On The Deck, Free Physics Game

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It is my personal opinion that a web game tutorial should never take more than 60 seconds. Any web game that forces those kind enough to attempt to play it through a protracted tutorial phase risks losing its players through sheer boredom before the game has even begun. On The Deck, a physics game has at least ten, yes, ten tutorials before it even deigns to let you play the game. It may have more, I'm not sure, because the tenth 'tutorial' level is so insanely annoying that I'd rather pluck all my body hair out hair by hair than play this game.

It's a pity, because the concept does seem to have some real potential. The idea of the game is that you can click and drag on various floating craft to tip them one way or the other and in doing so, cause various people, objects, gangsters, ship's cats and mines to fall them where they're supposed to. It's the online equivalent of those little plastic mazes you used to hold in your chubby little hands and tilt around until the colored balls fell in the correct holes as a child.

Unfortunately this game appears to be less rewarding than any of those games because the controls are odd in the extreme. Sometimes one is not even sure that one is having any effect at all. On the final 'tutorial' level the ship lists so much that all the people you're supposed to be saving hurl themselves off the top deck and into the ocean below before you really have much of a chance to save them. If you act quickly, you might just be able to toss them off before the waves do.

A certain argument might be made that the game is designed for people who enjoy working with difficult, temperamental physics situations. After all, though the game is hard, its probably not as hard as surviving for ten minutes in frigid Arctic waters, so I suppose that is something in its favor.

Graphically it's an encouraging piece of work. Indeed, if it weren't for the graphics promising something like a well developed, well tested game, one would probably abandon this game long before attempting to play it at all. Indeed, I'm left wondering if this game was ever played by its creator, let alone any beta testers. There are allegedly 58 different levels to play through, but I'm pretty certain that the last 40 of these are probably just full of Communist propaganda and pictures of elves.

Don't bother playing On The Deck

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