The latest from Bloons creators, Stephen Harris and Ninja Kiwi, Hotcorn is a game about popping corn... with heat. You control a smiling sun avatar with the mouse, moving it over kernels of corn on a top-down game board to pop them into some kind of exploded corn substance. Pop enough corn before time runs out and you win the level, simple as that.
The game comes complete with a variety of salts and garlic garnishes, in forms like kerosene cans that explode, orbs that freeze time for a minute, rocks that take a bit to explode through, kernels that slow you, yellow gel that slows you, blue gel that extinguishes you, blue orbs that temporarily make you cold so as to pass through the blue gel, and concrete blocks — and I think that's the whole shopping list, maybe there's more later in the game, but good luck encountering them.
Analysis: Hotcorn is dramatically more difficult than NK's previous titles, by the time you get to level 25 you'll be feeling the heat, nay, the sweltering intensity of wrist-bound action that you paced through carefully and cautiously toward the last levels of Bloons. This is like the Ninja Gaiden of casual games, a real-time gauntlet of swings and swipes where the difference between victory and defeat amounts to a fraction of a second. While a younger me might say "aaaalright!" to this display of game design sado-masochism (with the same pronounced drawl of Sean Pean in Fast Times at Ridgemont High) the more experienced version is inclined to say, given the target audience, the extremely narrow difficulty is more of a consistent balancing flaw than triumph. I couldn't even get past level 34 so I can't imagine what level fifty is like. And that's a shame, because I'm so hardcore I almost beat Ninja Gaiden, beset only by Jaques and his homing fireball ballet. I can only imagine the majority of people giving up much sooner. Why balance your game so the majority of the audience can only access half of it? A few fewer kernels required to win, another half second, this would make a huge difference, and I encourage Ninja Kiwi to look at whatever data they have, or otherwise to trust me, and open the game up a bit.
Regardless of the lack of butter, its definitely worth spending some time with Hotcorn.