Best Games Of 7 Day FPS.. That Don’t Have Any Shooting

By Nathan Grayson on June 19th, 2012 at 10:00 am.

I was going to start off by explaining in excruciating detail the precise meaning of “7 Day FPS,” but I see Alec already took care of that – though admittedly, I tend to believe Doom evolved from tadpole creatures after John Romero’s hair collided with the laws of physics and caused the Big Bang. Oh well. To each his own. So then, that out of the way, how about we dive right in? The 7 Day FPS challenge yielded hundreds of bite-sized manshoots, but honestly, many of the most inventive first-person shoot-ers chose to do things that hard way and not laboriously slaughter 534853 armed thugs. Let’s have a look, shall we?

First Person Tutor

Guts, glory, sweat, tears, reveling in those final moments when another human being’s dreams fade into non-existence like precious lifeblood draining from their veins – these are all things that go hand-in-hand with being a hyper strict college teacher’s assistant. First Person Tutor, then, gives you a front row seat (on someone’s face) to that most glamorous of lifestyles. You find spelling/grammar mistakes, make the streets run red with error-fueled ink, and slowly but surely cater to the whims of a power-mad professor.

In practice, it’s incredibly simple, but oddly satisfying. The way words pop as your red pen dashes them out of existence feels wonderful, and the professor’s increasingly petty reasons for demanding that you fail students are sure to strike a cord with, well, everyone who’s ever attended a university.

Table For One

“Table for One is a game about awkwardly eating a steak,” reads this one’s entire description. And while it leaves out the part where the main character’s hunger is apparently so great that it’s allowed him to develop psychic food levitating powers, it’s otherwise pretty much completely accurate. Using the mouse buttons and WASD keys, the action you end up performing is less force feed and more force pull, but there is certainly steak and it’s certifiably awkward. It does, however, become oddly intuitive once you get the hang of it.

Honestly, though, Table For One might be even more enjoyable when you’re getting more on you (and on the ground, a chair, etc) than in you. The first-person feeder relentlessly mocks your failure to perform utterly menial tasks, and the witty quips are strong in this one.

Obsolete

“Cyberspace puzzle shooter in the vein of Rez and System Shock. Run from ICE nodes while rerouteing data streams.”

Obsolete’s allegedly about hacking and data and other such feats of techno-wizardry, but it’s about as abstract as they come. Ethereally blue bits and bobs languidly trickle through pitch black, almost spooky levels, and you attempt to connect them all with data streams. It can be a bit tricky to figure out (I’m currently stuck on a puzzle where I keep dying for no apparent reason, for example), but the whole thing’s an audiovisual treat. If nothing else, this proves that more developers should cite System Shock and Rez as their central inspirations.

Thirteen Gates

“First person 2D. Who needs depth perception?”

Thirteen Gates is… um. Er, that is to say, it’s a game where… hm. OK, the driving concept behind this one was “first-person 2D,” so the end result does its damndest to defy description. Basically, though, it all comes together to form this strangely soothing yet utterly chaotic cacophony of colors and sounds. There are bright blues and checkered reds and people talking and mellow guitars playing and this game is the reason brains look like chewed up and spat out gum. Yeah, OK. I think that covers it.

Flip’d

“Use your gravity boots to reach the end of every level.”

Well, maybe not every level. I couldn’t find any cow levels, for instance, and that made me very sad. Even so, this topsy turvy puzzler – which sees you alternatively flip the world upside-down and right-side-up (or perhaps we’ve been on the ceiling for our entire lives) – quickly becomes quite devious. At one point, I even had to time my flips perfectly in order to essentially fly through that most dreaded of chambers: a, erm, water hallway. Flip’d, then, can be a bit frustrating at times, but it’s worth checking out for the occasional ingenious puzzle and, of course, the (highly recommended) option to shout “wheeeeeeeeeeee” any time you do anything ever.

So then, up is now down. Unfortunately, there’s still no word as to whether or not a sequel will include the ability to make left into right and cause cats and dogs to hug each other.

Cloudbase Prime

“Enjoy your shift mining on a floating platform on a gas giant.”

