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Freeware Garden: Shattered

Metroidvania-y planet-plundering

Shattered comes with a plot. Something about a world consuming dark power that has already shattered a planet in two and about you being there to rob said planet of its artifacts, but, yes, you couldn't possibly care about such things, could you? Not when you get to control an impossibly cute black blob, you can't.

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Said wonderful blob, complete with space helmet and everything, is starring in a very traditional and particularly well executed Metroidvania that spices things up with the addition of a menagerie of fashionably difficult platforming bits. As an added bonus it does look a bit like Cave Story, what with its simple, chunky pixel art.

Helping cuteness itself avoid death-by-spiking is as noble a cause as any. Unlike Cave Story, you don't really get to be the good guy in this one. You are here just to rob the devastated planet of its four apparently fabled treasures and master four powers in the process, which, though most emphatically an enjoyable endeavor, is far from ethical. Besides, when you look as adorable as Shattered's protagonist, you simply don't care about ethics.

All you want to do is visit hubs that let you alternate between worlds, buy the upgrades you'll need to bring your cuteness to initially inaccessible places, jump on things and solve simple yet well integrated puzzles.

Oh, and die a lot too. Maybe even a couple dozen times in the same scene, while relying on wisely placed spawn points to make sure things never get frustrating. Well, never is a strong word. The jetpack bits of the game can be rather nerve-shattering, mainly due to a combination of severely limited fuel and not incredibly precise controls, though admittedly conserving fuel does add an extra layer of strategy. Then again, these are pretty short sections and you'll feel pretty chuffed when you eventually beat them.

You'll soon be rewarded with a trophy room soon(-ish) afterwards too and I particularly appreciated those trophy rooms. They had the stylized grandeur anyone would demand of cavernous vaults holding a planet's most prized treasures.

[Shattered is a Ludum Dare 30 entry; you can play both the jam and post-jam version in the debatable comfort of your browser.]

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