Talent Not Included is the type of platformer we’d get if Super Meat Boy, Trine, and Super Mario 3 dripped their creative juices into a game. Set in the fantasy land of Notthatmuchfurther, our heroes are simple actors giving the performance of their lives. Literally. Every stage found within each act will task the player to achieve as high of a score as possible, but doing so will not be as easy as it may seem.
Within each level, the player can achieve a score multiplier by collecting the various pieces of candy and health power-ups scattered across each scene. Take damage, and this multiplier resets. It’s a simple premise and it works well. A series of obstacles such as fireballs, spikes, and rotating platforms will stand in your way. Only the most talented actor will persevere, and this was not something that I minded at all. I found myself replaying levels to earn that high score and third mask signifying my good deed. It also helps that the post screen shows just how high your score ranks among all other players.
Talent Not Included oozes charm, right from the get-go. Frima Studio has selected an art style that not only complements the setting of this game, it creates a character all of its own. I’m a sucker for clean design that creates a distinct look. Objects whirl out of the foreground as the next scene transitions into place. It’s very nice touch that aids you to believe that are participating in some stage production. This translates directly into our three characters as well. Even though we have three of the most widely used archetypes: the knight, the thief/rogue, and the wizard, they look fresh and definitely stand out from one another. While controlling similarly, they each have their own unique move skillset that is perfectly suited for the challenges you will encounter within their specific acts. These challenges are what make up the core of Talent Not Included.
I grew up playing platforming games. I still love playing the genre today. Talent Not Included captures a bit of this nostalgia, but also throws in a mix of the “hardcore platformer” into the mix. There is no tutorial to sit through. The player is eased into the game and naturally learns how to use his or her characters’ skills through the in-game challenges. As I became comfortable and progressed, the difficulty also seemed to progress at an adequate level. I never felt like I was being cheated or victim of truly unfair game design. Those later levels, though, are definitely going to put you to the test. With that being said, the most integral part of how a game such as this succeeds, lies within how it controls. I’m happy to say that Talent not Included has no issue. I was able to pull off jumps, double-jumps, special moves, and wall maneuvers with ease. Everything felt snappy and responsive. My deaths were due to human error and not because of a poorly executed control design.
As charming and as fun as this game was, I do have some complaints. The boss fights I experienced were not a direct challenge to complete. Not until facing them later in the game did they pose a true challenge. The music could also get a little repetitive at times, especially during longer levels. Either there is only one main track or they just sound extremely similar. It’s only a minor annoyance, as I was usually just focused on the action taking place on my screen, instead.
Overall, Talent not included is just a fun game that I could see myself hopping into for “quick-fix” play sessions and competing in the online leader-boards. There is a multiplayer component to the game but I was unable to take part in that for this review. Regardless, I feel that this is a more than worthy addition to any platforming fans Steam library. I highly encourage you to give this game a try. I’ll see you on the leader-boards.
Talent Not Included was reviewed using a Steam code provided by the publisher. You can read additional information about PSVG’s review policy on our disclaimer page here.