Survive as long as you can in Rapid Wars, the new addictive arcade shooter by Jussi Kari of ooPixel. Several of their games have been featured here in the past including Gride, which received 3rd place and the Viral Award in our 5th Casual Gameplay Design Competition (CGDC5).
Movement is key in this shooter game, both from your colorful enemies and your ship. Move the ship with either the [arrow] keys or [AWSD]. The shooting is automatic and constant. All you do is aim with the mouse, so you are free to focus on position rather than pounding away to shoot.
Borrowing the two-fisted Robotron mechanic, and with a nod to Geometry Wars, Jussi creates engaging dynamics in the enemies (which I will forever just refer to as the "lucky charms rainbow of pain" - LCROP). Each colorful bad guy has its own unique personality. One drifts aimlessly, one hones in on you and hunts you down, one seems ambivalent towards you and then suddenly pounces! On occasion, the destruction of brightly colored evil produces much needed amoeba-looking power ups. Try to chase down each precious egg before it fades away. They're cumulative so you can utilize several types at once, increasing bullet frequency, power, flow, or if you're lucky get a small reprieve with a bubble of health. When things get really frantic, you will really need the health power up. I'd say keep an eye on your health indicator, but you won't have time to look at it.
Besides survival and racking up the highest score possible, there are a series of hidden achievements you can see if you mouse over the row of stars on the bottom of the screen. These include 10x combos, reaching 50,000 points, beat the boss, and one that could be called the "the bull ride": last 10 seconds with 50 enemies. But if those are too hard to achieve, you could certainly just enjoy the more casual version, trying to survive as long as possible.
Analysis: Gameplay is frenetic, addictive and fun. The performance was really smooth. Even when the screen was filled with enemies I didn't experience any lag (except in my reaction times). When an enemy destructs, the board warps like a rippling pond, which is a nice effect. The constant explosions of pixels flying everywhere is a sight to behold; tiny details like the bullets bouncing off the walls didn't go unnoticed. You can see each new LCROP pixilating itself into existence, watching for this really comes in handy so that you aren't sitting on top of a spawning spot.
It does get hard to see what's going on when the arena is full. Your small, pale white ship and mouse target can get lost visually in all the action, especially in the lower corners where display info was. Sometimes I couldn't figure out where I was on the screen. Another complaint has more to do with me — frantic clicking leads to accidentally hitting the [Q] key which just ended the game abruptly without any prompt to save or restart — arghh. So I would like them to give you the option not to quit, or better, just don't use the Q.
It's nice to see the work of the game makers grow over time here on JIG. I think this is ooPixel's best game to date, and look forward to see what they do next.