Prickly Pair: Gamma4 & Norrland

By Quintin Smith on August 16th, 2010 at 4:24 pm.

Cracktus, more like. In the years after his tragic overdose we'll realise these games were a cry for help.

Indie dev Cactus has released two new games, both deeply different and both deeply Cactus (read: disturbing).

Gamma4 is a beautiful, disappointingly brief headtrip set to a club beat where you guide four independant lasers through various squres. I say it’s disappointing, but I’m sure if it were any longer it’d just start to hurt. Norrland is a little stranger, being a kind of 8-bit simulator of a Swedish hillbilly on a hunting trip. In between shooting and punching various animals you deal with dreams of withering insecurity. Videos of (and thoughts on) both after the jump.

It’s probably deliberate that Gamma4 sees you accidentally drawing a neon swastika in its opening seconds, but I’m not going to dwell on that. I love the rawness of this game. I love the simplicity of its concept and how it’s been given body through stunning visuals, a fierce difficulty and an aggressive soundtrack. It’s like playing a music visualisation. Not only did I finish it, I want to play through it again. I probably will when I’m done with this post. That basically never happens.

Grab Gamma4 here.

As for Norrland, the less said the better, probably. Download it here.

We’re seeing more of it every day, but I’m still a a long way from getting tired of this comedy retro aesthetic. So many indie devs are getting so, so good at it.

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26 Comments »

  1. Freud says:

    That Norrland video was amazing.

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      Hodge says:

      I’m debating whether or not to actually play the thing, as there’s surely no way the game can be as good as that trailer.

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      Rikard Peterson says:

      Really? I thought it was awful.

    • ScubaMonster says:

      That video was hard on my eyes. I had to stop watching after a few seconds.

    • Dominic White says:

      The video is nothing compared to the full game – I use a big HDTV instead of a regular monitor, so I got it in JUMBO SIZE too.

      Bloody unsettling to look at in general, and that’s obviously what Cactus was shooting for.

  2. Javier-de-Ass says:

    lol. norrland is badass

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    Hodge says:

    Christ, Gamma4 is like Minter visits the Fatherland.

  4. Skurmedel says:

    Horray for Mosquito punching game.

  5. Burningpet says:

    Makes me feel like i am probably one of those guys who look at some art student’s abstract picutre and just “doesnt get it”.

  6. tome says:

    Wow. Norrland is good. I think it’d be best described as “a bitter taste”.

  7. fearian says:

    I donated to play gamma IV a while back and I’m glad I did, I flat out love it. I wish it was longer and I wish I had more of that music.

    Dana nana BUUUUHHH BUUUHHH BUUUHH dada dana NUUH NUH NUUUH NUH

  8. Coded One says:

    WHERE CAN I GET THE GAMMA 4 MUSIC? I keep playing it every 5 minutes just to hear that damn music.

  9. ArtyFishal says:

    Norland is amazing. It has some real gravitas mixed with its humor. However,I’m stuck on the bird dream. I dive and drown and fly up and burn. Any hints?

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      Hodge says:

      If you hover in the air for a while, the water on the ground will dissipate, allowing you to make a safe landing.

    • Cymril says:

      I’m stuck on the Knife dream, doesn’t seem to matter what I do, I can’t get the knife to do more than just shake at the edge of the screen.

    • Freud says:

      For the Knife dream, you press left arrow key like a madman.

  10. Dominic White says:

    Norrland is easily my favourite of Cactus’ games over the past couple of years. It just feels like a very complete package, and it really does feel like you’re playing a warped, derranged dream in all the fuzzy abstractness that entails.

  11. Dreamhacker says:

    Man, the slang in Norrland is in no way justified by the english translation… Some phrases were never meant to leave Norrland, I guess :P

    • Dominic White says:

      Even just looking at the original text, it’s pretty clear that the english translation is very loosely related to the Swedish. I’d imagine it’s about as coarse to read as the rest of the game is to watch/play.

  12. Pemptus says:

    Finished Norrland. Wow. Very Cactus, very awesome.

  13. cactus says:

    Glad you guys like it! The gameplay ain’t much, so it’s cool to see that people are able to look past that!

  14. Luke says:

    Deary me, so I download Norrland to play at work just for 5 minutes, and the “So Damn Randy” minigame pops up.

    ROFL

  15. Kefren says:

    Can someone give Cactus a job so that he gets paid for releasing original games? I don’t like every game but they are always innovative and generally have fantastic music and visuals. I love the unexpected nature – I remember one frenetic shoot ‘em up I was playing a lot with my nephew (Ad Nauseam 2), then it got to the end and a woman started shooting drugs out of her vagina and anus. My nephew couldn’t stop laughing. Talk about unexpected… Every game has some twist or original feature that you would love to see in the console-created FPS which swamp the market.