Saturday, July 19, 2008

Rescue the Beagles: The Review

Ok, time to finally put up this review as it has been long overdue.

Rescue the Beagles was created as an entry into the TIGSource's Procedural Generation Competition that finished not too long ago. It also emerged as the winner out of some quite worthy entries. You can check out all the other entrants here.

Rescue the Beagles started pretty well for me. The menu screen is really simple, and has the wonderful background art as its background. The pixel art is also very nice and the music set the tone for the excellent ingame music.

The aim of the game is rescue the titular beagles from the evil forces of cosmetic testers while navigating a procedurally generated three-tiered landscape and avoiding lawyers, radioactive lip balm and giant yeti-looking creatures. I shouldn't forget to mention that you can defeat all the enemies (except for the lip balm, 'cos that would just be weird) by well aimed throws of owls...or their poop...yeah.

If you're like me, once you read that and see what it looks like, you would be drawn in like a fly to a fly zapper.

And after my first couple of play throughs I was hooked! The fact that Bibi could serve as a spotter of beagles and in that way collaborate with me was also a major plus.

The pacing of the game, the graphics, the sound, it all comes together to form quite an interesting arcadey title. The integration of an online high score table is also a definite plus.

Sometimes I do feel like whatever code was used to generate the levels may be a tad unfair, but that could also be me just being crap of course. I also feel that it requires a few more animations to help players get feedback about certain activities. The falling distance of the player is very short and it takes some time to be able to gauge a safe distance to fall reliably. The addition of a panic animation or something similar could alert the player to the fact that they may be about to bite off more than they can chew. And maybe some sort of indicator could be used to let players know when they are close to losing a beagle.

Aside from those little niggles, I am quite happy with the game. It is perfect for a 5-10 minute break, and there is enough depth in the level flow and control schemes to allow for 'advanced' play.

You can get it here.

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