These last few hours have been pretty rough on me. I believe the term is "exercise in futility." It's not that I've made no progress. I've earned five crystals (you get one crystal for completing a level, a second crystal for doing an optional challenge inside the level, and a third crystal for finishing the level faster than its target time) in the past five hours. But let that sink in for a moment. One crystal an hour, when the levels themselves take between 5 and 10 minutes to complete.
When I was younger, before I got my driver's license, I used to walk everywhere. And since the town I live in is one of those western-US automobile-centered towns with tons of sprawl, the distance of these walks was often very long (something like 2 miles to the nearest library, and 5 miles to the main branch where they had all the good books). And since the town I live in is on the very eastern edge of the Great Basin, these long walks in the height of summer (obviously, I didn't have the free time to do this during the school year) were in blisteringly hot desert conditions. That's what playing this game reminds me of, those long walks along the asphalt of I-70, with no shade and no water (I may have been something of a stubborn idiot), under the noonday sun.
More specifically, FORCED reminds me of a moment that would often come near the halfway point of such walks, when I would recognize that I was probably in over my head and that leaving the house was a mistake, but also that I was at a point in my journey where it would be just as hard to go back as to go forward. It was then that I was forced to tap into my deep reserves of stubborn pig-headedness and march myself to my destination, whereupon I would inevitably collapse in a chair and take about a hundred trips to the water fountain.
I'm in the desert right now. And the only way I'm getting through is by ignoring my common sense, pushing through the pain, and allowing my innate stubbornness to take control. It will be strange, like a zombie playing the game, but it has to be done.
Funnily enough, when I started this game, I was worried that the puzzles might be a roadblock to advancement, but it turns out there are just too many enemies that do too much damage and which take too long to die. I've not yet had any trouble figuring out what I had to do next, but this knowledge hasn't helped me get through FORCED's brick wall of difficulty.
I think the intro text to the random arena says it best "This fight totally isn't fair. Blame the terrible game designers."
I know it's ironic self-deprecation, but if the shoe fits . . .
Nah, I'm just being bitter. I'm sure the designers aren't terrible. I'm sure they simply designed the game they want to play, and it turns out they have terrible taste.
Just kidding. They just have different taste. Some people like playing the same levels dozens of times in a row, eking out incremental advantages as they learn the nuances of each challenge, until they finally manage to squeeze by with the barest of margins and subsequently move on to a new round of punishingly difficult action-rpg gameplay. I just so happen to not be one of those people.
So it's one foot in front of the other for me. Push myself forward because going back is not an option. I just have to remind myself how good it's going to feel when I'm finally done.