Don’t Look Back

By: Derek Yu

On: March 13th, 2009

Don't Look Back

Terry Cavanagh’s Don’t Look Back is a moody platformer that’s somewhat reminiscent of games like Seiklus and Kaipuu, but is decidedly more focused and challenging. It’s a rewarding game to play for fans of the genre – I’ll leave it at that!

TIGdb: Entry for Don’t Look Back

  • Lim-Dul

    I finished it and found it surprisingly enjoyable but short.

    There’s also some kind of challenge on so you can earn a card for finishing the game half-way or something – provided you have an account.

  • cigarettes

    yeah. i played this game on kongregate a while ago. then they put up some achievements for it.

    it was definitely good enough for a second play. the atmosphere and sound were great, though the game did require resilience.

  • Skofo

    Anti-climatic ending. Or perhaps I just didn’t get it.

    Also, you missed an OS tag.

  • sc_q_jayce

    Orpheus and Eurydice. A twist.

  • cigarettes

    whoa, thanks sc_q_jayce, that makes the ending make a lot more sense.

    actually, yeah the ending was kind of hard to catch.

  • cm

    I realised what the deal was as soon as I found the girl, but I still accidentally turned back a few screens later. I was a bit disappointed to find she just gets resurrected, I think this game could be vastly improved with branching endings.

  • Skofo

    @cm: The game could be vastly ‘improved’ in many ways. ;) I think the author was going for a minimalistic game, though.

  • Sparky

    This is a pretty enjoyable game. I particularly liked the boss fights and the obstacle course screens in the latter half.

  • Brian

    Really enjoyed this. I have to agree, the latter half was probably the most enjoyable. Even though I knew that you couldn’t turn back, gut instinct from other games is to turn if you’re not going to make it fast enough!

  • Bubbinska

    Very well put together. Having to resist the urge to adjust my jump positioning by pressing the other direction is a minor, but interesting challenge.

  • Deacon Blues


    Nothing happens for ten minutes, then twist ending: U DIE.

    Christ, am I the only one tired of that device? I mean, the mythology ties and the titular mechanic were kind of clever, but the conclusion just felt lazy. I guess he could’ve just stuck a guy with a pistol there and called it an homage.

  • ssid

    Wow I really liked this. Good music. Short but sweet. Good challenge. Sad, touching message.

  • alspal

    Hate it when you have to play in dark rooms.

  • Robert

    Good game, though I wasn’t totally impressed. The first act (before getting your ghostly follower) was a solid but unremarkable platformer that went on far longer than necessary. The controls weren’t perfect, but not every platformer protagonist is Juni of Knytt Stories, and the levels fit the controls appropriately. The second act had me briefly scratching my head and wondering what was sending my ghostly follower to the void, until I realized it was my right arrow key. That made the game stand out from other platformers, but the second act was, if I measure it properly, a third of the game, if that. Then again, designing a full-length game where you cannot turn around would be quite a task, so I can see why it was a bit short; better that than overstaying its welcome. Finally, while minimalist art styles in general aren’t to my personal tastes, the game’s aesthetics fit the themes of the second act perfectly and were definitely unique.

  • Ezuku

    I actually really enjoyed this one.

    Perfect length, game was tricky, but not irritatingly hard, mechanic was fair, and the ending was sweet (if a little obscure for most people I would suspect).

    Only comment would be…

    Why do you evapourate too when you look at her at the end? I suspect it’s actually supposed to be your memory, but really you should disappear a few seconds later to make it clear.

  • Ezuku

    more spoilers (appologised about before, meant to write “spoiler” there)

    Oh, and just to add, I was very much relieved that I didn’t need to do some kind of stupid boss fight at the end, and how the way back became easier, as it should.

  • Nutso

    This game is like bad sex!

  • Super anon

    I liked this game. It was short, but it managed to set the difficulty just right: It was only hard enough to get you slightly frustrated, but you always managed to make it to the next screen even if it took you several tries. The bosses worked surprisingly well considering the one-hit death system.

    My only real criticism would be that the jumping seemed a bit unresponsive at times. It becomes more apparent once you reach the area with the platforms that disappear when you stand on them. But otherwise it’s a fairly solid game.

  • Bob

    The music is what really made it for me.

    Overall, a fine game in terms of gameplay, and the graphics do their job.

    As a side note, it reminded me a bit of Out of This World, which is a plus in my book.

  • james

    I like the idea but it’s too hard for someone who doesn’t play heaps of platformers.

    I finally gave up on the fire ball/summoner boss.

    only “for fans of the genre” as it says in the post, unfortunately.

  • Garbled

    I could repeat everything Bob just said. That sums it up for me.

