If you have any sympathy for ragdoll men then look away now. Avert your eyes, for this little motorbike man’s suffering knows no limits. Why, man? Why keep getting back on the bike? You’ll only end up in a broken heap at the bottom of the ramp, your bike upended, wheels spinning forlornly. That’s if you’re lucky. If you’re unlucky you’ll have broken every single bone in your little body. When that happens, it probably won’t help that all you’ll be able to hear is my cruel, mocking laughter, because this game is so, so funny.
Archive for February, 2009
Ever watched a drop of water rolling down some surface or other, appearing to pick a random path, as though obeying some force of will? No? Well the creators of indie gem i-fluid obviously have, and they’ve made a game of it.
You play a tiny double-jumping drop of water trying to make its way accross a landscape of household objects such as books, rulers, chocolate hobnobs and the like in an effort to complete various mysterious goals. Get to the top of this upturned flowerpot, knock these nuts off their perches and dodge those cakes, they’ve just come out of the oven and evaporation is a nasty way to go.
Kitchen surfaces hold many hidden dangers for the innocent blob of water. One false hop sees you absorbed into a stray peice of kitchen cloth or sucked up by a fly. As you plan your route through the obstacle course you find yourself evaluating each item. Is that biscuit porous? What if it’s chocolate side up?
Beyond the aesthetic conceit of the thing i-Fluid isn’t much more than a basic third person platformer, but it’s a good one. The world is beautifully rendered, and there’s a childish glee in making your way through a world of giant everyday objects, dodging colossal slabs of chocolate as they slide down a wooden spoon towards you.
There’s no rhyme or reason to any of the challenges you’re set and at times, with its built in physics and general gloss, that it can feel more like a tech demo than anything else, but despite its shallowness, it’s a shiny effort which makes a great ten minute distraction every now and then.
There’s a reason I prefer western RPGs to JRPGs… well, actually there are several, but only one I’m going to talk about here. I like the ability to craft a hero of my own design, something far more often seen in western games. I like to make choices in the my appearance and dialogue, to have a vast field of options open to me. I like to have the choice to play as a malevolently evil sorcerer, complete with Ming the Merciless beard, a burly and stalwart Warrior, protecting his friends with his might, or a lithe and slippery thief, whose allegiances are never fully known.
Yet it never turns out that way. Given the option to customise my character in actions or appearance I nearly always end with the same template.
He is a good man in a tough world. He takes the path of good, but he is no Lawful Stupid Paladin. He does not smite evil indiscriminately, but he is no pacifistic hippie. He values the lives of others, and will risk everything to save them, but he is capable of making sacrifices if necessary. He respects the law, but will go outside it if he sees it as unjust. He will make morally dubious choices in pursuit of his goal, but nevertheless has a line he will not cross. He’s usually an older man, a grizzled veteran, often bald, almost certainly with some sort of facial hair.
He’s also black.
This is my attempt to explain why.
The Dow2 beta has been out for about a month now, and we’ve played it a lot. And by a lot we mean A LOT. So far it’s really rather good, though the skirmish and vs multiplayer represents only one facet of a game that is sure to offer much more when it’s released to the masses on Feb 20th. So we can’t really review the game as such, but we can say what we’ve really being enjoying about it so far.
Stress relief can come in many forms. Virtual explosive fusterclucks featuring gouts of blood and slow motion shots of bodyparts sailing through the air are all good to a certain extent, it might make you feel better for a short while, but why not take a different option? Why not gently spread a race of nanobots accross the universe until all of space is yours? The satisfaction is less immediate, but somehow more fulfilling. Tipped off by Rock Paper Shotgun, I settled down for what I thought would be 5 minutes of idle amusement; several hours of quiet fascination later I surfaced and decided that I’d better write something about this. Enter Dyson.