• Review

CGDC4: Backfire

(2 votes) *Average rating will show after 20 votes
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BackfireFlash Game Design CompetitionThe next entry up is from David Durham of the UK. You may remember David from previous games featured here, the adorable Gear Puzzle from our first competition, and the exceptional Timebot from our "replay" competition.

In Backfire, David delivers an action-based arcade style game with "ball physics" integral to the gameplay. Please post your kind feedback and constructive criticisms in the comments for David.

Play Backfire

Game link: https://jayisgames.com/cgdc4/?gameID=12


not a bad little game.
Fun, polished graphics, neat gameplay.
I like it.

'nuff said.

littlebum2002 October 4, 2007 11:21 AM

This is a really fun game. Challenging (still haven't passed the third level), but addidictingly simple. I wouldn't mind the guns shooting a little more often, though, to speed up gameplay.


Lots of us from the UK entering by the look of it =).

I liked the game and the concept. It reminded me of Ray Hound a bit, in that you use the enemy's weapons against them.

I found the game pretty challenging (seems to be a common thing here, maybe I'm just really bad at playing games!) but I still enjoyed it. Another simple but effective game. Good job.



Obviously I am the only one having problems here. :( I often die, because the ball hits my shield or I die because shortly before the ball comes, the shield turns suddenly to the other side of MY ball, although I didn't move my mouse. And how often do I have to hit a turrent to destroy it? Haven't destroyed a single one yet. :/

Maybe I'm just too stupid for this game....


Elegant control scheme.

Gameplay seems to favour practice, since the attack patterns are deterministic so after a while you learn what's safe and what's dangerous.

Trying to dodge based purely on reactions... very hard!


Nice polished game! The controls are slick.

It seems to get difficult quickly, but practice pays off. I like it.


I enjoyed this game but the fourth level got me.

For the first few levels, I was able to pick a place and the turrets would hit me. So when the turrets stopped tracing me and shot on their own accord, that tripped me up :D I like being tripped up!

Teresa, I don't know what is going on. I didn't have that issue, so I can only guess that if you reload, or clear all your cache and then reload, it might work.


The "one hit and you're dead" thing is annoying. How about the ship being able to take a couple of hits. Then you could place "shield regenerators" around the screen.

Very challenging game. Still trying to get past level 2.


This one is lots of fun. I'm up to Level 10. I like the fact that there's no "game over"; you don't run out of lives or have to replay earlier levels to get back to where you were.

The turrets take three hits.

When you activate your shield, you stop moving and instead always turn to face the mouse pointer. This is important, because it allows you to hole up in a corner and just reflect anything that happens to come your way. This is a viable strategy if you're patient.

On levels that feature guns that always track you, it's best to get right up next to them, activate your shield, then put your mouse pointer over the gun to make sure you're aiming properly. Their shots will bounce right back and hit them, then you have a few seconds to direct the other guns' shots before the guns all shoot again.

On levels that feature guns that rotate and shoot at fixed rates, the best approach is similar, but you'll have to second guess when the gun is going to fire next, and get into position to bounce its own shot back.

If your shield is jumping around, perhaps you're keeping your pointer right over your ship. When the pointer moves across the ship's center, the shield jumps from, say, the left side to the right side...


I must like it because I keep coming back to it, but think it's too hard. Collision detection is not at all forgiving, especially if you're running up toward an oncoming shot and then throw on your shield. I would really suggest having it so the turrets don't kill you if you run into them, as well as the shots after you've turned them white. Either that or let the shots stay permanently white once you've rebounded them.


The idea was rather good, even though it looks like a early sketch of Ray-Hound, which btw is a way better game than this is. The controls are too sensitive, and when the mouse is clicked for holding the player still it's too easy to turn the shield and get killed.

Maybe a life-meter (instead of one-hit-death) could help the casual gamers a little bit, as the difficulty in this game is not for those players, but for non-anonymous addicts. The first level is already not easy, even if it's quite playable.

The graphics are not overwhelming, but are well done. Some more color and contrast would be nice.
Overall, it's a playable game, but that's it.


you can't hit the turret from the front you have to hit it from its side or back as its gun works as a shield too.

Anonymous October 4, 2007 1:42 PM

tala: In my experience, that's incorrect. On the very first level, you can turn on your shield and bounce shots right back at the guns. Even though the guns are pointing at you, they still take damage.

Recall that each turret takes three hits to kill. Perhaps that's what you're seeing.


