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Blush


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Rating: 4.4/5 (97 votes)
| Comments (17) | Views (28)

StaceyG"Blush

Blush is a unique and beautiful, 3D rendered, underwater physics-based arcade game by Flashbang Studios, in which you play a betentacled creature fighting your way through the ocean deep.

You have just 4 minutes to fight off a variety of sea creatures, such as jellyfish, squid, crabs and sea serpents, by finding their weakness and then exploiting it. When you destroy creatures, collect the eggs they leave behind with your tentacles and bring them to the brightly glowing orbs. Doing so will increase your speed and extend the length of your tentacles. Spin your tentacles with the mouse to collect eggs and to attack other creatures. The more you grow the faster and farther your attacks will reach. The faster you deliver eggs to the collectors, the more formidable your enemies will become in return. And while you may occasionally lose tentacles in a fight, they will be restored when you bring eggs back to the orbs.

Unlock a series of achievements and race against the clock to meet more intense enemies and to greatly increase your score. Make sure to explore the bottom of the sea floor, as there are some additional challenging foes down there as well.

BlushAnalysis: The 3D rendered graphics and underwater environment in Blush are gorgeous, the lighting is brilliant, and the music calm and soothing. In contrast, the gameplay, with its 4-minute window and the circling and swinging motions required with the mouse, is frenetic and addictive. Combined these qualities simultaneously give the game a relaxing vibe like Flow, and the frantic pace of a shooter game. The undersea world the designers have created is stunning and the lighting effects give it a surreal and compelling quality that really draws the player in.

However, a non-timed version is sorely needed for all of us casual gamers, since you are presently limited to just four minutes of play in arcade scoring style. It would be so very nice to be able to advance through the game in levels, and at your own pace, and to play for an extended period of time.

Blush started out at TIGJam, where it was called Squiddy, and in 8 weeks the developers from Flashbang Studios have made a gorgeous game that is a joy to play. The game design is so well done for such a short time frame, although they were developing the idea for quite some time before the 8 week production. Here is some behind the scenes footage of the game. The footage shows a zoomed-out view of the entire ocean (spoiler!), but viewing it will also help you get your bearings.

You will need to download the Unity browser plug-in to play the game, if you don't have it already installed. It is a fast and painless installation, and so very worth it.

There is a special achievement for playing during today's launch, so get it while you still can.

Play Blush

17 Comments

Wow. At first I thought it was simple, similar to flOw. But as I realized I could kill enemies then deliver eggs to upgrade myself, I realized how fun this could get. I enjoy the tentacle physics, and the quality slider.

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Mordecai Author Profile Page March 3, 2009 12:32 AM

Very good game! I really see this as the future of browser-based games :)

Played as guest, but got 7th out of everyone who's played today.

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Joe the Plumber March 3, 2009 1:05 AM

This is a beautiful game. The light effects are amazing, and after you have a bunch of eggs stuck to your tentacles, you look like a living aurora borealis. Go squid/jellyfish creature!

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Very cool (once it finally loaded). I only played as a guest, so I don't know it there is more to it than the 2-3 minutes of timed play, but it has potential.

My biggest complaint is the limitation of mouse-based control. I spent too much time holding down the button - kinda hurt my hand after a while.

They could improve the controls by not requiring the button to be held, and then add some acceleration near the edges. (Best case would be to have a thumb control, like a PSX controller, that's the problem with PC games!)

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This is a very beautiful game. The graphics are just incredible. I love the way the view zooms in and out depending on how fast you're moving. The physics are fluid and make for a very convincing environment.

There are two drawbacks to the game though:

1) Having to hold down the mouse button makes my thumb tired (I use a track pad). Being able to stop moving when speed has been enhanced is a helpful, so some kind of control makes sense. If it were a separate control it might be more functional (for us track pad users, anyway). How about the space bar?

2) The four minute time limit (even for registered users) doesn't leave much time to explore and, for the number of achievements available, just doesn't seem adequate. I spent three and a half minutes in one game just trying to pick up eggs. The other half a minute was fighting with some clams and crabs. I never got to cash in my haul.

In all, I do recommend the game, but I hope to see some revisions for longer game-play and more functional controls. And, if the game is longer, maybe more achievements?

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Amazing game. My main quip was with the time restriction, I want a sandbox mode.
The best part was killing the sea serpents; those guys take a while to die.

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weirdguy Author Profile Page March 3, 2009 2:47 AM

Arrr. Thar be dragonfish only when ye get really big.

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weirdguy Author Profile Page March 3, 2009 2:48 AM

Oh, and always go back to turn in your eggs whenever you get a nice bunch of them. You need the speed upgrades to get around faster.

