Wot I Think: 1000 Amps

By John Walker on February 29th, 2012 at 2:28 pm.

You have to believe me that there's more to it than appears.

What can I do to convince you to play 1000 Amps? The unenigmatic screenshots of black and white levels made of dull tiles are not going to do it. That you’ve never heard of it, nor its developer, Brandon Brizzi’s The Odd Man Out, means you’ve no previous attachment or interest. And if I describe it to you, I still fear it won’t convince you. I’ll have to think of something.

Here’s my go at describing it: The game is made up of a huge number of rooms, dozens and dozens, each of which is dark when you first enter. Moving your little roboty-thing guy around illuminates tiles you touch, revealing their nature. Your goal is to find and touch all the specific ‘light’ tiles in a room without leaving it (which is easily done when you can’t see where you’re going).

With each light tile switched on in a room, you gain the ability to jump slightly higher, and that’s obviously crucial to solving so many of the puzzles. Each new area resets you back to your tiny bounce, and when complete lets you leap hugely. The deeper you get, the more new tiles appear, the more the challenge ramps up, and the more insanely satisfying completing each room becomes. This is tough, and constantly demands imaginative, innovative thinking. And I love it.

Pretty soon you gain the ability to teleport, which rather dramatically changes how you can approach the rooms. So long as there’s at least one light lit, you can move yourself to any blank tile on the screen, at a cost of the illumination of the tiles around you. If one of those tiles is a light, the light goes off too, which means you need to be careful how and where you make the jumps. Then there are tiles that slide back and forth to ride, those that disappear after you stand on them, some that drag you along in their current… Then meanest of all, there are occasionally baddie square things that fly around, switching off lights you’ve switched on. I hate them. I curse every level they’re in. And I never feel better than when I complete a room and defeat them.

The rooms are joined together through interconnecting tiles, but you can only see one at a time, and only a small proportion of the huge overall area on the game’s map. Leaving a room that’s incomplete undoes any good work you’ve done in there, and often times that’s half the puzzle, figuring out how to not fall/walk/jump into another area as you progress. If there’s a mistake it makes, it’s a failure to explain that some rooms can’t be completed at the point you reach them. Only a couple for me so far (I’ve been playing for so long, and am not even halfway through it), but it makes you wonder what you’re doing wrong, rather than know to come back to it later. But that’s it – that’s my only complaint here. This is one of the finest puzzle games I’ve ever played.

See – I’ve done a splendid job describing the structure of the game, but I still don’t feel like I’ve convinced you to play it. I need something else…

Maybe a video?

What about that it costs only £3.60 on Steam – barely more than a pint? For a game that lasts an incredibly long time, that’s a really decent deal.

A demo? Will that do it?

Not yet? I know why this one matters to me so much. It’s because it’s been out a week already, and I’ve not seen much discussion of it. It’s a genuinely brilliant game, and it would be a ludicrous shame if it were to slip under the radar. The great thing about my job is that I can stumble upon a game on the new releases list on Steam, adore it, and then champion it as loudly as possible. So I will.

But if that’s not enough for you… how about some cosplay?

Can you see the lengths I’m going to here? I really want you to play this. It’s such a smart, enormous game, often enormously difficult, but get stuck and there are always another dozen rooms you can try. I’m nowhere near the end of it, barely halfway, but I’ve already had enough enjoyment to be this enthused.

It’s witty in its minimalist design, its use of sound cues is exemplary, the jumping is pixel perfect, and the ability to put a smile on my face with every single completed room is a joyous thing. Just watching it light up, and knowing those lights will stay on, is accomplishment squared. The animation, as slight as it may be, is exactly right. What do I need to do? Beg? I will.

1000 Amps is out on Steam now.

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61 Comments »

  1. Ian says:

    Should’ve been “Watt I Think.”

    • Danny says:

      If only John had seen the light.

    • DXN says:

      The current title is ample.

    • CaLe says:

      Well he certainly hasn’t ohmitted anything in his thorough description of the game.

    • Grinnbarr says:

      Doesn’t work for me. I think my computer is Volty.

