The Deep


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Rating: 3.2/5 (39 votes)
| Comments (16) | Views (17)

MikeThe DeepPerhaps, dear casual gamer, you've previously had a chance to play Boomshine, a colorful game involving what I call "splodey circles," which turns colorful dots into other splodey circles, which spirals into a chain reaction of many-hued, pyrotechnic eye-candy. Like fireworks, or pinball, Boomshine creates a bright, flashy, stimulating display for the happy player. But also like pinball (at least when I play it), Boomshine and its many imitators don't always foster a sense that the player can do much to control the outcome of the game. You pretty much click on some hopeful spot and watch the pretty reactions unfurl. Improving on the formula is Alexey Perepechko's
The Deep, which serves up the same scintillating experience as Boomshine while giving players a bit more control over the reactions they precipitate.

Each level contains a field of colorful "electrons," slowly floating along a set trajectory. Your job is to start a reaction (the aforementioned "splodey circle") by clicking somewhere on the screen, then gently herding the electrons in the reaction before it expires, perpetuating the explosion of colors until you consume a set number of electrons. This means using the movement of your cursor, which repels electrons for most levels, to push them where you want them to go. Different colored electrons have special effects when they react, some good, some bad, which means you sometimes want to keep certain electrons away from your reactions. Also, while most levels require you to consume a certain number of electrons, others have different goals, such as consuming as few electrons as possible while setting a certain number of reactions.

The simple addition of being able to steer your electrons is a clever enough innovation on the Boomshine concept to make The Deep worth playing, but the developer seems to have realized all the possibilities in his idea and developed it into a great variety of gameplay. The different types of electrons and levels generate many ways to play with the core concept without ever feeling gimmicky or strained. The presentation is top-notch too: The graphics and animations are colorful and atmospheric without being distracting, and the ambient soundtrack really sets the mood, especially the joyful, ethereal theme that kicks in when you complete your goal. With its pretty production and well thought-out gameplay, The Deep is a clever twist on a familiar game that fully maximizes its potential.

Play The Deep

Walkthrough Guide


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

What the colors mean: (Thanks to JiG reader Valtiel and Two Towers Games)

  • "Light blue atoms: The default atom. They add to your score and add a new explosion that keeps the reaction going.

  • Dark blue atoms: Slow moving and turn around a lot. Collecting them spawns ten new light blue atoms at the sides of the field. Collect these as early as possible.

  • Red atoms: While red atoms do add to your score, the red explosion they leave behind is bad news - any atoms touched by it are destroyed without adding to your score. Most levels with red atoms require you to collect them - the trick is to always have a blue explosion nearby that you can steer other atoms into.

  • White atoms: Give you an additional click with which to start a new reaction, but don't explode and don't add to your score.

  • Yellow atoms: Turn your cursor "magnetic" - it attracts rather than repels atoms. Collect a second yellow and the effect reverses. I don't think these explode. Keep track of them, because if you collect one and don't realise it, you've probably lost by the time you've worked out why the atoms aren't behaving as they should.

  • Brown atoms: Cause you to immediately lose.

  • Green atoms: Behave just like light blue atoms, but every time one is collected, every other atom speeds up slightly. Avoid for as long as you can, they make the game ridiculously chaotic."

  • "Ochre atoms: Increases the time that the ring kept open.

  • Purple atoms: Slightly increase the radius of the rings."

To beat the stages highlighted by a red star (Defense type): (Thanks to reader superdan)

You need to place all of your starting charges in one go (once you start, there must always be an ongoing reaction) and ward off as many of the other particles as possible. You are allowed a certain number of hits. An easy way to do this is to choose a corner, take a little time to clear out the incoming particles, and rapidly click to drop all your charges in that corner. Note that you cannot drop a charge into an area that already has an ongoing reaction, hence the rapid clicking.

16 Comments

I tried playing, but the website really upset Sophos:

High Risk Website Blocked

* Location: twotowersgames.com/games/the-deep
* Access has been blocked as the threat Mal/HTMLGen-A has been found on this website.

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No problems here with a full version of the typically overprotective Malwarebytes running.

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Hmm...Sophos' help says:

Mal/HTMLGen-A is the threat name associated with web pages that have been classified as malicious by SophosLabs.

So maybe twotowersgames.com somehow ended up on Sophos' naughty list :)

[Or, what is more likely the case, is that Sophos is reporting a false positive. The owners of TwoTowers have told me that they have tried contacting Sophos to get that removed. What's interesting is that Google has found nothing wrong with the site, and they're good at finding malware hidden in web pages. So, I'm confident there is nothing wrong with TwoTowers. -Jay]

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Did I miss a way to turn off the sound?

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sandsnake: right click

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We tested our site with different AV and didn't find any malicious activity.
In near future we solve this issue with Sophos, most likely it's error in their algorithms.
Please keep your mind off this and enjoy the game.

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Anonymous January 24, 2011 2:50 PM

I'll volunteer that "Effing Impossible" would have been a better name for this particular offering. Why no "High Difficulty" tag, again?

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Nice take on Boomshine.
Two otes though:

1.) Found waaaaaaaaay too hard to try to apply any kind of strategy;

2.) Status: "Complited"??? Really?

bio

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I agree re:false positive, Jay. That would be the "somehow" I noted.

I was contacted by TwoTowers and gave them info about the issue from my end to help them work with Sophos. I'm looking forward to actually getting to try the game when I get home from work.

