PEGBRJE: B.O.O.M. — You Win, and OctoDad

Let’s get that potato bomb.

B.O.O.M. — You Win is a brawling arcade game made by Kickin’ Rad Games, a collective of indie game devs out of the USA. Inspired by the retro neon aesthetics of the 80s, players will be attempting to keep themselves alive while collecting points in this hot potato-stylized title.

After selecting a character to join in the mayhem, players will be dropped in to one of many dynamic stages to duke it out, and by that I mean ‘grab the bomb’. A football-looking bomb is tossed in to the game by the official, and players need to hold on to it for as long as possible to gain points. Thing is, the bomb is on a timer, indicated by the coloured flashing and sound signals; once the bomb gets close, the opposite effect occurs and players are now attempting to ensure that the bomb is literally nowhere close to them. This is because anyone caught in the explosion loses a chunk of the points they acquired during the round, rendering all that hard work useless. This creates the hilariously bizarre dynamic of constantly chasing the person with the potato, almost like a king of the hill situation, and then suddenly it becomes a game of avoiding that person that all had spent so much energy to catch.

To keep things simple and effective, the buttons utilized by B.O.O.M. mirror each action regardless of whether or not the player has the bomb, specifically the ‘Throw vs Attack’ button. With the bomb, players can throw it in a direction — usually aimed at a fellow contestant — to rid themselves of the bomb, while that same button will perform an ‘attack’ action if the bomb is out of their possession. This attack will attempt to steal the bomb from in front of the player’s character, regardless of success or failure. Each character that players can bring also has a unique identity that is tied to their ‘special’, such as how one of the characters can gamble with their points at the beginning of each round to up the stakes, or another has a bizarre teleportation ability. Playing around with all of the characters and finding a playstyle is part of the fun that is brought thanks to this chaotic nature, and couple with the dynamic stages possibly altering how the game is played no two stages will feel the same.

B.O.O.M. — You Win traditionally is a timed game, usually lasting a few minutes with many rounds being played within that timeframe depending on how many times the bomb explodes. There is an alternative mode in which players all have stocks instead, with an infinite amount of time in order to blow each other up. Depending on how skilled and attentive you are, some rounds could even end without a single death, and thanks to a fantastic announcer it even mentions the disappointment in a lack of explosive murder. This attention to detail and added extras make the game feel so much more fun to play, like the addition of customizable hats and colour schemes. You can’t go wrong with an alternative to the standard arena brawler, and B.O.O.M. does a fantastic job at delivering a fun and fresh style. If you are in for a neon fueled adventure, this is definitely one to play with a few friends.

Once more, unto the octopus.

Octodad is an adorably quirky tale made by Young Horses, the indie studio originally created by university students that launched this freeware title back in 2010. We’ve already seen the sequel that was created in Dadliest Catch, so how does a return to the original go? I’ll try to keep the comparisons between the two light, but as one who never played either before this bundle it may be a tad difficult.

As the aforementioned Octodad, players will be attempting to perform tasks while keeping their disguise intact from those around him. These are split amongst different jobs and chores that one could expect a dad to perform, such as cleaning up after his kids, fixing the kitchen, and preparing for his and wife’s anniversary. To do so, however, is what makes Octodad so special; the player controls each limb individually. As a cephalopod, Octodad has the ability to latch on to anything and everything, so utilizing the mouse players can move each limb to maneuver throughout the world. Now in the sequel players could utilize a controller, but as this was a freeware title it utilized a more rudimentary setup involving splitting the arms and legs in to two ‘modes’. When in legs mode (the most common one to be in), the right and left click maneuver the legs through clicking and holding, allowing for a QWOP style movement that is directed by the mouse’s location. In arms mode, players become stationary and can move the arm around with the mouse, while holding right click can allow for changing the elevation and left click for grabbing.

It’s this chaos that brings about the fun (and frustration) of Octodad; this constant attempt at getting a specific movement, and repeatedly failing hilariously. Of course the Octodad needs to keep suspicion low to keep up impressions, and thanks to the meter it can be monitored. This is naturally the most difficult part of Octodad’s adventure thanks to the controls, but as one can expect it is also the funniest; after all, who doesn’t love just narrowly finishing chores before the wife realizes that she’s celebrating an anniversary with an octopus? If you love seeing where a game has come from, or wish to return to one of the early greats of titles that utilize quirky full controls to their advantage, here’s your bubbly fun all over again.

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Jacob Vorstenbosch

Jacob Vorstenbosch

Just a Game Dev who decided to take on the monumental task of giving an overview of all 59 pages in the bundle for Racial Justice and Equality. We keep going.

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