Particle Blaster


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FunnyManParticle BlasterAs his entry to CGDC4, Gareth Thomas ("Gaz") brought us a simple yet intense space shooter. In Particle Blaster, you play as a small, triangular space ship. Your goal: destroy everything that moves.

Use the mouse for control. The ship will shoot in the direction you drag. Click the mouse to fire.

The game starts out simple, with two large circles that are drawn towards you as you play. You move the ship with the mouse, and holding down the left mouse button fires a stream of multicolored bullets. There's no hard time limit, but each enemy awards you points based on how quickly you defeat it. Don't take too long, or they'll start costing you points instead of awarding them.

The difficulty ramps up quickly as the game pits you against balls of varying size, number, and arrangement. On a few levels, you will run into indecisive squares who zip along in one direction for a while, then pick a new, random direction—often straight at you. If that's not enough for you, level 13 brings a twist that you won't see coming.

Ball physics come into play as the enemies bounce off each other and collide with your bullets. Though it's not obvious at first, enemies reflect your shots, which means that a well aimed shot can bounce off two or more of them, dealing damage with every hit. Unlike circles, squares are not pushed away by your shots, but their flat sides makes for easy bouncing. No matter which enemy you face, using your shots to their fullest is key to defeating each level as fast as possible, and can sometimes be the only thing standing between you and certain death.

At only 14 levels, Particle Blaster isn't as long as you might like, but it makes up for it with fast-paced, challenging gameplay. At the end, you'll be graded on your performance, so you'd better work fast if you want an A.

Of course, that's assuming you make it that far. I still haven't been able to finish the last level yet.

Play Particle Blaster

48 Comments

I really enjoyed this one. I had to stop at level 11 because I'm at work. Otherwise I would have kept going.

The highlight of the game for me was dodging through a swarm of attacking shapes. The maneuverability is perfect. I love game mechanics that make players feel like they've done something challenging and "just barely made it".

Great entry!

And when I thought level 12 was impossible... I "just barely made it"

But invisible balls? level 13 is impossible. I will try later

I was wondering when another shooter would turn up =). This is actually pretty similar to my entry 'Kaichou' in some ways, but also pretty different in others so that's cool =).

I really liked the game, the way each level was set out to offer a different challenge, and the changing between circles and squares was nice. Pretty colours, particles and shooters are my three favourite things when it comes to gaming, so this gets 2 thumbs up from me!

Ali

I'm a big fan of games like mono, and this one is a worthy addition to the "artistic shooter" (for want of a better title) family.

Excellent sound track, good looks and a scoring/timing system which is unobtrusive (no set time limit) but available if you want a challenge.

Gets pleasingly difficult at level 14, when the enemies become

invisible when you're not shooting them

A brilliant entry.

This one is my fave thus far. Awesome entry!

Jay - I just noticed and I'm curious, why has this been tagged as "shooting" and kaichou has been tagged as "shooter".

I know its being picky but a shooting game to me is a game like a fps or a run n gun, where as a shooter is a game like this, or like doDonPachi, ikaruga etc

Sorry to be annoying, I just noticed the difference and thought Id point it out =).

Ali

Ali - that was my typo, the tag should be 'shooter'. I also see that there were 3 other mislabeled games, so I've corrected them all. Thanks for pointing that out. :)

Fun, and I'm not usually a fan of shmups. I beat it, but it got reeeeeaally hard at later levels, and I only finished with Rank D.

I assume Rank A is best.

This game was a lot of fun until level 14. After six or eight tries - and getting smooshed right away every time - I gave up in frustration.

Maybe instead of

having them disappear almost immediately

they could

slowly fade out over five or eight seconds

Then again perhaps I'm just a big baby and can't handle the tough stuff. :)

very nice looking game, though it gets annoying to have to pull away, aim, shoot, pull away, aim shoot... maybe some sort of thrusters would be nice. but I realize thats the game :P excellent overall.

