Areas


Reader reviewAreasThe following is a reader-submitted review by Captain:

Having grown up in the heyday of DOS, I know my way around a command line, but there's just something inherently satisfying about seeing what you want and clicking to interact with it directly.

So I was initially a little thrown when I first played Areas, a simple-looking but ultimately complex, addictive and atmospheric shmup by Ridiculous. There is no text to be had in the menus, only icons, which are easy enough to figure out. And you don't click on them, or anything, throughout the game. If you want to interact with something, mouse over it and be patient, and it will unfold for itself.

But if that were the only trick up this game's sleeve, I wouldn't have been justified in using all those glowing adjectives in the previous paragraph. The gameplay itself is a great blend of action and strategy (and maybe a little luck).

A kind of spiritual successor to Gimmie Friction Baby in both gameplay and atmosphere, Areas pits you (a ship) against an army of ever-expanding white circles. If you destroy a circle, it may leave behind one of the titular areas. Shoot your gun or pass your ship through one of these areas to receive a temporary bonus. In early levels, the areas do the run-of-the-mill stuff like making your shots bigger and shielding you from the inexorable, crushing encroachment of the circles. As the game progresses, though, the areas get more creative and more varied, keeping the gameplay interesting and ramping up the difficulty.

I don't want to give away too many variations, as part of the fun of the game is discovering what new areas you have to work with on the next level, but I will say two words to whet your appetite: Laser shotgun.

Analysis: The black-and-white, line-based graphics work perfectly with the gameplay. The music also greatly enhances the game's atmosphere... for about ten minutes, after which you're grateful for the ability to turn it off.

I did have a few minor criticisms. Since the controls are all based on the mouse, you move the cursor further from your ship to move, closer to your ship to shoot and directly on top of your ship to pause. But the lines between shoot, move and pause aren't clearly defined, so there's initially a lot of shooting when you want to move and pausing when you want to shoot before you get the hang of it. Aside from that and a few nigh-unwinnable levels (level 10 and I still aren't on speaking terms), this seems like a game destined to make a lot of people late for a lot of meetings. The designer has certainly mastered Zen and the art of "one more game."

And without any clicking, too. Who would have thought?

Play Areas

Walkthrough Guide


(Please allow page to fully load for spoiler tags to be functional.)

Here is a full "walkthrough (more like a strategy guide). Careful, it's HUGE!! (Lots of spoiler tags!)

BASIC GAMEPLAY

Getting Started:

The start menu has 3 options (from left to right): Play game, Tutorial, Credits. To select an option, place the cursor on the icon for that option, and don't move it for a few seconds. The cursor will expand to the size of the icon before selecting it. You don't have to click anything at all.
The 3 options that show up when you select the "Play game" icon are (from top to bottom): New Game (the fireworks icon), Level Select (the middle icon), Continue Previous Game (the floppy disk icon).

Playing the Game:

Your goal in the game is to make it through each level alive. There are expanding white circles that will try to smother you, so you must destroy them with your weapons. Each level is timed (the little white thing in your ship is the level timer) and you just have to last until the level is over. Your game is saved after every level.
To make your ship move, you'll "pull" it with the cursor. Move the cursor towards the edge of the screen and your ship will be dragged along towards it.
To make your ship shoot, move your cursor close to the ship until it starts firing.
To pause the game and open the options menu (where you can adjust music volume, restart the level, and exit to the start menu), hold the cursor directly over the ship without moving it. If your ship is being moved by expanding circles, it won't work. The right-most icon of the options menu will resume gameplay.
When the level timer runs out (or fills up, depending on how you look at it), all of the circles on the level will explode and you'll get some points for each one. Then a mostly black screen shows up with the number of the level you just played, the points you got in that level, your total points, and 3 icons (from left to right): Replay Level, Exit to Start Menu, Next Level.
If you die before the level is over, the screen that shows up will have the same information on it, but it will be mostly white instead of mostly black, and if you try to select the "Next Level" icon, the "Replay Level" icon will push it out of the way. If you ever get the white screen, you'll have to either replay the level or exit to the start menu.
With each successive level, the playing field grows a little bigger and the timer goes a little slower.
At some point in the game, the white circles start generating little black "spores" that just bounce around inside them. They can move freely between any overlapping white circles, and I'm not sure exactly what their purpose is, but it seems they play an important role in the Virus Token powerup and there may be a correlation between the number of spores in a circle you destroy and the likeliness of that circle dropping an area.

Using Areas:

Areas are the "powerups" that circles drop when they get destroyed. They are generally circular with some kind of unique design on and/or around them. They can be activated by either moving your ship into them or shooting bullets into them (which also includes shooting from within them). However, there are at least two different areas (Radar and Big Freaking Laser) that are automatically activated. After a certain amount of time, an area will "expire" and fade away.
There are also special kinds of areas that I call "tokens." These tokens are more in the style of the powerups from most other video games in that you just move your ship over them to collect/activate them. Your ship can attract tokens when it's relatively close to them, whereas normal areas are completely static and can not move around the field. Furthermore, one enemy circle can drop multiple tokens without being destroyed completely, you can only get at most one normal (non-token) area from a circle when you completely destroy the circle. Tokens start appearing after level 50.
Combos between areas can be made, resulting in more powerful weapons. Experiment to see what you can do (or just look at the rest of the walkthrough for some "hints").

Other Stuffs:

In the pause/options menu, you have the choice to restart the level you're on (the circular arrow icon on the left), exit to the start menu (the middle icon that has an X in it) or resume play. When you select the "exit to the start menu" icon, the game will basically say to you "Carfeul, you're about to exit this level without finishing it (the '!' icon). Do you really want to exit? (the '?' icon)." The X and check mark bubbles that pop up mean "no" and "yes" respectively.

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LEVEL BY LEVEL (with some strategies included on some levels).

lv. 1

No areas. Just shoot the white circles.

lv. 2

Whirly

lv. 3

Bubbler

lv. 4

Bubbler, Whirly

lv. 5

Bubbler. A lot more circles will show up here, but a lot more areas will, too.

lv. 6

Shield. One Shield area could probably get you through the whole level.

lv. 7

Shield, Whirly. The level is just long enough so that an early Shield area will expire before the level ends, so you might as well just move around to shoot circles.

lv. 8

Basic Laser. Lasers are cool.

lv. 9

Basic Laser, Bubbler. You can make your first "area combo" here :)

lv. 10

Basic Laser. Circles grow really fast, and your ship shoots many bullets, but only in spurts. Sit inside Laser areas and aim for the centers of circles. Shoot in random directions around the field if you can't see any circles.

lv. 11

Bubbler. A medium amount of circles. Bubbler might actually be useful for a little bit.

lv. 12

Basic Laser, Shield, Spread, Whirly. Four areas in one level! Combo wisely.

lv. 13

Spread

lv. 14

Spread, Shield, Bubbler. Try comboing Bubbler and Spread.

lv. 15

Spread. Your ship shoots in spurts of many bullets. Many bullets + Spread = Many Many Bullets.

lv. 16

Overload Bomb, Shield. If you can get a Shield to overlap an Overload Bomb, you can keep firing into the bomb from within the Shield to give the bomb as much power as possible.

lv. 17

Shield, Bubbler, Overload Bomb. Use Bubbler to feed more energy into Overload Bomb

lv. 18

Grenader.

lv. 19

Grenader, Bubbler. Combos are possible and fun to watch.

lv. 20

Grenader. Your ship shoots large bullets at a little bit slower pace. Like the previous level, but the bubbling has been done for you

lv. 21

Big Freaking Laser (BFL). Don't bother trying to make a safe zone with the lasers. Concentrate more on killing circles so that you have more lasers.

lv. 22

BFL, Overload Bomb, Spread. You can use Spread to power-up the OB and to rotate the BFL faster.

lv. 23

Hive. Not a very effective area in my opinion. It is helpful in shrinking circles, but I find myself having to shoot regular bullets at shrunken circles to actually kill them.

lv. 24

Hive, Bubbler. Making "bubble bees" may be helpful.

lv. 25

Peg Shield. Your ship fires in spurts of many small bullets. You'll probably need to use at least two peg shields over the course of the level.

lv. 26

Mega Bubbler.

lv. 27

Mega Bubbler, Spread. Good combination, but you can win with a few good Mega Bubblers.

lv. 28

Attractor, Shield. It appears that once attracted circles are small enough, they'll pass through the shield and be killed instantly. But only if they're small enough.

lv. 29

Attractor, BFL. The apparent strategy of attracting circles towards the lasers is actually kind of hard to set up, so you might want to just focus on rotating the BFL's into effective positions (i.e. towards the center of the field, or any large circle).

lv. 30

Overload Bomb. You have a "sparkler" ship: it fires small, short-lived bullets in all directions. You have to get pretty close to circles to kill them with it. You'll want to get an Overload Bomb quickly and sparkle your little heart into it, then do it again at least one more time. But you'll likely end up standing in one spot, sparkling, trying to hold off circles all around you, or be caught between circles while sparkling into an OB (because when you're in the OB area, all of your sparks will go into the bomb, and none will damage the circles).

lv. 31

Shrinker. Your main plan of attack will be to constantly fire into a Shrinker to hold circles back. Every so often you should attack a circle directly and hope that it will yield a new Shrinker you can use when the old one expires.

lv. 32

Shrinker, Grenader. Almost any decent strategy will do here.

lv. 33

Radar, Basic Laser. Use a Radar near a Laser to kill circles from afar.

lv. 34

Radar, BFL, Grenader.

lv. 35

Shrinker. Your ship only fires in spurts of many bullets again. Shooting them all into a shrinker will help, but you'll have a actually kill a few circles to get through.

lv. 36

Stealth Grenader, Spread, Bubbler. The Stealth Grenaders might be hard to come by, but they'll be your main plan of attack.

lv. 37

Stealth Grenader, Shrinker.

lv. 38

Sparkler, Attractor. Attract circles while inside a Sparkler.

