Borrowing a page from the book of Ikaruga, the absurdly talented developers of Stimunation Games have just released this stunning Flash shooter that will make your jaw drop and your eyes water from ogling the screen for hours.
Polarity is a top-down shmup with enemies of two polarity types: red and blue. You control a ship that can switch between these two polarities for both offensive and defensive advantages. Fire at enemies of the opposite color for an offensive advantage since opposite color enemies will take more damage from each shot. When fired upon, match the polarity (same color) of the incoming shots to have your shield absorb them and leave you unharmed.
Control the ship using the arrow keys, or with the [W],[A],[S],[D] keys. Fire your weapon by pressing [space]. Switch polarity by pressing [B].
The game contains lots of enemies and boss fights, too. Collect coins for points, and the occasional power-up to temporarily upgrade your weapons or shields. You begin with 3 lives and 3 continues. Receive an extra life for every 100,000 points you earn.
Analysis: Just two words: absolutely gorgeous. The graphics in the game were created from 3D modeling programs, rendered and then imported into Flash and optimized. As pretty as it is, though, some of the background tiles actually look like tiles, but that's a relatively minor complaint. The frame rate is unbelievably smooth considering the detail of the art and the on-screen action happening all at once, though your mileage may vary. This is one amazing Flash game engine!
The only thing I don't care much for is the keyboard controls. I have a difficult time perfecting the polarity switching with my fingers on the keyboard, but that's just me. This game feels like a console game and it would certainly benefit from the use of a console controller. Of course anyone can use a program like JoyToKey or other similar program that allows you to map keyboard keys to gamepad buttons.
Polarity was commissioned for Wrigley's Candystand website and is, in fact, an advergame for Eclipse gum. But the advertising is done tastefully and it integrates well into the space theme of the game. The advertising is not startling, but it is rather effective. The product placement is just enough to get you well acquainted with the Eclipse logo for your next shopping trip. Overall, exceptional in almost every way. More stimulating stuff from Stimunation!
Cheers to Rydash for helping with the review. =)