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Beautiful game, but WAY WAY too short! If not levels, I would at least like some sort of free play survival mode that was untimed. I feel like I'm just getting started every time and bang, they cut me off because I'm out of time.

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I agree about holding down the mouse button to move; It was annoying and I never really needed to completely stop.

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Gorgeous. I agree, to make this an extremely addictive game, it needs an untimed survival mode!

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chaosgasket Author Profile Page March 3, 2009 4:51 PM

Is anyone else having trouble with this crashing Firefox? I am using Firefox 3.06 and OSX 10.5 and it just crashes every time I try to play.

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That's happening with me too, Chaos.

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Valarauka Author Profile Page March 4, 2009 12:09 AM

Wow, I love this game. Kinda thought their last one (Minotaur China Shop) was a miss, gameplay-wise, but this is utterly brilliant.

The visuals are gorgeous, great use of lighting and the undersea waviness really adds to it. Since it's in Unity you can easily fullscreen it too (right-click->fullscreen) which is great for immersion. The music is utterly awesome too, when you get bigger and faster and the music switches to "heavy" mode it really gets you pumping. Btw, you can download the in-game music directly from the artist's website here along with a bunch of other great tracks.

Gameplay's great too, I was rather baffled the first time or two but once I figured out how things work it became tons of fun. You can really get into a nice rhythm of swinging your tail at things once to kill them, then once more to collect all the eggs dropped; when you've got a nice set of eggs there the colorful light trails they leave behind when you're swishing around is amazingly beautiful.

The four-minute restriction is a bit short, I'd agree that a free-play mode might be fun, but on the other hand - since I learned how the game works it hasn't been hard at all to get at least 300k+ points every run, and my best runs are in the 700k-900k range. By that time if you've been doing well your tail is already pretty huge, and swinging it around full-speed can lead to some serious whiplash effects... :D

I actually like the time-limited nature because it makes shooting for highscores meaningful, which adds to the replayability for me - and the "just-one-more-game!" factor is enhanced when you know each game is only four minutes long! Oddly enough, the time limit + combo highscore setup reminds me most of one of the Tony Hawk games, where you have a set amount of time to rack up as big a score as you can - those were hellishly addictive too.

On the other hand, an unscored exploration / free-play mode would not be amiss, just to swim around and look at all the pretty underwater sights - did you know the seeds you're carrying start absorbing light and ultimately explode if you swim too far towards the surface? It's true! See for yourself!

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I am happy to see so many positive reviews of Blush, another truly impressive entry from Flashbang, and one that I think boosts their stature and maturity in the game development community. While the previous titles on Blurst, such as Minotaur in a China Shop and Offroad Velociraptor Safari have pushed the limits technologically and are engaging and charming experiences, the "stunning" and "surreal" aesthetic that you mentioned certainly put Blush on another level. I am also glad that amid your mostly shining review, you make an observation that echoes what many players feel: the game lacks an un-timed version. The player is rudely jolted out of the serene flow after a measly four minutes of play; however, after some thought I would argue that without the timer, the game would not be as satisfying. A large part of Blush's pleasure derives from the feeling of wanting more and that sensation would diminish given free reign of the environment.

The timer is one of my least favorite devices employed by designers, and Flashbang uses it as a crutch over and over again. In Minotaur in a China Shop, they exercise it with a little bit of subtlety, as each of the five days has its own time limit, and the security guards usually shower one with a barrage of arrows before one even notices the clock, but Offroad Velociraptor Safari has a nearly identical countdown system to that of Blush. My problem with the timer is that it exposes the underlying game system, lessening the immersion and thereby cheapening the experience by reminding the player that this world is not real. I think a more environment-oriented representation of the timer, like the view steadily darkening or the edges of the world creeping inward, might have better served Blush than its current clock, but without some concept of time, the player might become bored. The play area feels almost limitless during the short spurt of gameplay, but as the very illuminating behind the scenes footage indicates, it is in reality rather modest. I counted no more than seventeen game objects made up of only three unique types in the entire game world. Do you think that the player would sustain interest after exploring the depths of this sandbox? You mentioned adding levels as an option, and I would eagerly welcome this solution, but designing additional levels takes time, and with Flashbang's pledge to develop six games in twelve months, they do not have any to spare. At any rate, I think the fact that the community yearns for an un-timed version in order to explore the entire environment proves that the designers successfully provided a user experience that satisfies and compels players, leaving them hungry for more.

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This game is awesome, but it needs a zen mode. I like to just float around in the water.

Although I was doing pretty good until a dragon ate all my tentacles.

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