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The Miffets

 

 

SCORE: 74

 

The Miffets 

 

Exactly what is a Miffet you ask? Is it some sort of fuzzy winter footwear? Or perhaps a new French breakfast pastry? No my friend, the Miffets are something else entirely. Not to be confused with the 90’s Canadian Pop/Rock Band of a similar name, the Miffets are the loveable inhabitants of the imaginatively named world of Miffet Land. Miffet Land has been besieged by the minions of the evil Jimbean, a Miffet gone rogue, and you have been tasked to undo what he’s done by restoring all of the books of the Bible to their rightful place in the Heart Temple.

The Miffets was produced independently by Jenito, so under no circumstances should you expect to find cutting edge graphics in this game. Jenito takes a different approach by using very simple graphics and maximizing their usage. The Miffets is an overtly Christian game and makes no attempt to disguise this fact. Crosses and signs featuring Bible verses are prominently displayed throughout the game making good use of the artwork to convey God’s truth. Most of the level design consists of square blocks stacked upon one another. The early levels of the game make use of bright colors and whimsical design. The cartoon like appearance of trees and bushes makes for an inviting environment. Some later levels of the game are darker with the colors becoming muted and the images appearing less playful and more sinister. As you progress, the artwork lightens the mood again until you reach your final destination to face the Jimbean the evil Miffet misfit. Though the graphics are very simple, they are used to the best of their potential. Enemies are dispatched in a burst of little stars making a non-violent end to your adversaries. Your Miffet is equipped with his trusty TruRay which fires small white pellets. No weapon is visible, so parents need not be concerned with imagery of guns and so on.

 The background music in the game is better than I expected it would be. However having said that, the music has no consistent theme throughout the game and can be quite repetitive. The music alternates only between a couple of songs in each area. Due to the difficult nature of this game, you will find yourself repeating levels multiple times thus listening to the same two songs over and over until you are able to fight your way through the series of levels to the next area. If their music were somewhat less prominent, it would likely ease the monotony. The sound effects are minimal but fitting for the game. Your Miffet occasionally “speaks”, although the words are unintelligible and little more than odd grunts or giggles. Enemies give little feedback when fired upon and disappear with a slight groan.

 The Miffets features no apparent unlockable content or incentives to replay the game. Based upon my experience with the game, one play through will be sufficient for most gamers. Again, due to the difficulty of the game, as well as some other things we will cover later on, players will be required to repeatedly play through levels giving them plenty of exposure to each area. The levels are not timed and the game does not keep score. This creates little motivation to replay the game.

As for the gameplay of the Miffets, for better or worse, players are in for a serious challenge. I will begin by saying that for creatures with no legs Miffets are remarkably agile. I very much enjoy the way you can control your Miffet while he’s in mid-air giving you a satisfying feeling of control. The game does a wonderful job of educating players on the books of the Bible. Players will play through 66 levels named after each book of the Bible. Helpful Miffets along the way will offer tidbits of information on each book and encourage players to take time to read the Bible. On the downside of things, the level designs are extremely confusing and in some cases appear poorly thought out. It is my impression that the game designer intended the levels to be designed this way to present a challenge; unfortunately this is more maddening than challenging. On several occasions I found myself stuck with no possible way out other than restarting the level. This is even more irritating when it happens to be in an area where you were supposed to go. Each level requires you to collect two crosses which represent one book of the Bible. Multiple times I found that if I collected one cross before the other I would be stuck in an inescapable pit with no means of getting out to collect the second cross. Again, restarting the level was the only way out. The next time around I would collect the opposite cross first and then proceeded to the other. It is quite frustrating for the player to become stuck like this in a game. Another odd thing about this game’s design is the fact that when you complete a level you are returned to the main menu. From here you must choose the Start Game option, pick your data file, and then choose the next level to continue gameplay. This is a bizarre design choice to me as it completely takes the player out of the game experience. This same tedious process is necessary when your Miffet jumps off of a cliff or is terminated by the enemy. Your TruRay is a useful weapon, but does not function unless you are completely turned facing to the left or right. The vast majority of platform games will simply flip your character to face left or right using the arrow keys. Your Miffet will not turn so easily. You must complete a 180 degree turn in order to face left or right. This is not an instantaneous flip and due to the simple appearance of your Miffet it is difficult to see which way he is facing. Players will find that this puts them in a perilous position when trying to fight an enemy since they cannot fire until they are completely faced in one direction.  

 This game excels at using Christian values to tell the story of the Miffets. Miffets are in fact a metaphor.  I won’t spoil it for you, but if you manage to play all the way through to the end, Jenito will wrap the story up nicely. There are a few odd deviations in the story line. Some Miffets make attempts at humor that are just plain weird. From commenting on indigestion caused by a bad omelet to complaining about speeding tickets, the Miffet sense of humor was lost on me. These side-line comments had no relevance to the game and just seemed out of place. The game also makes mention of demons and sorcerers, but the onscreen representation of these foes are nothing to cause concern for parents. If you are looking for a game that reflects a Godly world view, the Miffets certainly accomplishes this. Sadly this game is marred by extreme difficulty and poor level design. The game attempts to teach patience and perseverance, but in actuality causes irritation and anguish as you attempt the play through it. I very much like the premise of this game and would like to see a future installment with more refined gameplay and level design.
- Roger

 

Graphics: 83%
Sound: 77%
Replay/Extras: 70%
Gameplay: 48%
Family Friendly Factor: 90%
System: Personal Computer
Publisher: Jenito
Rating: 'NR' for Not Rated

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Roger@familyfriendlygaming.com