[TwoTowers just received this from the Sophos people: "Virus labs has confirmed that the site is clean at this time and has been re-classed. As soon as your customers receive their updates from Sophos, they will have access to that website again. Regards, John Mondoux, Sophos Technical Support." -Jay]

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OK, I got to "Red Snow" and had no idea what the objective was, and while the game is fun, trying to figure out the rules isn't. Tried six or seven times, failed, moved on.

Note to developers: Instructions need to be explicit.

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How DO you beat Red Star? The first time, I placed a red star. The second time, I can't place anything at all!

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I have several criticisms of this game:

1. The yellow particles are very hard to distinguish from one another. It's extremely difficult to tell which one does what.

2. Instructions are very sparse and the tutorial doesn't explain the game mechanics and requirements for level progression very well.

3. There are bugs in the game that cause it to display a blank screen.

4. Levels vary widely in difficulty and not necessarily in a consistent manner with the order of play.

5. The visual effects and transitions are SLOW. The interface feels sluggish. It isn't necessary to make the player wait while some pretty fading transitions are drawn.

Overall, the game is disappointing because it is too caught up in its own elaborateness to provide a satisfying experience for the player. Instead, it's confusing, frustrating, and not very polished.

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Like atomic, I have similar criticisms.

#1: Minimalist is nice, but instructions are critical. Many levels, it is not clear at all what you need to do. Likewise, the assumption is some levels are bonuses and unlocked when you do well enough on a previous level, but there's no clue whether that's true.
#2: The orange-yellow particles, most notably the last two, are identical to each other. Doesn't help that there's at least a third particle that shares a very similar color.
#3: Although you can speed the transition of the 'Failed' screen by clicking, trying to skip the Start screen of the level results in dropping your starting charge. If you want to strategically place your first charge, you have to wait an additional two seconds for the Start level screen to fade before the level starts. In a game that will undoubtedly require many tries for some levels, this is an irritating and unacceptably long time, especially given there is no fast reset button for a level.
#4: Bugs. At least one of the later levels leaves you hanging on a blank screen.

I don't mind the wild variations in difficulty as much, since it is about 50-90% luck-based, but some consistency would be nice. The music is ok, but given the frustration one is bound to encounter, a more active track like the one playing in Boomshine would be more appropriate. It's hard to be Zen when you want to throw your monitor out the window because of that one level. And now, on to the positive points!

Great theming, nice aesthetic design. The mouseplay-to-influence-particles concept is original and takes Boomshine to the next stage, in some of the levels.

Overall: 3/5
Good aesthetic design and concept, but mediocre execution. Good for a short play, but don't expect completion because some levels are fiendishly difficult, or otherwise broken.

To beat the stages highlighted by a red star (Defense type):

You need to place all of your starting charges in one go (once you start, there must always be an ongoing reaction) and ward off as many of the other particles as possible. You are allowed a certain number of hits. An easy way to do this is to choose a corner, take a little time to clear out the incoming particles, and rapidly click to drop all your charges in that corner. Note that you cannot drop a charge into an area that already has an ongoing reaction, hence the rapid clicking.

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Excellent concept, scuppered by some utterly boneheaded design choices and what seems to be base laziness on the part of the creators.

* The game doesn't pause when you have the help menu displayed. What?

* At the start of each level, and whenever you restart a level (which will be often), the level title displays for a good three seconds. Clicking during this time causes the level to start /with a reaction already started/. Would it be too much for a click to skip past the title without instantly dooming your chances of completing the level?

* The yellow atom which magnetizes the cursor looks almost exactly like the ochre atom, which looks almost exactly like the brown atom which causes you to immediately lose.

* Ah, yes, the "magnetize the cursor" atom. So you collect one, and suddenly your means of controlling the playing field is reversed, and there's /no visible or audible indication that this has happened/. And just when you've gotten used to it, you collect another one and it /changes back/. And since you basically just lost control of what you're doing, the stupid brown poison atoms kill you.

* What do the purple atoms do again? It's not explained anywhere.

* I can cope with difficulty, but some levels (e.g. popcorn) are so chaotic that they're basically dumb luck.

* It seemed like the game was losing track of my progress. Maybe a bug, maybe just because the level select screen is so completely unhelpful, but this is what ultimately caused me to lose patience and quit.

For the record, and to help anyone who's confused by the badly-written help, I've compiled the following information:

Light blue atoms: The default atom. They add to your score and add a new explosion that keeps the reaction going.

Dark blue atoms: Slow moving and turn around a lot. Collecting them spawns ten new light blue atoms at the sides of the field. Collect these as early as possible.

Red atoms: While red atoms do add to your score, the red explosion they leave behind is bad news - any atoms touched by it are destroyed without adding to your score. Most levels with red atoms require you to collect them - the trick is to always have a blue explosion nearby that you can steer other atoms into.

White atoms: Give you an additional click with which to start a new reaction, but don't explode and don't add to your score.

Yellow atoms: Turn your cursor "magnetic" - it attracts rather than repels atoms. Collect a second yellow and the effect reverses. I don't think these explode. Keep track of them, because if you collect one and don't realise it, you've probably lost by the time you've worked out why the atoms aren't behaving as they should.

Brown atoms: Cause you to immediately lose.

Green atoms: Behave just like light blue atoms, but every time one is collected, every other atom speeds up slightly. Avoid for as long as you can, they make the game ridiculously chaotic.

There are also ochre and purple atoms, but I haven't worked out what they do yet.

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Ochre atoms: Increases the time that the ring kept open.

Purple atoms: Slightly increase the radius of the rings.

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