lv. 39

Sparkler, Overload Bomb. Sparkler bullets can power-up Overload Bombs.

lv. 40

Mega Bubbler. Your ship intermittently fires many bullets in all directions. Doing this inside a Mega Bubbler will let out mega bubbles in all directions as well. Move around the field every so often since the mega bubbles don't have infinite range.

lv. 41

Random Laser, Shield. The Random Laser is helpful in pushing back circles that are pushing on a Shield.

lv. 42

Random Laser, Spread, Bubbler. It should be pretty obvious how to combo by now.

lv. 43

Reinforcer, Spread.

lv. 44

Reinforcer, Bubbler.

lv. 45

Reinforcer. Your ship fires in spurts of many bullets. The intervals between spurts are VERY long, but the Reinforcer areas are HUGE, and most if not all circles you kill will drop a Reinforcer area.

lv. 46

Speedster. ZOOOOOOM!!

lv. 47

Speedster, Big Freaking Laser. An odd but lethal pair.

lv. 48

Missile Factory. These areas can combo with each other, too.

lv. 49

Missile Factory, Sparkler. Combos are possible. Not much help, but possible.

lv. 50

Speedster. All of the Speedsters are really small, but every circle you kill will drop them.

lv. 51

Bomb Token, Attractor. Attract circles to one area, then bomb them.

lv. 52

Grenade Token, Stealth Grenader, Grenader

lv. 53

Random Explosion Token, Shrinker. I think Shrinkers would be more useful

lv. 54

Sweep Lasers Token, Big Freaking Laser.

lv. 55

Sweep Lasers Token. Your ship fires a constant spray of many bullets in one direction.

lv. 56

Laser Sentinel Token, Missile Factory, Shield. The Shield is kind of rare and not very useful in this instance.

lv. 57

Shrapnel Token, Radar, Hive, Spread

lv. 58

Bouncing Ball Token, Mega Bubbler, Overload Bomb. Get enough bouncing balls and they can hold back an encroaching group of circles. The Mega Bubbler will be your main lethal weapon, though.

lv. 59

Laser Sniper Token, Radar, Big Freaking Laser. This level is difficult if you don't understand how Laser Sniper turrets work. When you do get the hang of it it's a cinch.

lv. 60

Grenader. Your ship fires in short-interval spurts of many bullets in all directions. Most if not all circles will drop a Grenader area, so you can pretty much just sit in a Grenader and fire away, moving only when your current Grenader expires.

lv. 61

Shrinker Token, Sparkler, Whirly. Yes, I said Whirly.

lv. 62

Fire Spirit Token, Speedster, Shield. I'm not sure what the best way to use the token is, so I don't have any good tips for it. Unfortunately, the Speedster and Shield will appear less often than the token in this level.

lv. 63

Helper Turret Token, Shrinker, Overload Bomb. The Helper Turret bullets can be used with either of the two normal areas. It's a hard level if you try to just stick with Helper Turrets. The Overload Bomb will be your main weapon.

lv. 64

Triangulation Laser Token, Missile Factory, Stealth Grenader. A little common sense and you can't go wrong.

lv. 65

Helper Turret Token, Radar, Basic Laser. Your bullet fires a constant spray of many bullets in one direction, which make the Basic Laser really effective.

lv. 66

Mine Field Token, Mega Bubbler. It's hard to lose this stage on accident.

lv. 67

Laser Parasite Token, Reinforcer, Bubbler. Another hard-to-lose stage.

lv. 68

Virus Token, Attractor, Shield. An early Virus Token is crucial.

lv. 69

Sweep Lasers Token, Spread. Your ship intermittently fires about 20 bullets at a time that travel at slightly different speeds, so it looks like you're shooting a straight line of bullets. The Spread areas will be the most helpful in this level. The Sweep Lasers will generally just supplement your direct attack.

lv. 70

Random Explosion Token, Grenade Token, Bomb Token, Reinforcer, Bubbler, Whirly. Probably one of the hardest levels of the game. None of the normal areas will be particularly useful. You'll need to get lucky with Bomb and Grenade Tokens.

lv. 71

A LOT of different areas and tokens. Even with a lot of areas, it can be a little tough. DON'T stay in one spot or try to win with only a few areas.

lv. 72

A LOT of different areas and tokens. A lot like the previous level, but a little easier for some reason.


lv. 73

A LOT of areas and tokens. Even more than the last two stages. Pretty hard to lose.

lv. 74

A LOT of areas. Just like that last 3 levels. Guess what?

This is the last timed level of the whole game!!

lv. 75

This level has no timer. Think of it as survival mode. There's a moderate area drop rate, which really forces you to come up with some strategy and technique. But you should probably have all that if you can get to this stage.

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LIST OF AREAS (nicknamed by me). At the end of each area's description is the level it first appears on.

Whirly

Acts on bullets to curve their path. More a nuisance than an actual powerup. Looks like a circle broken into 6 counter-clockwise rotating arcs. (2)

Bubbler

Bullets that pass through will expand and be more effective. The longer the bullet is in the area, the larger it will become. The effect can accumulate with more bubbler areas. Affected bullets act like normal bullets, just bigger and with more power. Looks like two concentric circles radiating outwards. (3)

Mega Bubbler

Bullets that pass through will be absorbed and the area will release a "mega bubble." They'll keep expanding after they leave the area, be faster, and will have power proportional to the size of the bullet at the point of impact. These bubbles are no longer regular bullets that can be used with things like Spread and Overload Bomb, and they do not richochet off of walls. Looks like a thin circle broken into 5 arcs, and a thick circle broken into 5 arcs continually radiating outward to the thin circle. (26)

Spread

Every bullet that enters the area and every bullet you fire from within the area will split into two bullets that travel at slightly different trajectories. (The trajectory of the "original" bullet is the bisector of the trajectories of the bullets it split into (that was more complicated than you really need to know).) Effect is cumulative over several Spread areas, and affected bullets act the same as normal bullets. Looks like two thick overlapping, counter-rotating, broken circles whose arcs fade in and out as they rotate. (13)

Shield

A basic shield that can hold back circles from growing into the area. Move your ship into the area to make it expand. It may stop expanding if too many circles are "pushing" in on it. If multiple Shields are overlapping, you can make multiple Shields expand by placing your ship in the areas where they overlap. Looks like two thick circles, the inner one radiating outward to the outter one. (6)

Peg Shield

Move your ship into this tiny area and it will expand into and act like a normal shield. It still has the power to hold back circles when it's small, though. Looks like a small thin-lined circled when unactivated, and a regular shield when activated. (25)

Basic Laser

Bullets entering the area disappear and cause a laser beam to shoot out in the same trajectory from the area (as if the area was a bigger version of the ship). Shooting from within the area allows for 360 degrees of potential laser coverage. No distance limit on lasers. Bigger bullets create bigger lasers, and multiple bullets mean multiple lasers. Looks like a circle broken into 5 arcs with 5 thick lines radiating outwards. (8)

Random Laser

Bullets entering the area get absorbed and a laser of proportional power is sent out of the area in a random direction. Looks like a Basic Laser with slightly different-looking rotating "antennae" rotating along a plain, unbroken circle. (41)

Big Freaking Laser (BFL for short)

A GIGANTIC laser constantly shoots in one direction out of this area. You can rotate the laser by shooting into the area. The laser will rotate towards the point on the circle where the bullets are entering, taking the shortest route to get there. That is, if you're "left" relative to the laser, the laser will rotate to the left. If you're "right" relative to the laser, it will rotate to the right. No distance limit on lasers. You'll know what it looks like when you see it. (21)

Overload Bomb

Bullets that enter are absorbed and their "energy" is stored in the area. The amount of energy in an area is indicated by the number of rings around its center. When the area fades away, it will let off an explosion proportional to the amount of energy stored in it. OB's without any energy will not explode. Looks like two sets of thin lines (sort of like spikes) that move inwards and disappear before reappearing on the outer edge of the circle. (16)

Grenader

Normal bullets become like heat-seaking missiles that give off a little explosion when they contact a circle. The bullets move faster and last a little longer than normal. They'll always head for the circle closest to your ship. Effect is not cumulative over multiple Grenader areas. Looks like two overlapping, counter-rotating, broken circles whose arcs look like old-school TV antennae (the spindly spider-like things you used to put on top of your house). (18)

Stealth Grenader

If there are any circles on the field at all when a bullet passes through this area, the area will absorb the bullet and send out an explosive bullet directly to the circle. You don't actually see the bullet until it gets close to a circle (hence the "stealth" part), and the bullet will explode on contact (hence the "grenader" part). When the bullets are visible, they can be used wherever normal bullets can be used. For instance, if you're firing into a Stealth Grenader, and a circle is growing right in the middle of a Shrinker, when the stealth bullets become visible at the circle's edge, they'll actually be absorbed by the Shrinker area before they can hit the circle. The size of the bullet that enters will be the same size as the bullet sent out, and power is proportional to size. If there are no circles on the field, then the area won't absorb any bullets. Looks like three thick concentric circles, with one circle at a time fading in and out. Ten perpendicular lines are spaced out evenly along these three circles. (36)

Missile Factory

Bullets that enter the area will be absorbed and accumulate in the middle of the area. After a very short period, the area will release the bullet made from the accumulated absorbed bullets. More bullets absorbed (and bigger bullets absorbed) will make the released bullet bigger and more powerful. I think the bullet either travels in the direction your ship is facing (but it's a little slow in "turning" to that direction), or it'll travel in the "average" trajectory of the bulles accumulated in it. The bullet the area releases will explode on contact. A bullet released from one Missile Factory can be used wherever normal bullets are used. A bullet from one Missile Factory can be absorbed by another Missile Factory. Any bullet released by a Missile Factory has a longer longer lifespan and will explode on contact. Looks like seven sets of arcs that "shimmer" inwards for a short distance. (48)

