Oct 8, 2013
Arcade ports never get old, and as such, a game like BlackOut shouldn’t have far to travel to make it to our hearts. In theory, at least.
In this one, it’s all about Googabonga, delightful-looking creatures that, just like millions of beach goers that hit the coasts yearly, just want some sun. Unfortunately, there are some evil beings afoot who have not only dimmed the sun, but also actively try to prevent the Googabonga from cleaning its surface.
Backstory aside, the gameplay involves flicking individual Googabonga towards the sun. When they strike the sun in a sacrificial manner, they splatter, much like a projected paintball. The object of the game is to “clean” the surface of the sun by covering as much of the surface with as much splatter as possible. To make matters more interesting, there are different types of Googabonga with different types of attributes. Some have bigger splatter radii, while others are impervious to particular weather conditions, and so on. There is a set number of flickables per level, and it is possible to miss the sun completely with an errant flick.
The gameplay employs a star based advancement system, in that the percentage covered equated to stars awarded, with one being a passing score, and three being exceptional. At least one star is required to make it to the next level. What I did like is the fact that the stars are cumulative, and to unlock the next stage, a set amount of stars need to be collected, so it’s isn’t enough to try to coast through getting a single star per level. Thankfully, each level is replayable. There is a finite amount of lives, and splats generally release gems that can be collected for points.
As the game progresses, the levels get predictably harder; different types of obstacles appear, elements like wind become a factor and extra tasks become available.
Controls-wise, the gesture-based flinging motion feels natural, but isn’t easily mastered. Indeed, because of the design perspective used, it takes a bit of specificity to hit the “edges” of the 2D sphere and cover it completely.
The in-app store allows some aspects to be expedited, but isn’t mandatory.
This game assumes portability without losing its arcade charm. Bigger screens increase the playability, and overall, its a great cross-generation time waster.