Don’t Look Back is a new game on Kongregate based on the story of Orpheus and Eurydice. This Greek myth tells the story of the lovers Orpheus and Eurydice, who are tragically parted when Eurydice dies. Unable to live without her, Orpheus journeys to Hades to bring back his lost love. Hades, the god of the underworld, and his wife Persephone are so moved by Orpheus’ love and his musical gifts, that they agree to let Eurydice follow him out of the underworld… on one condition. He can’t turn around and look at Eurydice until they leave the underworld.
As they are leaving, Orpheus is overcome with love for Eurydice (in some versions he hears her breathing or her footsteps) and glances back. Eurydice fades away and returns to the underworld, never to see him again.
I really love that tragic love story. In college, I majored in classics, which has greatly helped in my career path of being freakishly well-read. Just a few days ago, I reviewed Electric Box, another Kongregate game and really liked it, so I expected the combination of classical myth and Kongregate to be great.
Don’t Look Back is an arcade platformer, which means jumping, shooting and, in my case, dying. I’m not good at jump-on-the-platform games, and since I don’t really like them, I doubt I’ll ever get good. I’m willing to try platformers with cool slants — I made an exception for the cute jumping game Momo — but they’re not really my thing.
The game opens with a blocky figure standing next to a grave, but there’s no text or explanation to tell you what’s going on. Thank goodness I have my classics degree for moments like this! Don’t Look Back was much better about telling you to use the arrows to move or spacebar to shoot than it was about telling the story.
I found that Don’t Look Back had lots of jumping and landing on platforms, but not a lot of pretty things to look at while you’re doing this. Each new screen is a surprise, with creepy crawlies set to attack Orpheus on entry, so I spent a lot of time dying.
The graphics are cutely retro, in gothy colors, but that just wasn’t enough to distract me from the problems I had with gameplay.
I really wanted to see how the developer interpreted this myth, and when I’m going to write a review, I usually play games to the end. But, even sondiering those, I never made it to rescuing Eurydice. After repetive scenes of shooting blocky bugs and hopping over obstacles, I just wasn’t having a good time at all.
I hope that other players really liked Don’t Look Back, and that it inspires a whole trend of classical games! And I hope they’re more fun.
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