Unicorns & Magic Cats: Tasha’s Game

By John Walker on October 20th, 2008 at 11:43 pm.

That's the rainbow talking, not Tasha.

Double Fine, the prettiest and handsomest games developers in all the lands, are responsible for the shiny bauble of jumpy joy that is Psychonauts, and thus shall forever be carried aloft the shoulders of all with taste and dignity. This is in no small part thanks to the boss man, Tim “Big Long List of LucasArts Games” Schafer. And of course they’re currently working on Brutal Legend (although there’s all manner of confusion after Activision/Blizzard, in a move of such spectacular stupidity, dropped it during their Jeff Goldblum/fly styled merge). So another thing they do is put up fun Flash games on their website.

Only three so far, but each is well worth a play. The latest is Tasha’s Game, from the drawing hand of Tasha Harris and the programming mind of Klint Honeychurch. It’s a cute platforming affair with a splendidly new idea in its middle.

Some strange black tentacle thing has captured a bunch of Tasha’s friends, in the floaty cloud world she doesn’t seem to mind finding herself in. Accompanied by her magic cat, Snoopy (I love this job), she has to hop her way to each of them. To get there, she needs Snoopy’s help, as he conjures platforms for her. So Tasha moves with the WAS keys, and Snoopy is the mouse cursor. Collecting icons to create platforms, you can then plop them on the screen wherever they need to be. Different platform types do different things, and it’s their judicious placement that the game’s all about.

It’s nice and quick, and pretty simple to play through. But also splendidly funny, and all happy-cute. Rainbows say hi, unicorns shout out encouragement. It’s like a girl’s high school notebook doodles were magicked into a game. As well should they all.

Rather splendidly, each time you load the game it has a different silly title. “tasha’s brutal circus unlimited’, ‘tasha’s donkey touchdown time’, ‘tasha’s enchanted defender of doom’. Methinks me smells a PERL script at work. So, go play it.

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35 Comments »

  1. RLacey says:

    I loved this when I played it, though I almost wished that it had gotten a little more difficult before the end. And I don’t mean difficult in the way that the last level is more challenging; it would have been nice to have some geniunely hard puzzles in there.

    Or maybe I’m expecting too much from a free flash game that is indeed both funny and cute.

  2. Premium User Badge

    Down Rodeo says:

    Argh RPS once again you keep me up late… I have physics to go to! Ah well that was rather cute. I completed it and enjoyed it quite a bit. It is also kind of… funny. Fair amounts of tongue-in-cheek-itis as well.

  3. suchchoices says:

    hopefully this restores the prettiness balance of rps after that dreadful ut thing

  4. Lizard Dude says:

    I, too, wanted more time with this mechanic. I kept sensing fiendish puzzles on the horizon, but they never materialized. The time-travel-but-keep-powerups mechanic was especially neglected!

  5. Bhazor says:

    Reply to Lizard Dude
    Second that.
    Pretty much sums up my opinion on Portal too.

  6. Ben Abraham says:

    Pointless Unlockable #1 – ACTION BEARD!

  7. PleasingFungus says:

    I liked the fly head, personally.

  8. Fetthesten says:

    The last unlockable is Raz’ cap and goggles from Psychonauts. 10/10!

  9. Arzar says:

    Usability note: WASD on an AZERTY keyboard generates MUCH blood pressure.

  10. Dinger says:

    Arzar — and usually a string of charming Gallic profanities. Sometimes the Clavier Universel, he is not so universel?

    Oh, and on Windows, you can change keymapping by enabling multiple keyboard layouts, then clicking on the Fr symbol in the system tray, and switching it to En (or whatnot). Works like a charm when I have to endure those QWERTZ keyboards we use in this non-Hexagonal slice of Francophonie.

  11. Gap Gen says:

    I think you can write randomised titles in languages other than Perl.

  12. Qrwqr says:

    Thqnks Dinger< Szitching to 3En3 lqyout zork like q chqr<
    :)

  13. Valentin Galea says:

    Where’s the Meat Circus in this:D?

  14. Ergates says:

    And it’s Perl not PERL, it’s not an acronym.

