Death Ray Manta [official site], an outrageously glowy shmup designed to make you happy, the very same Rob Fearon game that received appropriately glowy reviews by the likes of Eurogamer and Edge, has now gone freeware. Along with all of Rob’s frantic and occasionally hilarious games.
After the essential disclaimer through which I tell you that I was the one to originally ask Rob to make this game for a bundle I was helping run, let me just go on and promise that if you’ve ever enjoyed an arena shooter, you’ll simply adore DRM. It’s unlike all other DRMs. It’s brilliant and DRM-free.
Its arenas are populated by a surreal, psychedelic mix of aliens, bunnies, alien bunnies, robots, turrets, space invaders and all sorts of other obstacles and enemies you have to shoot in order to progress to the next stage and earn a single point. Manage to grab each stage’s tiffin and you’ll have both added a little firepower to the Space Manta you are playing as and scored another point.
Yes, it’s as simple a scoring system as that and you’ll soon discover just how brilliantly high-scores and finding out what lies ahead are so closely linked. It’s a small thing, sure, yet it ties in perfectly with the simplicity of the whole game and is wisely elegant.
Instead of having you master rules and mechanics, DRM forces you to constantly move and shoot and watch the light displays. The beautiful pyrotechnics and the shifting backgrounds. The exploding greens, oranges and reds as you obliterate carefully designed waves of enemies.