Hive

Bullets that enter the area are transformed into "bees". They have a different shape (sort of like a teardrop) and will swarm around your cursor. Send them out to attack circles at their centers by "flinging" them out with your cursor. More bees attacking a circle will make it shrink faster. The size of each bee depends on the size of the bullet it was made from, and larger bees do more damage. Looks like a solid circle with 3 evenly-spaced teardrop shapes rotating along the circumference. (23)

Attractor

Shoot into the area and circles will move towards the area (not towards your ship, unless your ship is in the area). Useful for bring circles in so that you can destroy them and have all their powerups in one place. Looks like a bunch of V's pointing inwards. (28)

Shrinker

Cosntantly firing normal bullets into this area will cause all circles already formed to shrink up to a limit. Intermittent firing will cause the circles to shrink whenever a bullet gets absorbed by the area, then regrow until another bullet is absorbed. Bigger bullets increase the effectiveness of the shrinking power. I'm not quite sure exactly how the rest of it works: sometimes a new circle will show up while you're shooting into this area, but it won't be effected by the area's effect. Other times the new circle WILL be affected, but only after it has grown a little. Experiment to figure it out for yourself. Looks like two inward-moving thin circles broken into 6 arcs each, with one circle's arcs set to fit in the gaps between the other circle's arcs. (31)

Radar

A non-lethal area that has a representation of the entire field inside of it. It shows you where enemy circles are, where areas are (but not what kinds of areas they are), and where your basic bullets are (not lasers, bees, or anything else like that). Looks like six sets of thin lines pointing outwards with arcs radiating outwards on those thin lines. There's also the map of the field on the inside, so you can't miss it. (33)

Sparkler

Place your ship in this area and "spark bullets" will appear on the field (I don't know how far out they'll appear). These bullets act like regular bullets, except they have a very short lifespan. Overlapping Sparkler areas can be activated at the same time resulting in more spark bullets appearing. Use one Sparkler area usually isn't enough to kill a circle, but firing at circles while they're being sparked can push back a line of approaching circles. Looks like...a flower I guess? The different parts of the "petals" will rotate in opposite directions. You'll recognize it when you activate it. (38)

Reinforcer

Normal bullets that enter the area will last a lot longer than normal. They'll also bounce off of circles and keep moving. Exploding normal bullets will probably be affected as well, but they'll still explode and disappear on contact. Looks like a thin circle with several thin arcs rotating in both directions. (44)

Speedster

Put your ship into this area and it'll be propelled forward at high speed and be able to do damage to circles. Your ship is now a lethal weapon! Looks like two thin concentric circles with a third circle expanding and shrinking in between the outlines of those two circles. (46)

Bomb Token

Lets off an explosion proportional to its size. Looks like a grayish circle inside a thin circle. (51)

Grenade Token

Sends out small exploding bullets in every direction. Looks like a cluster of circles inside a thin circle. (52)

Random Explosion Token

Causes a few small, generally weak explosions near your ship. Useful in tight places, but otherwise not a very good weapon (unless I'm doing something wrong with them). Looks like a few grayish circles inside a thin circle (53)

Sweep Lasers Token

A stationery "laser turret" constantly shoots out 3 laser beams and will rotate around, sweeping the entire field. The rotation is slow at first but gets faster and faster until the turret expires. Looks like a peace sign/steering wheel/pie sliced into 3 equal parts. (54)

Laser Sentinel Token

A stationery "laser turret" intermittently shoots out one laser beam in a random direction (whatever direction it's facing at the time). The turret will explode if it makes contact with a circle. Looks like a circle shooting out a laser, inside a thin circle. (52)

Laser Sniper Token

Does the same thing as a Laser Sentinel turret, instead of firing in a random direction, the sniper turrets will fire a laser directly at your cursor (after firing off one random shot when activated). However, these lasers can be "blocked" from actually firing directly at your cursor by a circle that gets in the way. For example, say your cursor is right beside a circle (it's on a black background) when a sniper turret fires a laser. While the laser is still on, if you move your cursor into the white circle, the laser beam will be blocked by the outer rim of the white circle and will not be firing directly at your cursor. These turrets still explode upon contact with a white circle, but they'll also explode when they expire even if they don't touch a white circle. The turret don't last for very long, though. Looks like 3 laser sentinel turrets firing lasers at one circle (your ship?), within a thin circle. (59)

Triangulation Laser Token

A triangular thingamabob will fly towards the nearest circle. Once it makes contact, it will make copies of itself and station those copies around some of the circle's perimeter. (If there are circles overlapping the circle the triangle thing touched first, the copies will station themselves along the perimeter of the contiguous white space made up of the circles.) The triangular things will hold back circles from growing, and once they stop making copies of themselves, they'll all at once let out one laser each into the center of the circle they're stationed on, pretty much destroying it. If the circle is destroyed before the lasers stop firing, then the laser beams will continue forward to the edges of the field. Looks like a solid white circle with triangles along half its perimeter, all within the normal token thin circle. (64)

Laser Parasite Token

A "parasite" appears on the field and will shoot out 4 tentacle-like cords with plugs on the end. These plugs will attach themselves to white circles and drain "energy" from them, making them shrink. The parasite's main body then uses the energy to shoot out a laser beam, doing further damage. One of the more unique areas of the game. Looks like a thin-lined circle surrounded by 4 more circles, with a laser beam shooting out the front of the thin-lined circle and wire out of its back (all in the thin white circle outlining all tokens). (67)

Shrapnel Token

"Shrapnel" (spikes/sticks/whatever) shoots out in every direction from where you collect the token. The shrapnel travel in straight lines away from where the token was. Once a piece of shrapnel touches a circle, it will change direction so that it is moving towards the center of the circle. Looks like many thin oblong shapes pointing outwards within a thin circle. (57)

Bouncing Ball Token

Released a bouncing "ball" that will bounce around the field, bouncing off of walls and circles (doing damage to the circles). Bigger tokens release bigger balls, which will cause more damage. The balls last for longer than normal bullets. Looks like a circle with 3 "movement lines" behind it, inside a thin circle. (58)

Shrinker Token

Has much the same power as a normal Shrinker area. When you activate the token, it will shrink all circles on a field a little bit. Collecting several tokens in rapid succession will shrink pretty much all circles on the field until they're destroyed. Looks like a white dot inside a thin circle, surrounded by small white lines, inside the usual thin circle that's around most tokens. Some might say it looks like a picture of the solar system. (61)

Fire Spirit Token (?)

Not exactly sure how this one works. Collecting it will create a "fire spirit" thingie that will fly around your ship (it's black with no outline, so you probably won't even notice you have it until you pass over something white, like the boundary of any area). Once your ship makes contact with a white circle, the fire spirit will charge into the circle's center and do some damage, shrinking the circle a little, possible destroying the circle if the fire spirit was powerful enough, or there were a lot of them attacking the same circle. It seems to act a lot like a swarm of bee bullets created from the Hive area. Looks like a solid white circle with several smaller overlapping black circles that kind of look like a fetus. (62)

Helper Turret Token

Creates a little mobile "helper" turret that will follow your ship arround for a time. Once it stops for a few moments (it'll stop when you stop moving the ship) it will start firing big normal bullets that don't do anything special other than do a lot of damage (because they're so big). These big bullets can be used wherever normal bullets can be used. Some time after a helper turret starts firing (the limit is likely a certain number of shots), it will no longer follow your ship. Instead, it will stay in one spot, only moving backwards as if "recoiling" from shooting out its big bullet. If the turret is still following your ship, then it will mimic the orientation of your ship and fire along a parallel trajectory as your ship. As with the other kinds of turrets, Helper Turrets will explode when a circle touches them. Looks like a small thin circle and a big thin circle with 3 lines between them, connecting them, all within the normal token thin circle. (63)

Mine Field Token

Several mines surround your ship. They won't appear to move, but as you move around the field, the ones that are furthest away from you (behind you generally) will reappear in front of you. These mines explode when they touch a white circle. A basic strategy is to just charge your ship into white circles, letting the mines do the killing instead of your bullets. Looks like a cluster of small solid white circles each inside a thin-lined white circle, all within the normal thin circle enclosing all tokens. (66)

Virus Token

A "virus" (looks like a white circle, but has small black spots on it) is sent out. Once it gets to an actual enemy white circle, it will enter the circle and stop moving. When inside a white circle, it will attract the circle's spores to itself, passing them through its body. After a little while the "virus" will explode. If for some reason the white circle shrinks enough so that the unmoving virus is no longer inside of a circle, the virus will still explode. Looks like a white circle with black spots on it and 3 "spores" (all in a thin circle). (68)

45 Comments

Well...

I see the idea of trying to avoid any kind of verbal (or written, rather) instructions but - for me at least - it doesn't work at all. I found the "instructions" part totally incomprerhensible - i didn't have the faintest idea of what I'm supposed to do.

The non-clickable icons were another sorce of disappointment and slight annoyement - way too slow. If this review didn't mantion i had to hover over the icon and wait i would probably have never realized that.

Gameplay is easy - at least i think it is - for i don't know if what i was doing what i was supposed to do. Probably it was for i managed to proceed thru some levels before i died.

Those circular marks some of the blobs left behind after blowing up remained a toal mistery for me - what do they do and why are they there?

I see why the review mentioned Gimme Friction Baby, but for me this one fails to come even close. For me thgis one doesn't seem to have any replay potential - not to mention any hints of addiction. I played once and felt it was well enough.

Because even if i happened to like the game itself, the music would ruin it all.

Oh? Well that's surprising. I was actually waiting for this to pop up sometime on JiG. Played it a while ago and had quite a bit of fun with it.

The thing is, this is very similar to Absolute Awesome Ball Game in that there are little to no instructions and that one must experiment with everything.

Indeed, I say everything in the literal sense. Gimme Friction Baby is conceptually much simpler than Areas, which only really holds mostly artistic and very basic goal similarities. That being said, whatever appears on screen typically has a use, and each level forces you to make up strategies on the go. If you don't crack the code, then it's a white death for you.

