Hosted by the Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC) as part of the Game On initiative, Kelman to the Rescue was a previous winner of the "Best Game" category at the Flash-in-the-Can festival, held each year in Toronto.
A collaboration between artist Nathan Jurevicius and programmer Ash Ringrose, Kelman to the Rescue is a delightful game comprised of four (4) mini-games sandwiched between narrative animation. Beautifully stylized cut scenes tells the story of a boy-hero named Kelman who overcomes his unfortunate condition by rescuing the good bugs from the evil bugs.
Following the introductory animation is a flying game using the keyboard for control. The arrow keys control up, down, right and left movement of Kelman, who flies by riding on the back of the bug that enlists Kelman's help. Press the space bar to launch a nut(?) at the bad evil bugs, and then swoop in to catch the good bug before it falls to the ground. Hold down the space bar for a more powerful shot. Collect 30 good bugs to advance. Lose 6 good bugs, or lose 4 lives, and you must retry the level again.
The second game is a catch the falling bug game. Use the mouse to position a net underneath the good bugs as they fall, while avoiding the bad bugs. Notice a recurring theme here? Align the shadows cast by the net and the falling bug to be ensure a proper catch. This game is a bit more tricky since bugs fall at different rates, and the shadows on the ground are sometimes difficult to see. Like the first level, catch 30 good bugs to advance. Lose 6 good bugs, or lose 4 lives, and you must retry the level again.
The third game is a jumping game. Kelman has acquired a bug's legs and can now jump to great heights. Use the arrow keys to move left and right, press the space bar to jump. Hold the space bar down to power up your jump for higher bugs. Use the radar on the right of the play field as a guide to know when to jump and when to avoid the evil doers.
And finally, if you make it through all three (3) games, a boss fight commences against the mother of all evil bugs. Control is as it was for the first game, with Kelman riding on the little red bug's back throwing nuts(?) Hit the boss about 10 times to kill it and win the game. Click.
Analysis: I really love Flash games like this. A bit of narrative to set the stage, several mini-games that change up the gameplay with cut scenes in-between, all culminating in a boss fight that rewards you with a game ending animation to tie it all up. The game's gorgeous artwork, convincing voice-acting, energizing soundtrack, and challenging gameplay leave little doubt as to the merits of this award winning game.
And while the game has some impressive features, it is not without a couple of minor issues. Achieving success with the catch-a-falling-bug mini-game seemed to rely more on luck with the timing of the falling bugs than on any hand-eye coordination or skill. Several repeats were necessary to get past this one, a few more than I would have liked. On the upside, levels can be retried as many times as necessary to advance. Also, during the boss fight, there was a problem regenerating after a loss of life. Many times the new Kelman would appear and immediately touch the boss before regaining control, which lead to a repetitive loss of life.
Game On is an initiative for emerging game developers, digital artists and producers who want to break the traditional mould of online games production and expose their talents to an international audience.
Rock on Game On.