In my youth and teenage years, I spent a lot of time playing top-down shooters — notably, Tyrian (1995) and the early online games Subspace (1997) and Infantry (1999). they had character, they were challenging, and they were fun. When 3D became standard, 2D games became… less fashionable. Now, at least, with the modern indie development scene 2D games are making a massive comeback – but for me, I generally find them too fast-paced, and invariably end up being twin-stick shooters. While fun, twin-sticks have two major drawbacks in my opinion: 1) every fight ends up being a circle-strafing affair, and 2) the need to keep two thumbs on joysticks means you heavily reduce a player’s ability to access other buttons easily – so gameplay has to suffer. While I’d love to make an online game too, they have their own challenges — and personally, these days there are way too many online multiplayer games where you’re competing against kids who have lightning reflexes and bad manners.
So, I narrowed in on what I love and what I miss, and created Spacebumfuzzle. A top-down single-player game, with playstyle variety and challenges and something you don’t need to learn a million rules to enjoy!
- Easy to learn, hard to master — the basic premise is simple: equip a gun, fly around, blow stuff up. Beyond that, though, there are many other tools at your disposal to become more efficient and effective.
- Provide many ‘growth’ choices — right now there are a large assortment of weapons, a good amount of different class abilities (upgradable with your skillpoints), the ability to choose how to upgrade your ship, turret/s, and companions, and ability to enhance & level-upgrade your weapons, other equipment, and artefacts.
- Allow playstyle experimentation — there’s no cost to swapping weapons around, and all ship/turret/companion upgrades are fully refundable so you can try other combinations, and right now swapping your ship for any other in a shipyard is free. You are still limited in some ways, though: artefacts are rare, you’ll only have enough scrap to keep one or two items upgraded through the game, and you still need to find the weapons you want and shipyards to change your ship.
- Fun over balance — a real benefit of a single-player game! Many games in the old days had certain combinations of abilities or spells that were just brutal. In this modern world where everything can’t be any better than anything else… I miss being able to find what works awesomely.