For those seeking some old-school gameplay, OffGao of Japan may have just what you're looking for. At first glance these games may appear as nothing special, but as was the case with many early video games, it's all about the gameplay.
Dot Action 2 is a cute little platformer with a personality. Use the [space] bar and the arrow keys to jump and run, respectively. Navigate the little stick figure character throughout each stage to collect all of the blue dots (large square pixels) to move on to the next.
Some interesting gameplay elements are included here, such as electrified orange dots that may be passed through only by collecting a red dot first. But the power-up effects of the red dot don't last long, so you have to hurry. Green dots invert the screen for some inventive level design. There are even grey dots that act like water you must swim through. You will sink unless you keep pressing [space] to swim.
Much of the game text is in Japanese, but you shouldn't have any trouble at all playing with a few simple directions: There is no mouse control in these games, even the menus are completely keyboard driven. You may pause the game at any time by pressing [enter]. To end the level and return to the stage select screen, press [enter] then [right] arrow, then [space]. To exit and return to the main menu from the stage select screen, press [esc]. Be sure to jot down the 6-digit code (nnn-nnn) for the highest stage you've reached before pressing [esc] if you wish to pick up again where you left off (or just consult our complete list of level codes.)
From the main menu, use the arrow keys to select, press [space] to activate. Here's a break down of the main menu:
- New game - choosing this will start a new game beginning at Stage 1.
- Enter level code - choosing this will allow you to begin the game at any level providing you have the level code for it. Entering a level code will also allow you to play any level prior to that one.
- High score rank - choosing this one brings up the high score list. Unfortunately the high scores don't seem to be working; however, you can get to Random mode from here. For Random mode, just press [space] again to play. The objective of random mode is to see how many randomly generated stages you can get through by moving to the right. To get back to the main menu from the high score screen, press [right] arrow then [space].
- Instructions - instructions for the game are entirely in Japanese, so perhaps we can get some translation help in the comments in case we missed anything. =)
Analysis: There is a lot to love about this simple little game. The stages are inventive without being too complex or too difficult to complete, and there seems to be just the right amount of challenge to keep the player engaged. The game is very reminiscent of some of the classic platformers of the early years of video games as can be seen in its graphics and its gameplay. Even the charming midi soundtrack evokes fond memories of the arcade, and there is just enough sound to create a very retro-feel to the game without becoming annoying.
The downside is the game file is huge for a game with such simple graphics (5MB). It will take several minutes for your browser to load the game before you're able to play.
It's a compelling little game that will give you an hour or two of fun, and if you enjoyed this one and want more, you might want to try out the author's first Dot Action game, as well.
I almost passed this one by today on my travels, but I am glad I revisited the site for a 2nd look.