March 2, 2009 8:45 PM   Subscribe

Blush. A squid flash game. Kind of like flow but less abstract/meditative, more shiny & fast paced.
posted by juv3nal (22 comments total) 13 users marked this as a favorite
Doesn't load for me in Firefox. It just stays on the "Loaded... 100%" screen for ever and ever.

(Later, having played in IE:) Fun, I like the mechanic of having to swing your tentacles around to pick up eggs. I don't like that it's apparently timed, though.
posted by Nomiconic at 9:19 PM on March 2, 2009

I liked it. I wish I could play for more than 4 minutes at a time, though.
posted by Kattullus at 9:27 PM on March 2, 2009

Kind of reminds me of Eco the Dolphin, especially the soothing music.
posted by dobie at 9:28 PM on March 2, 2009

I can't believe they spent that much time making the game look that good without realizing that the gameplay was garbage.
posted by empath at 9:29 PM on March 2, 2009

The game is absolutely gorgeous, and it's a lot of fun to swim around, but as Nomiconic says, the timer is no fun. I like games like this where you can collect things and use them to improve your abilities, but with such a short timespan in which to do it it feels like too much of a hassle.
posted by Nedroid at 9:32 PM on March 2, 2009

Hey guys! I was the lead on Blush. Couple quick comments:

- Yes, the timer is kind of oppressive. We limit all of our games in this way because we can get away with less scope. People have wanted untimed/unlimited modes in Raptor Safari and Minotaur China Shop, too. It's something we'll offer at some point, certainly.

- To the "spent that much time" comment--we spent 8 weeks on this (including two weeks prototyping misc projects and two weeks working 22-hour workweeks). It seems like a fair balance. Yeah, it's not the most addictive thing, ever, but it's pretty fun and we're proud of it for two months of work. We're going to launch five more games in 2009.
posted by matthewwegner at 9:45 PM on March 2, 2009 [2 favorites]

I wonder, is there a name for this genre of top-down (mostly) ocean-based resource gathering games like this and Flow and the first stage of Spore? It seems like you could do something really interesting with a long form take on it.
posted by Nomiconic at 9:49 PM on March 2, 2009 [1 favorite]

Oh, of COURSE when I'm completely dismissive the designer shows up in the thread, lol.

More constructive criticism, then:

The game play of gathering eggs is just fundamentally not fun, and it takes too much time. You can easily spend a minute bouncing 1 egg all the way across the map and still not collect the thing.

I still can't figure out why sometimes when i bumped into enemies i got damaged and other times I killed them.

There's no sense of control over the tentacles, which is silly, since they're what you're using to do everything, not the head.

If the point is to bring eggs to the lighted up areas, why do you have lighted up areas that you can't bring eggs to? Just more wasted time and frustration.

What am I actually doing here? I didn't get a sense of a goal or progress here at all.

I actually enjoyed Minotaur in a china shop a lot. This game was very pretty but an exercise in frustration to play.
posted by empath at 9:53 PM on March 2, 2009 [1 favorite]

Things that would improve the game (just a couple of these might help)

1: Having some kind of flow around your jelly-fish so you don't just bounce the damn things away when you bump into them. You're supposed to be underwater, not on an airhockey table. It doesn't necessarily need to be an instant pick up, but bouncing the thing off of your head is just silly.

2: Add some rotational control.. Again, doesn't need to be full 360, but you should be able to at least 'lean' clockwise or counter clockwise, so you can whip your tentacles around in front of you.

3: Start with longer tentacles, or grow them quicker, so you can start swinging them around with more control.

4: Make the enemies stay dangerous or safe longer... make them flee when safe and be more agressive when dangerous.

5: Schooling enemies, make them attack in groups.

6: Better signposting. If you can't deposit eggs, don't make it glow. Make the drop-off points more visible from a distance. Point an arrow towards it if you have to.
posted by empath at 10:11 PM on March 2, 2009 [2 favorites]

Doesn't seem to load in Safari 4, but I have never needed to download new plugins since upgrading. I had the Unity plugin with Safari 3, and I still have it with Firefox 3. The game plays fine in Firefox.

I prefer Velociraptor Safari, though.
posted by emelenjr at 10:53 PM on March 2, 2009

empath: Great feedback, thanks! I agree with many of these points. I think we made decent when it came to priorities, but as you mention we still have a lot of stuff we could massage further. The "glowing stuff should take your eggs" is a really good comment--the artist added the mushrooms as landmarks, but we had some discussion internally about whether their visual intensity would confuse players (because they aren't interactive at all).

