Richard Says: I see this game has the Shop Lift and Die system where players can steal from or attack shopkeepers to incur their wrath (1m30s). This game looks neat. It’s got some serious game feel going on. It also combines SHMUP and platformer gameplay like one of my favorites, Bangai-O Spirits for the Nintendo DS. I’m a bit concerned that the clarity of the action is lost among all the screen shake, bullet barrages, and bouncing red pickups. In the video it’s hard to tell what’s friend, foe, or foundation (fancy word for a platform. I had to go for the alliteration bonus).
I love me some stop-and-pop gameplay. Any time a game creates an asymmetrical relationship between movement and attacking, I give a tiny head nod in its direction. When you shoot in Downwell, your character hovers. Also, it looks like you can only shoot down. What a great way to accentuate the downward motion and platforming gameplay. Basically, you have to jump over things to shoot them. And when you shoot, you move differently. This design makes gameplay more engaging and more challenging. As the late, great R.O.B 64 once said… “good luck.”
Marcus says: This Polygon video of Downwell mentions Vlambeer multiple times. It turns out Downwell scored a 20 on the Vlambeer Scale of Quality, which is tied with some of the most Vlabeerian games we’ve scored so far. Could you tell just by looking at it?
Just Shapes & Beats
Marcus Says: Last week I looked at some SHMUP (shoot em ups) bullet patterns for sale in the Unity Asset Store. Before I only saw patternless sprays of bullets in many SHMUPs. Now I can see that games like Just Shapes & Beats feature bullets in patterns of circles, 3-way, and a lot of random bullet spreads. Unlike most SHMUPs, I think most of the bullets in this game are a random. The website refers to these random bullets as “chaos.” I wonder if the titular “beats” will bring order to the gameplay or get lost in the chaos.
Richard Says: Mixing ordered (patterned bullets) with random spreads is a cool way to go. Reminds me of Ikaruga on Medium or Hard mode. Just Shapes and Beats may have too many bullets on screen to appreciate the blend of these two SHMUP bullet types. I’m most curious how the music-rhythm aspect may give the player a unique layer of feedback to better navigate the chaos.