Freeware Picks – ‘Gerblins’ and ‘The Pool’
Welcome to a Double Freeware Pick of Gerblins by Butterscotch Shenanigans, and The Pool by Andreas “Fleischgemuise” Daughman
Butterscotch Shenanigans is a team of three brothers that became game developers together. Their first game, Chauncy the Rabbit was a casual platformer about a rabbit with no feet that collects luck.
Butterscotch Shenanigan’s most recent game, Gerblins, is an equally silly take on one of the most accessible games I can think of – Minesweeper. It follows the basic formula of Minesweeper, in that there is a grid of blank squares.When clicking on a square, a number will appear that displays how many evil squares are touching it. You must use an alternate click to destroy the evil square to proceed.
In Gerblins, the squares are all Blergs – or Gerblins in disguise as Blergs. You must use a potion to turn each Gerblin into a Blerg. However, clicking on a Gerblin will allow him to escape, and more Blergs will appear for you to sort through. The same consequence happens by using a potion on a normal Blerg. This makes for a less frustrating mechanic than Minesweeper.
The visuals of Gerblins aren’t exactly appealing, but I don’t dislike them either. They succeed in doing exactly what they need to. The music and sound effects though, annoyed me. Overall it’s an easy game to pick up and play plus it’s free. If it sounds appealing, you can check out Gerblins on Butterscotch Shenanigans’ website here.
You know how some game advertising will tell you that their product will ‘turn your world upside down’ or ‘think in new ways’? Needless to say, these games rarely live up to their promises. It takes a gem of a game to not only give difficult puzzles, but challenge my thinking patterns into solving the challenges. The Pool, created by Andreas “fleischgemuese” Daumann is one of those gems, putting the player in a world where standard physics mean nothing.
See, The Pool is a two dimensional platformer with levels that go on forever. Seriously, you are in an ‘unbounded pool’ where the world is in a loop. It’s hard to describe, but I think the best way would be through example. Instead of falling off a ledge into an empty pit you fall into a pit with everything you just saw. You are essentially falling through the floor and ending up in the ceiling, the same works horizontally. If you shoot your ray gun to the left, it’s beam will come through all the way from the right. This makes for very interesting puzzles that required me to reorient myself every time I began playing the game. There is something almost poetic about falling through an endless pit, seeing everything you’ve done for eternity.
The visuals are good if very simple with each object in the game easily distinguishable from the others. The game also controls fairly well using just the WASD and arrow keys. It is also completely playable without sound, as the only sound effects really come from your raygun.
It’s kind of funny that such a clever game is made by a developer with very little history in the field, other than an app similar to Pipe Dream. I wish Fleishgemuiese the best of luck, and look forward to seeing their next title. The Pool is available for free on its website here.