The churlish part of my brain (which is about 70% of it, roughly) is busy yelling at me to never, ever link to The Independent Gaming Source again because they’ve just called me ‘Alex’ for the second time, but Denzel Yu & co’s regular round-up of wondrous indie delights is far too splendid to possibly ignore. (Plus we do, of course, hugely appreciate their occasional links to RPS. Us PC game blogs gotta stick together).
This time, they’ve introduced me to Fantastic Blood Boy!, a mightily charming submission to their Videogame Name Generator competition (an awesome concept in and of itself – create a game based on an auto-generated silly name). Stumbling back home after two days away, most of it spent on public transport, Bloodboy’s agreeably near-mindless carnage turned out to be exactly what I wanted to point my exhausted eyeballs at.
On paper, it might come off like vaguely desperate striving for A New Idea, but rest assured that in practice it quickly feels comfortingly natural, if constantly frenetic. The invulnerable Bloodboy’s charged with protecting a magic crystal from Sockpuppet monsters. If the gem is stationary, it’ll chuck out all manner of explodey power-ups, but it’s easily damaged by teleporting baddies. If Bloodboy touches the gem, however, it’ll briefly fly about the screen, during which time it’s invulnerable. So, it’s a frantic, co-dependent balancing act between keeping the gem (and, later, gems) out of harm’s way, but also leaving it alone for long enough to drop some screen-clearing weaponry. And it’s all done with just three buttons and on a single screen.
It’s solely a high score-chase, but a more cartoonish take on the sort of gradual visual escalation Geometry Wars does so well creates a growing sense of simultaneous menace and exhilaration. Very simple, very pop, very throwaway- in all the right ways, natch.