Philipp Seifried sent word of the new casual game he has just released on his website, RepeatWhileTrue, among an array of multimedia experiments that use technologies such as Flash, Shockwave, Processing, and Quicktime.
Drifts is a Flash action game based on a very simple idea: collect the green bubbles while avoiding the purple ones. Using the mouse, move the red bubble around the play field. Coming in contact with a green bubble will cause it to stick to the red one and any other green bubbles already collected.
Convert the green bubbles to points by collecting a blue bubble, but you will need to collect at least three (3) green bubbles before you can 'cash' them in for points. Three (3) green bubbles will earn you one (1) point, however the more green bubbles you cash-in at once the greater the bonus points awarded.
Beware of trying to collect green bubbles that are floating either over top or underneath a purple one. Wait until the green bubble is free, or else the purple bubble will prevail.
Analysis: The gameplay is very easy to pick-up and get started with playing immediately. Moving the red bubble around with the mouse to collect other bubbles feels natural and intuitive. And yet the simplicity of the game is deceiving: underneath the surface lurks a challenge that is difficult to master. The reasons for this are several: (1) the game is unforgiving. Touch but one purple bubble and it's game over. There is no concept of extra lives or second chances. (2) The fact that three bubbles equals only one meager point will force you to create large clusters of green bubbles in order to make any significant progress with points. This also makes you more vulnerable. A third reason is a bit more subtle.
As you move the mouse around gathering bubbles, you will begin to acquire a feel for just how close you can squeak by a bad bubble without touching it. When you get close to a green bubble you will notice that it almost 'leaps' toward the cluster as if by an invisible attractive force. You will also notice that this attractive force exists for the purple bubbles as well, and therefore the margin to squeak by may not be as small as you might think at first. Remember: just one purple bubble and it's over.
On the downside, the game will remember your highest score for only as long as you keep the game window open. Reload the game and any previous high score is lost. By saving a player's score in a cookie or by using Flash's local storage mechanism, a game can easily get around this limitation and enhance the user experience significantly.
The pretty floating bubbles and attractive scrolling background contribute to a mesmerizing effect when playing for a while. The simple and yet deceptively challenging gameplay has addictive qualities that will have you coming back for more. Drifts is an exceptionally good game that is fun to play. Click.
If you're feeling adventurous, why not spend some time perusing Philipp's other experiments on his site. There you will even find a few mp3 files containing music composed with fractal algorithms that are astonishingly melodic.