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David Brown's Free Play: 2D Cubes, Browser Shooters and Rampant Improvisation

David Brown
Be Gone, Browser games, Cardboard Box Assembler, Features, Free Play, Improviso, Project Zomboid

David Brown's Free Play: 2D Cubes, Browser Shooters and Rampant Improvisation

3D puzzle platformers are ten-a-penny, so stand out from the crowd a new one needs to have a gimmick, something to grasp the interest and throttle it into submission. Cardboard Box Assembler's trick is that you're running around on a 2D plane but it's mapped onto a rotating 3D cube.

The overall goal is merely to escape through the exit portal and getting there is the tricky part (obviously). As you move from one side of the cube to the next, your orientation to previously passed objects might change. So, for example, on the second level you climb a ladder, which crosses one going sideways.

At the top of the first ladder, you go right off the screen then head down another ladder, which is the one you went past before, the orientation of your character having changed over the course of two more cube movements.

David Brown's Free Play: 2D Cubes, Browser Shooters and Rampant Improvisation

The early puzzles are merely a taster of the mindbending efforts to come and the whole thing works very well indeed, especially as some many of the games posted on Adult Swim are rubbish. There's a story about a guy who goes crazy while constructing cardboard boxes off an assembly line too, though of course it's irrelevant.

Things get tricky very quickly though, the way the cube changes your orientation proving a very challenging thing to get your head around. There's help at hand if you do get stuck though, so all's not lost should this happen. All in all, it's a must-play for puzzler fans. Remember you can use the mouse to revolve the cube at any time to analyse the problem.

OK, right, look, I'll come clean with this next one. I've not actually played it yet, so no, I can't tell you whether it's any good or not. What I can say is that if you were at all interested in Sleep is Death, which I wasn't, you might now be interested in playing a more 3D-ish attempt at the same sort of thing. I'm not, but you know, the thought was there, dear reader, that you might be.

David Brown's Free Play: 2D Cubes, Browser Shooters and Rampant Improvisation

Improviso sees one players as the Actor and another as the Director. The first controls the main character, who does stuff. The second controls the unseen hand of fate, who puts things in the first's way, including manipulating visual and sonic aspects of the game too.

The team behind it will be monitoring what you in-game to try to teach bots to do similar things later on, which is quite an interesting idea. So there you have it – a Sleep is Death-style game played from a first-person perspective. If you're interested, go take a look, but I won't be, as it's not my thing.

This is more my thing though. BeGone is a browser-based shooter in the Counter-Strike mould that uses the Unity engine. There's only one map to play through at the moment, but it's still a remarkable achievement to get something like this running solely in a browser.

David Brown's Free Play: 2D Cubes, Browser Shooters and Rampant Improvisation

It's very impressive visually and can also be switched to a third-person view if you're more comfortable in that perspective. Doing well gets you cash which gets you the ability to buy better weapons, just like in CSS. It's not revolutionary in that sense, but it's still done more than Homefront did – it provides text chat between rounds. Fancy that.

It's pretty tough though, just as you'd imagine an online PC shooter to be for a noob, but even so it's workings are so familiar that at least you'll be able to ease yourself in reasonably quickly. Buy guns at the start of a round, don't get killed early and it's a perfectly acceptable CSS clone. It'll be interesting to keep an eye on this, see what new levels get added. It also shows the potential for in-browser gameplay with the Unity engine.

One last word this week for a game made by my good friends Lemmy and Binky. Famous for Carrion Reanimating and for being part of the Zombie Cow collective, they've decided to continue along the undead road with Project Zomboid.

David Brown's Free Play: 2D Cubes, Browser Shooters and Rampant Improvisation

The original launch site was so swarmed with interested readers that it went down and the host suspended the service, so for now use the above link until Lemmy's blog comes back online. Let's do some text quoting to describe the game.

“The game is a kinda retro-ey isometric action zombie survival RPG. You will create a character and be thrown into a zombie apocalypse where your only purpose is to survive, and you create your own story with rich emergent gameplay along with random missions and events to keep things interesting.”

There's also a huge list of planned features to skim over. Just a heads up on it for now, but rest assured we'll come back to it at some point when it gets a release.

Add a comment 1 comment
Jelgo  Mar. 22, 2011 at 10:27

I found out about Cardboard Box Assembler from the hilarious YBN review: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eCE-7CWdQnc

I've not stopped playing it since. Completed it and trying to beat my best times now.


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