    • Lambchops says:

      He could have challenged anyone who refuses to play the game to a joule.

    • Echo Black says:

      I do think John’s writing style could be more current

    • Lars Westergren says:

      Resistance to pun thread is futile.

    • 4026 says:

      I put to you the charge that this article won’t fire anyone’s interests; rather, it will coulomb.

      Although, the extra publicity could make a large potential difference to the number of people playing this game.

    • Orvidos says:

      I don’t know about you Lars, but half of the energy of RPS is the puns.

      Oh man I’m sorry, that was. Oh man.

    • Giant, fussy whingebag says:

      I, for one, found this review to be quite illuminating. I’d be shocked if anyone ISN’T persuaded to fork out what they charge for this game.

      (Bonus points to 4026 for managing to make a pun with ‘coulomb’!)

    • Lambchops says:

      If you guys don’t cut it out I might have to lamp you!

    • mazzoli says:

      I commend John for realizing this game is Coulomb before anybody else. Seriously, no recent puzzle games hold a candela to this one.

    • DrScuttles says:

      I feel sorry for people at work; they won’t be able to play the demo until they get ohm.

    • Ninja Foodstuff says:

      I can’t take much more of these puns lumen over me.

    • Sarlix says:

      Well this is quite shocking.

    • Raiyan 1.0 says:

      Wire you guys so confuseing?

    • Brun says:

      How big is this game? I’m not sure my PC has enough capacitance.

    • edwardoka says:

      Looks a bit strange when c-ampered to similar games currently on the circuit.

    • brulleks says:

      It was certainly a glowing review. I predict a bright future for the developer.

      (I cannot believe nobody’s used those two already. Shooting fish. Seriously shooting fish).

    • julianbenson says:

      I was going to fuse two puns together but I thought that would be circuitous.

    • alexheretic says:

      I fear a potential difference of opinion

    • edit says:

      AC what you did there.

    • Inglourious Badger says:

      Oh RPS, how I love you. I come for the teacakes but I stay for the current puns.

    • The Greatness says:

      This game looks brilliant. It seems pretty shocking that I haven’t heard of it before.

    • Sarlix says:

      @The Greatness: Oi, I already did that one. Get ye own pun!

    • The V Man says:

      I found it enlightening. It’s shocking how such a simple game can brighten someone’s day. It’s certainly lit up John. He was practically incandescent.

      DC watt I did there?

    • edit says:

      Yeah, when a game has the capacitor to spark this kind of enthusiasm it’s surely ground to conduct some kind of celebration.

      My (tran)sistor got so excited about this game. Just wait ’til you meter.

    • moashdfg says:

      Only problems I’ve really had are that being Flash, the performance can be choppy. Cursor lag isn’t uncommon and stretching it to fullscreen doesn’t do much to help that. http://kisalt.be/wuxrb2

    • empyrion says:

      I am a-farad the pun-thread has been destroyed.

    • marcusfell says:

      We need to switch to another topic.

    • corbinsupak says:

      Yeah, this one ran out of juice.

    • LifeSuport says:

      Telsatastic! I’m amp’d about the game but I’m trying to stay grounded.

  2. Dolphan says:

    Sold, John. Sold.

  3. kataras says:

    I’ll be there before you close the door
    To give you all the love that you neeeeeeeeeeeed

  4. frenz0rz says:

    Interesting. Well, back to playing Crusader Kings 2…

    … oh fine, I’ll buy it.

  5. Herzog says:

    You now own 1000 Amps.

    So this is what you wanted John ?!

  6. Lambchops says:

    I’ve had my eye on this having seen it mentioned a few times, haven’t got round to buying it yet for the same reason as frenz0rz above but I’ll certainly stick it on my to buy list.

  7. phlebas says:

    I’m loving this one too. Lovely design, great sense of opening the game up as you light more rooms and some really smart mechanics.

  8. LTK says:

    You may have forgotten to mention that there is a demo.

  9. Roarster says:

    I enjoyed the demo (http://www.theoddmanout.net/games/1000AmpsDemo.html) enough to wishlist it but I haven’t bought it yet. This might push me over the edge.