  15. Garreett says:

    Indeed Gap Gen, you can write randomised titles in any language. Here it’s probably Actionscript (Flash’s scripting language) as it’s intergrated into the game.

  16. Jocho says:

    Fun game, but I only played a first few levels – it didn’t feel like I made any progression. As soon as I had freed one guy, they just say another one is captures and off I go without any clues what that is or why the cat can fly or anything… I don’t expect a very clever story or anything, just a small reward for progressing.

  17. Gap Gen says:

    Ergates: Maybe John’s just particularly excited about the prospect of scripting, and so shouts PERL a lot.

    Anyway, isn’t Brutal Legend for consoles only at present?

  18. drewski says:

    Believe me when I say playing that immediately after Doom 3 is something of a gear change.

    I liked it.

  19. andrewdoull says:

    I thought John was a Perl script?

  20. John Walker says:

    While it may not be a PERL script, I indeed am, and thus see the world that way.

    But PERL *is* an acronym, Mr Wrongface. Creator Larry Wall just hasn’t confirmed exactly what for. The two possibilities he’s given are:

    Practical Extraction and Report Language
    Pathologically Eclectic Rubbish Lister

  21. Lurenwist says:

    Who in their right mind would drop Brutal Legend!? It has Full Throttle badassness written all over it.

  22. Gap Gen says:

    Is an acronym a particularly lithe name, just as an acrobat is an athletic sky rodent? Whatever the case, your sense of scripting smell needs improvement. You wouldn’t want to accidentally tread in some Lisp, after all.

  23. Bobsy says:

    Christ this is girly. I need to get a Gears of War-on to maintain my healthy balance.

  24. Dinger says:

    What do you mean it’s girly? Everyone calls the main character (Tasha) “Dude” or “Boy”.
    Qrwqrö Glad I could help. Donàt blame the games for buzing the wrong kezboard.

  25. ZeroByte says:

    OMGZ! Evidence of the video game conspiracy to turn our children game! Lawdy lawkes! Who will help us in our time of need!

  26. Ergates says:

    @John
    Which would make it a backronym (decided after the fact) rather than an acronym. Hah!

    And stop calling it PERL, you’re making baby Jesus cry.

  27. pkt-zer0 says:

    It’s “Tim Schafer”, you heretic.

  28. Gap Gen says:

    “And stop calling it PERL, you’re making baby Jesus cry.”

    He’ll find that out when he meets St Peter at the Perly Gates.

  29. Jp says:

    Perl as an acronym: you’re all wrong, but only just.

    I wanted a short name with positive connotations. (I would never name a language “Scheme” or “Python”, for instance.) I actually looked at every three- and four-letter word in the dictionary and rejected them all. I briefly toyed with the idea of naming it after my wife, Gloria, but that promised to be confusing on the domestic front. Eventually I came up with the name “pearl”, with the gloss Practical Extraction and Report Language. The “a” was still in the name when I made that one up. But I heard rumors of some obscure graphics language named “pearl”, so I shortened it to “perl”. (The “a” had already disappeared by the time I gave Perl its alternate gloss, Pathologically Eclectic Rubbish Lister.)”

    Larry Wall>

    So Practical Extraction and Reporting Language was part of its original name, “Pearl” (although a gloss rather than an acronym as such); Pathologically Eclectic Rubbish Lister came after its name was changed to Perl.

    He’ll find that out when he meets St Peter at the Perly Gates.

    Hmm, some kind of content filter, eh? I wonder if St Peter writes greedy or non-greedy regexps.

  30. John Walker says:

    Oops – the “Shafer” thing was a typo, rather than ignorance. Can’t fix it from here, but will do later.

  31. mashakos says:

    brilliant!

  32. chesh says:

    I’d love to see much, much more of this.
    I hate to say it, but it would be a great WiiWare game.

  33. Moonracer says:

    Fun!

  34. hydra9 says:

    That was great! I always swear that I don’t like platform games, then something like this comes along, and is nothing but fun! Particularly when one can play it while wearing a TRUNK! There’s nothing pointless about a trunk!

  35. Shadowcat says:

    That was awesome!!!

    Make sure you do actually play this through to the end :) It might seem same-ish, but there aren’t very many levels, and it’s well worth the effort :)