Monday, July 4, 2011

Indie Cred: Celestial Mechanica (Also, Happy Independence Day!)

The rockets’ red glare, the bombs bursting in air…it must be time for another Indie Cred!
Woo! Is this too much? NO. It's missing burgers.
 Okay so, before that I gotta say that this past weekend has been ridiculously hectic. I haven’t even looked at my blog (much less posted anything) and apparently everyone who reads it is aware of that (hits are down 70%! Which is like 50. 50 is 70% of what exactly? I don’t know. Well, I mean I could know but I don’t care to know. It’s too early in the week for maths.) I was busy playing music and listening to people preach about God and the Devil and Post-Modernism vs. Classicalism and the existence of supernatural phenomena or the speculation about the visible universe being some sort of a surface dimension resting upon a deeper 4th dimension of ultradepth and the universal gravitational constants causing bending in light. And speaking in tongues. These are all super interesting things. Almost as interesting as video games (at times even MORE interesting! Blasphemy. Well, saying video games is more interesting than these things may be actual Blasphemy. Fine then. Inverse Blasphemy! INVERSPHEMY!)

Feel the glory! FEEL IT!
Anyway. I wanted to post about this game because it’s an interesting title with a very impressive pedigree, but from an unproven collaboration. Collabs can be hit or miss, even if all the talent involved is awesome. It’s basically the whole “snow white effect” all over again. Egos meet, bridges are erected, ideas are exchanged, hands are shaked, dinners are shared, ideas are exchanged again, criticisms are offered, mutterings are under-breathed, resentments grow, egos clash, bridges burn, products miss deadlines, final products are disjointed, fractured, and unfinished. Kaboom! Someone should really make a game about THAT.
I'm assuming this is one of those self-referential thingys. Self-referentialismisations?
Celestial Mechanica has thankfully sidestepped that dreadful scenario and delivered to us a fun, if short, romp through the mystical parauniverse where earth is inhabited by invisible humans and ruled by shiny robot midgets who terrorize the populace by way of energy weapons and stoicism. The art is delightfully consistent, showcasing artist and animator Paul Veer’s prowess in the maninpulation of pixels to his artsy will. The soundtrack is equally precocious, thanks to Roger Hicks' ability to create tracks which switch rather seamlessly between varied locales to rather catchy and decidedly appropriate tracks. The story is nice enough, if a bit contrived and somewhat hammy.
Ahh! Did I scare you? Also, he never said any such thing.
The game, though, is quite nice. This fun, if short, romp on the surface of the 27th dimension’s unstable earth is easily traversed with simple controls and tight handling. Some people may feel a bit lost without any sort of navigation assistance, but the most of the level design is simple enough, precluding the requisite need of a daedalian memory like that required in more complete puzzle games. Combat is really barely such, since most of the game is conducive to avoidance rather than confrontation. Even when you gain the ability to fight back, the implementation focuses on the ability’s usefulness as a puzzle-solver as opposed to a robot-vanquisher. This does make for some unfair and frustrating sequences, but this is where the “short” part of the description is more an accolade than a demerit: once you pass them, there aren’t many more of them.  Upgrades are aplomb and aplenty, though since the pacing of your acquisition of them is accurately indicative of your progress (and there is a moment when you may feel inundated by them), their appearance inspires a slightly unhealthy amount of ambivalence. But really, this is only because it’s such a nice and delightful-looking game to play through.
Item get! Unfortunately, there is no item get theme. Missed opportunity? I say, yeah sure
In a slight twist of fate, this particular Indie Cred title is not free in any way, shape, or form. It is not PWYW, demo, or any of that business. You must pony up the $5 USD to sample its goodness. However, you may listen to the full soundtrack, and get a glimpse of the kind of art you can expect to see here and here, respectively. If you’re debating between eating and gaming, I’d suggest you save your money. Otherwise, Celestial Mechanica is far more satisfying than a venti caramel mocha frappuciniatto. Rock on!
Right. I forgot to mention that you will die. A lot. But it's largely inconsequential so who cares!

P.S.here is a short video clip of the gameplay, but more can be found HERE. Also, the game has been updated to ver. 1.20 (which you will receive upon purchase from no own, and can patch up to if you already own it from before). Patch info can also be found in that link.