How I feel about Canvas Curse

I used to really, really like playing Canvas Curse. It was a brilliant platformer, a glowing ball of superb, uncynical fun. The innovative mechanics work perfectly, and they are bolstered by spot-on level design, wonderful art direction, and fantastic music. It was joy to behold.

Then, a few days ago, I finished it. The last few levels were pretty tough, as was the end boss, and it sometimes got frustrating, but I plowed through. Little did I know that the real game had yet to begin.

You see, when I finished the game once, it showed my completion percentage at 10%. Unacceptable. To finish the game for real, I have to:

  • Find the medal hidden in every level.
  • Beat every single level with each of the four unlockable characters.
  • Take the top prize in all of the time trial and line trial challenges in Rainbow Run.
  • Score top marks in all of the subgames.
  • Trade the medals I earn at this for all of the unlockables, which include playable characters and new levels, among other things.

So the real test has begun. It started off ok, and I quickly found that I loved the game even more; in one full playthrough, I hadn’t gotten hooked but I sure was after ten minutes of this.

But today, something happened. The challenges started getting hard. Like, really, really hard. To the point that I can’t play for more than a few minutes without having to fight off my “throw controller” reflex, which wouldn’t be good for my DS.

I don’t like playing Canvas Curse anymore. I hate it, but I love it, and I still love the game itself. I’m going to get to 100%, trust me on that, but the devotion I have to this task in spite of adversity is downright disturbing. I used to play for an hour or an hour and a half at a time, sometimes even more, leisurely soaking in what the game has to offer. Now I play for mere minutes (if I make it a full ten, I’m lucky), but I also only wait minutes between play sessions. I constantly work myself into a frenzy of frustration, put the DS away, swear I’m done for the night… and repeat the whole process ten minutes later. What was once a calm, Katamari Damacy-like affair has become a trial, in which I often seem to be struggling against the gods themselves in an effort to get one more virtual medal. How far I have fallen.

Kudos to you, Nintendo, for creating two experiences previously unknown to me. I love this game. I hate this game.

I love this game.

Yeah, I pretty much never bother to get any of the extra stuff in a game, but that 10% is just so insulting.

Yep, loved the game, am now frustrated by the bonus challenges. 30-second micro sessions of rage are all it has left. The dream of a perfect save is pretty much gone.

I had a similar affair with N. It’s a beautiful, brilliant, endlessly satisfying game. It’s also nearly impossible.

I’ve completed about a hundred levels of it, but I’m nowhere near, nowhere near finishing the game. I’ve only completed one of the ten chapters all the way through (and then lost my progress in a hard-disc wipe). I came very close to completing a second, but towards the end it just got wildly frustrating. It was harder, but I wasn’t slowing down - I’d still get through a level in the same time, I’d just go into this trance of fury - play the level to the latest choke point, die, physically hit something, restart and try again. N makes restarting super-quick, so I was doing this five times a minute.

I was on the very last level when I realised I had to stop or I’d die of rage. I deleted the game and vowed never to go back to it, but have now inevitably changed my mind. You just have to accept when you’re not good enough to do something, and stop stretching yourself to the point when you’re not enjoying the game.