Marker Man Misadventures 1
This is the start of a journey that is most definitely not worth doing. I'm going to not only attempt to beat one of the most obscure DS games of all time, but I am also going to map out the levels and be the first person to provide a complete walkthrough of this game. The game is called Marker Man Adventures.
Expect all of the following:
- bad game
- bad drawings of bad game (not like you're missing out on anything anyway)
- pro tips and strategies
- game analysis
- general displeasure
Welcome to… Marker Man Misadventures
In case you needed some incentive to actually finish this game, Marker Man has you covered. A riveting story between a stick figure and his dog begins when you start a new game. Some may call it captivating, inspiring, and even spontaneous. I prefer "confusing". The stick figure person plays fetch with its dog and throws a ball to the right. The dog chases the ball. The dog doesn't come back. The stick figure goes to find the dog. That's the story. If the player has to go through over a hundred levels before probably finding the dog, that stick figure has a throwing arm that puts the best baseball pitchers to shame. Anyways, I hope that story was enough to make you want to sit through all of this, because here we goooooooooo!
None of these levels have names, so I'll take the liberty of naming the level and labeling certain features of the map. Every level has these weird gloves that act as toll booths, where they will refuse to let you continue until you pick up a certain number of coins, indicated by the orange blobs on the map. The slanted orange lines indicate markers, which are essential to survival in this purgatory of a world. There are two colored platforms shown in this map. The pink platforms come in pairs but there's only one platform in the game. The reason why there's two is they indicate the position ranges that platform is allowed to move. They can only move up and down or left and right. The blue platforms also come in pairs but there are actually two of them in the game, and they act like a balance, where weight on one platform pushes that one down and the opposing one up.
It's a very simple level. You may learn some of the following during your first impression of the game:
- rabbits bite
- fall damage exists
- platforming is extraordinarily glitchy
- the game will draw a different shape than the one you wanted
- buying this game is a mistake
In addition, there's this spike pit but with a platform over it so you can't actually kill yourself with the spikes. There is a Useless Button above the platform which you can draw a shape over to push it which forces the colored platform to move up, but there's literally no reason to do this. No extra items or platforms are available to you by doing this and you expose yourself to the spike trap so instead just walk past everything. Pay the hand the one coin you collected earlier and you beat level 1. I'm using a standardized syntax for describing what the hands do. The number on the left is how many coins they need before they let you pass the level. The number on the right is the level that the hand will take you. In this case, it's one coin to go to level 2.
This is our first enemy!
I swear I'm not exaggerating the drawing here; that's what it look like. Anyway, it's a rabbit and it is the weakest enemy in the game. Your Marker Man person has a life bar of 100, and this critter takes out 1 hit point every time you touch it. If even losing 1 HP is too much for you, there's a hilarious approach to neutralize this threat. In case you didn't realize by now, this game is all about drawing your way through each level. If you draw a circle around this rabbit, you put it into this bubble where it cannot do anything except be pushed around mercilessly. Doing this also doesn't spend your drawing power, so it is the only way to draw a shape for free.
Oh yeah, your drawing ability is tied to your health. This means that if your HP is low enough, whether from previous drawings or from taking damage, you won't be able to draw anymore shapes. That's where the marker pick up items come into play. They are useful for many reasons, but one of them is for replenishing your HP. The other way to restore your HP is to die and lose a life, but obviously that's not recommended.
I died to fall damage here because I forgot how brutal falling is. You only need to fall a few times your character's height before you take like 40 damage. This game uses a lot of vertical space so get used to learning how to cushion your fall.
In case you're actually playing this game and want to know the controls so far, it's A to jump and Y to use a marker to restore your health. You can use the stylus to draw lines to reach platforms, and other shapes with varying degrees of success.
There's actually two exits! This game loves branching paths. Each exit takes you to a different level, often skipping other levels. Cool, I guess. Not for me, since I NEED to play every level.
Basically the rabbit, only it kicks instead of bites. How rude. Bubble it and push it off a cliff or something so you don't have to worry about it.
Man Eating House
Of all the things I thought I would have to worry about in this game, I didn't think the background would be one of them. If you continue to the right exit that requires two coins, one of the houses in the background will come to life and eat you, killing you instantly . I don't think I've ever been so betrayed in my gaming career. There is NO indication or sprite difference between that particular house and all the other ones. However, no need to worry, because I have a solution. First of all, it's only the yellow houses that have a chance of eating you. Secondly, if you see a yellow house and want to check if it will eat you, draw a horizontal line over it. The houses that eat you have a hitbox on the left that collides with your shapes, so the line will hit some invisible block and end up slanted. You should be able to jump on the line and climb over the house this way. There is no way to kill the house.
The psychological damage this enemy has inflicted on me is astounding. Is there another background element that's going to kill me instantly too? Should I avoid that cloud with the smiley face over there? So many things have smiley faces in this game .
I understand that these level maps are not detailed and painful to look at, but if I put more effort into drawing them, they're going to start to look better than the actual game, and this game does not deserve that.
Also, it's only level 3 and the level already feels similar to the previous levels. There's hardly intent or theme behind so many of these levels; it just feels like the level creators haphazardly placed a bunch of platforms and enemies everywhere and called it good.
Oh yeah, also the exit I went to took me to level 5, so I had to start a new file so I could take the other exit to see level 4. I didn't realize that I may not be able to play every single level in a playthrough. Do you understand how frustrating that is for someone who's trying to play every level? I have to potentially play through the entire game multiple times before I find all the exits.
