Look At Those Tentacles: Blush Is Live

By John Walker on March 3rd, 2009 at 12:53 am.

Maybe he just wants to chat.

Flashbang Studio’s latest, Blush, is live. You can play it right here on Blurst. In fact, you should. We first told you about Blush back in January, along with a tasty interview, and showed the early test footage. Ping! It’s finished already, putting FBS well on track for their six games in twelve months plan. Blush is, as you’d guess from the title, a squid-based game, in which you battle other undersea creatures and steal their parts.

Developed in under eight weeks, the three hour delay after the 2pm EST release plan saw FBS entertain the internets with their office webcam, the announcement of a potential name change to NetFlash BangDevil Actiblizzardisoft, and hints at a game involving cranes, maybe, in the future.

Whiplash the ugly sucker.

First impressions: the game has that FBS sublime tone, beautiful music, relaxed motion, and exploratory play. The water effects when other creatures are destroyed are quite lovely, and I’ve always been an enormous fan of any game involving swishing. You collect fishybits, take them back to your cave, and increase your speed and size. It becomes very clear, very quickly, that as with all FBS games, there’s much more strategy than may first appear. Getting the high scores in the four minute time is going to be about finding out which fish to fight, and which bonuses to aim for.

We’ll write more details on it after we’ve had a proper play.

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49 Comments »

  1. Meatloaf says:

    I find myself wondering why no other games have been made about raptors in jeeps running over other raptors, or brontosauruses (brontosauri?) with jetpacks, or minotaurs who just want to run a china shop. Brilliant ideas, all.

    I love these guys.

  2. Lim-Dul says:

    Sadly all I get from Blush is a black screen with music running in the background…

  3. The Poisoned Sponge says:

    Lim-Dul: Just hit Q, and the settings will lower. They’re working on a fix over the next few days, apparently.

  4. Tantan says:

    Lim-Dul, press “Q”
    It is a problem with the 8*** series of NVidia cards

  5. Pags says:

    Just had a quick playthrough and it’s very pretty! Maybe not as imaginative or as addictive as their other games, in fact it’s probably the weakest of the games so far, but the design is lovely anyway.

  6. Noc says:

    Oh, man. This is fun, though occasionally my frames drop to obnoxiously unplayable levels. I think that’s my computer, though.

    Though I have to say, this is still probably my favorite third-person swish-em-up.

  7. skalpadda says:

    This is just amazingly gorgeous, and surprisingly entertaining. I’m kind of torn between wanting to see what these people could do with a real full-sized game and hoping they’ll just keep putting out these imaginative little things in an endless stream forever and ever.

    They’re certainly great at coming up with fun gimmicks and cool ideas :)

  8. Bill Meltsner says:

    I really, really, really want a Zen mode, or an option to just disable the time limit. This is the sort of game I would happily play for hours, just swimming around and enjoying the neat water effects and awesome music. Being rudely interrupted by the score screen every four minutes ruins that experience somewhat.

  9. PleasingFungus says:

    It’s not bad.

    And I mean that in the best sense.

  10. An Innocuous Coin says:

    I like this. I wish there were a bit more depths and heights to explore, but the gameplay is amazingly fun – something about spinning in whimsical circles of death, you know? Especially when you find a rhythm, and become a slightly ridiculous whirling visage of survival of the spiniest.

  11. noom says:

    29th best score of all time on mah second go apparantly :D

    Though, y’know, I guess it’s only been out a few hours and such ¬_¬

    Good fun anyways

  12. El Stevo says:

    I also would like to play it without the time limit. I’ve never been much of a high score guy.

  13. cyrenic says:

    MUST…HAVE…SOUNDTRACK!

  14. noexes says:

    So, um, flow meets velociraptor safari? It’s not a total disapointment, but it just doesn’t feel as fresh as the rest of their games.

  15. Arathain says:

    This is perfectly lovely. How do you get such a refined, intuitive feel in 2 months? These folks have serious talent.

  16. BarkingDog says:

    Fantastic game. The visuals and sound are just gorgeous- wouldn’t have thought it only took 8 weeks to develop. Felt great flailing madly at a giant sea dragon and having it eventually explode into dozens of delicious eggs of deliciousness. That being said, I’m shit at controlling my little jelly (THAT’S WHAT SHE SAID) but I blame my touchpad for that!

  17. Lim-Dul says:

    Thanks for the hint guys – Flashbang put some info text inside the game now. Indeed I have a GeForce 8800 GTX so that was the problem…
    The game is quite awesome – I’m not sure if it actually doesn’t have the best gameplay-to-idea ratio of all their releases yet.

