Gravitron 2: Thrust Things First
When chatting to Retro Remake's Oddbob about his competition, he mentioned how much he was loving Gravitron 2. And always being a sucker for Thrust variants - GF24evar!! - I gave it a shot. It's pretty neat. You can get the demo 12Mb Demo from here which features four of the full games' forty (count 'em!) cave-delving thrust-o-thing. Video of it in action, a little discussion and a completely self-indulgent pop video beneath the cut...
The idea of the game is simply to get to a generator, blow it up and get the hell out of the planet before it explodes. If you want more points, you can collect scientists, and you should. Thrust-derived games for me are the natural extrapolation of the game where you have to move a metal hoop along an metal wire without setting off a buzzer - in that, you've got a slightly unreliable physics object to control (your arm. Especially uncontrollable, in my case) and a highly constrained route to follow through. In other words, it tends to be enormously punishing, but that's the point: tension, delicacy and the joy of release when you finally make it. Pro-tip: use the shield to minimise harm.
My one problem is the generators themselves. You shoot them to take them out, and you have to hammer them a bit before exploding. The instructions say you need to hit them repeatedly - but it doesn't actually make it clear whether they mean "they have a health bar you have to take out" or "you have to hit them repeatedly in a period of time". This wouldn't be an issue, but the game doesn't give any visual or sonic clues that you're actually harming it, leaving you more than a little disconnected from that one central action. When the game is as sonically effective as it is elsewhere - there's a fantastic array of retro bleeps on show - I'm surprised they didn't implement something like a ever-rising scale of disturbed and disturbing noise as each hit slammed into it.
Still: highly polished, quietly snazzy Thrust-derived game. Highly likeable. And here's it in action...
And here's the Super Furry Animals in action.
(The justification is the "Gravity - you just hold me down so quietly - you just hold me back" chorus, but really, I just fancied linking to the SFA. (This man don't give a Flip - Ed))