Review by: phaedrus, 2005-09-23
[b]Full Disclosure: The company that manufactured this equipment provided it free of charge to RC.com and RC.com then provided it as compensation to the reviewer for his or her review. This company does not currently advertise on RC.com.[/b]
For those long days in the office (with or without anything to do), [url=http://www.asanapackworks.com]Asana[/url] has created the perfect way to kill some time with Gunther’s Big Day, a bouldering video game. It has some pretty low-tech requirements and it doesn’t even download onto your computer (so the boss can’t catch you), making it perfect for almost any computer -- just pop it in and play. The game is made for both PC and Mac, so you don’t have any excuse not to own one.
Gunther’s Big Day features three different bouldering areas (desert, forest, and alpine) as well as slacklining and a “grimper” game (based on the Grimper product sold by Asana). Gunther himself is [b]NOT[/b] your stereotypical boulderer; that is to say, he’s not a slim, muscular, beanie-wearing teenager. In fact, he’s an old, fat, bearded guy who looks like he’d be found on some long trad climb instead of boppin' around in a VW Bus cranking out the V’s. Of course, that’s part of what makes this game so funny.
The graphics are average to good for a flash game. The only real problem is that you can’t really see some of the smaller holds; you pretty much have to guess. The sequences themselves get pretty tricky… you can’t just “wing it” on some of the sequences like you would in real life. The controls are a really nice feature of the game since Asana followed the “Keep It Simple, Stupid” philosophy with their layout. For the climbing, all you use are the arrow keys and the space bar. (The slacklining sequences are a bit more involved.) The music is okay, but don’t look for any techno hits here. The sound effects are funny, with a “D’oh!” coming out of Gunther’s mouth with every fall.
The game itself is super addicting, so beware. Definitely don’t put this in during your coffee break thinking you’ll be done in 15 minutes… you’ll end up playing right through lunch and that big meeting where you were [i]supposed[/i] to be getting a raise for your productivity. (Which will go straight down the tubes once you start playing this game.) It features 30 problems ranging from V1 to V14. As the problems become more difficult, they become more realistic, with things like how long you can hang on a hold, falling off slopers, etc. The climbs are challenging; expect to spend a decent amount of time on the harder problems (*HINT HINT* It took our resident video game freak 150 attempts on “one stupid problem.”) And don’t think you can cheat. Passwords are required for problems rated V5 and higher. The desert area was overall our favorite of the three; the alpine sections start at V5 and have the hardest sequences.
The slacklining sequences are pretty cool. You get to walk Gunther across the line and he even can do tricks. Of course, Gunther being the kind of guy he is, he manages to rack himself nicely on the way down for those walks and tricks that didn’t quite work. (“D’oh!”)
The Grimper game was our least favorite part of the game. It’s not horrible, but it’s not as much of a challenge or as much fun as the bouldering and slacklining are. However, this is made up for by the outtakes found in the bouldering section. They are VERY funny and definitely worth watching more than once.
The $19.95 price tag is a little steep. We thought $15 was probably a better price for the game, but a comp of some sort would be a pretty cool addition, especially if you could play online and earn prizes or money to buy new stuff, making it worth the $20 or even more.
Gunther's Big Day requires Windows 2000 or higher for PC or Macintosh 9.3 or higher, Pentium III or better, 64 MB of free RAM, 15 MB of hard drive space, speakers, a mouse, keyboard, and a screen resolution of 800 x 600 with 16-bit color.
You know you want to by it. Go with Gunther on his Big Day!