PEGBRJE: BoomTown and BREAKER

Yes Riki, Kaboom.

BoomTown is a small explosion game created by a trio of indie devs known as Kichex, 0xAFBF and nagameco — all based out of Colombia and came together to participate in the GamedevColombia Game Jam in 2020. So what was made over the course of three days? Well, players will be attempting to blow up BoomTown. Who would’ve thought?

To fulfill this wild dream of blowing the city skyhigh, players will be given a number of tools in order to do so. Critical to the plan are the five bombs with adorable faces, ready to move towards blowing the city up at a moment’s command. They can only walk in straight lines, however, as the player cannot control them; this is where the twenty directional panels kick in. These allow for the bombs to turn in their direction, similar to directional and sliding puzzles. Now how to actually blow these bombs up requires the trail they leave behind. This is made of pure gunpowder, and once the player presses play it will be created as they walk; only during this phase does a new icon appear when hovering over this trail in the form of a lighter. Only one lighter click is allowed, and it will race along the trail and blow up any bombs connected to it. This inherently creates the true puzzle of BoomTown, having the five bombs cross each other’s paths to ensure that their trails will cross, while also ensuring that they will spread out along the entire city. It seems easy at first, but due to the lack of control, it is extremely easy to have all the bombs accidentally end up in the same place which kind of foils the whole plan of blowing everything sky high.

BoomTown is exactly what it advertises; make the town go boom. Sure there’s only one town to explode, but it can take a bit to fully understand exactly how the puzzle works and create an optimal strategy. Once you’ve gotten it down, however, it’s definitely satisfying to see a plan come together and reach that beautiful high score. If you need something like that, a ten minute break to blow up a city, then this is your fix.

Get the rave glasses.

BREAKER is a brick-breaking variant created by Daniel Linssen, an indie dev of many pixelated titles based out of Australia. This particular pixel project involves an age old classic in brick breaker, only instead of just making it pretty it decided to add some good old fashion colour coordination and bullet dodging.

The core of BREAKER is that the player moves their paddle around a central point that spawns enemies that fire projectiles and the paddle bounces them back to destroy them. However, each rotation direction actively alters the colour of the paddle (default is red and blue) which dictates which projectile the paddle deems bounceable, and what is deemed a horrific danger. This seems like a simple premise at first, but upon beginning the true nature of rotational directions rears its head, for the directional inputs are along a line after all. Pressing left initiates clockwise direction, it doesn’t go ‘left’, meaning that at times it will appear to go right and cause some serious brain confusion. Since the colour will switch as well when changing directions, this means that going back to catch a projectile can be seriously dangerous if not attentive as one might hit a blue with a red and lose life. To assist with this, unlike brick breaker any projectiles that escape don’t really ‘matter’, they just cannot be used to gain points; adds that flavour of bullet hell where sometimes dodging out projectiles is better than trying to force them all to be hit.

On its own, this mechanic is definitely interesting to make BREAKER one to look in to just to see how a tried-and-true gameplay mechanic can be altered, but it goes one step further and has bosses to conquer. These bosses spawn at the centre and wreak havoc on the field, causing many different styles of projectile clusters to completely throw the player off. This is usually associated as well with other events that occur, which can test the player’s patience, but it will be rewarded; defeat a boss, and players gain two hit points to continue onwards.

It’s a simple game made complex thanks to rotational shenanigans associated with colour changes and bosses to spice up each area. If you wanted a brick breaking title that decided to alter the formula and try something different, look no further.

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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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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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