It is a rare thing to see on the computer nowadays, an action-packed arcade platformer that forms a challenge for even experienced gamers and looks like a crossing between a cartoon and a video game; especially when they don't give an attempt for a story and base themselves purely on challenge and fun. Risky Woods is one of these rarities. Don't let the looks of this game distract you too much, for you'll have to pay close attention to what happens around you.
In Risky Woods you take the role of a young adventurer, seeking to free monks who are confined within stone statues. You'll have to cross the land in order to free them all. This is all easier said than done. Each level will have enough obstacles to keep you busy for quite awhile. There's the endlessly respawning enemies closing in from both sides, and sometimes from above as well. As if that's not enough yet, you will have to look for eye keys in order to open up the eye pillars that block your path. There are also explosive, fake monk-statues scattered across the land with the sole purpose of misleading you. To top it all off, each level has its time limit too. So, to free these monks will prove quite a challenge.
The game itself looks like a perfect blend of cartoony graphics and traditional game graphics. Its bright colors and well-drawn sprites are bound to keep you to the game, especially as each level looks different, so there's always something new to explore and new things to see.
There isn't really any music in the game, but there are a lot of sound effects, which are so recognizable that they are a great aid in reacting in time towards certain situations. This doesn't mean they sound realistical, though. It has the quality of the digital sound from the early nineties but is especially well-done.
The controls are so self-explanatory that even a monkey would be able to play the game. All you have to do is use the cursors and the spacebar, just like in those good old arcade games. The rest of the gameplay is mostly timing. Jump against an enemy and you'll drop down like a brick, so time your moves well, or you won't live to see the end of the game.
Although the game can be insanely difficult, there is something that will definitely help you out. At the end of a level, you can encounter a shop, in which you can buy new weapons, replenish your energy or power up your current weapon. Along with this, you don't immediately lose a life, but can lose some coins, or some energy and be placed a bit back in the level. You can also collect powerups and items that refill your lifebar. These're scattered around the levels in chests. Some are good, some can make things even harder, like turning the screen upside-down. Yet others are a blend of good and bad, like the potions that make you fall asleep, restoring some energy, but losing some time and, if enemies run into you, also your coins.
All in all, Risky Woods is an odd game. It looks awesome and it plays awesome, but it's terribly, terribly hard. Then again, the game just wouldn't be half as much fun if it were easier. It's definitely worth checking out, if not for the game itself, then at least for this peculiarity.
The initial screen will present a copy protection problem, but all you need do is hit the spacebar where the arrow points to the first object and you're in.
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