Thursday 10 May 2012

Offspring Fling (PC/Mac)

Oh Kyle Pulver. If I ever meet you in person, I'm going to hug you. It's going to be joyful, warm, and exceedingly awkward once you realize I won't let go. Your latest game, Offspring Fling, easily draws out my inner child despite my sturdy lock on its cage for my laborious adulthood. Am I surprised by your feat? Hardly. I've had my eye on you since 'Everyone Loves Active 2' and you never disappoint. Those smooth seductive graphics ohthethingsIwoulddo... oh right, the review. Enough of me being super creepy. Isn't it understandable though? I could spend a whole paragraph highlighting all of his games, but let's just save some time; how about you just go play them all. Like, right now. Don't worry, I'll be here when you get back...

...Okay, you get it now right? I know! Wow, Pulver has some serious talent and Offspring Fling is a great addition. I had a smile on my face the whole time I played it and I have a smile right now just thinking about it. In fact, I'm gonna go play it again right now. I need screenshots so uh, that's kinda like I'm still doing work. Offspring Fling is literally about its own name. You pick up your little chickadee offsprings and fling them about the level to solve puzzles. At its heart, it's a puzzle platformer made of short snippets of cleverness emphasizing speed (the longest puzzle in the game is about 40 seconds and most take around 15). Despite the murdertastic premise, the game is overwhelmingly adorable - and big part of that is the soundtrack.

Alec Holowka brings the tunes and he does not disappoint. This stands tall with his other work (and this is the man who gave us the Aquaria soundtrack, so that's not an insignificant statement) and every song proves instantly hummable the moment you hear it. Heck, I haven't been this overcome by something so happy since the title theme of My Neighbour Totoro. Yes, it's *that* good.

The game itself never gets boring, and I sheepishly admit I was worried about that at first. When I hear that a game has 100 levels, especially puzzle games, I pause in disgust. With the simple concept guiding Offspring Fling, I wasn't sure what to expect. It's pretty simple: picking up babies makes it a little harder to move or jump each time they stack. I was certain such simplicity would falter quickly.

Well, the game easily rose above my foolish assumption. The levels are carefully organized, each demanding just a little more technique (often hinting with the name of the level) and refreshing the experience with new backgrounds and music at just the right times. In fact, by the end of the game I felt like I wasn't done with it. I wanted more, if only because the game never really shows its teeth with the difficulty... unless you're after the developer speedruns. Then it's just ridiculous; I mean, are they even possible? Yes I know, I can *see* them happen (you can compete with the black champion ghost once you get the gold), but my mind it is blown.

I suppose a minor quibble I can muster is the lack of native joystick support. Of course like any good indie dev, Pulver provides joy2key with some settings to help, so it's all good. Also, does anyone else find it strange that the mouse is usable on the menus when it's not part of the core gameplay? Man, I feel like a heartless bastard for even bringing up something so stupid. Bah, enough of this. It's only $8 for PC/Mac (it's a Flash app); buy it from the website or via Desura (and now on Steam too!? Kyle you stallion!). If you don't at least play the demo right away, there's probably no hope for you and I don't think we can be friends.

Download the demo/buy the game here (from the Offspring Fling website).
5 out of 5

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