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David Brown's Free Play | A Brain Breaking Sticky Mess

David Brown
Brain Breaker, Crazy Over Goo, Features, Free Play, Freeware, Grief, PC games

David Brown's Free Play | A Brain Breaking Sticky Mess

It might have a crazy and potentially offensive plot (allegedly, according to people who read Japanese) but that doesn't mean the less than originally named Tetris-inspired Brain Breaker should be avoided. Taken out of context, a game where old people are beaten to death with baseball bats if you fail a level should be a winner.

The objective is merely to drain all the blood from a thug that's threatening the elderly, or something close to that. You do this by going through the Tetris motions, although I couldn't actually find a way of rotating the pieces as the controls aren't immediately obvious. Once you've noticed the 'how to' button on the main menu, you can piece together how you're meant to do things, and the elusive rotation keys should be found via trial and error.

Occasionally you get huge blocks or long rectangles to make things slightly different to usual and there are also syringes to watch out for. These turn all white blocks they point at into red ones, which isn't what you want to happen, but it can be useful for filling in a gap that you might have created all the way in the middle of the cluster.
David Brown's Free Play | A Brain Breaking Sticky Mess

There's not much else to it, other than that there's some... interesting music and sound effects in there. There are also only three levels, so it doesn't take long to get to the end.

In certain circles, saying you were Crazy Over Goo might get you into a right sticky mess, but in the gaming industry, goo is usually used more as a puzzle solving element, rather than as an erotic device.

Crazy Over Goo isn't necessarily a new property, but it has recently been rejigged into Flash form, with new visuals and a few more stages, so now's as good a time as any to (re)discover it. Brought to us by the meatily titled SteakFace games, COG sees you attempting to send a ball of coloured gunge across a set of levels and towards various goal flags.

The trick is to get the blob to the end in as few shots as possible, which is trickier than it sounds. The trajectory line doesn't necessarily correspond to exactly where the ball will go, so sometimes you might clip an edge unexpectedly, but that's just part of the learning process.

In terms of quality, this could be the new favourite game of the Free Play column, so good a puzzler is it. It's very addictive in the same way Portal is, always trying to get you to try new approaches, wondering just how you finish the levels in just two attempts.

David Brown's Free Play | A Brain Breaking Sticky Mess

It's frustrating too, as the gold medal targets are sometimes mind-bendingly tough, but there's so much content, a level editor and even a customisation utility to sparkle up your goo ball, this'll keep you coming back again and again. If we had a game of the week award, this'd get it.

Finally, we have another puzzle-platformer with a focus on bi-polar disorder. Not really, but you do have to switch between being positive and negative moods in order to solve the riddles.

Grief isn't about attending a funeral or dealing with the loss of a loved one, it's about, sigh, “(taking) the role of a young girl struggling to find clarity within the depths of her own mind.” So yeah, pretentious guff.

Let's try not to let that cobblers drive us away from the game with blood streaming from our eye sockets. Each level sees you trying to collect the teddy bear which allows you to progress to the next one of twenty stages.

David Brown's Free Play | A Brain Breaking Sticky Mess

The twist is that you can 'flip' between darkness and light, with crawling allowed in the twilight and higher leaping permitted in the sunshine. The layout of the level can change slightly when flipped, so you'll need to figure out when to change the mood in order to solve the more difficult challenges.

The art style is pretentious, but not overly so and functions well enough. The sunlight does feel more cheerful than the grey gloom of depression, so in that sense the visuals do help create the right atmosphere. The actual playing of the thing is decent too, though it's a long way behind Crazy Over Goo in the quality stakes.

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