140 calls back to the golden age of Onemorelevel, Addicting Games, and the online flash game. As I grew up in middle and high school, I would always look forward to going to the computer lab and playing the newest flash game like Crush the Castle or Line Rider. Wonderfully enough, 140 feels like a direct revival of those simple and innovative games that many of us enjoyed playing in our younger years. With bold blasts of color and a deep electronic soundtrack, 140 is a fantastic bite-sized platformer for nearly anyone to enjoy.
Upon first look, 140 is a incredibly simplistic style of game both in gameplay and design. While simplicity would detract from most other games, in 140 it shows the focused vision that governed its creation. At nearly every turn the player is greeted with a spectrum of color and sound that constantly blossoms and evolves into ever more complex rhythms and palettes. As the player traverses through the different environments they are given the simple task of finding a key and placing that key in the respective lock. With each unlock, the game will give you a new color palette, add in a few more beats to the background music, and will allow you to move into a new area. All of the objects in 140 move and change based on different beats in the background music, often allowing the player to listen to the music for audio cues and time the various jumps needed to continue on. Some of these objects only activate after the second lock is broken and they can do anything from appear and disappear to the music, to simply floating along in a predictable pattern. As the player nears the end of the level 140 will shift tone into a few different boss fights that are all unique and refreshing.
Throughout the past few weeks I have been going through my Pile of Shame (or the massive amount of unplayed games that I own but have never played), which now numbers in the 100s, and I really expected this game to be terrible. Not necessarily for any concrete reason other than the assumption that most of the games in my backlog are all horrible, unfinished, and forgotten messes. However, 140 managed to surprise me with how polished and unique the core of the game truly was. I loved making my way through the differently colored levels and contributing to the encompassing music by jumping from platform to platform and dodging the static, which acts as the antagonist of the game. The peak of the 140 is achieved in each of the different boss fights, which force you to dodge, jump, or shoot your way out of trouble. Each boss combines the different aspects of the level they guard to build upon the different things you have learned, but each boss also is completely different in the same way that the levels are all different. One boss in particular has you dodging arrows to a beat, but the more arrows you dodge the harder the game gets. This continues until you have less than a second to pick the correct direction while compensating for mirrored controls and random shifts in direction.
While not very long, or very difficult, 140 is a great little game that pretty much anyone can play. The boss fights can get difficult, especially the last one, and some of the different levels have parts that are really annoying and challenging; but for the most part I came away with a profound sense of accomplishment and awe when I finished each level. Each time you finish a level and are graced with a beautiful menagerie of colors and sounds you will be glad you played 140.