I also don't normally like games like this, but this one is just beautiful. So well polished. The epitome of a casual game. It is just so fun, especially when every second involves an amazing escape when you did not believe you could make it. Superb tune as well. Where do you coders get your tunes from, or are so many of you also talented musicians?

Level 13 is hard with 2 invisible balls.

But then along comes level 14 with 4 invisible balls... managed it though, but only got rank E.

Rank B! Woo!

Level 14 took forever. I think I was actually getting worse at it as time went on. I had a weird zen thing happening once in a while where I could tell instinctively where the balls were without being able to see them, but alas, my ninja skills would usually give out on me after a second or two and I would die. As I'm sure was the case once in a while for real ninjas. You have to keep your ninja skills sharp, when you're a ninja. Ninja ninja ninja.

Anyway, this is a really great game. It manages to be really good-looking without using any actual artwork, and the music is superb. Like a generous shot of dopamine to the base of my skull. Thanks for making it.

Level 10 is solvable? Oy, I stink at these games :o/

sorry for 2 posts, but I have no idea how this scoring works. I'm losing 500 points when i shoot down an enemy, but i don't know why, and nothing happens anyways. confused. once again, great game.

Is it that you receive positive points if the shapes are moving away from you when destroyed, and negative points when moving toward you?

I think the points per kill slowly decreases as time goes on, but I don't care about score at all, so whatever...

WHERE ARE THE CIRCLES NOW *twitch*

Actually, I think you get more points if you killed the enemy soon. Not very clear, I think... Okay, imagine a clock. When the level starts, you get X points. As time passes by, the number X go down, but it doesn't stop at 0: it goes negative, and that's why Vinny ended up losing 500 points (or winning -500 points) by killing an enemy.

Good game, I'm a big fan of both Avalanche and Square Divide!

Also, I think smaller shapes start with smaller point totals, so if you don't shoot the smaller targets first, you're likely to lose points when you kill them.

It's kind of weird that you don't get to see your point total as you're playing, but I don't mind much.

I think the lack of a timer or score means you can concentrate on enjoying the game more. And not getting killed, which is always important.

Hmm... 13 and 14 are just too much. If you could shoot in a direction other then where you are moving, it would be okay, but if you're running away from invisible balls, you can't actually shoot them without turning around, and then they hit you. Not fun. Especially when I died upwards of 20 times running into a ball I can't see. And, the longer you survive, the harder it gets, because the balls get even harder to shoot. I really loved it until 14.

Similar to other reviews, it's not the type of game i would normally like, but for some reason i just love this one. Highly addicting, and the soundtrack is spot on for this type of game. for level 13 i'm going straight between the 2 balls and then swivelling and trying to shoot the heck out of one of them. tricky, but i'll be back for more. great entry ... this competition just seems to be getting better and better.

Well, here I am, half an hour later. I've managed to kill 1 ball in 14. If the average round lasts 10 seconds (and I'm being generous), I've died 180 times. My hand is cramping :(

I think what went wrong is that the game started out as an avoidance game, but when you get to 13, it's all luck. You can't see what you're trying to avoid. All you can do is hope your shots will collide with something, and when you try to run away you fly right into an invisible ball. The fadeout time needs to be longer, or your rate of fire faster, so you can do effective sweeps.

I like the game, but the point system is "meh" for me. Around level 3 or 4 I got some negative points and assumed I had used too many bullets per round. While this is NOT the case, it interested me far more than speedy-kill-points.
Much like the your earlier square-shooter, I was really drew me in, engaging me far more than it should.

LazyPint:

It would still be nice to check in with your score in between levels. "Hi, score! How ya doin'?" "Dismal! Good luck on the next level!" "Thanks, score!" You know.

Aioua:

I didn't feel like level 13 required much luck. I beat it on my first try, because I was so in tune with the way the balls moved by that point. Level 14 was too much for me, though. But like I say, there were times when I knew exactly where all four balls were without being able to see them. It was borderline mystical.

