The good news is that if you’re not into the competitive score scene, Talent Not Included is still fun. There’s a great feeling to beating a particularly difficult level; that elation of feeling like you’ve really mastered a particular actor’s abilities. Of course, that feeling may get dashed a couple levels later, but it returns again in greater force when you beat that level. The rotating cylinders that bring the platforms and other obstacles onto the “stage” is a cool visual effect, and it’s something I’d like to see used again. The bad news is that all of this is usually best when played alone.
A second player can join locally as a copy of whichever actor is the star of the act that’s selected by the first player. Both players have the same abilities, but separate life totals and separate scores/score multipliers, though the scores are added together at the end. The stages progress in the exact same way as they do in single-player, i.e., Act 1 Stage 4 of the single-player mode is the same Act 1 Stage 4 in co-op, so there’s nothing new to see when playing with a friend. The only new feature that’s introduced with co-op is one that’s been kicking around since the earliest days of video games: life stealing. If you get hit one too many times by an enemy and die, then you can steal some life from your co-op partner to get back into the action. It can lead to some good moments where you’re both skating by with just one hit left, but it’s disappointing that’s all Talent Not Included has to offer for its co-op.
While Talent Not Included is not the follow-up game for which I was hoping from Frima, it’s one that at least shows some of the talent that the developer possesses. The three playable characters are all fun to play and master, the visual style is charming and unique, and the cylinder-based platforms are an interesting mechanic I’d like to see again. Still, from a co-op perspective, I’m reminded of a certain proverb of unknown origins that says “If you want to go quickly, go alone. If you want to go far, go together.” Chariot wanted you to go far. Talent Not Included wants you to go fast.
The Co-Op Experience: Team up with another player to put on the show of your life as you battle mechanical soldiers and monsters on a rotating stage
Co-Optimus game reviews focus on the cooperative experience of a game, our final score graphic represents this experience along with an average score for the game overall. For an explanation of our scores please check our Review Score Explanation Guide.