QWOP and Speed Chess [official site] creator Bennett Foddy suggested last year that game designers come up with their own takes on both chess and Pong – two classics – as a design exercise, similar to top chefs’ individual takes on the standard bread service and egg dish. I have no idea whether Redshift Blueshift creator Will Blanton heard of that, but I’d be wary of his eggs.
Redshift Blueshift [store page] is Pong crammed full of delicious explosions, a local multiplayer game where space-paddleships bounce balls and launch missiles at each other.
Here’s how it works: perhaps more like squash than tennis, both players are trying to bosh a ball against the top of the screen and have their opponent miss the rebound. You could do this by whacking it at a tricky angle, sure, but it’d be easier with weapons. When it’s not your turn to hit, you can blast away at powerups to launch floods of missiles or activate weapons drones, and their hits stun or slow enemies. They can do the same too, so you both end up dancing around, dodging missiles, shooting down drones, and trying to collect shields.
It’s pretty fun! I also like the small touches of how the ships open and close to switch between paddle and fire modes, and how the pilots’ competitive banter is still friendly.