Thankfully, there are no lives or other such counters in this. You are free to try and try again until you succeed, often by accident.

If people desire it, I could whip an explanation of how everything works up to level 50, as to which I am stuck on myself, but until the need is there I shall sit back and watch silently.

Well, I've tried level 10 about 15 times now and haven't had any luck. Come close to the end a few times but it seems like the laser circle things must get weaker over time, because they don't push back as much as when they appeared.

Well, of course we are all different and we have different likes and hates. For me it's a definite drawback if i am not given proper instructions and goals at the beginning. If i want something like that I opt for a puzzle game - there are a lot and they are better in this respect than this one.

But, as i said, we are all different :)

Like bioLarzen, I prefer my games with proper instructions and goals, but I can also enjoy a game without instructions if it is done well. Areas, in my opinion is not really done well. My biggest complain is the difficulty curve--it's not so much a curve as it is a brick wall. Levels 1-9 are so easy as to almost be tedious (I still haven't figured out what triggers the end of a level), and then level 10 comes along and just decimates you. Or at least it came along and decimated me.

(Imagine walking in the park on a sunny spring day. Suddenly the earth opens up and swallows you whole, and you die. That's kind of what level 10 felt like for me.)

I do like the idea of the areas. (@bioLarzen: the areas do different things to your bullets. To see these effects, your bullets have to pass through the areas, which means you need to either shoot through an area or (easier) just side inside one.) It is an interesting gameplay element, but I'm not sure if it's enough to redeem the game. There just wasn't enough to hold my interest.

Oh, and the music really needs to go away. Not providing a mute button (or, if there was one, making it readily apparent) is completely unforgivable. I was eventually forced to turn off my sound completely rather than continue to listen to it.

I had few problems up until level 23, where I'm stuck. Blowing up bubbles rarely gets you a "usable area" on this level, and the area you do sometimes get is mysterious in its operation.

Re the big lasers--they are hard to control, but I think if you sit in one and shoot a lot, it rotates very slowly clockwise, which can give you some help if you judiciously choose which one you want to aim.

One thing I like about this game is that there's actually a little bit of resource management to it on some of the levels--particularly the ones with the "bomb" circles (the ones that suck shots in, where pumping a lot of shot into the circle eventually causes a massive explosion); you have to choose whether you want to invest shots into those circles or shoot something else directly.

By the way, the end of a level is triggered when you've cleared enough white bubble goo. The little circular meter inside your ship indicates how far enough along you are--when it fills up, you're done.

You seem to get a bigger score if there's a lot of white bubble goo left when you fill your meter (since finishing blows up all the remaining goo, and you get points for it). So on easier levels (ones with more powerful "areas" like the shot-power-enhancer), it's good to let the bubbles expand a lot right before finishing.

OTOH, it seems like there isn't really any penalty for death other than restarting a level, so the scoring is a bit meaningless. It's more about figuring out how to survive a given level.

I liked Absolutely Awesome Ball Game. I like this game, too. If you put your mind to it, you can figure things out with the tutorial (the question mark on the first screen) and a little in-game practice. I got up to level 38 before I decided to come back here to write something before going to bed.

I think Areas has more in common with AABG than Gimme Friction Baby. There isn't much in the way of traditional instructions, but the joy of discovering the different "area powerups" and the combos you can make is more than enough fun for me to keep playing well past when I should be asleep (it's 2:30am right now, btw).

Basic gameplay:

There is no clicking needed at all. If your mouse was simply a pointer and not a clicker, you could play this game.

To move: drag the cursor far away from the ship. The ship will follow the cursor as if on an elastic string.

To shoot: there's a certain range that extends a few centimeters around the ship where your cursor has to be to make the ship fire.

At the end of each level, your progress is saved. The circular arrow icon means "replay level." The middle icon will quit to the start screen. The rightmost icon with a triangle on it means "next level." If you're returning to the game, when you mouseover the start icon, you can either start a new game, select a level and start a new game from t

Some of the powerups I've figured out (in no particular order, and with what I call them in my mind):

Spread:

shoot from within this area to use a classic spread-type gun where you fire multiple bullets that spread out from each other as they move forward.

Laser Shotgun:

Shoot from within this area and an array of lasers will shoot in the direction you're facing.

Big Freaking Laser:

A gigantic laser that shoots out in one direction. You can slowly rotate the laser by shooting into the area.

Overload Bomb:

It seems like it's just sucking in your bullets at first. But when you've shot into it for long enough (rings will begin to light up in its center), it will let off a field-wide explosion.

Repeller:

I'm not exactly sure how this works, but shooting into it constantly with one stream of bullets will restrain circles from growing. If any new circles form after you started shooting constantly into it, they won't be affected, so you'll have to stop and start shooting into it again to keep those circles from expanding.

Attractor:

Shoot into this area to attract circles towards the area (not the ship).

Embers:

Shoot from within this area and your ship will give off little sparks. They're not enough to kill a circle, but they do help.

Radar:

A non-lethal area that just has a smaller representation of the field inside of it so that you can see where and how big the circles are, where other areas are (but not what kind of areas they are), where your ship is, and (depending on what you're shooting out) where your bullets are going

Bee Hive:

Shoot from within this area to turn your bullets into "bees" that will swarm around you. You can "sling" your swarm towards circles and they'll attack it for a while. I don't think I'm using it to its full potential because it's not very effective for me.

Bubble:

Any shots that go through this area (you can shoot from within it, or shoot shots through it) will expand and be more effective.

Grenader:

Shoot from within the area to make your bullets explode on contact, dealing more damage. There might be a few variations on this, some of which make it look like your shots become invisible as they exit the area.

Flamethrower:

Shoot from within for some real firepower. Your ship might as well be firing a lasy. Another one where your shots become invisible as they exit the area.

Big Shield:

Shoot (or maybe just stay inside) this area and it will expand, acting as a shield to your ship from all circles until it disappears after a while.

Little Shield:

It looks like a small circle that will hold back circles from growing over it, but if you put your ship on it and start shooting, it will expand into a Big Shield.

You can combine the effects of some areas as well either by shooting from within two overlapping areas, or shooting from within one and into another.

There's also different kinds of ships. The basic one shoots a single steady stream. Others shoot multiple bullets at once, and sometimes only intermittently.

Levels 10 and 24 were the hardest for me.

AAARGG! JAY!! my spoiler tags didn't work.

[Edit: Fixed! No worries :) ~Harukio]

Nice idea, unfortunally you still have to click to start levels, it would have been really easy to make this one of this IMHO cool non-click interface all-together.

See: http://www.dontclick.it/

Just one more thing to add to the above explanation. I think the levels are simply on a fixed timer. Destroying the circles only helps you beat the levels and gives you points. Also I think the faster you destroy a circle from when it spawns, the more points you get. So while you do get points for all the circles at the end of the level, the more you destroy yourself the better your score.

TWO TIPS:

HOW TO PAUSE: Hover your mouse over your little shooting dude, it "shows" this in the instructions but it's terribly hard to figure out, and you can mute the sound there.

HOW TO COMPLETE A STAGE: Survive for long enough, until the little white circle timer (on your shooting dude) fills.

Did not find much tactics in this, all the levels starting from 10 are basically same: once level starts find first white circle and kill it. If you are lucky it will drop good powerup, go inside it at wait for level to end. If first one does not leave good powerup, you lose the level. Sometimes the first powerup is weak and you may kill another circle but basically it still boild down to first killed circle giving good powerup. Without powerups you cant kill the circles and without killing the circles you cant get powerups. The neverending... circle.

Not sure why does it includes points at all, you get points for all whites on stage when you finish the level anyway so only place you could use points is when you lose the level. But you can restart the level for unlimited times so it makes the points absolutely... pointless.

I did like the music btw :)

fuzzyface, you dont have to click anything. You move the mouse over button you wish to activate and wait. Clicking does not change anything.

@LSN: The one you call "Repeller", I think, causes all bubbles in the arena to head towards the size of the repeller (i.e. large will shrink, small will expand until the sizes match)
And as you fire into it, it shrinks, making it more effective in shrinking bubbles.

"Beehive" doesn't work too well for me either, except against smaller bubbles when I've fired into it A LOT.

And the "Overload Bomb" (or Black Hole as I like to call it) releases energy at a given time depending on how much energy you put into it. Field-wide (near-game-breaking :D) explosions are possible if you shoot a lot, but even if there are no shots put into it there will be some small explosion.

I like this game, it's got that "just-one-more" factor that you really shouldn't enjoy, but you just do.

I'm quite surprised about all the ambivalent comments. It was very fascinating for me to learn the no-click-controls (yes, I knew dontclick.it, and had to think of it as well :p), I liked the music, I liked the varied power-ups, and, as stated in the review, I played the just "one more game" for well over an hour, despite my well-conceived plans of going to bed.
In my mind, this game is very original, very well executed, and very much deserved a review on JIG.

Hat's off to Ridiculous.

Bleh. While I can understand the desire for the buttonless interface...it kind of sucks in implementation. I was constantly moving when I wanted to fire and vice versa, which made level 10 pretty much impossible to complete. Granted, I don't particularly like gesture-based interfaces that much anyway (case in point--I *hated* the gesture-based spells in Black & White).

I love the idea, the "area" effect is a new experience for me and the variability made it fun and interesting. However, no explanation, symbols that I never understood, vague controls, a painfully slow and unintuitive interface and music that I had to finally turn off my sound to escape all were frustrating barriers between me and gaming goodness. I'd love to see a re-release with a bit better explanation, more concrete (perhaps even click-using) controls, and please, please, an easily accessible mute button! This was a great idea, but the poor implementation kept me from enjoying it as I should have.