If you play any more I'm curious if the controls start to become more manageable for your or not. One thing I regret about Blush's development was the lack of any real kleenex testing. Usually we watch/record new players learning our games, but we didn't have a chance/didn't prioritize it with Blush...
posted by matthewwegner at 11:01 PM on March 2, 2009

I liked almost everything except the timer...and what empath said.
posted by schyler523 at 11:03 PM on March 2, 2009

I don't want the "Unity Web Player" either. I'm not willing to play a game that requires installing an otherwise unneeded browser plug-in.
posted by mmoncur at 1:29 AM on March 3, 2009

Aside from the Unity criticisms (I have to say I wouldn't install it if I hadn't needed to already to fully evaluate Unity's capabilities a while back) I think some of the above comments are surprisingly harsh. Yeah, it's simple and limited, but it looks good and the gameplay's fine.

(Maybe simply giving the eggs and collection points a matching distinctive colour/effect, and putting a both an egg and a collection point within view of the starting point, would make it easier to get started without misunderstandings..?)
posted by malevolent at 2:27 AM on March 3, 2009

I liked it aswell. Feels like a good shmup, so I naturally wanted to whore out the upgrades :D Though it'd get boring without a timer, I don't know how you'd keep attention for people who want more than upgrades.
posted by Submiqent at 2:35 AM on March 3, 2009

Woah, 1.5mil points. I love how the upgrades scale linearly so naturally and organically. The longer your tentacles, the more you can do, but the higher the risk of loss. <3
posted by Submiqent at 2:45 AM on March 3, 2009

Yeah, I got really confused: "Bring eggs to glowing collection points" and here's these highly luminous mushrooms that do nothing. "What is a collection point, why isn't there a helpful arrow pointing me to them?"

it's gorgeous but after three or four games where I still didn't really feel like I had a handle on the squid, I'm left feeling sad.

The tight time limit is also really, really frustrating for those first few plays. Just as you're MAYBE starting to get an idea of what's going on, poof, game over with no cue besides a number in the corner. (The best timer cue ever was in this c64 game called Knuckle Dusters, where a ~10min Rob Hubbard tune had a beat that synchronized with the relentless countdown, and built to a climax at the end.) Is there any way to get more time? I dunno, the lack of an instructions screen leaves me unknowing. Do the different-colored eggs do different things or give me points? I dunno, I'm not sure I care enough to try and figure it out.

Anyway, I'm looking forwards to what Flashbang does in the coming year; of the four public-facing games so far, this is the first one that has failed to be entertaining, and the first one done under a new workflow that's being hammered out!
posted by egypturnash at 6:32 AM on March 3, 2009

It's a fun little game, and I'm enjoying it. The only real problems I'm having are the glowing mushrooms and all the air bubbles. I can't tell the difference between a white egg and an air bubble, so I've spent a lot of time trying to catch bubbles.

I think it's funny the way you have to catch an egg on an un-egged spot of tentacle, or it bounces off.

Whoa, the sound turns off if you switch windows. That's an AWESOME feature.
posted by WowLookStars at 7:46 AM on March 3, 2009

empath: Great feedback, thanks!

If you need playtesters, I'll volunteer for your next game-- send me a mefi mail :)
posted by empath at 9:09 AM on March 3, 2009

I also do not want the unity player, and couldn't install it on Linux even if I did.
posted by musicinmybrain at 9:35 AM on March 3, 2009

I wonder, is there a name for this genre of top-down (mostly) ocean-based resource gathering games like this and Flow and the first stage of Spore? It seems like you could do something really interesting with a long form take on it.

I totally agree. If Spore had concentrated all of its effort on the first stage and not spread it out across creature, tribe, civilization and space, it would have been the classic it isn't.
posted by Rinku at 5:11 PM on March 3, 2009

If Spore had concentrated all of its effort on the first stage and not spread it out across creature, tribe, civilization and space, it would have been the classic it isn't.

I don't remember where I saw this now, but I read a comment elsewhere about the new Spore expansion along the lines of "Whoever decided to take Spore and add something fun to do should get a promotion."
posted by empath at 6:42 PM on March 3, 2009

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