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Holedown's planet-breaking worms slither towards PC with local co-op

Bouncy mobile block-buster Holedown is worming its way onto Steam. Following brilliant, abstract kinda-sorta-RTS Rymdkapsel, Swedish developer Martin “Grapefrukt” Jonasson’s 2018 puzzler is a deceptively smart little gem that has you shattering planets at the behest of an ever-present communist worm. Two years later, the worm’s domain is spreading to PC – and this time, you can bring a friend.

Jonasson announced the upcoming PC release in a Tweet earlier week, with the game’s new Steam page noting a release “eventually”.

Oh the face of it, Holedown isn’t too complex. Shoot balls at a grid of numbered blocks to bring them down to zero, bursting them before they Tetris their way to the top. So far, so “hyper-casual mobile game”. But Holedown has some lovely complexity hidden up its sleeve, enough that I spent the better part of two months in 2018 doing nothing but shoot worms down a brightly-coloured pit.

See, it’s all about resource management – balancing limited shots and a set number of balls-per-shot to make it through each level with enough shots to shatter the final “core”. Some blocks will give you more balls when broken or unlock upgrade gems, while others won’t collapse when the ground’s shot out from under them. Holedown is a game that lives for the moment where you nail a shot that lands your fresh-faced worm balls in a closed loop, tearing a 300-count block down to 0 in seconds.

Never mind that Holedown is deeply delightful in every interaction. The way blocks bounce and shudder with a muted “pop”. The perfect moment of slowdown when a fixed block brings an entire screen crashing down with its demise. The worm’s sweet Marxism murmuring in your ear with each hypnotic sway, backed by a space-acid soundtrack as wobbly as Holedown’s blocks.

When it arrives on Steam, Holedown will sport local co-op (and likely online, via Steam Remote Play Together). For now, Jonasson reckons it’ll be Windows-only – though could be persuaded to go to Mac if you nag him enough.

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Natalie Clayton

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