Shmup guru Kenta Cho (creator of Titanion) has released another unique shooting game. L.A.2 is similar to John Conway's game of Life but, well, the opposite. Instead of creating cellular automata, your job is to destroy them. Swarms of cubes grow and multiply around the edges of the screen with the occasional enemy craft hidden amongst them. Maneuver around the screen charging your glider weapon and releasing it to destroy advancing cells.
The same mathematical rules apply to L.A.2 as in Conway's game. Cubes only multiply in groups, so orphaned cells remain still until life reaches out to them once again. Your weapon is likewise limited to traveling across living areas, so aim for the biggest clumps of cubes to make a dent in the creep.
Controls are simple: hold [z] to "charge" your glider weapon, allowing it to consume adjacent cubes, and release to cause the destruction. The more cubes you destroy in one attack the more points you'll get. The game continues until you lose all three lives, which won't be long for many players!
Analysis: The second version of this game is vastly improved over the original L.A.. The first title was mouse-controlled, built using Processing language, and featured a ship that fired destructive bullets from the front and a weapon that made the cubes grow from the back. This game has a more complete feel and is more interesting to sit down and play.
I have mixed feelings about the visuals in L.A.2. On one hand, the color palette is pleasing and the blocky look suits the game well. The shadows on the purple part of the background are a nice touch. On the other hand, the constant flashing and jerking motions made by the creeping lifeforms is disorienting. It's consistent with Life-esque titles (and likely a necessary evil), but in an action game you need to focus on the objects and it can be difficult to get your bearings while everything around you is rapidly changing.
A unique shooting experience that even non-shmup fans will enjoy.