They Say Jump, You Say Why: Traitor

By Adam Smith on March 23rd, 2012 at 6:29 pm.

pew pew PLOT

Five minutes into Jonas Kyratzes new browser game, Traitor, I thought I’d seen everything I needed to see and was ready to move on to something else. I’m glad I didn’t because what seemed to be a basic space-based shoot ‘em up that’s making a fairly obvious comment on a player’s readiness to obey commands (“Shoot these unarmed ships immediately!” “I’d rather not.” GASP) turns out to be something more complicated and far more entertaining. Once what I now think of as the prologue missions are done, Traitor opens up and provides choices which lead to a series of complex little stories.

It’s a little plodding considering the number of spaceships blasting one another but it weaves a very good yarn and shows the benefit of taking a simple formula and adding layers of story to it.

While you’re at Jonas’ page also check out The Infinite Ocean, an adventure which Quinns called “a deliciously dark slice of future-terror”. There’s also Phenomenon 32, described as a “2D exploration/platforming game with RPG elements”. It can be a hard sell, despite being free, because it doesn’t look like very much of interest is going on but it handles its superb alternate history plot just about as well as any game I’ve ever played. Here’s a really old trailer.

I spotted Traitor over yonder at Indiegames.com.

, , , , .

23 Comments »

Sponsored links by Taboola
  1. RegisteredUser says:

    Looks like DAVID against Goliath!

    • Phantoon says:

      You mean the usurping mass murderer that wanted nothing more than the power of being king versus a benevolent ruler that cared for his subjects but lost out in history because the victory writes history?

      • RegisteredUser says:

        No.

        First time the first post-ery failed me on RPS. Sad now.

  2. identiti_crisis says:

    Those graphics remind me of space-filling curves (don’t ask me how I stumbled upon them). That would be pretty sweet, if totally unnecessary.

    It seems more likely that it’s a coarse grid of coloured “pixels” that only show their edges, which are coloured according to the pixels bordering that edge. I like it.

  3. Berzee says:

    Not reading this article yet because I want to play it blind =P but I’m glad you covered it here! I thought it looked keen.

  4. JamesPatton says:

    That game is called the Infinite OCEAN, not the Infinite Sea. ;)

  5. Trent Hawkins says:

    So this is Metroid 2 if you’re stuck in ball form?

  6. Gnoupi says:

    About Traitor, I was disappointed to see that the actual treason is forced. I shot down every unarmed ship in the mission. It congratulated me at the debriefing, as you would expect…. and the next mission was that while I pulled the trigger, and executed their orders, this can’t be anymore. And I have to find a way out of there. But why?

    I’m not expecting a full story arc, but make at least something like “And you continued to blindly obey commands, without questioning their purpose, for the rest of a long career.” Something to acknowledge my choice, and not just an illusion.

    • JonasKyratzes says:

      I see your point, but your actions do have a palpable effect on the gameworld – if those medical supplies don’t get to Occator Prime, several of the habitats there are dead later in the game. (From a design perspective, what you suggest would make sense, but it would also result in dozens of comments telling me off for making a game with only four missions.)

  7. silverhammermba says:

    Extremely repetitive. I hate games where you have to play lots and lots of boring missions before you can get the upgrades required for the game to be more interesting.

  8. Vegard Pompey says:

    Augh, why the hell did I play through all that? That was really bad. It’s the kind of game you can just play through on autopilot without ever having to apply any skill or strategy.

  9. Allafif says:

    You start off really weak. I’m not so sure about a shooter where the best strategy is to not shoot things.

  10. thebigJ_A says:

    Phenomenon 32 seems very interesting. That intro had me invested from the start. It’s too bad the controls are so awkward. Why can’t I play with my gamepad? It’s meant to be something like a gameboy game, after all.

  11. MadTinkerer says:

    Ah, so someone finally implemented Only You Can Save Mankind as a game.

    Sort of.

  12. Frank says:

    Man, I hate compulsive grind-games

  13. Prince says:

    This reminded me a lot of Cosmic Pirate for the good old 8/16-bits. Very cool idea to combine classic 2d shooter action with something more rpg-ish. If expanded into something bigger, this would be the kind of game I’d love to buy.

  14. John Brindle says:

    Is there some trick to the final boss that I’m missing? It’s very very hard, possibly because my spaceship is very, very upgraded :(

    • figvam says:

      If you tug along the left edge of the screen, it doesn’t reach you with its shots. When it jumps into the middle, maneuver back into the middle to take a few pot shots at it, and fall back into your cover.