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 Post subject: Splodey Vaders (PC)
PostPosted: Sun Jun 14, 2020 1:53 pm 



Joined: 19 Jan 2009
Posts: 685
Location: stuck at the continue prompt
The Bundle for Racial Justice and Equality on itch.io contains several shoot'em ups, and Splodey Vaders (https://scared-square-games.itch.io/splodey-vaders) is one that looks better in screenshots than in play, with gratuitous game design issues (mainly randomness in the wrong places destroying any hope of skill).

Basically inspired by Galaga and Space Invaders, but with less enemies than either, with small random formations of 1-3 enemies of a single type and no progression whatsoever.

Let's go through the game page's bullet points.

RETRO VISUALS! - A whole FOUR colours!

More colours, and more pixels, would look frankly better, but everything is serviceably clear and crisp... except for the score, in huge digits as if it was very important, obscuring the critically important top middle of the screen.

EASY TO CONTROL! - Your ship autofires, so you only have to worry about dodging and aiming

The ship moves only laterally, like in Space Invaders. The autofire keeps about three bullet on screen at a time, slightly more than in Space Invaders.
Taking away shot timing is a serious step back relative to Space Invaders, and there's a serious problem with aiming: shots drift randomly left and right, enough to miss enemies by pure chance even if the player lines up perfectly.

KILLER COMBOS! - Blast your enemies and watch as they explode into chunks and watch further as those chunks hurl into other enemies to cause chain reactions.

The big fail: the amount and direction of flying debris is completely random.
  • Most of the time debris hits nothing.
  • Too rarely, and always randomly, there's a proper chain reaction of enemies hit by debris
  • Sometimes debris hits the player at point blank. Game over!

LEVEL UP AND UNLOCK! - Level up as you build up your score. Unlock new colour palettes and ship designs.

Strictly cosmetic changes, some curiously for the worse (e.g. from a Galaga-like pointed ship to a Space Invaders-like cannon)

SAUCEY STATS! - The game monitors stats such as deaths, kills and combos!.

Not that it matters, since kill chains are random.

There's another unusual misfeature: missing enemies is easy (low firepower, wasted time due to autofire, random shot drift, lack of longitudinal movement) but every time an enemy escapes it creates some fire at the bottom of the screen. Touch the fire and you die. There is, of course, no way to avoid it without moving forward.


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