It’s October, and so begins the countdown to Halloween! What better way to celebrate than by having a ghastly gander over at Steam Greenlight? The answer is, of course, many. Many better way.
Greenlight, as we all understand by now, is to innovative horror as a penguin is to the long jump. They try, bless ’em, but ultimately they fall far, far short. Hoping to buck the trend, though, we begin with one of the more recent spooky offerings…
(Also, I now can’t seem to get long-jumping penguins out of my head… On second thoughts, why would I?)
Speaking as a certified coward (There was a ceremony and everything. It was terrifying.), I’ve still never understood the horror of the Bogeyman. Even by his aliases he’s either the Bogeyman, whose main threats are blocked sinuses and a soggy handkerchief, or the Boogeyman, who leaps from closets to get funky with his bad self. Nonetheless, someone’s taken it upon themselves to stick him in a game.
You play as Thomas, a kid in a room with a Bo(o)geyman about. You’ve got a flashlight, use the flashlight, don’t make the scary Boogly-Boo wobble towards you and make you all scared. When I say wobble towards you, by the way, I literally mean wobble. In the gameplay video we see the monster appear from the closet accompanied by the message that “Animation [is] still in the works!”
That’s fine, but doesn’t it slightly detract from the experience to see the eponymous monster fruitlessly flailing at you with jelly-like arms and doing the cha-cha slide on the spot before you’ve even played the game? They didn’t advertise The Omen by having the creepy boy waving his arms about doing jumping jacks. You wouldn’t have the demon girl in The Exorcist doing some weird crab-walk down the stairs.
No, unfortunately this is not a game where you play as 80s ska band Madness. I thought I’d dispel that preconception right off the bat so you too can feel the same crushing disappointment that I did.
Shooter Madness is a truly mad shoot-em-up. By mad I mean completely off-the-rails, nonsensical, incomprehensible wackiness. If this game were entropy it’d… well, it’d be really high entropy and… chaotic. I think that’s how it works. Isn’t everything entropy? So the game technically is entropy. But then what determines if it’s high or low entropy? Its code? Its file size? Ergh, never look to physics to find a good analogy.
So, what makes the game so outright zany? Well, take your pick sunshine. Perhaps it’s the flat, lifeless forest landscape, or the undefined, bleached-out ocean/snow/post-nuclear fallout landscape, or even the black with white dots and very little else space landscape.
It’s Snake, but quicker.
Come the fuck on.
OBNOXIOUSNESS: THE VIDEO GAME. Atomic Jack is “inspired by the cult classic game Bomb Jack”. It’s a spiritual successor, as long as the spirit is one of those evil, restless ones like in The Ring or The Grudge. Frankly, I’d rather have a demon crawl out of monitor than have this loud, awful mess of a game playing on it.
The level shown in the trailer is every bit as ugly and cluttered as the game’s logo would suggest. The aim seems to be collecting all the spheres to progress to the next wave, in which there are more spheres and a little bit more despair in the world. One of the problems is that collecting a sphere shakes the screen meaning that, seeing as you’ll be collecting spheres in quick succession, the screen is more or less constantly shaking. A two minute video put me dangerously close to a headache, so I can only assume the entire game would cause actual brain damage.