Un Taco Por Favor: ¡Time Donkey!

By John Walker on September 2nd, 2009 at 8:45 am.

The latest Blurst game has been released, which is always a pleasure to say. Time Donkey, the Cursor*10-meets-platformer thing of extraordinariness is now available to play on their site, along with classics like Off-road Velociraptor Safari and Jetpack Brontosaurus, completely free. And in a new move, developers Flashbang have also created pay-for versions of Time Donkey and their previous game, Crane Wars, which can be downloaded, played fullscreen, and have extra modes, for $12 each.

Confusingly, finding the options to pay for the games is pretty tricky – I managed it by adding the word “loading” to the URLs, which isn’t perhaps going to be a common practise by viewers. Guys, you might want to make it a bit more obvious!

But anyway, Time Donkey. We’ve not had a chance to play it properly yet (they release their games after our bedtime, you see), and will bring you larger thoughts soon. However, quick impressions:

There’s much more to it than I’d imagined. Creating a platformer in a few weeks is obviously a giant challenge, but Flashbang have managed to include loads in here. You begin with one donkey, who is tasked with collecting as many tacos as he can. Find one you can’t reach, or want to activate a switch that requires help, and you just hit R to start a new donkey. A new one spawns at the same time as the previous one, and you work in tandem with your earlier go. It’s a single player multiplayer. You can repeat this as often as you wish, with dozens of donkeys dashing around, forming stacks of them, using them to bounce off (jump on the backs of two others stacked and you get a big boost), or have them fire one another across the large level to find new taco crops to gather.

Find a glowing platform and you can create a new spawn point, which means you don’t have to return to the very beginning each time, which is a splendid idea. It will also inevitably lead to enormously advanced tactics. Other tactical tricks include jumping your donkey in the air before spawning a new one – when he reaches that point again he’ll freeze there, making a handy platform.

As you’d expect from a Blurst game, there’s lots of different ways to score points other than simply collecting tacos. A vast part of the game is discovering what these are, then manipulating them to your advantage.

After a quick go, it seems pretty splendid. We’ll hopefully offer more detailed thoughts soon. And until then, here’s the trailer…

Time Donkey Trailer from Flashbang Studios on Vimeo.

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32 Comments »

  1. Thants says:

    They seem to have disabled full-screen on all the games on their site. Which is irritating.

  2. xaphoo says:

    This is the best Blurst game so far. Although the idea was cribbed from Choke On My Groundhog, You Bastard Robots by the guy at koonigames (http://www.kloonigames.com/blog/games).

  3. Ian says:

    142,800 at the first go.

    A splendid joycake.

  4. Chiablo says:

    Very interesting game… I think I would have preferred multiple stages rather than the one large one. The wonky camera can die in a fire.

  5. Kieron Gillen says:

    I’m number 276 of all time!

    (189,000)

    This is really clever and everyone should play it.

    KG

  6. RobF says:

    347,070 45th today and 117 all time.

    Onwards, brave donkey!

  7. Cheeetar says:

    For some strange reason I dislike this game. I think it’s the camera.

  8. The Hammer says:

    Absolutely loved the trailer for this. Especially the “But Donkey doesn’t like…” bit. Great game so far, too!

  9. Nero says:

    The trailer is awesome and I also enjoy the game. My best so far is 443,880 (#70) and it has mostly been single runs with a help of a few donkeys here and there. I need to explore more and then do some crazy tactics.

  10. LeFishy says:

    I am glad to finally be able to give money to these fine fellows.

    Also the game is good but I suck at it just as much as I suck at all their games.

  11. JB says:

    Donkey likes vandalism? What sort of role model is he for the young donkeys of today?

    Looks like a fun game though, I’ll give it a go later =)

  12. zak canard says:

    I’ve been playing this since the beta a few weeks ago and it’s been steadily getting better and better. Sure the camera’s still a bit iffy but compared to how it was in beta 1 it’s been totally overhauled. You can now actually see more or less where you’re walking if you decide at a moment’s notice to double back on yourself. It’s still slightly annoying when the game world ends up stuck between you and the camera, but as the Blurst guys have shown with their other games this will continue to be tweaked long after going live.

    My current thoughts switch to the pro/paid version. The move to switch off the full screen option from all the web versions seems sad but ultimately expected if they want to push for people to pay for the game. The sandbox mode was briefly made available in the beta and from the good play around with it I can tell you that it’s just like what you’d expect, a Blurst game with no time limit. Fun as that may sound, the lack of self-induced panic you’d normally get by trying to get the biggest score in four minutes is strangely absent when you can potter about. The whole game feels like it’s missing a reason to be a game. To make up for the lack of score recording, achievements, and time limit, this mode could do with some other recordable goals instead (examples could include a time attack on a specified number of tacos, the biggest collectable/vandalism multiplier obtained in a specified number of donkeys). If an extra-time mode (6 minutes instead of the usual 4) with its own set of scoreboards was also made available in a paid version I’d definitely “pony up” for it.

