Thrust-N-Slide: Flowstorm

By John Walker on April 10th, 2013 at 4:00 pm.

How do you feel about thruster-based games? Me – I’m terrified of them, bringing back haunting memories of endless hours, days, months, failing at Moon Cresta. Oh God, Moon Cresta. Just the name evokes some mad synaesthesiac response, let alone those hateful, HATEFUL Atomic Piles. Oh man, I need a hug… Sorry, far off track. My traumatic Speccy past aside, Flowstorm is absolutely nothing like Moon Cresta, thank all that’s holy. But it is a game about manoeuvring a little rocket ship THAT’S A DANGEROUSLY SIMILAR SHAPE TO MY NIGHTMARES, through ludicrously tight curvy corridors. And what’s rather pleasing to discover is that’s a game about skidding, as much as it is thrusting. (Missus.)

Currently it’s actually just an “web prototype“, existing to fuel interest in a Kickstarter. But it’s already an extremely playable, extraordinarily difficult web game. If you watch the footage in the Kickstarter video, you can imagine my version of playing by slowing it down to about a twentieth of the speed, with the rocket using a walking frame.

Your ship, which appears to have been constructed out of one-atom-thick glass, really oughtn’t bump into things. The teeniest tap sees it shattered, and you starting over (absolutely instantly, impressively, with a previously best completion automatically shown as a ghost). However, the bottom of your ship is seemingly metal, and can touch the edges. In fact, it’s positively encouraged, as you’re supposed to be skidding and sliding all over at extraordinary speeds. Or in my case, like an 82 year old man’s first attempt at ice skating.

Currently there are 9 levels on the main page, along with a few user-created ones to add in. Pledge $25 in the Kickstarter and you get the downloadable alpha version (for $15 you don’t get the alpha, but do get the game on release), which includes the level editor too, and access to the wealth of other levels created by other backers. What’s available for free is certainly a superb taster for the full game, and more importantly, a good free game to be playing today as it is.

It’s so difficult, but damn if I don’t want to just keep playing. The sense of an instant learning curve, and immediately recognisable improvement is enormously rewarding. And since it’s free (and the registration doesn’t even require responding to an email to get logged in), you really ought to check it out.

And why not join me in watching some footage of Moon Cresta, and becoming genuinely a bit uncomfortable by it:

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28 Comments »

  1. GallonOfAlan says:

    If Moon Cresta shit you up then Gravitar and Lunar Lander would have rendered you comatose.

    I’m talking about the arcade versions.

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  2. Acegikmo says:

    Thank you *so* much for writing about our game! :D
    If anyone have any questions, we’d love to answer!

    // Joachim & Jenny

    • mispelledyouth says:

      You’re tap dancing the line between frustration and fun exceedingly well with this game. I like it. It’s like Wipeout crossed with a hitherto unknown variety of pinball. The explosive kind. I would definitely appreciate a less destructive introduction to the game though; perhaps some gently introduced slopes to practice my powerslides on? That sweet spot between my landing spikes and instant destruction is going to take some time to develop. Definitely feel the potential, good stuff.

      Just the two of you developing it?

      • The First Door says:

        I definitely agree with this. I really love the game, but I really do suck at it. I can just about manage to do a decent run on the first level, but the second one already makes me want to cry into my tea.

      • Acegikmo says:

        The game will definitely have a smoother learning curve in the end! We have another rocket planned, called the Rooket, that is slower, has aerial drag, no wings, and wider landing gear, which should make it easier to get accustomed to the concept, before switching to the default rocket!

        And yes, we’re two developers working on this game :)

    • Premium User Badge mjrmua says:

      Love the alpha guys! and backed :)
      But most of the KS campaign seems to be focused towards a story driven campaign? Which seems a strange thing to focus on for this style of the alpha.
      Does it really need a campaign?
      Trackmania seemed a similar sort of game, and was awesome without one.

  3. cheeseman says:

    Reminds me of one of the first games I ever played on a computer:

    Oids!
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Oids

    • Andrew says:

      I loved that game. I’ve always wished there was a proper remake of it.

  4. Jekhar says:

    How i feel about thruster-based games? Love ‘em when done right. It’s about time Lander (Psygnosis) get’s a proper remake. Or at least appears on gog.

  5. Putts says:

    Looks pretty sweet. Definitely evokes feelings of Lander, but I’d say even moreso it reminds me of Nimbus, a sweet little gravity-powered racing/puzzle/platforming game from a few years back.

    • sabrage says:

      Nimbus was great! It had some serious Green Hill Zone vibes as well.

  6. JuJuCam says:

    Thrustermobile meets Trials! That’s a hybrid I can get behind!

  7. AshRolls says:

    Gravity Power (Gravity Force 2) that came as a cover disk on Amiga Power was one of the greatest games. I tried to force my little brother to play it with me but he would usually just cry and run back to his bedroom, damn him!

    • Universal Hamster says:

      I came here to say this, but you said it. I agree with you.

    • Hillbert says:

      Divebombing a friend into his landing pad? Memories…

  8. Acegikmo says:

    Gravity Force is great! What inspired me with Flowstorm was an indie clone of Gravity Force called “Gravitation” on Playstation 1, which came on a NetYaroze demo disc a long time ago!

    If you want to read about the genre and such, we’ve included a history section in our public design document for Flowstorm: http://flowstormgame.com/about/

  9. HolyCrossroads says:

    Luola without destructible scenery!
    And with smaller weapons, too!

  10. RaiderJoe says:

    I can’t get the web demo to work, and usually Unity web plugin works quite reliably. Heavy server load perhaps?

    • Acegikmo says:

      That’s a bit odd, should work. I assume you’ve tried refreshing? What version does it say on the right? http://unity3d.com/webplayer/

      • dglenny says:

        I had the same problem – continual crashes. It finally worked once I stopped using guest and made an account, but that could just be a cowinky-dinky.

        Heh. Dinky.

        • Acegikmo says:

          That’s rather odd! Should go through the same pipeline. Glad it worked out with creating your own account! What platform are you running it on?
          Also, what’s your username? :)

  11. fish99 says:

    Best thrust game I ever played was…. well….. Thrust! The C64 version with the Rob Hubbard music. Amazing game, extremely unforgiving, but so rewarding once you got good at it.

    I guess they’re all derived from Asteroids really though.

  12. Andrew says:

    Oh god, ZX Spectrum sound. I’d forgotten just how awful it was.

  13. radrex says:

    subterrania on the megadrive was luvly

  14. Shadowcat says:

    For anyone who missed it, “Gravitron 2″ is a more recent example of the genre, and just happens to be one of the very best as well. I can’t recommend it highly enough.

    http://xout.blackened-interactive.com/Gravitron2/Gravitron2.html