OK, I am a dirty, awful liar. Cloudbase, you see, has a little shooting in it. But! It also features a high-flying, wonderfully exhilarating central mechanic and very, very silly voice acting. So mainly, it’s a puzzle platformer about raising and lowering platforms that catapult you into the sky while hyperactive robots chatter in chuckle-worthy fashion. Sure, Portal’s such an obvious influence that I wouldn’t be surprised if its creator spent years meticulously growing a perfect recreation of Gabe Newell’s beard, but it’s too delightful of a production to pass up.

Vonneguts & Glory

“Vonneguts & Glory is a short art game inspired by a passage from Slaughterhouse-Five wherein Billy Pilgrim observes the events of a war movie in reverse.”

Vonneguts does not contain any shooting. Instead, it’s all about un-shooting everyone and everything en route to un-parachuting into a Wolfenstein-inspired warzone. Admittedly, it’s quite short and not particularly intense, but Vonneguts makes up for those shortcomings with a healthy dose of surreality and a tiny injection of silliness.

Be The Beetle!

Be a beetle. Do beetle things.

Honorable Mention: Blind Survivor

Blind Survivor definitely includes shooting, but I had to spotlight it because, well, you’re blind. That means – in case you’re not entirely clear on the definition of the word “blind” – that there are no graphics. Just movement and sound. Granted, the whole “sonar to figure out how close you are to an object” system can be a bit tedious and clunky, but still: this is something I’ve secretly wanted someone to try for years.

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43 Comments »

  1. pakoito says:

    I tried to do a prototype for Blind Survivor a year ago, but my team shut it down :(

    • Qwentle says:

      When I was at uni, making an FPS with no visuals was a mandatory part of our audio class. Was rather fun, even if almost everyone came up with a marco/polo game.

    • AshEnke says:

      A friend of mine made a multiplayer game where one of the players is blind.
      Although I suck at all this spatial location with sound.

  2. Teovald says:

    Receiver from Wolfire looks like a good & original fps that incorporates some shooting.

  3. Hoaxfish says:

    On the other end of things, Wolfire made Receiver… which has very detailed gun control (manually counting bullets, reloading, checking the chamber, etc): http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GCThInmzjXw

    It’s a paid thing though (Overgrowth preorderers get it free), but most people seem to agree that while it’s amazing in terms of gunplay detail the game runs out of things to do after a while. I’m probably going to watch how it develops, assuming they continue to develop it (as it has obviously been made to meet the 7 days limit).

    • Nathan Grayson says:

      Hmm, I believe I will investigate this further.

      • Xune says:

        Please do. I really like what they’ve started with Receiver and I’d consider picking it up if I knew they were going to continue development.

    • John Connor says:

      How can those guys afford to work on these games without having released anything?

      • Teovald says:

        They used to finance their development with preorders.
        But they also have created the Humble Indie Bundle. I think that thanks to that, they have all the cash they need.

      • Flamekin42 says:

        Oops, too slow, me.

      • Kaira- says:

        Wait, they didn’t release Lugaru and Lugaru HD? Well I never.

    • Reapy says:

      I find it hillaroiusly awesome how ive never seen realism based shooters ever include the parts of the gun, its one of those hindsight, why the f has a game never done this???? Moments. It really seems to bring the decoration that is your gun in most fps games to life. Hope to see this copied generously in the future.

  4. Stuart Walton says:

    If I have one issue with First Person Tutor, it’s that the procedural method for creating the levels is inconsistent and does not gel with the ‘added time’ and combo mechanics. Some of the essays have sections where there are no errors and if you end up scanning such an area, you’ll run out of time. Other times you’ll find a sentence chock full of spelling mistakes, your multiplier will rocket up and you’ll hit an F grade in moments.

    • The First Door says:

      Yeah, I found that problem too. I’d often lose because I didn’t have time to read more than the first 10 or so lines and it’d be quite well written. Having said that, I always missed a couple of the mistakes it highlighted at the end of the level.

    • Nathan Grayson says:

      Yeah, I had one run where I cleared upward of ten or so stages, and then another where I flunked out on the second stage immediately afterward. It definitely needs some tweaking.

  5. John Connor says:

    I can’t get Blind Survivor to work. It says click to start but I click and it doesn’t start.