Ha, I'm sorry, I loved the music. Seriously, is this Danny Elfman, 'cause it reminds me of Edward Scissorhands.

where would we be without those who are willing to experiment?

i was very pleased with the game... it made me think on a new level. the unusual interface is what makes it challenging and fun. (i hadn't heard of dontclick.it ...very cool!)

for those that thought level 10 was hard... try level 70! which reminds me... anyone have any pointers on level 70??? ^_^

I've played up to level 70 and I have to agree that the game is not well tuned difficulty wise. Some levels are way too easy and some are way too hard. And the hard ones generally require you to A) Quickly find a circle to destroy and B) Get lucky on the areas/powerups that the circle drops.

Tip for level 70: Just keep trying, I got lucky on it myself. The best areas to get are the ones that make your shots bounce after hitting. I got a few of those in a row and they lasted me to the end of the level. The single use areas on this level didn't seem very useful. And I hate the area that spins your bullets around and seems to do nothing.

Finally finished it. Level 75 has infinite duration, so it's basically an endurance test. My final score was a bit over 5 mil.

@aew: For level 70, stay mobile to pick the bullet-nova powerups, and always try to head straight to the center of the white circles to destroy them as quickly as possible... I was able to finish it by staying the last seconds inside the bullet-ricochet area and waiting for the level to end. Good luck!

I don't see what's so terrifying about level 10. Sure, you fire in a burst instead of a steady stream, but it doesn't affect you much. Kill the first circles very quickly so that you can get a Big Freaking Laser area. Then, sit pretty inside the area. Any circles will grow slowly enough that you can target them and give them a huge burst of BFLs. In the unlikely event that a circle appears inside your area and consumes it, or your area finally fades out, run to the next area and keep blasting.

Level 70 was TOUGH. I only got through it with a little luck and stragety. But the levels between 70 and 75 (the last level) are uber fun. There's a lot of different areas that appear (I'd wager to say that ANY area could appear on these four levels) and if you have decent strategy, the entire field could be covered with lasers and bees and bouncy balls and mines and grenade bullets and wires and......YEAH!!

My final score was 4.6 million.

"Walkthrough" for levels 1-30. Includes a list of areas that appear in those levels.

AREAS BY LEVEL (1-30). First I list the areas that can appear in that stage, then some comments for levels where they're most needed.

lv. 1

No areas. Just shoot the white circles.

lv. 2

Whirly

lv. 3

Bubbler

lv. 4

Bubbler, Whirly

lv. 5

Bubbler. A lot more circles will show up here, but a lot more areas will, too.

lv. 6

Shield. One Shield area could probably get you through the whole level.

lv. 7

Shield, Whirly. The level is just long enough so that an early Shield area will expire before the level ends, so might as well just move around to shoot circles.

lv. 8

Basic Laser. Lasers are cool.

lv. 9

Basic Laser, Bubbler. Make your first "area combo" here :)

lv. 10

Basic Laser. Circles grow really fast, and your ship shoots many bullets, but only in spurts. Sit inside laser areas and aim for the centers of circles. Shoot in random directions around the field if you can't see any circles.

lv. 11

Bubbler. A medium amount of circles. Bubbler might actually be useful for a little bit.

lv. 12

Basic Laser, Shield, Spread, Whirly. Four areas in one level! Combo wisely.

lv. 13

Spread. A very fun area.

lv. 14

Spread, Shield, Bubbler. Try comboing Bubbler and Spread.

lv. 15

Spread. Your ship shoots in spurts of many bullets. Many bullets + Spread = Many Many Bullets.

lv. 16

Overload Bomb, Shield. If you can get a Shield to overlap an Overload Bomb, you can keep firing into the OB from within the shield to give the OB as much power as possible.

lv. 17

Shield, Bubbler, Overload Bomb. Use Bubbler to feed more energy into Overload Bomb

lv. 18

Grenader. Another very fun area.

lv. 19

Grenader, Bubbler. Combos are possible and fun to watch.

lv. 20

Grenader. Your ship shoots large bullets at a little bit slower pace. Like the previous level, but the bubbling has been done for you

lv. 21

Big Freaking Laser (BFL). Yet another fun area shows up here. Don't bother trying to make a safe zone with the lasers. Concentrate more on killing circles so that you have more lasers.

lv. 22

BFL, Overload Bomb, Spread. You can use spread to powerup the OB and to rotate the BFL faster.

lv. 23

Hive. Not a very effective area in my opinion. It is helpful in shrinking circles, but I find myself having to shoot regular bullets at shrunken circles to actually kill them.

lv. 24

Hive, Bubbler. Making "bubble bees" may be helpful.

lv. 25

Peg Shield. Your ship fires in spurts of many small bullets. You'll probably need to use at least two peg shields over the course of the level.

lv. 26

Mega Bubbler.

lv. 27

Mega Bubbler, Spread. Good combination, but you can win with a few good Mega Bubblers.

lv. 28

Attractor, Shield. It appears that once attracted circles are small enough, they'll pass through the shield and be killed instantly. But only if they're small enough.

lv. 29

Attractor, BFL. The apparent strategy of attracting circles towards the lasers is actually kind of hard to set up, so you might want to just focus on rotating the BFL's into effective positions (i.e. towards the center of the field, or any large circle).

lv. 30

Overload Bomb. You have a "sparkler" ship: it fires small, short-lived bullets in all directions. You have to get pretty close to circles to kill them with it. You'll want to get an Overload Bomb quickly and sparkle your little heart into it, then do it again at least one more time. But you'll likely end up standing in one spot, sparkling, trying to hold off circles all around you, or be caught between circles while sparkling into an OB (because when you're in the OB area, all of your sparks will go into the bomb, and none will damage the circles).


==============================================

LIST OF AREAS (nicknamed by me). At the end of each area's description is the level it first appears on.

Whirly

Acts on bullets to curve their path. More a nuisance than an actual powerup. Looks like a circle broken into 6 counter-clockwise rotating arcs. (2)

Bubbler

Bullets that pass through will expand and be more effective. The longer the bullet is in the area, the larger it will become. The effect can accumulate with more bubbler areas, and affected bullets act like normal bullets, but bigger and with more power. Looks like two concentric circles radiating outwards. (3)

Mega Bubbler

Bullets that pass through will be absorbed and the area will release a "mega bubble." They'll keep expanding after they leave the area, be faster, and will have power proportional to the size of the bullet at the point of impact. These bubbles are no longer regular bullets that can be used with things like Spread and Overload Bomb, and they do not richochet off of walls. Looks like a thin circle broken into 5 arcs, and a thick circle broken into 5 arcs continually radiating outward to the thin circle. (26)

Spread

Every bullet that enters the area and every bullet you fire from within the area will split into two bullets that travel at slightly different trajectories. The trajectory of the "original" bullet is the bisector of the trajectories of the bullets it split into (that was more complicated than you really need to know). Effect is cumulative over several Spread areas, and affected bullets act as normal bullets. Looks like two thick overlapping, counter-rotating, broken circles whose arcs fade in and out as they rotate. (13)

Shield

When your ship is inside this area, it will expand, preventing any circles from passing it's boundary. Any circles that start to form inside of it are immediately killed. It may stop expanding if too many circles are "pushing" in on it. Overlapping Shields can be expanded by placing your ship in the area where they overlap. Looks like two thick circles, the inner one radiating outward to the outter one. (6)

Peg Shield

Move your ship into this tiny area and it will expand into and act like a normal shield. It still has the power to hold back circles when it's small, though. Looks like a small thin-lined circled when unactivated, and a regular shield when activated. (25)

Basic Laser

Bullets entering the area disappear and cause a laser beam to shoot out in the same trajectory. Shooting from within the area allows for 360 degrees of potential laser coverage. No distance limit on lasers. Bigger bullets create bigger lasers, and multiple bullets mean multiple lasers. Looks like a circle broken into 5 arcs with 5 thick lines radiating outwards. (8)

Big Freaking Laser (BFL for short)

A GIGANTIC laser constantly shoots in one direction out of this area. You can rotate the laser by shooting into the area. The laser will rotate towards the point on the circle where the bullets are entering, taking the shortest route to get there. That is, if you're "left" relative to the laser, the laser will rotate to the left. If you're "right" relative to the laser, it will rotate to the right. No distance limit on lasers. You'll know what it looks like when you see it. (21)

Overload Bomb

Bullets that enter are absorbed and their energy is stored in the area. The amount of energy in an area is indicated by the number of rings around its center. When the area fades away, it will let off an explosion proportional to the amount of energy stored in it. OB's without any energy will not explode. Looks like two sets of thin lines (sort of like spikes) that move inwards and disappear before reappearing on the outer edge of the circle. (16)

Grenader

Normal bullets become like heat-seaking missiles that give off a little explosion when they contact a circle. The bullets move faster and last a little longer than normal. They'll always head for the circle closest to your ship. Effect is not cumulative. Looks like two overlapping, counter-rotating, broken circles whose arcs look like old-school TV antennae (the spindly spider-like things you used to put on top of your house). (18)

Hive

Bullets that enter the area are transformed into "bee bullets". They have a different shape and will swarm around your ship. Send them out to attack circles at their centers by "flinging" them with a flinging cursor movement. More bees attacking a circle will make it shrink faster. The size of each bee depends on the size of the bullet it was made from. Looks like a solid circle with 3 evenly-spaced droplets rotating along the circumference. (23)

Attractor

You either have to shoot into the area, or your ship actually has to be inside the area. Once you do, circles will be attracted to the area and move towards it. Useful for bring circles in so that you can destroy them and have all their powerups in one place. Looks like a bunch of V's pointing inwards. (28)

Shrinker

Cosntantly firing normal bullets into this area will cause all circles already formed to shrink up to a limit. Intermittent firing will cause the circles to shrink whenever a bullet gets absorbed by the area, then regrow until another bullet is absorbed. Bigger bullets increase the effectiveness of the shrinking power. If a circle forms after you started constantly firing into the area, that circle will probably be unaffected by the area's power. You must stop firing for at least a split second (allow the stunned circles to grow very slightly) then resume firing in order to make the new circle shrink, although it doesn't always work. Looks like two inward-moving thin circles broken into 6 arcs each, with one circle's arcs set to fit in the gaps between the other circle's arcs. (31)

The rest of the walkthrough is in the process of being made. Someone else can do it if they want.

