Gollum, Gollum… Gollum. It finally came out, but it may have had to remain in the cave like his precious ring. It’s already the lowest-rated game of the year, with help from features editor Ben Sledge, who scored it 1.5 stars by simply saying “it’s not a good game.” That statement is true because no one can get over a barebones UI.
Early trailers for “pre-alpha state” showed Gollum overwhelmed by stylized options fluttering across the screen. “Don’t hurt us!” and “Calm down! Be quiet! The orcs will hear us!” Naturally, I danced around his head as I pondered what to do in the stressful situation.
It looked pretty good, but the final build has a much lower quality Gollum squatting next to the two options listed on the left, all painted against a dull brown background. This option also looks like questionable PowerPoint presentations using Calibri.
UI isn’t the only part people ridicule. When Gollum faces an orc, he has three slap-dash options: “(give bread)”, “(intimidate)” or “(beg)”, all using the same standard. Calibri font over some transparent gray blobs.
Former features editor Andy Kelly highlighted a lot, but swapped out the fonts and added subtle drop shadows to make it real barebones.
Interestingly, both UI examples above use very simple, modern fonts to convey dialogue options, but subtitles do not. Instead, they use fantasy-inspired fonts that are hard to read, which defeats the whole purpose of subtitles.
Elsewhere, other people are simply enjoying what the UI actually says. (Beg) became a meme overnight, but the goals and reminders are amusing enough.
Gollum, to put it mildly, is a bit of a mess, and the UI is just one of many things that don’t suit many people, but at least we got a few gems out of it.
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