Did you play Warning Forever? No? Go ahead and download that jewel, if you want. Give it a play. I'll give you a minute.
Finished? Good. Warning Foregone is a web-based retro arcade shooter developed by Jakub Wasilewski and based heavily on Warning Forever. At first glance, Warning Foregone seems like a simplified, pixelated version of its spiritual predecessor, but I assure you, it stands on its own as a solid game. Using the [arrow] keys, you pilot a small, pixelated ship through a pixelated world populated by one single burgeoning, ever-strengthening pixelated boss. This one enemy ship will start off small (the "Pure Heart") with only four small cannons. Destroy it by shooting its core and a new ship will appear, replete with upgrades. But that's not all. Depending on which areas you target, the boss will add cannons, lasers, and turrets to different parts of the ship, enhancing itself in an attempt to bring your meager little ship down. You start with 80 seconds on the clock; destroying a boss will net you 20 seconds while getting destroyed in turn will lose you 20. Destroy enough bosses to see one of three end-game boss types... good luck trying to discover all of them!
Analysis: So you understand the concept, but want to know just how good the boss evolution is. I will now describe my thought process upon initial and subsequent playthroughs of Warning Foregone. Ahem.
Warning Foregone goes out on the JIG listserv. I play it once. I get a few bosses in and die. I respond with an email including this line: "How many play tactics can you have when you're limited to just shooting the thing from the front, back, or sides?" Realizing I have essentially volunteered myself to review the game, I decide to play it again. This time, I try to destroy the cannons in a different order. By the third iteration, the boss is completely different and significantly more challenging than my first run. Immediately I grasp the concept of "replay value" and vow never again to judge a game on one play.
So there you have it. Warning Foregone has a few advantages over Warning Forever. The bosses' evolution is more immediately evident in the former, though players may miss the enormous, screen-hogging bosses from the latter. Warning Foregone also features several upgrades to your ship's cannon that present themselves in a unique way: only one is available to you to begin with, and you must unlock the rest through achievements. Of course, Warning Foregone is not without its faults. For one, I found both available aiming schemes to be clumsy. One auto-targets the boss's "eye" every time you stop firing, which can be frustrating; the other aims in the opposite direction the ship is moving when you are not firing, which I just couldn't get the hang of. And while I consider myself a seasoned gamer, the frustrating aiming mechanics combined with wave after wave of increasingly tricky bosses make for a difficult, if satisfying, game.
Warning Foregone is an addictive little shooter, as these types tend to be. In my opinion, the "intelligent evolution" mechanic, while sparking plenty of debate in quads on liberal arts campuses nationwide, is also a somewhat underused and underdeveloped one in casual gaming. This is of course due to technological limitations, but games like Warning Foregone demonstrate a push for gameplay that tailors to the player's abilities while simultaneously challenging us with difficult evolutionary concepts. Who is this boss? What is my motivation? Am I destroying that which is learning? Maybe that's digging in a little deep. If you think so, you clearly don't have a liberal arts degree like me, and as such, congratulations on having a career! Why not use Warning Foregone to unwind?