    It’s small, sweet, and complete, like a haiku in the body of a game.

  • Dusty Spur

    I really like how upon dying you respawn almost instantaneously. The only time it ever got frustrating was against the minotaur, or whatever you call the final boss before finding Eurydice. Avoiding those fireballs was a bitch D:

    But overall I really enjoyed the game. I especially enjoyed how the stage sort of transitioned from the surface to the underworld and vice versa.

  • GameCreator

    Great game! Would love a sequel.

  • Blloper

    I played this when it came out and was incredibly unimpressed. Really, I only ended up dying a few times and it was over in a few minutes… kind of like every other flash game ever.

    Sure it’s solid, but generic. I thought this would be a real game, not a demo.

  • Radix

    I don’t like this trend we’e seeing a lot of in which games are made with just one gag in mind, like in this how the end of the game wraps back to the beginning (<---spoiler) and all the stuff in the middle is uninspired and unpolished and we're expected to call it arty icecream. But the boss fights were fun.

  • Xander

    I thought it was really sweet, both in terms of story and gameplay. The jumping was a little off at times it felt, but the platforming itself never felt frustrating given that you basically respawn instantly, and both boss fights are suprisingly well balanced with a one-hit-kill rule behind them.

  • TCM

    The music was fantastic, the platforming was oldschool (if a bit frustrating, but hey, unlimited retries), the boss fights were okay, the mythology reference was interesting, the last part of the game was a good twist, the ending is slightly dissappointing.

  • risujin

    Kind of like a minimalistic Knytt atmosphere of exploration and screens, very enjoyable. I don’t understand the ending though, can someone explain?

  • RMVX

    Highly recommend to anyone who hasn’t tried yet :)

    risujin – I think it was based on a greek myth, Orpheus or something like that. Look it up, it’ll explain

  • J

    It was mentioned earlier in the comments. Google “Orpheus and Eurydice”.

  • apples and pears

    [SPOILERS] I thought the ending was near-perfect. I mean, especially if you know the myth, you know it can’t possibly work out – even the most heroic efforts can never bring back the dead – but you end up wanting to try anyway, and the mechanics of the game make it seem like perhaps, if you did everything right, it might be. Yet sure enough, it all turns out to have been the fantasy of someone lost in grief. What impressed me most is that from the endgame to the conclusion, you want the outcome to be different, and at the same time you know it can’t be. I don’t think I’ve played another game that made me feel like that.

  • apples and pears

    (sorry, s/”might be”/”might be possible” above)

  • Jay

    oh look a snake! uhh it killed you! ouchie!

    well, quite minimalistic, i must say…..

  • kongming

    Amazing how people talk about a game referencing ancient mythology as if it has a “twist.” That’s just called an allusion, folks. Educate yourselves.

    I knew it was Orpheus and Eurydice (and things weren’t going to be okay) as soon as the titular game mechanic came up.

  • Ezuku

    Eh, just replayed it. Actually, the end’s a little different to the mythology. You don’t actually look at her at the end when you both disappear.

    Also, you’re clearly outside.

  • Sly_von_voigt

    I think this game captures some of the ideas represented in the myth, and even ends an interpretational level to it. This makes it far more ambitious than the average.

    Let me explain what i mean: The title is, of course, to read both figurativly and literally. The second half of the game lets you lose, if you look back in a sense of positioning your face. The end of the game, with the reapearing title above it, also suggests a man looking back, but looking back in time. The condition for winning the game, wich one internalizes very soon is connected to an Interpretation of the Greek Myth.

    I hope this does not sound too overbearingly an smartass, but i thought it was a pretty neat message for a little game like this so i had to write it down.

  • Radix

    That part’s great, but to experience what the game offers you have to endure a few minutes of shooting bullets from your torso. If you don’t feel like putting yourself into developing a little bit of memorable gameplay then you’re squandering the interactivity a game brings to your idea. Maybe an animation would be more suitable.

    That said, I don’t want to give the impression that I’m attacking the developer. I don’t think there’s anything wrong with making rushed little projects if that’s what you’re in the mood for. But I do think we should treat such games more critically, if all they have going for them is one neat little gimmick.

  • kongming

    “Allusion” is not synonymous with “copy,” Ezuku.

    Radix, you already told us what you think about the gameplay. Nobody cares.

  • Radix

    Sorry, I don’t feel like acting tough on the internet today so I’ll just cut to it and suggest you go fuck yourself.

  • kongming

    *Sorry, I don’t feel like acting tough on the internet today*

    *go fuck yourself*


  • BMcC

    This game is great. At its worst it’s still interesting, which says a lot.