fortythreesams games

forthythreesams works with Godot and did quite a few games already. While the scope and status of these projects differs greatly (some are very prototypical), they are all at least worth a look. One can clearly tell that they are passionate about what they do, and bother to make it good.

Satellite Dreamer: PERISH is a sequel to the (also very good, but a bit more raw) Satelitte Dreamer. Both games have rocket jumping as a central feature, both games have a very raw low-res look and are rather minimal. Both play a bit edgy but allow for a very fast pased, fluid gameplay once you are into them. But PERISH takes a draft towards Metroidvania, and does a quite good job at it – there are talking characters, bosses, and you need to backtrack here and there to open up stuff with the items you found.

The games are pretty hard and offer no possibility to save; balance for both games is a bit jumbled – I encountered rather high difficulty spikes, but not anything that doesn’t seem doable – but some parts of PERISH are damn wicked. The controls are incredible in some situations but felt wonky for me at other points – but you grow into them fast, and will experience some magic moments when you start to fly over spike pits in rare elegance. While many aspects of these games would have been sacked by every quality management they work perfectly together here – certainly the result of heavy polishing towards the gameplay that outshines both the technical realization (that slightly lacks at some points, but always in the most pardonable fashion) and the very aesthetic, simple visual and sound design. Why do giant pixels work so well?

PERISH is especially charming – minimal, fragmentary and sparse storytelling that exhales a humor familiar to lovers of „Cave Story“ or some early Nintendo titles, and tussling difficult spikes that add a mystical feeling to the matter. The games come with a native Linux version; running them native is recommended as the web browser version had lags that disturbed the flow a lot. But this might be less a problem on stronger hardware.

Toad Cat’s Cemetery Watch is a twin stick shooter. You receive automatic upgrades, and how you can perform in this game is heavily dependent of your RNG – but once you snowball, it is violent and heady. You play a cat that was sent by her owner to defend a heavily zombie infested churchyard; at some point your upgrades will outweigh difficulty increase, making it really in some kind of abstract cleaning game. This is a simple joy, and will get old fast – but it is a great fun while it holds. And again, the very charming overall design helps a lot.

The making of these games was clearly focused on producing a kicking gameplay, and they succeeded doing it. While Toads Cat is clearly fugitive but fun, PERISH might be your new instant classic. All games have a very raw, yet warm and charming atmosphere, that will – along with their heavy polishing at some points – easily outweighs their few and acceptable shortcomings. These are magnificent games.


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