As you all know by now, June 9th to the 15th 2012 marked the proceedings of the first ever 7DFPS Challenge, which was an organized attempt by developers to find something fresh within the stifled genre, as well as have some fun while doing so. We’ve been playing a number of the entries which made it through, not all of them, but a fair few. As such, we do have some favorites of ours which have emerged from the many, many titles.
Why we’ve chosen to highlight the ones we have? Mostly because they were fun, quite polished or impressed us. There’s quite the mixbag of styles in there too, and surprisingly they all (just about) slide into the first person shooter genre. So without further ado, here’s our favorites from the first ever 7DFPS (Picks and text by Dominic and I).
Some may see this as being more depressing than anything else, those student types mostly, but it’s definitely pretty addictive either way. With the help of some word play, First Person Tutor was born – a game in which you grade student papers and get more money to repay your student loan the more you can mark them down. You just scan the paper, find the spelling mistakes and the grammatical issues and then click to give them the classic red pen treatment. Basically, it’s something the editors do here every day so it was just like doing work, but maybe slightly more exciting. Definitely worth a go in a spare moment, but don’t expect to be able to pull yourself away at will.
Though she cheated a little by working on a few things a week in advance, Sophie Houlden’s Splat Death Salad has proven to be one of the delights of 7DFPS, winning over everyone who has had a chance to play it online with some fellow crazies. The game feels like a much slower version of Quake, almost a micro version, but is arguably a bit more fun due to the amount of game modes available. Particular favorites are Blackbox in which all of the lights turned out and you can only see your opponents when they fire their gun (the sneaky thing to do is lob grenades everywhere), Blasketball is rather insane – just imagine basketball with guns, then there’s Swap Meat which is just mayhem – jump over lava, shoot nearby person and then they fall in lava (miss and you die, d’oh). It’s great fun providing you can find a server. Our advice: just grab a few people and jump in together.
The only 7DFPS entry with a price-tag attached. Wolfire (Lugaru, Overgrowth) went all-in here, creating an FPS with randomly generated levels, enemy and item placement, and a unique focus on real-life weapon mechanics. You’re armed with a Colt 1911 pistol, and need to learn how it really functions – the slide, hammer, safety and all those other mechanical elements are fully simulated with keys bound to each. Find some spare bullets? Load them one at a time into an empty magazine. The ballistics are realistically simulated, too, and the robotic enemies have multiple weak points with different effects. Receiver is $5, normally, or free if you’ve preordered Overgrowth.
Those who are more in to their first person shooters may not consider command-based/text-based games that fun. Modern Shooter is an attempt to turn that around by slipping into the rather opposite genre while at the same time retaining all the required elements for a shooter to be labeled “modern”. You’ll explore the wild west and come across a gun and some ammo, should you choose to pick both up you can then enter into shootouts. This is where the magic happens. The shootouts are done in real time but you still have to type to do everything – including coming in and out of cover, shooting and reloading. Typing ‘Fire’ over and over again to kill your opponent before they shoot you up is surprisingly intense.
Not really a shooter, but worth a play if you want a laugh. You take the role of a hungry psychic at a dinner table. How do you feed yourself? Cutlery would be easy, but using your SPOOKY MIND POWERS to levitate the food into your gaping maw is more fun. Once you’ve polished off everything on your plate, you might want to go looking for seconds, though. Telekinesis is hungry work.
Shades of Cactus and Amon26′s styles here. A minimalist wireframe aesthetic with flashing pixel-art enemies standing out from the monochrome backdrops. There’s some rough and unsettling sound and music, and a simple concept: Escape your crashed spaceship and fight through everything in your path. Gameplay is classic arcade style, akin to Doom or maybe Wolfenstein, although with regenerating health. Polished stuff.
One of the more straightforward shooters to come out of 7DFPS, Psycho Logy (by Rich Make Game, developer of Pineapple Smash Crew) is a good-looking, solid FPS with plenty of satisfyingly ragdolling enemies. The art and music are impressive for a 7-day project, and the gunplay is satisfying too, although the firing noise is a little on the weak side. Nothing crazy and experimental about this one, just a good bit of shooting.
Europa has a great atmosphere and seems to be a concept for a much larger game, one which is certainly worth pursuing. You start on the surface of Europa having just crash landed, you’ll then look around gathering items from the scraps. Messages from loved ones and emergency codes begin to flesh out a grander plot. With no time to dwell, you’ll begin to craft items with the aid of your helpful robot. Get a jeep, a gun and some ammo and you’re pretty much good to go. From there you’ll begin to explore a little further and find some strange happenings – not to be spoiled. Europa has quite the ambition behind it and although could do with some tweaking (that head bobbing) it’s probably one of the few games to come out of 7DFPS we truly would love to see go further.
Though confusing and pretty difficult, Unlamentia is polished and looks great, especially for a GameMaker title. To get you started, in the first level you’ll need to shoot the manic looking pink faces in the right order. Once you’ve got past that, expect the difficulty in this puzzler to suddenly ramp up. You do have the other levels at your disposal if you get stuck in any case. Most admirable is the mysterious world – pretty surreal and the sounds really help ramp up that feeling. With each level offering a fairly different challenge despite remaining the same in design, mostly, Unlamentia is one of the most unique and playable titles to come out of 7DFPS.
One of the more creative takes on the classic FPS here. A co-op defensive shooter designed to be played with a pair of Xbox 360 controllers. The two players share control of a wobbly robot, and each player controls one arm. You can grab and drag blocks to defend your data-core, and then use your flailing, independently active gun-arms to try and fend off as many attacking enemies as possible. Expect to shout a lot at your friend, if you do get to play this co-op.
Shooting doesn’t always have to be a violent affair! Saying that, BubbleGUNN may cause you to direct a fair amount of anger at some rather pesky bouncing cube men. The little buggers are attacking the fruit and cocktail factory and your goal is to keep them from pushing the floor down to the bottom of the screen. If they do it’s game over. With the eponymous gun you can fire bubbles at them to lift them off and out of the way. There’s also a load of sparkly fruit to shoot to up your score. As you may have guessed, this is one for a coffee break.
Probably the most graphically accomplished game to come out of 7DFPS. There’s definite shades of Mirror’s Edge in this puzzle game’s aesthetic, with brightly lit, clinically clean environments playing host to what amounts to VVVVVV in 3D. Unlike Terry Cavanaghs platformer, you can’t invert at will, only a fixed number of times per level, so you need to very carefully pick when to invert in order to get through the level without running out of moves. Simple, but effective stuff.
Those not used to incredibly lo-fi graphics may want to shield their eyes upon entering the very bizarre world of Spectra-3. The only instruction you’re given is to find a killer in the city by questioning the many vacant denizens. Each one has something to say regarding the killer; usually that they saw him and didn’t do anything. Then things start to get even weirder when they begin to accuse you of being the killer and say that they are going to kill you. Shooting them results in an unpleasant (but deliberate) visual effect. The game starts to spiral after a while but this is seriously like taking drugs and having a really bad trip.