Since I didn’t had the time to try through different games on Itch, I decided to showcase a long time favorite of mine when it comes to indie-games. Rescue: The Beagles was created for an contest at the TIG-Boards in 2008, and I was surprised to see how unknown it remained given how good this game is.
You control an animal rights activist competing with the goons of an evil testing lab in gathering up beagles that escaped from a crashed plane. The map is procedural generated and divided into three different layers – narrow passages and collectible items allow you to change your layer, owls can be picked up and used as weapons. If you collide with an enemy, fall from too high without using a parachute or if an beagle leaves the screen you die.
You increase your score by gathering beagles and items; completing a level without using items, dying, or killing generates bonus points. The number of beagles you need to rescue increases from level to level, and stronger enemies appear as you progress – especially if you want to max out your score or keep up in later levels it is quite challenging.
The concept is really simple, but a damn lot of fun. Movement and jumping feels good, precise and fluent and allows daredevil maneuvers if you get into it. The procedural generation works swell: In all those years and many, many playing sessions I rarely ever encountered inherent problems (and if you want to keep a procedural generated level interesting you can’t iron all of this out). The graphics are absolute lovely – the levels use some beautiful color schemes, the pixel sprites are cute, and yet everything is clear and visible. All of this is accompanied by some charming sound effects and an great OST made by Aesqe and the – by now famous – Disasterpeace.
The story (while not really relevant for the gameplay) is very likeable, and you can tell how much effort and time were invested into this. If it comes to arcade games, Rescue: The Beagles can easily compete with most of the popular genre classics and most paid indie games – it’s easy accessible but allows you to refine your skills without a real ceiling and stays fun no matter how often you booted it up already. Great for a short or medium play session once in a while or to compete over getting the highscore with a friend.
Runs out of the box on Linux using Wine.