Great job, LSN. And indeed, levels 71-75 are really worth all the trouble to get there.

To me it seemed like this game was more like Boomshine... once you master the control of moving and shooting, the levels depend strongly on the orientation of the growing circles, how long it takes you to find them, and whether or not they drop a useful area or object. There's definitely a critical mass factor at play with most levels -- you'll either fail miserably before a quarter of your time is up, or have enough areas and helpers to completely annihilate all the circles by the time you're halfway through.

Still, like Boomshine, it is quite addictive, and I had a lot of fun seeing all of the objects you could unlock.

Beware! This game is one of cheeky websites that will try and post itself to your Facebook newsfeed (if you are logged in to FB). Nice if you want to help promote the game, but annoying if you are pretending to be working! Check your FB privacy setting to stop these websites pushing themselves on you.

Drats. I was planning on getting the full walkthrough done before the new year, but I was 10 levels short by the time midnight rolled around.

Here is a full "walkthrough (more like a strategy guide). Careful, it's HUGE!! (Lots of spoiler tags!)

BASIC GAMEPLAY

Getting Started:

The start menu has 3 options (from left to right): Play game, Tutorial, Credits. To select an option, place the cursor on the icon for that option, and don't move it for a few seconds. The cursor will expand to the size of the icon before selecting it. You don't have to click anything at all.
The 3 options that show up when you select the "Play game" icon are (from top to bottom): New Game (the fireworks icon), Level Select (the middle icon), Continue Previous Game (the floppy disk icon).

Playing the Game:

Your goal in the game is to make it through each level alive. There are expanding white circles that will try to smother you, so you must destroy them with your weapons. Each level is timed (the little white thing in your ship is the level timer) and you just have to last until the level is over. Your game is saved after every level.
To make your ship move, you'll "pull" it with the cursor. Move the cursor towards the edge of the screen and your ship will be dragged along towards it.
To make your ship shoot, move your cursor close to the ship until it starts firing.
To pause the game and open the options menu (where you can adjust music volume, restart the level, and exit to the start menu), hold the cursor directly over the ship without moving it. If your ship is being moved by expanding circles, it won't work. The right-most icon of the options menu will resume gameplay.
When the level timer runs out (or fills up, depending on how you look at it), all of the circles on the level will explode and you'll get some points for each one. Then a mostly black screen shows up with the number of the level you just played, the points you got in that level, your total points, and 3 icons (from left to right): Replay Level, Exit to Start Menu, Next Level.
If you die before the level is over, the screen that shows up will have the same information on it, but it will be mostly white instead of mostly black, and if you try to select the "Next Level" icon, the "Replay Level" icon will push it out of the way. If you ever get the white screen, you'll have to either replay the level or exit to the start menu.
With each successive level, the playing field grows a little bigger and the timer goes a little slower.
At some point in the game, the white circles start generating little black "spores" that just bounce around inside them. They can move freely between any overlapping white circles, and I'm not sure exactly what their purpose is, but it seems they play an important role in the Virus Token powerup and there may be a correlation between the number of spores in a circle you destroy and the likeliness of that circle dropping an area.

Using Areas:

Areas are the "powerups" that circles drop when they get destroyed. They are generally circular with some kind of unique design on and/or around them. They can be activated by either moving your ship into them or shooting bullets into them (which also includes shooting from within them). However, there are at least two different areas (Radar and Big Freaking Laser) that are automatically activated. After a certain amount of time, an area will "expire" and fade away.
There are also special kinds of areas that I call "tokens." These tokens are more in the style of the powerups from most other video games in that you just move your ship over them to collect/activate them. Your ship can attract tokens when it's relatively close to them, whereas normal areas are completely static and can not move around the field. Furthermore, one enemy circle can drop multiple tokens without being destroyed completely, you can only get at most one normal (non-token) area from a circle when you completely destroy the circle. Tokens start appearing after level 50.
Combos between areas can be made, resulting in more powerful weapons. Experiment to see what you can do (or just look at the rest of the walkthrough for some "hints").

Other Stuffs:

In the pause/options menu, you have the choice to restart the level you're on (the circular arrow icon on the left), exit to the start menu (the middle icon that has an X in it) or resume play. When you select the "exit to the start menu" icon, the game will basically say to you "Carfeul, you're about to exit this level without finishing it (the '!' icon). Do you really want to exit? (the '?' icon)." The X and check mark bubbles that pop up mean "no" and "yes" respectively.

========================================================
LEVEL BY LEVEL (with some strategies included on some levels).

lv. 1

No areas. Just shoot the white circles.

lv. 2

Whirly

lv. 3

Bubbler

lv. 4

Bubbler, Whirly

lv. 5

Bubbler. A lot more circles will show up here, but a lot more areas will, too.

lv. 6

Shield. One Shield area could probably get you through the whole level.

lv. 7

Shield, Whirly. The level is just long enough so that an early Shield area will expire before the level ends, so you might as well just move around to shoot circles.

lv. 8

Basic Laser. Lasers are cool.

lv. 9

Basic Laser, Bubbler. You can make your first "area combo" here :)

lv. 10

Basic Laser. Circles grow really fast, and your ship shoots many bullets, but only in spurts. Sit inside Laser areas and aim for the centers of circles. Shoot in random directions around the field if you can't see any circles.

lv. 11

Bubbler. A medium amount of circles. Bubbler might actually be useful for a little bit.

lv. 12

Basic Laser, Shield, Spread, Whirly. Four areas in one level! Combo wisely.

lv. 13

Spread

lv. 14

Spread, Shield, Bubbler. Try comboing Bubbler and Spread.

lv. 15

Spread. Your ship shoots in spurts of many bullets. Many bullets + Spread = Many Many Bullets.

lv. 16

Overload Bomb, Shield. If you can get a Shield to overlap an Overload Bomb, you can keep firing into the bomb from within the Shield to give the bomb as much power as possible.

lv. 17

Shield, Bubbler, Overload Bomb. Use Bubbler to feed more energy into Overload Bomb

lv. 18

Grenader.

lv. 19

Grenader, Bubbler. Combos are possible and fun to watch.

lv. 20

Grenader. Your ship shoots large bullets at a little bit slower pace. Like the previous level, but the bubbling has been done for you

lv. 21

Big Freaking Laser (BFL). Don't bother trying to make a safe zone with the lasers. Concentrate more on killing circles so that you have more lasers.

lv. 22

BFL, Overload Bomb, Spread. You can use Spread to power-up the OB and to rotate the BFL faster.

lv. 23

Hive. Not a very effective area in my opinion. It is helpful in shrinking circles, but I find myself having to shoot regular bullets at shrunken circles to actually kill them.

lv. 24

Hive, Bubbler. Making "bubble bees" may be helpful.

lv. 25

Peg Shield. Your ship fires in spurts of many small bullets. You'll probably need to use at least two peg shields over the course of the level.

lv. 26

Mega Bubbler.

lv. 27

Mega Bubbler, Spread. Good combination, but you can win with a few good Mega Bubblers.

lv. 28

Attractor, Shield. It appears that once attracted circles are small enough, they'll pass through the shield and be killed instantly. But only if they're small enough.

lv. 29

Attractor, BFL. The apparent strategy of attracting circles towards the lasers is actually kind of hard to set up, so you might want to just focus on rotating the BFL's into effective positions (i.e. towards the center of the field, or any large circle).

lv. 30

Overload Bomb. You have a "sparkler" ship: it fires small, short-lived bullets in all directions. You have to get pretty close to circles to kill them with it. You'll want to get an Overload Bomb quickly and sparkle your little heart into it, then do it again at least one more time. But you'll likely end up standing in one spot, sparkling, trying to hold off circles all around you, or be caught between circles while sparkling into an OB (because when you're in the OB area, all of your sparks will go into the bomb, and none will damage the circles).

lv. 31

Shrinker. Your main plan of attack will be to constantly fire into a Shrinker to hold circles back. Every so often you should attack a circle directly and hope that it will yield a new Shrinker you can use when the old one expires.

lv. 32

Shrinker, Grenader. Almost any decent strategy will do here.

lv. 33

Radar, Basic Laser. Use a Radar near a Laser to kill circles from afar.

lv. 34

Radar, BFL, Grenader.

lv. 35

Shrinker. Your ship only fires in spurts of many bullets again. Shooting them all into a shrinker will help, but you'll have a actually kill a few circles to get through.

lv. 36

Stealth Grenader, Spread, Bubbler. The Stealth Grenaders might be hard to come by, but they'll be your main plan of attack.

lv. 37

Stealth Grenader, Shrinker.

lv. 38

Sparkler, Attractor. Attract circles while inside a Sparkler.

lv. 39

Sparkler, Overload Bomb. Sparkler bullets can power-up Overload Bombs.

lv. 40

Mega Bubbler. Your ship intermittently fires many bullets in all directions. Doing this inside a Mega Bubbler will let out mega bubbles in all directions as well. Move around the field every so often since the mega bubbles don't have infinite range.

lv. 41

Random Laser, Shield. The Random Laser is helpful in pushing back circles that are pushing on a Shield.

lv. 42

Random Laser, Spread, Bubbler. It should be pretty obvious how to combo by now.

lv. 43

Reinforcer, Spread.

lv. 44

Reinforcer, Bubbler.

lv. 45

Reinforcer. Your ship fires in spurts of many bullets. The intervals between spurts are VERY long, but the Reinforcer areas are HUGE, and most if not all circles you kill will drop a Reinforcer area.

lv. 46

Speedster. ZOOOOOOM!!

lv. 47

Speedster, Big Freaking Laser. An odd but lethal pair.

lv. 48

Missile Factory. These areas can combo with each other, too.