  6. NathanH says:

    First Person Tutor sounds like exactly my sort of game, although I am wondering what being first-person will add to it.

    My brother and I used to play blindfold video games, with one controlling blind and the sighted one giving directions. FPS games tended to be impossible (we never managed to successfully blackjack anyone in Thief) but we occasionally managed to post non-dreadful times in our rally game (of course most of the time we ended up off the road or driving in circles).

  7. caddyB says:

    That’s actually quite similar to what I do while grading papers.

  8. HHErebus says:

    Hey Nathan, if you want to play something like Blind Survivor maybe you’d like Blindside. It’s an adventure game in which the only thing you can count on is sound, it’s pretty cool!

  9. Isair says:

    If anyone feels that Thirteen Gates isn’t quite brain breaking enough, there’s also Seven Dimensions.
    http://7dfps.org/?projects=seven-dimensions

    • Marries says:

      I’m glad you like it! (I’m the author of Seven Dimensions)

  10. Film11 says:

    Hmm, would the rather excellent Research & Development mod for HL2 come under the non-shooter FPS category? All you had was bugbait and the gravity gun, and even that was only a few sections.

  11. Chinchilla says:

    I’m going to shamelessly link to my First-person dragon-em-up sandbox destruction sim: http://bit.ly/LbcNLF

    • CurzoJools says:

      That is awesome!

    • Llewyn says:

      I don’t understand why people use link truncators anywhere except Twitter, where the character limit makes it a necessity. Pretty sure I’m not the only one who isn’t interested in clicking blind links posted by random strangers.

    • MrTambourineMan says:

      Yeah, I did notice this one before when I was browsing the blog, seems awesome, have to try it when I come home. Good work!

  12. DarrenS says:

    You missed a good one

  13. max pain says:

    It seems the entries that are trying not to be shooters got the most coverage :(
    So what if there was hundreds of ‘real’ shooters, it’s a FPS challenge.

    When you go to chinese restaurant, just because you’re surrounded with a lot of chinese food, will you respect other food much more?

  14. Quick Fingers says:

    aww I contemplated not putting a shooting part in mine, but I was convinced the S in FPS stood for shooter so by definition figured I should have a shoot out. Curse my inside the box thinking…
    Anyway, here’s the link if anyones interested in trying a sci-fi ‘mostly not shooting just an exploring/survival adventure but with a little shooting bit’ fps.

    http://7dfps.org/?projects=europa-concept

    • Skabooga says:

      Woo, nice little demo you have here! I really dig the atmosphere (very much in line with the space isolation feel of works like Moon, Alien, and 2001: A Space Odyssey); what little there was to play put a knot in my stomach and beat in my heart.

  15. Thotep says:

    I don’t think that omitting shooting is they way to go with FPSes. From my point of view, 7dfps was about RETHINKING shooting to make it interesting again.
    My game definately has shooting in it, but I guess you’ll be quite surprised. Check it out: Modern Shooter.

    • MrTambourineMan says:

      Very very interesting piece of work, I just finished it, good job!

  16. Defiant Badger says:

    Oh come on, no coverage for Reciever? It really is excellent, as a stand alone game and a competetion entry.

    • Hoaxfish says:

      well, this is for “no shooting”, and receiver has quite a bit. Hopefully we get a bit more coverage of the 7dfps, and the various games, like we did with the recent Ludum Dare.

      • max pain says:

        Reciever is not even in the projects list. Sure they made it in one week, but they didn’t submit it to 7DFPS (that’s because they’re selling it).

        • Hoaxfish says:

          I saw it on the 7dfps page and just assumed that it was “in with the rest”…

          actually reading it now, it turns out it didn’t even make the 7 days deadline. Bit confused to be honest.

  17. Nevard says:

    I hope everyone reported the bug on the beetle page

  18. Skabooga says:

    Cloudbase Prime was a jolly good time; the central mechanic of launching oneself skyward is just delightful.

  19. ninjamnox says:

    DeadLock, game made during 7dfps, have fun
    Video : http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4nODXBKo4so&feature=plcp
    Game : http://7dfps.org/?projects=3524