    Oh yes, my personal best so far is 1,161,020 which is 6th today and just about scrapes me into the top 10 all time. I bet that won’t be in there very long.

  13. nabeel says:

    Did anyone try this with the 360 controller like it mentions on the controls screen? The stick controls the donkey fine, but none of the buttons work. Great game though, I love this kind of gameplay.

  14. Shawn White says:

    @nabeel

    Yeah we forgot to set up the 360 buttons for windows machines (we develop on macs, easy mistake right?). Will hook those up sometime today. :)

  15. FernandoDANTE says:

    Like on all Blurst games, THE CAMERA SUCKS! To the point of being very annoying.

  16. Matthew says:

    Fernando: I’d love to hear elaboration on your camera issues. We don’t pretend to have made the perfect camera–and 3D platformer cameras are hard–but we need to understand what people don’t like. You expect the camera to orbit behind you faster? Find yourself trying to deliberately turn the camera to see a platform? Have a hard time gauging depth for precision jumping? “Sucks” doesn’t exactly illuminate the problem for us…

  17. FernandoDANTE says:

    Well, ok, for one thing, Crane Wars. The way the camera jerks around when I’m moving the crane makes it very hard to control it with precision – and you know precision is necessary in that game. Plus, I couldn’t get it to move in the speed I wanted it to, whenever I wanted to make a throw at my opponent – again, because the camera would jerk around, and the mouse movements were poorly translated.

    I remember having similar issues with the Raptor game, but those were more gameplay related, where it was very hard to just get the car going where I wanted it to. Very frustrating.

    The minotaur game was ok, if simple. I enjoyed that one and didn’t get frustrated.

    Now, with this donkey game, I would often find myself trying to move straight ahead, while the camera insisted on turning around, as if it wanted me to go the other way. Of course, this means you have to turn the donkey around until the camera is where you want it, so that you can actually see where your jumping. And on my first play there was this instance where the camera rotated left all by itself, right before a jump, and I fell into this pit, surrounded by platforms, from which it was impossible to get out of.

  18. Martin Coxall says:

    Crappy camera is crappy.

    Crappy control system is crappy.

  19. Polysynchronicity says:

    Left should ALWAYS turn you left, down should ALWAYS move you backwards, and so on. Right now it seems that left turns you left for a bit and then starts making you run about, which is pretty damn annoying when you’re trying to make a 180º turn.

  20. mickiscoole says:

    Well there goes my idea for a Source mod…

  21. Matthew says:

    Polysynchronicity: Controls are camera-relative, patterned after console thumbstick controls (forward moves you into the scene, away from the camera, left will move you to the camera’s left, etc). You might be surprised how crappy left/right as donkey-relative rotate actually feels when you play it. It’s hard to make good keyboard controls for a 3D platformer.

  22. Benny says:

    I have a general wonder. Do you have any idea of whether the Unity web player will ever be released for Linux based OSs? With the sudden surge of netbooks, which i believe about 1/3 are running under Linux if not more, then this is a suddenly much larger user base than what previously was a very tiny niche oft ignored.

    Obviously this is Unity’s choice but the move from Mac to Linux i guess (no actual knowledge of this btw) isn’t too difficult seeing as MacOS itself is Unix based. I’d really love to be able to play time donkey in random locations rather than just on my desk bound PC.

  23. Matthew says:

    Benny: It will, at some point. I’m not sure how much of a priority it is for Unity, but there was at least a proof of concept at some point. Miguel, the man leading the Mono project, posted this awhile ago: http://tirania.org/blog/archive/2008/Nov-14.html

  24. Benny says:

    Ah that looks promising (even if almost a year old heh). I like to hope that the incoming Google Chrome OS could push alot more development towards the Linux platform, as with google being such a powerhouse.

    On a random side note something for the RPS guys to try maybe, a diary of going Linux only for a month. Trying out native games and the fun of running things under WINE. Could be interesting atleast, give a broader perspective on the PC as a whole.

  25. Neil says:

    why is this not called Time Burro?

  26. An Innocuous Coin says:

    @ Martin Coxall

    Maybe leave more detailed feedback? :/ This tells the developers nothing, and they will listen to you.

  27. The Hammer says:

    “FEED the Blurst team.”

    Ahahahaha.

    Flashbang are really setting up a great games library now, come to think of it. My particular favourites are Minotaur China Shop and Blush, but each game they bring out is definitely worth playing. What’s great is that you’re guaranteed quality, laughs, and long-lasting brevity (PARADOX. But, I mean, in terms of five-minute games you can play over and over and over again) whilst the price for entry is absolutely nothing.

    I can’t love Flashbang enough for that. <3

  28. postmanX3 says:

    This is awesome. “Single-player Multi-player” describes it perfectly!

  29. Joseph says:

    All of blurst’s games crash for me shortly after loading.

    Reinstalling firefox and unity hasn’t helped, nor has updating video drivers. Bleh.

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