To be filed under the "simple but highly addictive" category is this latest game by Max Abernethy of flecko.net. Simplistic but challenging is Cubefield, a strangely beautiful dodge-the-obstacles type of game hosted at Newgrounds.
You are but a grey arrow, controlled by the left and right arrow keys, travelling at a speed at which you have no control and through a gigantic plane dotted with cubes that you must avoid. Sound simple? It is until the action begins to speed up and the cubes become more plentiful. As with most of these games, your score is solely dependent on how long you survive.
Analysis: While the action does not stop until you die, the game feels very much like it has levels for a number of reasons. The first is that every so often you are drawn into a tunnel-like system from which you cannot escape. Emerging from the tunnel gives the impression of a brand new level. The second is that after a while the game changes colour scheme and style. This gives the impression of an even larger new level. Also, every so often the arrow speed increases. These all give the game the feeling of being leveled, even if there is no explicit new level indication.
The 3D is quite impressive, and the fact that the game plane leans into turns is a nice touch that helps increase the sense of immersion. Although there is no high score list, the "Top Score" feature remembers your personal best and is useful to know how you're doing, as is the press-p-for-pause function. Also, on the starting page you can press space, as opposed to needing to click New Game, to play. Little features like this help to make a game something that you might be willing to play for hours, as opposed to minutes. Max does not include music or sound effects, because as he says, it's nice to listen to your own MP3s as you game. Overall, an excellent play and highly addictive. Click.
jay adds: Although I enjoyed playing this game, the decision to omit sounds was a bit short-sighted and reduced my overall satisfaction with it. I say short-sighted because the simple inclusion of a sound-off button can accomplish the same thing for people who wish to listen to their own mp3's, while giving someone without any music to play something to listen to. Even better would be to have sound effects on a separate control from the music so that the sound effects can be heard along with any mp3 the game player is listening to, if desired. I am also disappointed that a player's Top Score is not saved locally, a relatively simple feature to add that pays a sizable dividend.
For Flash game developers interested in the 3D techniques used in this game, Max has made some of the Actionscript 2.0 source code available with an explanation of how it works on his site. Finding that page is also how I discovered that Max is (was) a neighbor of mine at the University of Rochester, just a couple of miles from me. He is also the author of Madness Interactive, an over-the-top violent game released back in 2003 and that received critical acclaim. A review of it does not appear on Jayisgames due to the level of graphic violence it contains, though you can download it, along with source code, at Max's site.