I think the real problem is that the difficulty spikes too quickly between level 12 and 13. It's not about luck, since there's no randomness in the spheres' movement. But the game doesn't prepare you for the kind of skill you need to survive the invisible enemies. Maybe if there were a couple of visible spheres mixed in with the invisible ones, at least to start off, you could estimate where everything was by the collisions.

Very nice game - loved the music and the colors. The last level (level 14) was freakishly difficult until I figured out the trick to it:

I just kept running from one corner to the next, right along the edge of the window, and spraying the room with bullets for a couple of seconds at each corner..

I ended up with 35801 points, which earned me a Rank C.

I tend not to like games where the aim and movement are both tied to the mouse - for one, you can't aim precisely enough, and more importantly you can't shoot anywhere except where you're headed. Still, this was a charming enough little shooter for me to go through it anyway.

Heh, just played through it again; I *thought* I was a lot faster this time, and I finished level 14 in only three tries, but I only got 36945 - another Rank C. That's it for me...

PHEW!! It took FOREVER to beat 14, but I finished with 40523 points and a Rank B so I'm satisfied. I was completely addicted to square divide too. Such a simple concept but great games!

50877
rank A
my goodness lv 14 was hard, I found it helped to play with a streaming video playing in the background

After reading some of the strategies for level 14 on here I tried it again.

Over and over and over and over and over and over and...

I never got even close. I got so irritated I swear I could take my computer apart with a toothpick and a macaroni noodle though.

Maybe I should try another game huh? :)

"I tend not to like games where the aim and movement are both tied to the mouse - for one, you can't aim precisely enough, and more importantly you can't shoot anywhere except where you're headed."

I *do* like those types of games. I am very much not coordinated enough to move and shoot with mouse and keyboard at the same time! :-D Moving around and shooting in this game felt very natural to me, and the downsides you mention aren't noticable to me as problems, although I can see how people could be bothered by them.

cute!
..why is this game so big in size? just geometric drawn figures and a looping tune no? (just curiousity really)

The music loop is relatively high-quality and lengthy, so I'm guessing that's it. The download size seems about right for an mp3 of that length.

Finding out that points are based on speed and not bullet number just disappointed me a tad. I really like the idea of floating around a bit trying to get three or four hit combos. However, it would make scoring anything on the invisible levels near impossible I suppose. That said, it is a fairly pleasant game. I think because there are so many games in this competition I've actually gotten a little tired of that techno-y type of music (which is why I go back to Osmosis and another one sometimes) but I can't say it isn't well done to the game.

Not one of my favorites, but a good one.

I just now noticed the fact that the number of games in this competition has caused me to forget some of the earlier games. Now, certain ones made a strong impression on me but there were many games I'd like to go back to and for the life of me I can't remember all of them!

Kelly - I can understand why some people would prefer it this way; personally I've been an avid fan of first person shooters for a very long time, so having movement and aiming tied together just feels limiting. Still, when they're implemented well (like this one) I can get over it... :)

I did not find level 14 so hard. I think there is a knack to it.

I did it by moving from top left to bottom right, via bottom left, not to quick, not too slow and not pausing in bottom left. Then turning, spraying a few bullets and returning to top left via top right. It is all about how quick you move, so that the balls are always moving in a circle, following you. use the hit on the balls to judge when to move on. Too soon and the balls break their circular loop, too late and they get you. After you get the rhythm it does not matter if you miss all the balls.

Favourite entry so far. Level 14 is indeed not all about luck. The balls follow you almost all the time, so you have to run away and stop to shoot them every now and then. Got rank B. :)

Nice stuff! Among my favourite 3 entries so far.

I haven't played all the entries so far, but there are a fairly amount of 'simple idea' games this time. I think all of these simple ideas could have had that one thing that makes the game a possible winner. It's not something to put your finger on, well I can't, but this one has it :)

Thanks for the comments and feedback guys :)

A few people have brought up how difficult level 13/14 is.

