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July Review

July is a 2D platformer built on the Unity engine. It appears to have been developed by an Asian developer/studio and the game is billed as a horizontal version of Castlevania. July features a large number of levels and uses fairly well made graphics and effects. Unfortunately, the developer(s) of July threw common convention out the windows and ignored functions that most players take for granted. As such, July maybe be difficult to play for some people without configuring or disabling joysticks and similar analog controllers to make July work.

July supports several languages; however, the translations are likely direct for all language other than the source language of the developers. For example, most players would expect “Quit” or “Exit” to leave the game; in July this is called “Out”. “Configuration” or “Options” is called “set”. Speaking of options, there really aren’t any. The language can be set, and there are a few instructional blurbs that can be displayed. There are no graphics or sound options. None of the controls can be remapped and this is a shame because it makes the game unplayable for left-handed players. If any attached joystick, throttle, or other controller on the computer has an axis move, the game will begin using it, whether the player likes it or not. The background music cannot be disabled or have its volume changed.

As a platformer, July has a reasonably smooth feel to the movement, but jumping is somewhat awkward to get used to. The player can ‘stick’ to walls and leap upward from a jump, sort of a double leap. There are melee combat swinging and defensive controls. As there are no difficulty options, the player is thrown into a very difficult fight and maneuver level right off the bat that requires killing 3 enemies and killing or bypassing an enemy in a sort of vertical tunnel opening. Death comes quickly; the level can be restarted, but it’s not clear how far progress is saved. After trying and dying 12-15 times on the opening level, most players are likely to give up, exit the game, and uninstall it.

July appears to have some semblance of a story, the player is a female, there is mention of a God Tree and some strange questions to the player and whether or not they like flowers? What makes it doubly strange is that there is no obvious way to answer the question, meaning something simple like “select yes or no and hit the enter key”. Instead, a couple of menu options appear, but no mention of how to select either one and confirm it. It’s simply bizarre that the developer would think that this is obvious. July has a very nice look and feel, but it is a hassle to play and cut-throat difficult out of the box. Perhaps with some effort put into key mapping options, rethinking the user interface, and graphics/sound controls, July might be worth playing through. As it stands, July appears to be a game that the developer put a lot of time and effort in, but they got too good playing while testing and forgot all about what a new user’s experience will be. July is not recommended in its current state.

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