Science is truly wonderful. If it weren't for science, for instance, we wouldn't have freeze-dried ice cream, that most wonderful of treats. We'd have to content ourselves with normal ice cream like the ancient neanderthals did. We can also thank science for Test Subject Green, the brain-twisting sequel to Nitrome's puzzle platformer Test Subject Blue.
As before, you play as Test Subject Blue, a little blob of enzyme riding around in a prototype mech suit and completing tests for a benevolent scientist. The [WASD] or [arrow] keys are used to steer Blue around and jump, while the [spacebar] fires Blue's blaster. The blaster is handy for self-defense but is fairly slow to fire, so it's often easier for Blue to just avoid enemies. The goal in each level is to grab a key and head to the exit. Naturally this is harder than it sounds. The most common obstacles that complicates your task are green portals that follow an odd sort of physical logic; entering through the bottom of one will pop you out of the top of another, for instance, and vice-versa. Likewise, entering through the left of one will lead to the right of another. Figuring out how these portals work is crucial to success.
After the benevolent scientist is taken out of commission by a shady rival, however, the obstacles are ramped up a bit. Lasers are fairly commonplace after the first few levels, for instance, and generally you'll spend a lot of time figuring out how manipulate them to make your way through. You'll also battle a variety of green enzyme minions that drop from the ceiling, fling chunks of themselves at you and generally make problems.
Analysis: Nitrome fans have come to expect quality from the developer and Test Subject Green does not disappoint. The puzzles are difficult without edging into frustration platformer territory and while Blue can be killed in a single hit, none of the enemies or obstacles feel cheap or unfair. Patience and a steady hand will always win the day here.
There are few complaints to be had about this game. There's not a huge amount of variety in the gameplay, especially if you've played Test Subject Blue, but by the time the game begins to wear out its welcome you'll be finished with it. It's a well-polished and complete title. Test Subject Green features the adorable cartoon art style and animation that Nitrome is known for. Blue in particular is lovingly animated; it displays a variety of adorable quirks as you hop around, such as slamming itself against the side of its suit to fire the blaster. The game's story is told through short blurbs between each level; it's not Shakespeare but it certainly works.
Platform fans are bound to enjoy Test Subject Green while puzzle lovers won't be punished for a lack of twitch reflexes. It's an excellent hybrid of the two genres made possible through the power of science, much like astronaut ice cream is a delicious fusion of strawberry, vanilla and chocolate. Aren't you glad we live in this modern world?