Indie Play Impressions (4/9/08)

October 3rd, 2008

indie impressions

Fractal Fighter


Fractal – A geometric pattern that is repeated at ever smaller scales to produce irregular shapes and surfaces that cannot be represented by classical geometry.

Fractal Fighter is a two dimensional, vertical shooter set in a hard line, black and white, vector environment. The crux of the gameplay is orientated around dismemberment of a fractal shape. Each fractal has a series of increasingly powerful turrets layered within it. To completely destroy the fractal you need to clear each wave of mounted turrets until the whole unit is destroyed. From there, the pattern repeats and another fractal surfaces with greater complexity in shape and a multitude of additional turrets.

Your ship has the ability to fire standard bullets and long distance lasers. The rapid fire bullets are the primary mechanic and most useful of the two. These bullets can only pierce the face of the structures though, in which case the laser function – which passes through the whole fractal – is useful for picking off turrets from the back of the creature. As the structures becoming increasingly more elaborate, they grow additional limbs from the back much like sprouting wings, easing your attention onto balancing the rapid and laser fire. Since the laser has a time delay between pulses the power-to-fire ratio of the mechanics are matched and evenly balanced. Furthermore the fractal’s evolution outwards forces you to focus back and forth between the front and back of the shape, ergonomically curving your concentration levels into complete immersion.

fractal fighter

The process of identifying constituents and then tactically removing them piece by piece likens itself to the amusing task of pulling the pettles off a lone daisy. Except it’s wrapped within the mechanics of a shoot ’em up and as such the game feels half like a shoot ’em up (pattern recognition, strategic ‘twitch’ movement) and half like an amusing way to kill some time (the daisy). Because the game is spun around this idea, much like pulling apart a helpless object, the game feeds into this piece-by-piece satisfaction.

It’s interesting this emphasis of patterns. We all know that the shoot ’em up genre revolves around pattern memorization, yet Fractal Fighter shows visual proof of this. Each shape, each creature you face is born from a pattern, a pattern which dictates the shape of the fractal and the way in which it behaves. Furthermore, as the fractals become ladened with more complexity, we also have a visual representation of the game’s difficulty curve right in front of us since we can see the number of turrets increasing and how they’re increasing. The two core components; the shooting and the fractual development are both cleanly implemented, allowing the player to focus on the job at hand, distraction free. The evolution of the fractals and way this is visually identified feels organic in design and native. These things make Fractal Fighter a very engaging game to play, the single music track as well comes off very well and aids in pulling you into the experience.

GoldenEye 2D


GoldenEye 2D is a cute little Game Boy remake of the original Nintendo 64 success; Golden Eye 64. Pening that sentence makes me wonder if people give higher precedence to the movie or the game, I guess it’s just this niche. Anyways I lied, this retro remake is just of the Dam level. Still it’s a pretty tough romp so it’ll take you a while to push through.

goldeneye 2d

As Bond you basically have two primary actions; jumping and shooting. You’re also equipped with a checklist of objectives to complete, although most of the gameplay is about shooting and dodging the heavy onslaught of enemies walking in your direction. As you continue to mow down more agents (and avoid being shot at), your score increases, automatically upgrading you to better weaponry. All pretty simple, run and gun action.

It’s obvious that a lot of care has been taken into making this title very apt and authentic to the canon. The game plays typically like other run-and-gun action games and delivers the same delightful action while it lasts.