    • qrter says:

      The demo convinced me not to buy it. There’s something about the mechanic of solving a room, moving to the next and having to start all over again, each and every time, with a seemingly endless amount of rooms, that turned me off.

      I know, you could say gaming in general is really just an endless amount of resetting rooms, but here it bothered me, I can’t put my finger on why exactly.

    • Roarster says:

      Perhaps it’s nostalgia for the 8bit days but I had no problems with the rooms mechanic. I even found it came with the same feeling of happiness you got with completing a screen on the Commodore 64.

    • phlebas says:

      It’s a bit cleverer than that – because of the jumping mechanic, sometimes you need to complete (or at least partly illuminate) one room to jump high enough to get a start in the room above, for instance. Sometimes you have to avoid jumping too high and leaving the room you’re partway through, or you’ll have to start again. And having completed rooms stay illuminated (and filling in the map accordingly) is tremendously satisfying.

    • trjp says:

      You also need some unlocked abilities to enter certain rooms – so it really is a case of exploring first and solving second.

  10. jrod says:

    you sir, needs a tan

  11. groovychainsaw says:

    Right, purchased, well done John. I hope I like it now, otherwise you owe me a pint. ;-)

  12. trjp says:

    I’ve been playing this for a while and I did get myself stuck – but I tweeted the creator with my ‘solution’ and he told me what I was doing wrong (classic case of needing to solve an adjacent room first).

    Only problems I’ve really had are that being Flash, the performance can be choppy. Cursor lag isn’t uncommon and stretching it to fullscreen doesn’t do much to help that.

    It’s a wonderful idea tho – the puzzles and places in it are really memorable – if you have the slightest interest in jumpy puzzles, you should already own it.

    • mechabuddha says:

      This. I’m stuck in a room with those conveyor belt things because I need to teleport but can’t. The mouse lag is so terrible that I’ve already been pushed into the next room before I can move the mouse over where I need to click.

  13. Soapeh says:

    This was a pleasant little game with interesting mechanics but an infuriating map system. Unsolved rooms on the map are just slightly more gray that the solved ones and there’s no way of scrolling it to get a better sense of direction. Perhaps the ability to warp back to the central hub at any time would make life easier – the hidden warp gates weren’t always obvious on the map once discovered.

    100% completion clocked in at just under 5 hours, so in my opinion it was well worth the cost of a pint and a packet of crisps. (Regional pricing may vary).

  14. rocketman71 says:

    Damn, another game in my Steam list.

    As if I had time to PLAY!!!.

  15. scottyjx says:

    You’re the best, John.

  16. zin33 says:

    played this for 3 hours straight, got like 60% of the game completed then i saved and quit the game

    few hours later decided to finish it, opened the game up clicked the button that is by the side of my profile name. as i did the click i noticed it said erase instead of load, for that 0,1 seconds while i was rising my finger from the click i was “okay it will probably ask me to confirm anyways”. no such thing happened. by accidentally clicking the button that was BY THE SIDE of my profile name without any confirmations i erased all my progress.
    instantly moved to the steam category of ZZ (which contains games ill never ever play again)

  17. LifeSuport says:

    I just played the demo and found it very enjoyable. A nice art style and use of sounds. I would say give it a try.

  18. Dances to Podcasts says:

    I love lamp.

  19. pertusaria says:

    OK John, I tried the demo, now will you please try the demo for Driftmoon if you haven’t already? Fair’s fair. ;-)

    I kinda like it (1000 Amps), but I’ve got stuck in the same place twice running even though I took a different route to get there. If I can get unstuck and finish the demo, I’ll plonk down five yoyos for the full version in the near future (if I’m still enjoying it).

    Darn those things that you hit your head off, but can’t stand on. :-/

  20. Phasma Felis says:

    I really, really wish that developers would realize Flash is not an acceptable platform for serious development. I want to love this game, but it’s nearly unplayable on machines that should not ever have trouble with 2D platformers.

  21. Fumarole says:

    Someone’s sappin’ my lightswitch.