Hotline Miami 2: Wrong Number just came out, and while I’m definitely interested in more chaotic, gun-tossing mayhem set to electronic beats that thump deep in your chest, from the coverage I’ve seen of it, the game doesn’t really seem to be that much different from the now cult hit. Which means I can wait, there’s no rush. If anything–if the itch becomes too strong to resist scratching–I can simply return to the original game on either Steam or PlayStation 3, as surely I haven’t seen everything there was to see, especially when you consider I went through the trippy tale of revenge wearing nothing but the “doors kill” mask.
Or, if you prefer blowing alien monsters into piles of bloody mush rather than nameless goons at a strip club or seedy apartment complex, there’s A Place in Space, another high-listed entry from Ludum Dare 31. You all remember me dipping my toes into this jam competition’s creations with Kram Keep from a few days ago, right? Right? Well, good. Glad to see your collective memories are in fine shape.
There’s no story here, and there doesn’t need to be a story. Keeping with the jam’s theme of “entire game on one screen,” you move a little, gun-toting astronaut warrior between blackened out rooms, blasting everything that moves until it stops moving, opening the door to the next room. Rinse and repeat, moving clockwise around the same set of rooms, which are randomly generated a la The Binding of Isaac when you step on in. You use the WASD keys to move around and the mouse to both aim and fire whatever gun is currently equipped. The miniscule and crudely pixelated astronaut can only take so many hits from enemies, which means you definitely don’t want to back yourself into a corner. As you create pools of bloody mush, you can also pick up health refills and new weapon types, which immediately change how you both fire and play, just like in Contra.
A couple of problems I ran into, and these might only apply to me, as I’m sure I’m using the worst browser ever designed for Internet browsing. No, I won’t tell you what it is. Whenever I was in the bottom two rooms and tried to walk my astronaut up using the W key, the entire page I was on would shift up, cutting off half my view and forcing me to quickly use the mouse to scroll it back down. When this happened in the middle of a tense shootout, things often didn’t go well. Also, for some reason, every death caused A Place in Space to crash, which wasn’t the biggest deal since it only took a quick refresh to get back into the groove of things…but still. Lastly, and this is more of a nitpick than anything, there didn’t seem to be any way to know how long power-ups lasted, whether it was for a specific number of shots or only for one room; it would certainly help with planning the next room’s attack to know whether I’m going to lose that laser beam add-on early into the skirmish or not.
Give A Place in Space a try in your browser, and I guarantee that you’ll do at least a few runs in a row. If only there was a more killer soundtrack to go along with all that alien monster killing. If only.