Game Review: Talent Not Included (Xbox One)

Talent Not Included is a lively, colourful platformer that is well worth the price of admission.

Developed by Frima Originals, Talent Not Included is set in the fantasy land of Notthatmuchfurther. It tells the story of three actors. They’re ready for anything, in order to give the performance of their life. Throughout their journey they must face a variety of obstacles including; mechanical soldiers, animals, hard-headed monsters and more.

The first thing that stood out to me about Talent Not Included was the vibrant visual style. The environment is designed to mimic a stage, you play as the performers. It’s a clever concept that isn’t exactly original by design but it does add a number of unique mechanics. The ground beneath you is made up of a series of cylinders that spin revealing new obstacles to tackle and dangers to avoid. The background is fairly simplistic most of the time but it serves its purpose well enough. Certain enemies will throw fireball like projectiles towards you. The force of these causes the staged background to ripple slightly. It’s these kinds of minor details that I appreciate.

You start out as the Knight who has the ability to do a spinning attack to make it from one platform to another. Your main objective is to survive, collect candies and build up a combo. The higher the combo, the more the audience will cheer you on. Give a poor performance and you’ll be showered with boos. At the end of each level you’re given a bronze, silver or gold mask. These are dependent on your total points.

Each protagonist has their own individual antagonist to go up against. These are an enjoyable change of pace but dreadfully formulaic. Even the final boss is surprisingly easy to dispatch.

Most of the levels throughout the game are quite forgiving, allowing you to miss some candies and take a few hits. However, there are some later levels that require you to get through them entirely unscathed.

Next, you play as the Rouge who can roll through danger for a brief period. Then, you’re a wizard who can teleport, shoot projectiles and glide. There is a certain amount of trial and error with a couple of stages. Most of the 46 levels are quite short and can be completed first time. However, others require some memorization.

Talent Not Included is adrenaline pumping fun. It’s an absolute blast to play around with for a couple of hours. I found it to be highly addictive with its frenetic gameplay that rarely slows down. The controls feel extremely responsive as they would need to be in any competent platformer. If you miss a jump, you know you only have yourself to blame.

It’s the type of game that can be enjoyed by just about everybody which is tremendous. Still, if you’re a completionist then I can’t deny that it requires some genuine skill at times. Nothing it presents you with is impossible but there are a couple of difficulty spikes.

The sound design is pretty good as well. It can get a little grating and repetitive if you continuously fail a section though. I thought the developers did a decent job of making each level feel different. Still, it can begin to feel samey at certain points. Also, if you do 100% the game it has basically no replayabillity which is a shame. While it does have a local co-op mode, a second character can be very distracting and not in a good way.

Overall, Talent Not Included was a highly enjoyable experience that didn’t overstay its welcome. The levels are short, fast and well designed. It gives you a feeling of satisfaction when you finally get that gold mask you’ve been struggling with.

  • Talent Not Included - 8/10
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