Day 225: Explosive Gas

Posted: 2011/06/22 in Indie Games

I’m purchasing an Xbox Live Indie Game (XBLIG) every day, seeking out the quality titles that got lost in the shuffle and are not well represented in the top 50 lists on the Xbox Dashboard. Today is day #225, and today’s game is “Explosive Gas”.

Flathead Games has done a great job supporting their XBLIG effort “Explosive Gas”. Not only did they release a great game (that builds off of the classic Bomberman model, and adds some modern features and sensibilities), but they’ve already released an update that adds more content and features to a game that only costs $1 and wasn’t released to the Marketplace all that long ago anyway. Explosive Gas is a great game, and Flathead a developer worth supporting.

First, from the developer (Flathead Games):

“Fight it out in a battle royale to see who’s the last man standing(and not on fire). Play with up to 8 players locally(2 per controller) or online. Includes multiple game modes and a full level editor that allows you to play your custom levels online or against merciless AI players. UPDATED: now includes 6 all new maps, wider range of AI difficulty and much more.”

Bomberman introduced us to this genre, where characters run around a map, dropping bombs, attempting to kill AI enemies and/or enemy players. Environments with both destructible and indestructible sections, and power-ups that enhance your speed, the distance of explosions, etc., all add to the strategy of Bomberman. The series dates back to the Nintendo Entertainment System (personally, I first came to it on the TurboGrafx-16 portable, the TurboExpress) and has been enduringly popular for decades. Classic Bomberman, from the NES through to classic 8+ player Bomberman on the Sega Saturn, is Bomberman’s golden era, with several of the more recent installments faring poorly with both reviewers and gamers.

The first major difference between Explosive Gas and Bomberman is that an explosion doesn’t immediately kill you in E.G.; rather, you get to run around (losing power-ups as you go) and to try and catch your opponents on fire before you expire. It’s a neat touch that adds to the strategy: you must not only kill your opponent, but aim to do so when you yourself aren’t boxed in and vulnerable to their retribution. As the one who dies, do you run towards an opponent and try to light them on fire too, or away from them so as not to give them your power-ups should you fail? Every situation is different and it adds much appreciated variety to the formula. The ability to play with both real players and AI bots together is a great feature, and one that more games could learn from. Features such as multilayered levels add to the list of things this game does that I have yet to see in a Bomberman title (though there are dozens and I must admit I haven’t played them all, I have played a great many of them).

The game supports online, offline, and system link modes of play for up to 8 players. Four players per Xbox are supported (the Xbox 360 maximum), but 8 players in one Xbox is supported via two people per controller (which works better than you might think). This is an unmissable $1 game if you’ve ever enjoyed, or wanted to try, a Bomberman game, and you can buy with confidence knowing Flathead Games has added new ideas to the formula that take the genre in new directions.

Click here to download “Explosive Gas”, and then please come back after playing to rate the game.



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