It seems like on the second level that if you move towards the top half of the screen, the ship blows up for no reason (no balls hitting you, no turrets in the way, looks just like the rest of the area; e.g. empty space). This irritated me. Also, I would have preferred that the turrets only be able to take one hit instead of the three they now take (I don't mind the one hit = death mechanic as long as either the enemies die to one hit as well or their difficulty matches the extra effort) for speeding up the game.


Wheeee! Finally beat all 15 levels. Unfortunately the game sorta hung on me after that ("A script in this movie is causing Flash Player 9 to run slowly...") so I couldn't see the 'win' animation or whatever. Still, incredibly fun and challenging game.

One minor nitpick: the collision detection seemed a bit off right on the corners of the shield - sometimes a ball would hit when it felt like it shouldn'tve.

daviddurham October 4, 2007 3:20 PM

Valarauka, well done for finishing amazingly quickly. I'm really sorry about the bug at the end of the game. I've sent Jay a version with the bug fixed - thanks for bringing it to my attention.

Thanks to everyone for all the feedback so far - some really good comments/suggestions.


Yay, beat the last level again and got my trophy! No idea what happened last time, must've been a browser hiccup.


Oh - just saw your comment, david. Heh, no worries about the bug; it was a really fun game! And I thought level 14 was harder than 15 anyway so doing the last level again wasn't too much trouble .. :D


Does anyone else find this game uncommonly frustratingly difficult? I am still playing it so I must like it, but maybe it's just beckoning me on with its simple "look, it's just this easy!" idea and driving me nuts. I'm on level 5 or 6 and I just keep dying. That said, it is well made and fun to play. The only thing that bugs me is that every once in a while it'll seem like I have the shield to a ball and it blows me up anyway. It only seems to happen right around the corner of the shield, so I'm not sure, but it's happened enough to bug me.

Otherwise, very well done and clean.

I do like the idea of multiple hits per level, though it may make it far easier than it is, I can't tell.


I'm glad I'm not the only one who thinks this game is very challenging. I don't know why though, it's not like I'm surprised to die, it's always quite obvious why I died.

I'm still trying to get past level 3 :) But I'm not going to just give up... good game!


I had the same problem as Theresa. Any time the ball caught up with my mouse, it rotated 180 degrees. I'm using Safari on a Mac. I tried using Firefox on this one as well, but the ball wouldn't even respond to mouse movements and the cannons wouldn't actually fire- they would only show the firing ring around the cannon.



This game is unnecessarily frustrating because the controls are exactly the opposite of what I'd like them to be. I'd much rather have holding the mouse turn off the shield and switch from rotating to moving-- I died 10 times on the first level because I kept releasing the mouse button while my cursor was on one of the enemies or near a bullet.

An option to switch the controls would've made this much better for me.


Beat it! I love the 'red herring' turret on the last level.

By the way, even though they are very different, this game evoked a similar feeling to timebot for me. Did anyone else get that? Maybe it's the graphical style...


I occasionally had difficulty in sections where parts of the floor kill you where the color of the floor was remarkably similar to normal floor and I could only see it by looking at my monitor from the side.


I could swear I'm aiming my shield directly back at the turrets, but the shots keep slicing off to the side. Is that just me :(


Hmm...on mine, the ball won't move and the turrets are "firing" I'm guessing, because a ring comes out from them like a ripple, but no balls come out. What's wrong with my computer?


I'm having the same problem, *Jacob*.

The turrets "fire" but the bullet just sits in place where it is created, no movement. Means no deflection of said bullet is possible, and I can't get past the first level.


Like another game I commented on, it's very hard on a touch pad...but, I just saw a good strategy I think I might try. Very nice graphic look, and I love how the ball appears from under the floor.


hrmmm... this is interesting.... usually i come here looking for help and am amazed at how many people are so much better than me... this time I seem to be one of the best... The best strategy I've found for most levels is to be very aggressive -

i.e. get right up in a turret's face and only move when a bullet is coming right at your back or side and can't be deflected in time. This makes for some interesting times, especially when you get to the turrets that rotate and fire "randomly" but then it's just a matter of figuring out the spacing between fires and getting right where the next bullet is coming from.

- and on the levels where this doesn't work, try OtherBill's strategy of getting in a corner and reflecting everything - takes a while, but it works. For those of you having trouble with the controls, try not letting your ball catch up with the mouse... just put your cursor right in front of where you actually want to be, then when the ball gets right behind the cursor - i.e. where you want it - click the mouse (this makes for easier aiming too, since your cursor is already at the optimal distance for orbiting your ball.

Personally, I'm stuck on level 11... just too much stuff, nowhere to hide out


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