Brute Is N++ In A Spaceship

We’ve posted about the work of Michael Manning before, because his main project is a satisfying sounding platformer called Orbit. But games take a long time to make, so Manning has started a smaller, simpler side project. It’s called Brute and you control a tiny ship with limited fuel who explodes on contact with the sides of the levels. It’s just as satisfying to look at and hear.

Here’s the trailer, which uses this music:

I’ve played fifteen levels from across the 50 so far created. The need to conserve and collect fuel was unexpected after watching the trailer above but turns out to be core to the game. The surface your ship glides across is a little slippy, meaning you’ll take a while to slow to a stop if you’re travelling at speed. This allows you to use your momentum to cover distances without wasting fuel, but also means you’ll need to make small course adjustments while travelling to stop and position yourself without crashing.

Everything else in the game is interacted with via your weapons, which for contrast are an infinite resource. You shoot a yellow marker to finish levels, shoot at switches to open laser-gates, and fire at approaching enemies in order to push them into the deadly sides. Those enemies are great, too, expressing personality through simple movements: from seekers who are essentially homing pieces of level geometry, to hunters who can shoot and tunnel through levels to reach you, to flocking yellow arrows that simply swarm towards you.

The game’s devlog mentions that it’s inspired by the original release of N, and that’s obvious from both its sparse artwork and its sometimes brutal difficulty. Where it differs is in its pace; in the levels I played, Brute was less about reflex than about planning, timing, and discovery. I don’t know whether that would change over the course of the larger game, but I’m keen to spend more time with it anyway for small details like the whirr of your engine or the bounce and pop of your bullets.

There’s no publicly playable build yet, but Manning is planning to release the game as pay-what-you-want when it’s done and then, if people like it, expand it with leaderboards, co-op and a level editor. He’s also looking for testers.


  1. iainl says:

    I really need a new Thrustalike in my life, so this sounds perfect.

    • LionsPhil says:

      Heh, I almost compared it to that before deciding there were enough differences to not really be much of a comparison.

      Thrust really was bastard-hard. Lethal walls, limited fuel, gravity…and a fragile penduluming payload dragging you all over the place. Never got very far into it.

      • Ross Angus says:

        Thrust was a beautiful game.

      • Phasma Felis says:

        Man, now you’ve got me wanting to play Solar Jetman. Has anyone ever made another game like Solar Jetman?

  2. Jeeva says:

    Just tried to sign up to offer my services as a tester, and got the most bizarre rejection of my nickname yet: “Your username contains the reserved name “eva”. Please retry.”

    I feel bad for just trying to sign up to bug this chap, but that amused me.

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    Lexx87 says:

    Graham I love you – this is exactly my kind of thing.

  4. Tenerim says:

    I feel like there’s a light Hotline Miami feel to that soundtrack which is a very good thing in my book.

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    Lexx87 says:

    The little noise the ship makes when you speed up is my favourite little ship speeding noise ever.

    • Sirico says:

      That’s one of my favorite bits too, then I realise I wasted all my fuel getting it up to speed, worth it.

  6. Phasma Felis says:

    That spaceship is BACKWARDS and it is FREAKING ME OUT.