The Breakout games of hwilson

hwilson did quite a few games until now; many are variations of the classic „Breakout“ concept – meaning that you use a paddle to reflect a ball flying in a room, preventing it from getting into your dead-zone and try to hit targets with it while doing so. Other than most common exponents of this principle you are not striking some mere blocks in an abstract rooms: These games have a story, a setting, often a quirk to spice up the basic concept, and many of them even feature multiple levels and even boss fights.

The stories often call on genre tropes and -cliches, and while it is clear that the author has a certain love for the older pulp media the games are a homage to, there is also a slight irony towards the reactionary tendencies that were often featured by the original templates. We tried a very similar thing when doing „The Vaults of Minos“.

The production value of this games is incredibly high. The sprites are charming. the sfx is satisfying, and at the best moments you turn up the volume to get out more of the music when entering a boss fight. As said, the author experiments with adding different elements to the games genre – this worked okay for the earlier productions, but very well for the later games they released – these have a polished and entertaining gameplay, bugs are practically non-present.

Cleaving Caliber is a homage to 80s action movies: The ball is a snipers crosshair, and you fight terrorists who (among other things) tried to capture your world states partly-privatized weapon manufacturer. Humor, presentation and action are very fun. The game is short, but the featured two levels are lovingly designed and full of nice little details and effects.

LOCUST is inspired by horror media – probably Stephen King and movies that take reference to Lovecraft; the ball can enter connected rooms with different paddle/dead-zone configurations, sometimes you have to coordinate horizontal and vertical paddles at the same time, and there are easy puzzles or tasks (some of them that you need to clear to advance – the gameplay has some resemblance to the incredible „Kirbys Pinball“, and Pinball aesthetics are referenced to within the game.

In SIEGE OF OSAKA you demolish castles by turning ninjas into balls by hitting them with your sword. The game emulates the cheap, involuntarily comical translation of older Asian B-Movies. The game is a bit older than the other two and a bit easier, but still fun to play.

The games were made with „Game Maker“ and worked without any problems using Wine under OpenSuse Leap. According to the linked profiles the developer is employed as a lighter within the game industry, and I believe their experience in professional productions is apparent in the games – but on the other hand it is clear that these productions are labors of love. I strongly recommend to check them out.

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