Oh happy day!
I’d practically forgotten that the sublime Jeff Minter and his Llamasoft troops had been toiling away at what was once called Gridrunner+++. Gridrunner Revolution appears to be done and heading out to reviewers. I’m expecting the same reception that Space Giraffe got – those that refuse to take the time to learn how to play a game that does things its own way will hate it whilst those of a more open minded and receptive nature will find merit in its approach to the time-tested delights of blowing up bunches of spangly pixels into much smaller groups of spangly pixels. Based on people’s levels of anticipation for Modern Warfare 2 I can’t really see anyone justifying a complaint of “oh, haven’t we done enough of that sort of thing by now?” with much credibility.
Without further ado, let’s have a shufty at some extended gameplay. First, the easy grade:
And now for the higher difficulty grade:
Now, by this point you’re either intrigued or disgusted. There’s a few things worth noting. Firstly, if you’ve watched those videos with the sound off, you’re missing half the game. Audio, besides from being characteristically idiosyncratic is crucial signposting in these games. Half the joy of Space Giraffe and Gridrunner++ was becoming fluent in the game’s audio language. This is what the “Wahh, my eyes!!” brigade couldn’t bring themselves to understand. Or perhaps they could, but it was simply more fun to cry on the internet than dare to go against the flow of the almighty Popular Opinion.
What else? Well, there’s going to be little treasures throughout this chappy. If the names for the different difficulty grades, the “ALERT!” sound effect and the sprite for the player’s satellite didn’t show you that this game has some appealing cheek then you’re just an old fuddy-duddy.
Watching the first video it seems that the game makes more of a concerted effort to spell things out to the player. I’m not sure how I feel about that really. Whilst I believe Space Giraffe‘s tutorial could have been clearer, I loved working out the nuances of the game, the enemy types and effective strategies for progression and scoring. This looks like a step too far in the opposite direction with, I fear, little left for the player to discover for themselves. I don’t blame Minter for this, I blame a culture that’s so A.D.D. afflicted that they resent having to read anything and hold a personal vendetta against developers who don’t spoon-feed them information and congratulatory rewards for being spoiled, stroppy brats.
Space Giraffe was originally a 360 exclusive. Which goes to show you what happens when you got about presenting a non-conformist game to an audience bred on a totally conformist diet of digital drudge. For the most part, an audience with such a narrow view simply couldn’t think in unconventional terms and were offended that they should be expected to and were equally offended by anyone in their ranks who managed such an incomprehensible feat. Then they went back to doing headshots and teabagging space marines. You know, real gaming.
Sweeping generalisations? Absolutely – but given the outpouring of slanderous venom that was issued from the community at large I’d say it’s well deserved.
Minter’s excessive tool-tips aside, this looks to be another brilliantly realised title from a master of his trade.