  18. Wedge says:

    This just leaves me with bad flashbacks of trying to use the Dumptruck in Blast Corps…

  19. Caiman says:

    While I loved the concept of their last two games, Blush is a far more playable game than either. It’s more like Veliciraptor Safari in that you want to keep playing to beat the score. Also, it plays far better with the music on than without it, a necessary part of getting into the rhythm.

  20. Matthew says:

    Quick note on the NVIDIA 8xxx problem–we have a Vista/8600 box in the office now that shows the problem, so we should hopefully have a fix out tomorrow. Medium quality is missing the sweet distortion effects…

  21. Matthew says:

    And we pushed a fix live for the Vista/DX10 issue–let us know if it still persists!

  22. Owen says:

    Lovely movement, graphics, sound and music. Impressive stuff for a year long project let alone EIGHT WEEKS.

    Incredible really. More from these chaps please.

  23. Okami says:

    What a wonderfully beautifull game.. And isn’t it funny, how tastes differ? Contrary to what Pags thinks, I’m of the opinion that this is their best game yet..

    Though I really wish for some sort of “endless” play mode…

  24. DMcCool says:

    Tentacles Restored
    Tentacles Lengthened

    Why don’t more games tell me this?

  25. 1wheel says:

    http://blurst.com/jetpack-brontosaurus/

    is live now too

    no time limit, but points from missions decrease the longer you take.

  26. Ian says:

    It’s… beautiful.

    My score on my last go is currently 234th overall. :o

    This will of course be pushed down to about a millionth once more people play it.

    And I’ve yet to see any crabs.

  27. Rosti says:

    Hoorah for crystalline attack sperm!

  28. Stromko says:

    I like it, it’s fun, really incredible that they can put out something of this polish in 2 months. Not much breadth of things to do, I suppose that’s why each play is only 4 minutes.

    Unlike Velociraptor Safari, I felt like there wasn’t anything different to do on a second play-through. Aside from encountering different enemies that is. On my first playthrough I saw some Eels, second playthrough saw Anglers.

    Minotaur China Shop is my favorite so far, and one of the huge differences between it and Blush is that you make choices. MCS has you choosing upgrades, which is huge, but also deciding when/how to smash the crap out of things instead of serving customers, which is also huge.

    Blush you just kill stuff and take the eggs, and try not to let them hurt you. Your tentacles get longer if you don’t lose them too much, but that’s not a decision, that’s just playing better. Maybe I’m missing something because I’ve only done two playthroughs though.

  29. Unlucky Irish says:

    An excellent game that will surely consume the rest of my day. However, as with all games set under water, it desperately needs the inclusion of Cthullu and/or Dagon.

  30. Aubrey says:

    This is a good game and I like it and I like to make my friends play with it while I watch and they say “Thank You” and my social standing increases.

  31. The Hammer says:

    I love it! Very very pretty, both in graphics and animation, and the music is sublime, too. It’s probably the “quickest go” game out of all Blurst’s output, next to Safari.

    I agree with the calls of a mode without a time limit! Seeing those numbers gradually go down doesn’t relax me as much as the rest of the game does!

  32. Pags says:

    So I’ve been playing this more and would like to say that I was wrong yet again; as someone else said, it’s a little too similar to Fl0w and first-stage Spore to be as wonderfully original in concept as their other games, but it makes up for it by trimming any fat and being another example of great design iteration. Although, while it’s lovely and relaxing, I really think that taking away the time-limit would take away from what makes the game (and all their other games bar Jetpack Brontosaurus, for that matter) so compulsive.

  33. The Sombrero Kid says:

    absolutely brilliant i think there should be a freeplay unranked mode where you just get to see how big you can be bothered to go. i’m starting to come round to the good games launched from a website point of view with these and quake live

  34. zak canard says:

    This game is lovely. There I was trying to do a pacifist run and just generally minding my own business, next thing I know an angry and very hungry looking sea dragon decides I’m next on the menu. After lunching on my tentacles, fearing it would finish me off I retreated to a nearby cave, only for the stupid creature to follow me in there. After all that “Stubby the Squid” ended up two achievements and a hefty points bonus better off.

  35. N says:

    Oh boy, don’t listen to anyone… other than me of course.

    This is by far their best game yet, instead of making some “zaney wacky” retarded shit like everyone wanted they built the most solid game in their library. Not to mention that it’s better than the crap first leves from spore by a landslide. It’s cool to see these guys sticking to their guns and not falling into fanservism… so yeah, respekta.

