By: Armaan Khan
1000 Amps looks like a game that should be soothing. It’s got a minimalist aesthetic, a cutely stylized main character, and a plinky soundtrack, all of which make it seem like a relaxing possibly zen-like adventure. Don’t be fooled though, because 1000 Amps is a hard game—swearingly hard in that old-school way that many gamers love. Unfortunately, one very serious technical issue prevents me from wholeheartedly recommending it.
A Futuristic Problem
1000 Amps puts you in control of Plug, a robot who lives in something called the Amp-Tree-System. An intruder knocks the power out and it’s your job to restore it by activating five power conduits scattered throughout the tree. Every time you activate a conduit you are granted a new skill that can help you reach places you couldn’t before, and once you acquire all the powers, you can try to take down the intruder once and for all.
The game uses the power-outage scenario to wonderful effect. Every room you enter is completely dark and gets revealed as Plug moves around. Leaving the room resets it, so you have to be careful about where you walk lest that accidentally happens. Further complicating matters are a variety of obstacles that you’ll encounter. There are conveyor belts, moving platforms, teleport blockers, and more. Figuring out how to get past/through/around these makes the game a strong puzzle-solving challenge.
Further adding to the puzzle aspect is the fact that every room can be “solved” by touching all the energy nodes within it, which will light the room up permanently as well as remove most—but not all—of the obstacles from it. Doing so is optional, for the most part, but makes your life easier and adds to your completion percentage to boot, so there’s lots of incentive to solve as many rooms as possible.
Presented In An Old Way
You’ll get zero help in solving them, though. 1000 Amps is very old-school in that regard. The path to the first power conduit is linear and you’ll receive some lightweight tutorialing along the way, but after that you’re on your own. If you’re stuck somewhere, you’re going to stay stuck until you have an epiphany about what to do or you look it up on Youtube. Well, you could also spend 5 seeds to immediately solve a room if you wanted to, but that’s only possible if you’ve found enough seeds in the first place and since they are very hard to obtain, you’ll definitely want to save them for a real emergency.
In addition, you won’t be told where the other conduits are—not even given the vaguest of clues—so you’ll just have to explore until you find them. When you do activate one and receive the skill it confers, you’ll not be told how to use that skill. The game is very much about trying things out and learning what works on your own. It’s a very satisfying experience when you realize some subtle quirk to the way the system works that helps you get past an area you couldn’t before. That’s why I haven’t gone into detail about the puzzles, by the way, because most of the fun of this game is in discovering things for yourself.
Please Stand By
Sadly, I now have to talk about the big problem 1000 Amps faces – and it is a doozy – input lag. The game lags a lot playing full-screen. Sometimes it can be resolved by quitting and reloading (happily you can save anywhere, anytime) but some rooms always lag no matter what. A thread posted on the Steam Forums also shows other players having similar issues. The developer, Brandon Brizzi, has tried his best to fix it but even he has given up, with the latest patch notes stating that any lag left is a result of Flash player performance and therefore out of his control.
The game being written in Flash also brings with it the problem that your save games are not secure. If you clear your internet cache or run cleaner software regularly you might find your savegame wiped out. Again, this is a problem that the developer acknowledges, but can’t do anything about because – again – it’s an inherent problem with Flash.
Conclusion – Is It Worth The Money?
I like 1000 Amps a lot. It’s a fun, challenging game that is a joy to play. Unfortunately, while I had a good time with it, the input lag prevents me from recommending it. Granted, my computer is about three years old now so those of you with newer systems might not have an issue, but I can’t guarantee that it won’t lag. That’s why, ultimately, I have to say it’s not worth the money.
1000 Amps Technical Summary
- Time Played – 5 Hours
- Widescreen Support – No
- 5.1 Audio – No
- Bugs – None
- DRM – Steamworks
- Version – v1.3
- Control Scheme – Keyboard/Mouse
- System Specs – Core2 Quad @ 2.6 GHz, 4GB RAM, 2GB Radeon 4800
- Game Acquisition Method – Review Copy
- Availability – Steam
- Demo – Yes