Justice Playthrough #126: Barrel Roll

A throwaway joke of a game that comes surprisingly close to actually being a lot of fun.

Page 53, Game 10: Barrel Roll by Matthew Lawrence

Your jet fighter is janked! Fight your controls, and try to get … somewhere!

This reminds me of Bear-ly There, but zoomier. You have two controls, and they’re not what you normally expect from a flight simulator. One causes you to pull up, and the other causes you to stop rolling. This means exactly what it implies: if you don’t hold down that button, you are locked into the game’s titular barrel roll.

WHEEEEEEEEE uh oh gonna barf

But these two controls are adequate to get you … anywhere. If you just wrap your head around the weirdness of it all.

I actually found it fun to coax my twirling puke machine in the rough direction I wanted to go. Unfortunately, there are two main problems here:

First, the game is entirely too merciful. For a game about a jet fighter locked in an extended departure from controlled flight, there are remarkably few explosions. Specifically, there are none. If you encounter terrain, you just bounce off of it. If you run out of fuel, you just hang out there in the sky. If I’d been perpetually one ill-advised twitch from a spectacular explosion, I think I would have gotten a lot more invested.

why i not ded?

But second, what the hell am I trying to do? On the first level, I figured out that I was supposed to fly through the finish line zone. There’s an arrow that occasionally pops up and shows me the way to the nearest fuel canister, which is nice and all, but when I get the thing, I don’t want directions to the NEXT aerial refueling power-up; I want to know where I’m trying to go. I never did figure that out in the second level.

This game was apparently slammed-out in 48 hours for a jam, and honestly, it’s fine if you approach it in those terms. It’s a perfectly harmless, ridiculous little diversion. But with a little more direction and risk, I really think it could have been something special. Something that had me cursing and pulling my hair and going “God DAMMIT I thought I was going to clear that mountain THIS GAME IS BULLSHIT!” before restarting and trying again.

Will the next game live up to its potential?

Page 37, Game 10: Anomalies by Schmidt Workshops

“The Generative Art Game”

Ooh. If this is about an AI making arts, it just might.