    Oh and by the way, the game that Blush resembles the most is obviously Hammerfell, anyone who enjoyed that one will feel right at home playing blush…

  36. Okami says:

    I think it’s unfair to compare this game to fl0w. There is a certain similarity in it’s visual design (though even that similarity doesn’t go that far), but Blush is much more of a real game than fl0w will ever be. Relaxing and soothing as it might be, it’s still a highly skill based game with a very definite learning curve.

  37. Pags says:

    I think comparisons to fl0w are more than fair. Just because it’s a better game proper than fl0w, doesn’t mean the comparison shouldn’t be made. Better execution =/= different concept.

    That said, Blush is obviously far more imaginative than fl0w, more satisfying to play and more cohesive in it’s design. So the fact that it’s not as original a concept as Minotaur China Shop or Raptor Safari doesn’t really matter too much.

  38. Gnarl says:

    So no-one thought this became horribly repetitive after the first annoyingly interrupted go? Must just be me. Well done on keeping the planned dev time, though.

  39. BooleanBob says:

    Easily my favourite game from these guys so far. Up ’til now, I’ve suspected flashbang of coming up with entertaining sounding names and deriving the entirity of their design from these funny sounding phrases. It’s proposterous to assume they are, of course, but here is a game that is unequivocally without a lame-joke crutch for people to delight in and to get in the way of your impressions of a game. If your milk-wet notsrils are still snorting exhortations of glee at the very concept of a minatour (that’s a bull, right!) working in a china shop, your potential disappointment at a game very light on effective action or strategy or even decent sight gags for that matter is going to be somewhat mollified.

    There I go again, with my grumble trousers on. I thought this got on with the business of being a game quite splendidly, with the achingly beautiful aesthetic and most other concept-related guff merely a topping to meaty game pie. Ultimately I suspect that the time limit and the graceful-as-fuck motion of your charater combine to belie what seems may be a fairly shallow game, combo-hunting megascores aside, but I don’t want to begrudge them that because it was fun and I had a lot of fun playing it.

  40. Hypocee says:

    Yup – Hammerfall minus gravity. Also Pendulumania and especially parts of Coil.

    It might be nice to have a tooltip or whatever about the damage model; I spent a couple minutes trying to get ‘better’ at attacking before I figured out that you break your tentacles no matter what when they flash. I had interpreted ‘watch out when enemies flash’ as meaning they were about to attack, which is also true.

  41. Lim-Dul says:

    @Matthew – confirming the GF8/DX10/Vista/whatever fix. ;-)
    Sweet distortion effects! I didn’t know what I was missing out on with medium quality. ^^
    Love the game. :-D

  42. Hmm-Hmm. says:

    I like this, a lot. It’s probably the game of theirs I’ve enjoyed the most, so far. I’ll have to echo what Bill Meltsner said, though, and that I would really appreciate a mode without the time limit.

  43. RothnieB says:

    Awesome game but the 4 minute time limit is too short !

    I just wanna keep playing for hours on end until I have mile long tentacles and travel at the speed of sound.

  44. Nero says:

    Wonderful game. Fun to play, nice to look at and the music is fantastic. Hope there’s a way to play longer time some day because it’s a game that I want to play and play to grow and row.

  45. Arathain says:

    “This just leaves me with bad flashbacks of trying to use the Dumptruck in Blast Corps…”

    Funny you should say that, because that’s the first thing I thought of as well. It gave me a sense of stark contrast, though. Whereas the stupid dump-truck was awkward and fussy to use I was amazed at how intuitive arcing my tentacles around was. Flashbang managed a control interface which felt just right in a tiny development time- many many games don’t get that right in 2+ years.

  46. Ian says:

    Holy fish cakes, I just got like a bazillion points for killing a sea dragon in some fancy fashion. I got like 3 achievements for it which might help me work out what I did but I don’t know where to find them.

    I’m not sure how their tables work, because I’m apparently 14th today and all-time in the “Ranking” box, but the “Leaderboard” box has me at #41. Which is still good.

  47. Valarauka says:

    The tracks from the game can be downloaded from the artist’s website here: http://dbsoundworks.com/index.php?page=blush
    They are quite excellent, as is his other work.

    The game rocks; I too think it’s their best work (like it way more than Minotaur).

  48. Frank says:

    woo hoo, 7th on third try. a sea dragon fell into my cave

  49. Ginger Yellow says:

    Am I the only person who prefers Flow? I like Blush a lot, but the time limit is frustrating and I love the way your creature evolves in Flow – you feel like a real badass when you’ve eaten enough and it really drives the one-more-level-down itch. The visual feedback from collecting eggs just isn’t as enticing in Blush.