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David Brown's Free Play | Fat Wizards and Little Balls

David Brown
Free Play, Freeware, PC games

David Brown's Free Play | Fat Wizards and Little Balls
Being in the middle of a house move makes playing games tricky, even if it's for work-related reasons. However, fret ye not, this week's collection of freeware efforts has been extensively scouted in the few minutes between filling mugs with brown paper and shoving them into boxes.

Fat Wizard is another AdultSwim effort with a 'humourous' edge, a pseudo-tower defence game that sees you as the titular magic user attempting to fend off enemies who want to destroy/steal your precious red egg. Presumably because they want to make a full English breakfast with it, who knows?

The motives of your assailants aside, you'll achieve your goal by erecting (giggle – childish Ed) fences, casting spells and beating off (giggle – childish Ed) your foes any way you can.

Controls are a bit weird, with clicks building things but ctrl-clicks moving you around. You'd think it'd be the other way around, but apparently not. Once you've got the hang of that, things are quite slow in getting interesting, with only the later levels providing any intensity to their action. Which is perhaps a good thing, given you'll take a while to get used to the controls.

David Brown's Free Play | Fat Wizards and Little Balls

(There is an alternative to the ctrl-click movement, which involves just clicking and dragging him around, though this also takes some getting used to.)

Drawing a line sets up an electrical barrier that enemies will generally try to avoid, although they can go through it if they have enough hit points. Tapping the left mouse button releases a fireball, while holding it down charges an ice bomb attack.

Chests sometimes appear that contain artifacts, like a snowman that adds 20% to your ice bomb damage.

It gets better as you go along, but the bizarre controls might well put you off before you get that far. It's up to you whether you can persevere long enough to get past the slightly weak opening.

If you're reading this in an office, you might want to play Office Trap and try to note down how much your life is like a survival platform game.

You can play with another work chum too, if you can pretend you're still doing work with two people clustered around a keyboard.

Visually, it looks very much like the usual Nitrome (the developers) look, with small characters and detailed backgrounds, and this time it doesn't affect how easy or difficult it is to play, unlike Steamworks, one of their other games that we've featured in this column before.

David Brown's Free Play | Fat Wizards and Little Balls

The object is to clear each level of coins and then escape in each of the helicopters situated at the top of the building. Along the way, various hazards and enemies will attempt to stop you. Buzz saws, fireballs and so on will prove tricky obstacles to clear.

If you clear a level you can submit a high score, but naturally some people will have cheated. On the second level, your reporter noticed the second place player had a score of 5266 for the full game while the first had 1,032,462,309. Which is a bit silly, really.

Ignoring this, even by the third level it's very tough, but it is compelling. The visual style Nitrome use is much better suited to this style of game, and the addition of a two-player mode is a good idea.

It's also got 30 levels too, so there's a whole lotta content here for those who really get into it. And just like in a real office, you'll probably end your time here by getting sliced up by a buzz saw.

Finally, Impasse is a little puzzler that involves getting a ball with a plus in it to the green ball with a tick in it.

David Brown's Free Play | Fat Wizards and Little Balls

Without being told the rules, you forge forward and learn them yourself, and fortunately they're not too complicated. Avoid all other blobs other than the green tick one, basically. Some others will move depending on your actions, too.

It's simple yet compelling and gets relatively tricky early on, so there's no boring early bit where you're just breezing through it for too long. Also, it provides a welcome distraction from your wife watching Legally Blonde 2 on television.

Add a comment 1 comment
Cwiiis  Jul. 11, 2011 at 14:28

Hey guys, can you make it so the full article gets posted to the RSS feed again? Rather than make me click through to the site, this is more likely just going to stop me from reading it altogether :/

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