moves’ many times as the world twists or gravity switches around you. It is just a shame that the platforming itself is really fuzzy. By this I mean that jumps are inconsistent, wall grabs are hit and miss and often your character gets stuck between platform ledges. Nowhere does this become more frustrating than when you die and your corpse is left on screen for future runs. This means you can often die and use your body as a temporary but very fragile platform. Early on I was spamming this idea to brute force my way through levels and it felt funny but cheap. Whilst games like ‘Life Goes On’ does this superbly, here its too fuzzy as your body breaks down and moves about, sometimes wedging in places where you can’t pull or stand on switches to progress. It’s another level restart and more frustration.

Whilst DRAMA is cheap and offers a good speedrun challenge for those that enjoy doing so (the whole game is timed and live countered), I personally got annoyed at it. All the good ideas are tempered by a game that doesn’t allow the precision I wanted or needed. I also had a couple of save game bugs and keyboard inputs not being registered too. It’s a nice idea – just a bit of a lax execution.

Review copy provided by developer.

Final Thoughts
It's got some great ideas but there is too much drama around its fuzzy controls and collision detection to make this fully enjoyable.
Some interesting puzzle elements that break the fourth wall.
Tries to not repeat the same ideas over and over again.
Platforming and physics are too fuzzy to be precise - especially jumping.
Space bar for leaping off of things feels really awkward.
Save files seem to corrupt easily.
No full screen mode, volume sliders or any options you'd expect from a mobile to PC port.
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