140 Review – PlayStation 4
+ Unique Experience
+ Well-designed mix of platforming and music
+ Excellent boss battles
- Really, really short
I apologize in advance for the brevity of this review, but in truth, this is perhaps the best way to evaluate a game such as 140. Developed by Jeppe Carlsen of Limbo fame, 140 is an incredibly brief experience, but one that intrigues and infuriates, but also inspires.
Describing 140 as a platformer is doing it a disservice, as its audio design is at least as important as the movement and jumping. The entirety of 140 is designed around a soundtrack of 140 beats per minute, with blocks appearing and disappearing in time to the music, and puzzles requiring more of a sense of rhythm then a sense of timing. Although you are able to brute-force a few of the puzzles by sheer force of luck, you’ll find that unless you’re able to hone in on the beat of the soundtrack, you’ll have difficulty beating some of the later obstacles, though none of the puzzles feel inherently unfair.
There’s no story to speak of in 140, and though the game doesn’t particularly suffer because of this, other titles like Thomas was Alone show how adding a little bit of character to otherwise unremarkable objects can add a lot of depth to a gaming experience. 140 does start to feel a bit repetitive towards the end of its runtime, and for a game where a run-through takes a little over an hour, that’s a bit worrying. A little investment in what you’re doing would go some way to alleviating this issue, but as it is, players are left to own ideas of what’s going on and why.
The most enjoyable sections of 140 are the end of section ‘boss’ battles, and it’s a shame that there are only three of them within the game. From Asteroids-esque blasting to Simon Says pattern recognition, these particular parts of the game will push your mind close to breaking point, and there’s a genuine sense of achievement once you get past them.
I’ve read a number of reviews that have described games as ‘beatable in a couple of sessions’ or ‘won’t take you longer than a weekend’. 140 is an even shorter experience than those examples. I completed my first playthrough of the game in under an hour and a half, and though a mirror mode is unlocked upon initial completion, that’s pretty much all that’s on offer. Saying that, I did greatly enjoy the short amount of time I spent with the game, and would gladly go back and play through it again at a later date. 140 is a tight, well-designed experience, and there aren’t too many experiences like it outside of the Guitar Hero and Rock Band titles. It’s worth a shot if you’re looking for something different, but don’t expect it to fill a whole evening of gaming.