...And quarters, rather than dollars, it would be; Gamma Bros feels very much like a game you'd encounter on an arcade machine in, say, 1985, probably one with two joysticks, like Robotron (actually, you use the arrow keys to move and WASD to shoot in the four cardinal directions). It's a space shoot-'em-up (shmup), but unlike the frenetic madness of most shmups, it has a laid-back, almost relaxing feel.
A fun little game--and a finalist at the 2007 Independent Games Festival.
We don't normally link to advergames... But we're willing to make an exception for Junkbot, because we like it a lot.
Junkbot is a robot who works in a factory. His job is to empty garbage cans. Unfortunately, his programmers aren't too smart, and his pathing algorithms are dumb. He walks left-to-right until he hits an obstacle, then turns around and walks in the other direction. This would be okay, except that in most levels, something prevents him from getting to the garbage can. Your job is to build him a path--using Lego bricks (ah, the advertiser).
In Eets, as in Lemmings or Junkbot, your job isn't to control your character or critters directly, but instead to place items on the screen that affect their behavior, and guide them to the exit point of the level. In the case of Eets, the "exit" is a puzzle piece placed somewhere on the screen, and you have a single "eets" -- a cute little animated guy -- whose abilities are determined by his "emotional state," which you can alter. A scared eets will stop and turn around when he comes to a ledge; a happy eets can jump short distances; and an angry eets can jump big distances. Typically, levels consist of several platforms--and you have to figure out how to guide your eets from one to the next in order to get to the puzzle piece, by placing little powerups that he eats, changing his state to make sure the right jumps happen at the right places.
Dracula Twins is a charming little sidescroller in which you play either Drac or Dracana, the twin children of Count Dracula, it seems. Graphics are cute and cartoony--apparently, vampires are the good guys. There's a little comic-book intro (a nasty vampire-hunter has got hold of old Dad, and you have to fight your way through various environments to rescue Pater), but of course, story isn't really the point of a sidescroller.
A 2006 Independent Game Festival finalist and winner of the Adultswim award (sponsored by Cartoon Network), Dodge That Anvil! is a game in which you play a bucktoothed bunny trying to harvest carrots and other veggies as anvils drop from the sky. Why? Well, um.... Does it matter? This is cartoon logic here.
It's a paradox that the shmup--that old-school genre of frenetic space shooting--can create visuals that come closer to the status of abstract art than any other digital form... If you could ever look up from the intensity of combat long enough to really notice them.
Bullet Candy is a case in point; frenetic space mayhem, and beautiful imagery.
Charlie Knight, its creator, is clearly a long-standing enthusiast of the genre; he's created a highly polished, well executed examplar of the form, complete with "Minter levels" as an homage to Jeff Minter's landmark games. Shmup fans will find a lot to like here; novices are advised to turn the difficulty down as low as it will go (which isn't much).
"The Uruguayans have let their relationships go stale, thus the sky is silent." Or so the instructions for Night Raveler and the Heartbroken Uruguayans says.
A submission to TIG's procedurally generated content contest, Night Raveler is not a deep game, but packs an emotional punch. The screen shows residential high-rises, with people moving back and forth behind lit windows, gossamer strands across space indicating where 'relationships' exist between them. You play "the night raveler," essentially a mouse pointer in the shape of a little fellow with scissors. And what you do is sever the bonds between people.
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