lv. 49

Missile Factory, Sparkler. Combos are possible. Not much help, but possible.

lv. 50

Speedster. All of the Speedsters are really small, but every circle you kill will drop them.

lv. 51

Bomb Token, Attractor. Attract circles to one area, then bomb them.

lv. 52

Grenade Token, Stealth Grenader, Grenader

lv. 53

Random Explosion Token, Shrinker. I think Shrinkers would be more useful

lv. 54

Sweep Lasers Token, Big Freaking Laser.

lv. 55

Sweep Lasers Token. Your ship fires a constant spray of many bullets in one direction.

lv. 56

Laser Sentinel Token, Missile Factory, Shield. The Shield is kind of rare and not very useful in this instance.

lv. 57

Shrapnel Token, Radar, Hive, Spread

lv. 58

Bouncing Ball Token, Mega Bubbler, Overload Bomb. Get enough bouncing balls and they can hold back an encroaching group of circles. The Mega Bubbler will be your main lethal weapon, though.

lv. 59

Laser Sniper Token, Radar, Big Freaking Laser. This level is difficult if you don't understand how Laser Sniper turrets work. When you do get the hang of it it's a cinch.

lv. 60

Grenader. Your ship fires in short-interval spurts of many bullets in all directions. Most if not all circles will drop a Grenader area, so you can pretty much just sit in a Grenader and fire away, moving only when your current Grenader expires.

lv. 61

Shrinker Token, Sparkler, Whirly. Yes, I said Whirly.

lv. 62

Fire Spirit Token, Speedster, Shield. I'm not sure what the best way to use the token is, so I don't have any good tips for it. Unfortunately, the Speedster and Shield will appear less often than the token in this level.

lv. 63

Helper Turret Token, Shrinker, Overload Bomb. The Helper Turret bullets can be used with either of the two normal areas. It's a hard level if you try to just stick with Helper Turrets. The Overload Bomb will be your main weapon.

lv. 64

Triangulation Laser Token, Missile Factory, Stealth Grenader. A little common sense and you can't go wrong.

lv. 65

Helper Turret Token, Radar, Basic Laser. Your bullet fires a constant spray of many bullets in one direction, which make the Basic Laser really effective.

lv. 66

Mine Field Token, Mega Bubbler. It's hard to lose this stage on accident.

lv. 67

Laser Parasite Token, Reinforcer, Bubbler. Another hard-to-lose stage.

lv. 68

Virus Token, Attractor, Shield. An early Virus Token is crucial.

lv. 69

Sweep Lasers Token, Spread. Your ship intermittently fires about 20 bullets at a time that travel at slightly different speeds, so it looks like you're shooting a straight line of bullets. The Spread areas will be the most helpful in this level. The Sweep Lasers will generally just supplement your direct attack.

lv. 70

Random Explosion Token, Grenade Token, Bomb Token, Reinforcer, Bubbler, Whirly. Probably one of the hardest levels of the game. None of the normal areas will be particularly useful. You'll need to get lucky with Bomb and Grenade Tokens.

lv. 71

A LOT of different areas and tokens. Even with a lot of areas, it can be a little tough. DON'T stay in one spot or try to win with only a few areas.

lv. 72

A LOT of different areas and tokens. A lot like the previous level, but a little easier for some reason.


lv. 73

A LOT of areas and tokens. Even more than the last two stages. Pretty hard to lose.

lv. 74

A LOT of areas. Just like that last 3 levels. Guess what?

This is the last timed level of the whole game!!

lv. 75

This level has no timer. Think of it as survival mode. There's a moderate area drop rate, which really forces you to come up with some strategy and technique. But you should probably have all that if you can get to this stage.

========================================================
LIST OF AREAS (nicknamed by me). At the end of each area's description is the level it first appears on.

Whirly

Acts on bullets to curve their path. More a nuisance than an actual powerup. Looks like a circle broken into 6 counter-clockwise rotating arcs. (2)

Bubbler

Bullets that pass through will expand and be more effective. The longer the bullet is in the area, the larger it will become. The effect can accumulate with more bubbler areas. Affected bullets act like normal bullets, just bigger and with more power. Looks like two concentric circles radiating outwards. (3)

Mega Bubbler

Bullets that pass through will be absorbed and the area will release a "mega bubble." They'll keep expanding after they leave the area, be faster, and will have power proportional to the size of the bullet at the point of impact. These bubbles are no longer regular bullets that can be used with things like Spread and Overload Bomb, and they do not richochet off of walls. Looks like a thin circle broken into 5 arcs, and a thick circle broken into 5 arcs continually radiating outward to the thin circle. (26)

Spread

Every bullet that enters the area and every bullet you fire from within the area will split into two bullets that travel at slightly different trajectories. (The trajectory of the "original" bullet is the bisector of the trajectories of the bullets it split into (that was more complicated than you really need to know).) Effect is cumulative over several Spread areas, and affected bullets act the same as normal bullets. Looks like two thick overlapping, counter-rotating, broken circles whose arcs fade in and out as they rotate. (13)

Shield

A basic shield that can hold back circles from growing into the area. Move your ship into the area to make it expand. It may stop expanding if too many circles are "pushing" in on it. If multiple Shields are overlapping, you can make multiple Shields expand by placing your ship in the areas where they overlap. Looks like two thick circles, the inner one radiating outward to the outter one. (6)

Peg Shield

Move your ship into this tiny area and it will expand into and act like a normal shield. It still has the power to hold back circles when it's small, though. Looks like a small thin-lined circled when unactivated, and a regular shield when activated. (25)

Basic Laser

Bullets entering the area disappear and cause a laser beam to shoot out in the same trajectory from the area (as if the area was a bigger version of the ship). Shooting from within the area allows for 360 degrees of potential laser coverage. No distance limit on lasers. Bigger bullets create bigger lasers, and multiple bullets mean multiple lasers. Looks like a circle broken into 5 arcs with 5 thick lines radiating outwards. (8)

Random Laser

Bullets entering the area get absorbed and a laser of proportional power is sent out of the area in a random direction. Looks like a Basic Laser with slightly different-looking rotating "antennae" rotating along a plain, unbroken circle. (41)

Big Freaking Laser (BFL for short)

A GIGANTIC laser constantly shoots in one direction out of this area. You can rotate the laser by shooting into the area. The laser will rotate towards the point on the circle where the bullets are entering, taking the shortest route to get there. That is, if you're "left" relative to the laser, the laser will rotate to the left. If you're "right" relative to the laser, it will rotate to the right. No distance limit on lasers. You'll know what it looks like when you see it. (21)

Overload Bomb

Bullets that enter are absorbed and their "energy" is stored in the area. The amount of energy in an area is indicated by the number of rings around its center. When the area fades away, it will let off an explosion proportional to the amount of energy stored in it. OB's without any energy will not explode. Looks like two sets of thin lines (sort of like spikes) that move inwards and disappear before reappearing on the outer edge of the circle. (16)

Grenader

Normal bullets become like heat-seaking missiles that give off a little explosion when they contact a circle. The bullets move faster and last a little longer than normal. They'll always head for the circle closest to your ship. Effect is not cumulative over multiple Grenader areas. Looks like two overlapping, counter-rotating, broken circles whose arcs look like old-school TV antennae (the spindly spider-like things you used to put on top of your house). (18)

Stealth Grenader

If there are any circles on the field at all when a bullet passes through this area, the area will absorb the bullet and send out an explosive bullet directly to the circle. You don't actually see the bullet until it gets close to a circle (hence the "stealth" part), and the bullet will explode on contact (hence the "grenader" part). When the bullets are visible, they can be used wherever normal bullets can be used. For instance, if you're firing into a Stealth Grenader, and a circle is growing right in the middle of a Shrinker, when the stealth bullets become visible at the circle's edge, they'll actually be absorbed by the Shrinker area before they can hit the circle. The size of the bullet that enters will be the same size as the bullet sent out, and power is proportional to size. If there are no circles on the field, then the area won't absorb any bullets. Looks like three thick concentric circles, with one circle at a time fading in and out. Ten perpendicular lines are spaced out evenly along these three circles. (36)

Missile Factory

Bullets that enter the area will be absorbed and accumulate in the middle of the area. After a very short period, the area will release the bullet made from the accumulated absorbed bullets. More bullets absorbed (and bigger bullets absorbed) will make the released bullet bigger and more powerful. I think the bullet either travels in the direction your ship is facing (but it's a little slow in "turning" to that direction), or it'll travel in the "average" trajectory of the bulles accumulated in it. The bullet the area releases will explode on contact. A bullet released from one Missile Factory can be used wherever normal bullets are used. A bullet from one Missile Factory can be absorbed by another Missile Factory. Any bullet released by a Missile Factory has a longer longer lifespan and will explode on contact. Looks like seven sets of arcs that "shimmer" inwards for a short distance. (48)

Hive

Bullets that enter the area are transformed into "bees". They have a different shape (sort of like a teardrop) and will swarm around your cursor. Send them out to attack circles at their centers by "flinging" them out with your cursor. More bees attacking a circle will make it shrink faster. The size of each bee depends on the size of the bullet it was made from, and larger bees do more damage. Looks like a solid circle with 3 evenly-spaced teardrop shapes rotating along the circumference. (23)

Attractor

Shoot into the area and circles will move towards the area (not towards your ship, unless your ship is in the area). Useful for bring circles in so that you can destroy them and have all their powerups in one place. Looks like a bunch of V's pointing inwards. (28)

Shrinker

Cosntantly firing normal bullets into this area will cause all circles already formed to shrink up to a limit. Intermittent firing will cause the circles to shrink whenever a bullet gets absorbed by the area, then regrow until another bullet is absorbed. Bigger bullets increase the effectiveness of the shrinking power. I'm not quite sure exactly how the rest of it works: sometimes a new circle will show up while you're shooting into this area, but it won't be effected by the area's effect. Other times the new circle WILL be affected, but only after it has grown a little. Experiment to figure it out for yourself. Looks like two inward-moving thin circles broken into 6 arcs each, with one circle's arcs set to fit in the gaps between the other circle's arcs. (31)

