Totem Destroyer 2
Have you noticed that stacking has become the "in" thing lately for casual games? Everyone's doing it, sometimes with big friendly smiley blocks, sometimes with cold metallic blocks and archetypical heaven and hell themes. All the cool kids are stacking these days, and you know something? I think we're ready for a game where you destroy stacks instead of building them.
What's that you say? You thought you collected all the golden idols in the first Totem Destroyer? Ha ha! Boy, you couldn't be more wrong if you said we should run with scissors barefoot through a thumbtack farm. No, it's time to dust off the ol' fedora, fasten the whip to the belt and hop in the plane, because there are hundreds more golden idols awaiting us, and yes, that means more totems to destroy than you can shake a sack full of bombs at.
For those that have yet to indoctrinate themselves to Totem Destroyer, game play is simple. In each level you must bomb all of the destructible blocks (otherwise known as totems) by clicking on them, without allowing the golden idol(s) to touch the ground. While the charcoal-gray indestructible blocks provide the eventual resting place for the idols, you must still blast your way through all the plain brown totems, the bouncy green sloppy totems, and several new varieties that can explode, fly away, or only be destroyed when they touch another of their kind.
Analysis: The first Totem Destroyer was a great game that employed a wonderful physics engine and provided an excellent puzzle experience with just a hint of action thrown in, though it did have its shortcomings, including being just a tad too short.
Totem Destroyer 2 is bigger, better, and gets right a lot of the things its predecessor got wrong.
Both the graphics and the music have received a facelift. Now blocks have details: cracks and knicks for the fragile brown blocks, little runnels of ooze for the green bouncy ones. Even the background enjoys a little attention, with tiny little birds soaring through a sky of fluffy clouds. You're even treated to different musical tracks that change every great once in a while.
But the changes go far beyond the cosmetic here. For instance, there are more kinds of golden idols: big fat round ones, little tiny ones, top-heavy hammer-shaped ones. The best thing about this is that each idol has its own properties. The triangle idol can fall from great distances and stop on a dime, but don't try that with the sun shaped idols—they'll roll right off and you'll be starting over again. Small idols go flying when you set off explosions, but the big and heavy guys weather the blasts with less movement. Oh, and in some levels, you'll have to save multiple idols as opposed to just one, so good luck with that.
Of course, one of the most obvious additions are the three new types of totems. Explosive totems obviously explode. Combo totems can only be destroyed when they come into contact with each other, and UFO totems start to fly away if they don't have enough weight holding them down. Each of these new types of totems are used in creative ways which maximize the potential of their characteristics and result in some truly interesting levels.
Have you had enough New yet? You have? Too bad, there's more! A whole lot more. In fact, Ochsenhofer boasts a minimum of three hours of game time before everything is said and done, with hundreds of idols for you to rescue. Yes, whereas the first Totem Destroyer was over when it reached level 25, this one is just getting started.
And did I mention there's a level editor now, too? I didn't? There is, so once you've played through all of the included levels you can go back and start making your own.
Amazingly, with all of the New coming off of Totem Destroyer 2, it still manages to hold onto the great gameplay and charm that made the first one a hit. On top of that, the level designs feel much better. Some are definitely based more on speed and timing, while others depend on thinking your way through, but solutions that rely upon luck seem to be fewer and farther between.
Sequels always carry with them some risk. It's easy not to deviate enough from the original, just as it can be easy to overdo it and come up with something that hardly resembles the original at all. But Totem Destroyer 2 is a beautifully executed follow-up that should not be missed.
Thanks to Nicop, Wilco, Ace, Scott, Jace, Adeel and Dom for sending this one in!