Wooden Sen’SeY is an enjoyable yet forgettable platforming experience
If you’ve followed the indie game scene for a while, you’ll no doubt feel that indie platformers are somewhat coming to a head. Every now and again a clever concept that hasn’t previously been fully explored will emerge, but for the most part, they all seem to tread the same ground, with familiar features and the same silly problems.
Wooden Sen’SeY is no exception to this rule. It doesn’t do a whole lot wrong, with enjoyable enough physics-based platforming and grappling, yet it doesn’t exactly push the boundaries of game design either. What we’re left with is an entertaining yet completely forgettable affair.
The inhabitants of Goro’s village are not happy. They’ve run out of precious SeY juice, and without it they’re all in a bit of a grump. Goro sets out to kill all the nasties things around the village, and grab some sweet, sweet SeY along the way.
Goro has a few tricks up his sleeve. He’s a dab hand at slicing things up with his sword, whether it be boxes, enemies or otherwise. He also has a pretty neat grappling hook that can be used both to swing from ceilings, and to slam the ground, making him fly up into the air.
The grappling hook is by far the best bit of Wooden Sen’SeY. It has a really meaty feel, especially when you use it to vault over an enemy, then slam the hook on top of them. Coupled with swinging your sword, it’s possible to pull off some really cool-looking combos and take down enemies with the slickness of a movie-style ninja.
Along the way, there are SeY bottles to collect and special times and scores to beat. There are also special arena battling bits, where the screen stays in one place and enemies attack you from the left and right. Keeping cool, calm and collected is the key to staying alive.
But as mentioned earlier, Wooden Sen’SeY isn’t exactly enthralling, nor does it provide anything new or exciting. The level design is bog-standard, and doesn’t do anything that interesting. In fact, we were surprised that the game didn’t explore its physics-based roots a little more fully. For the most part, the physics engine isn’t pushed at all. Compare Wooden Sen’SeY to a game like Trine, and you can see that it really isn’t pushing the envelope.
The level design does get a little better part way through the game once it gets into its stride. Not every level is a platformer – a submarine level, for example, works well to quell the dullness. It still fails to ever achieve greatness, unfortunately, and by the time you reach the end of its nine levels, you’ll be more than ready to move on and forget the game ever existed.
That’s not the only issue. The keyboard and mouse controls for the game are atrocious, proving incredibly fiddly no matter how you attempt to alter them in the options menu. The game works far better with controller in your hands, although we still had to mess around in the options to make it feel really solid.
Wooden Sen’SeY is a fairly average indie platformer, then, and one that you won’t regret purchasing, nor will you rave about to your friends. Just keep in mind that if you don’t own a controller, it’s probably not worth bothering with. Grab the demo first and see what you think.