These are the last 2 levels and should be considered "boss stages". That's why they're so damn difficult!
As some people have figured out there is a method (you'll need it as 14 is impossible by luck alone!):
The balls on all of the levels gravitate towards you (aside from one rogue ball on an earlier level - see if you can spot it!), you can use this to your advantage. You need to keep moving from corner to corner so that they move around in a circle and you can predict their movement. All the while spraying bullets behind you to attack them and see where they are ofcourse. It's best to concentrate on one first as it's a lot easier when there are less.

Regarding the control system I too prefer independent controls for movement (keyboard) and aim (mouse) most of the time. By attaching both to the mouse here however you get/have to do a lot more dodging and maneuvering which is exactly what I wanted :)
Finally the points system.

The number of points each ball is worth is directly proportional to it's starting radius. For every frame each ball exists it loses a point so the less balls there are on the screen losing points the better. In order to get rank A you'll need to work very fast here's some tips:
1. Work from small to big. You can get rid of the small balls quickly so kill them asap so they stop losing points!
2. Try to rebound your bullets as much as possible - time is of the essence so every hit counts!
3. When you reset a level the points attached to each ball are reset so take as many attempts as you like.

Note: The main focus of this game is to try and beat each level as they become more and more difficult. I added a scoring system to give the players good enough to beat the game (!) an additional challenge if they want to keep playing :)

@coldfrog: I really like your idea of getting point combos. I'll definitely consider switching to that kind of scoring if I make PB2! :)

Rank E, but I don't care, after dying about 80 billion times I *finally* beat level 14 :)

I don't usually like this sort of game, I have to say, but something about the presentation, the music, and the simplicity of control really dragged me in and demanded that I keep on trying to beat it, even when it got really hard. So good job there!

I noticed a really weird bug at one point, though.

Obviously, the balls are supposed to be invisible at all times, except when they've been hit by a bullet. At one point during the game, one ball didn't entirely "fade-out", so I could see where it was for about 10-20 seconds. It only happened the once, but I thought it was weird.

I love the physics in this one, and it's just really lovely to look at.

how about a saved game option? I played till level 13 until I accidently click the back button... game over.

easy win

lvl 14 was easy once you get the trick:

just go to any corner and shoot REALLY fast towards the center of the screen. the walls will protect you in all but the direction you are shooting so you have to push back and kill the balls directly in front of you in order to win.
This is much easier and more rewarding than the other method. You kill them all in about 10 seconds once you are in place

Huh? That strategy didn't work for me.

"just go to any corner and shoot REALLY fast towards the center of the screen. the walls will protect you in all but the direction you are shooting so you have to push back and kill the balls directly in front of you in order to win.This is much easier and more rewarding than the other method. You kill them all in about 10 seconds once you are in place" (anonymous).
That was my first strategy the first time I lost. I don't know if you were just lucky, or I am just unlucky, but that doesn't seem to work at all. "...push back and kill the balls directly in front of you...". The problem is, you can't push back. Your shots barely push them away. The force of your shots isn't great enough, and the balls easily resist and push past them.

I finished the game, beating level 14 with the most common strategy. I ended up with a Rank C and 31478 points.

I'm still confused about the scoring system: "For every frame each ball exists it loses a point so the less balls there are on the screen losing points the better." I came up with an odd thing - I was playing, distractedly watching TV, and the balls were in the negitives as I shot them down. But there were still many balls left, and as I shot them, the numbers slowly came out of the negitives. That it is, it was something like this: +421, +100, +50, +4 -35 - 190 ... -500, +160, +153.............
It somehow went down and up again. Well, I double checked, and didn't see a negitive sign on any of them. At that point, I finished the level.

game was kind of fun, but too hard for me -- after 30 tries I gave up on level 10. Which is just as well, since apparently level 13/14 would have made me throw my mouse through a window. :)

Rank A and 60948 points. Mad suicidal tactics give the best points. I love how the game gives you unlimited tries and instant replaying, which really encourages to come up with the riskiest, highest-reward tricks possible ^^

14. Ouch, got past it, but it took forever.

-2,00 points, too...

It refuses to load, somehow. It gets stuck while loading the game itself.

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