PEGBRJE: Bomsy and Binaries

Oh yeah, we’re gunna win (we didn’t).

Bomsy is an arena brawler made by SUPERMEGAQUEST, an indie studio out of Canada. Players enter this destructive arena space with 5 other individuals ready to brawl, only to realize that not only are they susceptible to damage but the floor they stand on is too.

The core identity of Bomsy is to delete every player on the map and remain the single lone survivor, ending the map and moving to the next; first to three wins, well, wins. To do so players have a gun that is fired by charging it up to reveal an arc to signify travel distance, which the charge itself can be seen via the bar under the health. This charge makes the player stationary however — except when falling, they just reduce the fall speed greatly — making the tradeoff that players are much easier to hit while attacking. Now the shots rarely instantly kill a player, usually shrinking their health down to half or a quarter, but the idea that attacking is just as dangerous is one that players will need to constantly be worrying about as they navigate the terrain. Speaking of which, that terrain is nearly 100% destructible and is built on blocks that look reminiscent to the old Block Breaker titles, making it fairly easy to discern which blocks are destructible and which are special for various reasons. Destroyed blocks have a chance of dropping unique ammo, altering a single shot to do some truly game-altering effects such as calling down a missile strike from somewhere or creating an entire region of noxious gas. Be aware, however, that all of these shots can hurt the player just as much as it hurts the enemy; that includes the standard rockets that are shot at someone point blank and blowing both of them up.

The destructibility is what sets it apart from the majority, for the ability to remove the floor of the other players creates a terrifying dynamic that one shares with the ground they stand on. Players can jump along with a wall jump, mid-air dodging and a curious wall tether but they all fall victim to the dangers of requiring a place to land upon exit unless they pull off some sweet wall slides in to kills. Many of the maps do not have a ground floor, simply allowing players to fall to their deaths if unprepared which can alter many strategies; after all, who needs to be good at aim if I just remove where they can land? This does occasionally lead to passive gameplay, primarily within maps that spawn all of the players in odd enclosure-like places, but this usually is found amongst new players while more experienced ones will jump at the occasion to blow everything up.

With a smattering of customization to unlock through randomized chest drops and the ability to even blow up upgrades, Bomsy is a colourful treat to experience. Some maps will give more of a headache depending on playstyle, but they all will contribute to the chaotic nonsense that arena brawlers routinely bring. If you are without friends — like I currently am for these specific occasions — there are bots to play against as well, but I do wish to warn you that their aim is ridiculously impressive. There is online play as well, but I didn’t get it set up properly in time for today, so that’ll be something you can experiment with. Hop in and blow up some things while you can.

Binaries is a colour-coded puzzle platformer made by AntWorkshop, an industry vet and solo indie dev based out of Scotland. Within this duo-centric title lies a pair of circles conveniently named Orange and Blue, and it will be up to players to ensure that they can reach their separate goals safely. The catch, because of course there’s one, is that they are both controlled at the same time.

Players start off this simple game with a singular set of truths; both balls are controlled by one set of inputs, and they both need to end up in their respective coloured finish locations in order for the level to end. The balls are separated at first to allow players a better understanding of how to split their focus between the two, until the walls are off and many of the levels begin having the balls in the same spaces. From here, this is when the puzzle mechanics begin to drip in to the level design, such as players realizing that the coloured sections matter more than first understood; the circles cannot be destroyed by objects of the opposite colour. This rule opens up possibilities for solutions, while also making players realize the absolute harrowing tasks of splitting focus across two different coloured balls trying to get across a multi-stripped colour area. Since jumping controls both, that means there are double the opportunity to accidentally send the orange ball into certain death via spikes, thrown objects, and more simply because focus is something hard to split. There are methods to mitigate this, but the entire title is designed to split the focus to the point of a slip up; it wants everyone to succeed, but knows many can and will fail.

Binaries scales across numerous levels that, upon completing one, open up a whichever level is attached to allow for players to skip levels giving them trouble. There’s also a very intriguing back-end system regarding the music, which will slowly peel layers off of the mix the longer the game goes on as it recognizes that those that need extra time are most likely focusing to their best abilities, and this will remove the noise that may throw them off. It’s a subtle feature that many may never notice if not pointed out, but it’s definitely appreciated come some of the later levels. Throughout it all, the backing text will continually make quirky comments to push you forward to the goal, which will take an hour or two depending on how comfortable you are with this style of platforming and puzzle. If you adore testing your patience with colours while being able to divert your eyes in two different directions like a chameleon, this game is perfect for you. If not, you may still adore this brutally difficult title, or you may ragequit. Who knows? Only you will.

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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.