Radar

A non-lethal area that has a representation of the entire field inside of it. It shows you where enemy circles are, where areas are (but not what kinds of areas they are), and where your basic bullets are (not lasers, bees, or anything else like that). Looks like six sets of thin lines pointing outwards with arcs radiating outwards on those thin lines. There's also the map of the field on the inside, so you can't miss it. (33)

Sparkler

Place your ship in this area and "spark bullets" will appear on the field (I don't know how far out they'll appear). These bullets act like regular bullets, except they have a very short lifespan. Overlapping Sparkler areas can be activated at the same time resulting in more spark bullets appearing. Use one Sparkler area usually isn't enough to kill a circle, but firing at circles while they're being sparked can push back a line of approaching circles. Looks like...a flower I guess? The different parts of the "petals" will rotate in opposite directions. You'll recognize it when you activate it. (38)

Reinforcer

Normal bullets that enter the area will last a lot longer than normal. They'll also bounce off of circles and keep moving. Exploding normal bullets will probably be affected as well, but they'll still explode and disappear on contact. Looks like a thin circle with several thin arcs rotating in both directions. (44)

Speedster

Put your ship into this area and it'll be propelled forward at high speed and be able to do damage to circles. Your ship is now a lethal weapon! Looks like two thin concentric circles with a third circle expanding and shrinking in between the outlines of those two circles. (46)

Bomb Token

Lets off an explosion proportional to its size. Looks like a grayish circle inside a thin circle. (51)

Grenade Token

Sends out small exploding bullets in every direction. Looks like a cluster of circles inside a thin circle. (52)

Random Explosion Token

Causes a few small, generally weak explosions near your ship. Useful in tight places, but otherwise not a very good weapon (unless I'm doing something wrong with them). Looks like a few grayish circles inside a thin circle (53)

Sweep Lasers Token

A stationery "laser turret" constantly shoots out 3 laser beams and will rotate around, sweeping the entire field. The rotation is slow at first but gets faster and faster until the turret expires. Looks like a peace sign/steering wheel/pie sliced into 3 equal parts. (54)

Laser Sentinel Token

A stationery "laser turret" intermittently shoots out one laser beam in a random direction (whatever direction it's facing at the time). The turret will explode if it makes contact with a circle. Looks like a circle shooting out a laser, inside a thin circle. (52)

Laser Sniper Token

Does the same thing as a Laser Sentinel turret, instead of firing in a random direction, the sniper turrets will fire a laser directly at your cursor (after firing off one random shot when activated). However, these lasers can be "blocked" from actually firing directly at your cursor by a circle that gets in the way. For example, say your cursor is right beside a circle (it's on a black background) when a sniper turret fires a laser. While the laser is still on, if you move your cursor into the white circle, the laser beam will be blocked by the outer rim of the white circle and will not be firing directly at your cursor. These turrets still explode upon contact with a white circle, but they'll also explode when they expire even if they don't touch a white circle. The turret don't last for very long, though. Looks like 3 laser sentinel turrets firing lasers at one circle (your ship?), within a thin circle. (59)

Triangulation Laser Token

A triangular thingamabob will fly towards the nearest circle. Once it makes contact, it will make copies of itself and station those copies around some of the circle's perimeter. (If there are circles overlapping the circle the triangle thing touched first, the copies will station themselves along the perimeter of the contiguous white space made up of the circles.) The triangular things will hold back circles from growing, and once they stop making copies of themselves, they'll all at once let out one laser each into the center of the circle they're stationed on, pretty much destroying it. If the circle is destroyed before the lasers stop firing, then the laser beams will continue forward to the edges of the field. Looks like a solid white circle with triangles along half its perimeter, all within the normal token thin circle. (64)

Laser Parasite Token

A "parasite" appears on the field and will shoot out 4 tentacle-like cords with plugs on the end. These plugs will attach themselves to white circles and drain "energy" from them, making them shrink. The parasite's main body then uses the energy to shoot out a laser beam, doing further damage. One of the more unique areas of the game. Looks like a thin-lined circle surrounded by 4 more circles, with a laser beam shooting out the front of the thin-lined circle and wire out of its back (all in the thin white circle outlining all tokens). (67)

Shrapnel Token

"Shrapnel" (spikes/sticks/whatever) shoots out in every direction from where you collect the token. The shrapnel travel in straight lines away from where the token was. Once a piece of shrapnel touches a circle, it will change direction so that it is moving towards the center of the circle. Looks like many thin oblong shapes pointing outwards within a thin circle. (57)

Bouncing Ball Token

Released a bouncing "ball" that will bounce around the field, bouncing off of walls and circles (doing damage to the circles). Bigger tokens release bigger balls, which will cause more damage. The balls last for longer than normal bullets. Looks like a circle with 3 "movement lines" behind it, inside a thin circle. (58)

Shrinker Token

Has much the same power as a normal Shrinker area. When you activate the token, it will shrink all circles on a field a little bit. Collecting several tokens in rapid succession will shrink pretty much all circles on the field until they're destroyed. Looks like a white dot inside a thin circle, surrounded by small white lines, inside the usual thin circle that's around most tokens. Some might say it looks like a picture of the solar system. (61)

Fire Spirit Token (?)

Not exactly sure how this one works. Collecting it will create a "fire spirit" thingie that will fly around your ship (it's black with no outline, so you probably won't even notice you have it until you pass over something white, like the boundary of any area). Once your ship makes contact with a white circle, the fire spirit will charge into the circle's center and do some damage, shrinking the circle a little, possible destroying the circle if the fire spirit was powerful enough, or there were a lot of them attacking the same circle. It seems to act a lot like a swarm of bee bullets created from the Hive area. Looks like a solid white circle with several smaller overlapping black circles that kind of look like a fetus. (62)

Helper Turret Token

Creates a little mobile "helper" turret that will follow your ship arround for a time. Once it stops for a few moments (it'll stop when you stop moving the ship) it will start firing big normal bullets that don't do anything special other than do a lot of damage (because they're so big). These big bullets can be used wherever normal bullets can be used. Some time after a helper turret starts firing (the limit is likely a certain number of shots), it will no longer follow your ship. Instead, it will stay in one spot, only moving backwards as if "recoiling" from shooting out its big bullet. If the turret is still following your ship, then it will mimic the orientation of your ship and fire along a parallel trajectory as your ship. As with the other kinds of turrets, Helper Turrets will explode when a circle touches them. Looks like a small thin circle and a big thin circle with 3 lines between them, connecting them, all within the normal token thin circle. (63)

Mine Field Token

Several mines surround your ship. They won't appear to move, but as you move around the field, the ones that are furthest away from you (behind you generally) will reappear in front of you. These mines explode when they touch a white circle. A basic strategy is to just charge your ship into white circles, letting the mines do the killing instead of your bullets. Looks like a cluster of small solid white circles each inside a thin-lined white circle, all within the normal thin circle enclosing all tokens. (66)

Virus Token

A "virus" (looks like a white circle, but has small black spots on it) is sent out. Once it gets to an actual enemy white circle, it will enter the circle and stop moving. When inside a white circle, it will attract the circle's spores to itself, passing them through its body. After a little while the "virus" will explode. If for some reason the white circle shrinks enough so that the unmoving virus is no longer inside of a circle, the virus will still explode. Looks like a white circle with black spots on it and 3 "spores" (all in a thin circle). (68)

I figured out level 70 for the person who asked.

Level 70:

There are two main powerups to this level - the one that makes bullets big and the one that makes bullets bounce off things and continue. You need both.
Apparently, the powerup that makes bullets bounce off things also extends their life. When you get both, shoot as many as you can until the make-big one disappears, hitting both powerups and the bullets will survive a long time... get as many of the bouncing powerups as possible to keep them going. I had some last the entire game.
It almost helps to be 'losing' because with less space, they hit your powerups more frequently. It took me about 5 tries on this level.

LSN, that was great. Love the names you gave to the areas too.

Awww doesn't my guide get to be in it's own "walkthrough" section? :P

Level 70 -- my lucky shot was when multiple areas stacked: make-bigger, bouncy, and swirly. I was hating the swirly, but I think it kept some of the big shots in the bouncy area long enough to make them immortal. Two lasted for the entire level, and they were all that was keeping me alive at the end.

:o Yay! Thanks Jay!

Oh wait, that's the incomplete walkthrough post up there lol. The full walkthrough is the post I made on January 3, 2008.

i loved this game i dont see how you can all hate it so much and i loved the music too i just kept the game in another window so i could hear the music when i was finished playing.:D

I have had some wins and losses with this game, but I find myself coming back to it again and again. Tonight the coolest thing happened, around level 60 I had 6 or 7 small drones following me that would stop when I did, set up, and fire in my direction until they died. I found a Over Bomb (OB), and decided to fill it up to explode, cause the circles were getting closer. As I start shooting, all my followers targeted it as well. The rings that fill up to show how powerful the bomb was passed beyond the boundary of the OB before it exploded. Everything on the map was wiped out, every single circle. Was truely amazing.

Then I get to level 72, struggle though for half an hour until I finally win, and in my excitement, I press the restart button out of habit. No going forward from there, I gave up.

Overall still a really good game.

Wow. An incredibly simple game, yet has so much variation. I'll say the wordless interface is a bit annoying if you can't solve puzzles to save your life, but this is pretty awesome. The music is also strangely fitting.

I liiiiiiiiiiked the lazer shotgun...

On level 72

I found it to be much harder than area 71. The circles appeared to expand much faster and the timer seems much longer while the areas seemed about equal to level 71

Biorules, that happened to me once and all I had to do was quit the game and restart it to the level select screen. Every level you completed will be there plus the next unfinished level so if you actually completed level 72, you should see level 73 as an option to play.

Can anyone link me to this music? I would love to have this song on my iPod.

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