These things look so sad. Probably because they know that their pathetic lives will inevitably end in a violent explosion upon contact with anything. I touched one and it only did 5 damage, so I guess it wasn't that violent of an explosion. I touched another one and it did 10 damage. I guess the damage is randomized.
This level is so dangerous. I cannot believe this is level 4. There are spiky enemies everywhere, very deep chasms with spike pits, and bouncy blocks that prevent any structure from landing on it without being bounced off as well. In addition, bouncy blocks are an absolute pain in this game. There is no way to gain vertical height quickly with this. You just have to sit there while your maximum height increases by like 2 pixels on every bounce. But hey, at least you get a coin by going down there.
This is the level I learned that you can wall climb. It is probably a bug and not a feature but that's not important. If your character's head is over the top of a block you can just run into that block and mash the jump button to """""climb""""" up it. If you don't like that limitation you can draw a line parallel to the wall and place it right next to the wall. That line is climbable everywhere!
As if this level wasn't insulting enough, I took the ridiculous journey to get the second coin so that I can figure out what's in the two coin exit…. AND IT TAKES ME BACK TO LEVEL 3. WHY. There is no other thought process that makes sense as to why the developers did this except for: "The player sees a 2 coin exit with two very hard-to-obtain coins! They'll think this is a worthwhile journey, so we'll betray the player's trust in level exits just like we betrayed the player's trust with the background houses!"
However, I may have to take back the thought that it's impossible to get through every level in the game because previous levels can be revisited now. Imagine graphing out all those level connections…
Spiky Shoe Boy
These things are so much more dangerous than regular shoe boy. Touching them will deal a giant amount of damage (10 per frame?) by continuing to touch them. You can lose 100 HP in less than a second because of spiky shoe boy. And they are not bubbleable. And you can find them in areas with low ceilings. Fantastic.
An invincible moving block that will gladly pass through any terrain to pulverize your character. It's basically instant kill. Just find another path around if you can.
There's a little path to the south that leads to a dead end and has an extra marker after activating a platform through a switch. Don't go there. There's a chance the shape pressing the button will despawn and you'll just be stuck up there. There's also a totally fun platforming segment where all the platforms are moving and the momentum makes it frustrating to land on the higher platforms. After that are those paired platforms that move together. Dropping there is guaranteed death, and staying on the first seesaw platform will put you in a spot where you will most likely not be able to get out of.
If you are like me you probably have died enough times to get a game over at this point. This means you have to start from Level 1 again. There is a trick you can do to sort of prevent that from happening. If you have exactly one life left and you die, you can shut off your console (In my case with the 3DS, press the Home button and close the software). This will save your last life if you do it immediately after you die. Strangely, it does not work if you have more than one life left. You can do this same trick for quickly seeing what level you'll be transported to when you give the hand the coins to beat the level!
One of the few enemies in this game that looks cute to me. They are just like the rabbits: 1 HP damage and bubbleable. What a waste of potential. There have been like 6 enemies so far and half of them are functionally the same. I thought my disappointment in this game could not have gotten any higher, but well here we are.
There's lots of houses that will eat you here, so tread carefully; one jump in particular, if missed, could land you right on top of a man-eating house. There's also these rainbow-outlined blocks that disappear once you touch them. They are indicated by the yellow squares. There's no reason to go to that area, but a cool trick is to draw a line on top of the block and then step on that line so the block doesn't go away. One exit takes you back to level 5, and the other to…. level 151? Well this is a sweet shortcut. Because the level takes you to candy land. You can't see it's candy land by looking at my maps, so I guess this joke doesn't work. Anyways, it's advertised as a bonus level, so I will break the level order here to explain this level soon.
Finally, an interesting enemy. These guys are bubbleable, but they can deal out 1 damage every frame instead of the rabbit-like enemies where they do 1 damage every couple seconds. They're hardly more dangerous since you can bubble them, however.
This place is just sad. It's decorated as a candy land level, but everything with a face is frowning. Also, the end of the level just takes you back to level 5, which means that the entirety of level 6 is a trap because every exit just sends you back to level 5. Great. This place is also really dangerous because there are no markers here. This means if you have 0 markers when you come here then you have to be extremely careful with how you use your life, because it will drain fast from all of the climbing.
On the plus side, the soundtrack has finally changed. I was starting to hate the background music because of how often it repeats. I even timed it to see how long the song takes before it loops, and it's about 16 seconds. It can drive anyone mad in a day. Too bad the soundtrack here is also extremely short (about 12 seconds).
There's also one spot in the level where it is almost impossible to get through. It looks like the end of the level, but you cannot actually reach this spot from the end of the level because it is way too high up to build. This is the spot underneath the coin. There is only one way to get to this spot that I know of. You must draw a really long line from the position of the coin underneath the character, and then support it with a rectangle to the right so the line doesn't tip over when you drop down. There is a cave entrance where the rectangle can be placed to lock the whole structure into place so you know it won't topple. Oh yeah, super pro tip: you can delete shapes by holding the left trigger and then clicking on them! You even get back some of your life when you do this.
Aaaaand there's nothing here. There's a gingerbread house and a pinata in the background and that's it. So much for an easter egg. I guess the fact that there's actually a detailed background in this area constitutes as something rare enough to be an easter egg, so I'll take it. Fortunately you can drop straight down from the ledge and hit the exit back to level 5.
I forgot to mention that light blue platforms are bouncy platforms. Anyways, here's the super secret fun area
Basically the spikes. They deal a lot of damage on contact. Climb over them using the line shapes.
I think that's enough ridiculousness for now. I need a break.