IFReviewed by David Whyld on 2006-10-30 05:20
Superhero games have always been a favourite of mine since I was a kid so I warmed to this one immediately. Although, saying that, none of the heroes or the villains presented here, particularly the title characters, were really that super. The Potter was a remarkably poor supervillain and the Mould's sole power is to change his body into different shapes. The main character is even worse off. Bearing the unflattering superhero moniker of Handmade, he can only transform his hand into different shapes. As far as competing with comic book superheroes and villains like Spiderman or Doctor Octopus, the Potter, the Mould and Handmade come off as a poor substitute.
You play the part of a helpless bystander, rescued by the Mould from drowning and gifted with a portion of his powers in the process. You assume the name Handmade (not quite the new Magneto or Wolverine unfortunately) and join forces with the Mould to fight crime. (Although what use a guy who can only change his hand into different shapes is going to be in a fight with genuine supervillains is debatable.) You're joined along the way by a superheroine called Waterfall who can transform her body into water at will and use it to combat crime.
Some of the game is told in flash back, detailing the events which led to Handmade becoming a superhero (the aforementioned drowning) and the death of his parents at the hands of the Potter (the supervillain of the piece), culminating in present day events and eventually heading to the Potter's lair to do battle with the evil tyrant.
While Handmade himself isn't much of a superhero, his nifty trick of changing his hand into different items is a nice one and allows for quite a bit of variety in gameplay. Type MOULD and you're offered a choice of things you might like to mould your hand into. While I'd have preferred a choice to mould my hand into anything I felt like (a machine gun would have been useful in some of the situations), there's a fair bit of choice on offer, sometimes you'll even find yourself with several possibilities for mould shapes, all of which seem equally viable at the time.
Difficulty-wise, The Potter & The Mould is a fairly straightforward game with a few puzzles scattered along the way, but little that should stop people in their tracks for any length of time. There's only one bit I had trouble with - a fight with a shape-shifting imp - that took a while to get past due to the random nature of the imp's attacks. Just as you can change a part of your body into different weapons during the fight, so can the imp (or its whole body actually), thus getting the better of it is often a case of bashing in one command after another and hoping something works. On the plus side, the imp's attacks seem to cause me precious little damage so the fight itself wasn't life-threatening, just a lengthy one to get past.
My main criticism of the game, aside from the weakness of the superhero and -villain characters, was that for the most part, Handmade never really gets to perform much in the way of superhero actions. His one power isn't up to much and most of the time he seems to make his way through the game doing little more than the average guy in the street could do. Even when fighting a couple of supervillains attacking a mall, he defeats them by more mundane means and seldom has to use his powers. For that matter, use of the items you can mould you hand into is sometimes buggy. During the fight with the supervillains at the mall, I was given the option of moulding my hand into a number of weapons, a bat and a whip being two of them, yet trying to hit my enemies with these items never got me anywhere.
The only other negative aspect of the game was that it was a little too linear for my liking. I would have preferred to explore a bit and maybe work my way through the various aspects that make up the game. Still, there's a fair amount of freedom in the areas you can explore so it's hard to claim the game is too linear.
Overall I liked this game and rated it as my favourite in the Spring Thing 2006. I'd look forward to a similar one but, preferably with a superhero who is really super.
7 out of 10