Jack’s Beach Blitz is a new game from the fine folks at 8-bit Rocket. They have been posting about the development process for a few weeks now (you can read it all on their blog). Originally starting life as a Pacman styled game, it’s now much more of Gauntlet meets Wizard of Wor. You play Jack, a slightly cycedelic coloured orange who has to traverse each level, blasting the baddies, teleporting, picking up bonuses and ultimately trying to collect your girl before pegging it to the exit.
Monster spawning generators can be shot (but take a lot of your limited ammo supply), you can also pick-up power-ups such as freeze or instant kill. But without taking out at least a few of the generators they just keep on coming! They also move pretty speedily (as do you), so you don’t really have time to run away from them. Thankfully they are pretty dumb, so more often that not you can evade them quickly, but if you don’t do something about the number of them you’ll soon get overwhelmed.
Graphically it’s obvious the 8-bit Rocket team could do with a talented artist onboard (sorry guys!). The graphics are far from terrible, but do get cluttered on later levels and have that “grid like” look to them, which a skilled pixeller can avoid easily. In-game the animations are cute, and things move along at a very nippy pace. The main menu is a bit of a jumble though, with mixed visual cues. Some careful spacing here would do wonders. It was also really quite hard to visually differentiate between something that would do you damage, or do you good, so that was more trial and error.
As for the audio – it’s great Lots of big sounds and rolling effects. Glad to see you got to use that music too guys!
Aesthetics aside it’s the gameplay that counts, and JBB has in this in spades. There’s a nice puzzle element (unlock things that block your girl), there’s the solid arcade element (shoot, and shoot fast + avoid) and there’s the whole time aspect too. Take too long and you’ll be swamped.
It’s nice to see a real solid arcade blaster out there. Give it a play!
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