Day 352: greenTech+

Posted: 2011/10/29 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 #352, and today’s game is “greenTech+”.

The Xbox Indie Games version of greenTech+ is a steal at 80 Microsoft Points: the PSP Minis version sells for about $3, and the PC version for about $4. But is this award-winning game any good? Having purchased it today I can now strongly recommended it, read on to find out why.

First, from the developer (Optum):

“Get ready to save the world from the threat of global meltdown with your mighty hurricane in this action-packed arcade experience! Steer pollution into cleaning centers and watch out for the high-pressure zones. The follow up to Vertigo Games competition winning title, greenTech, this new version features sixteen levels, upgraded graphics, unlockables and a classical, relaxing soundtrack.”

“greenTech+” has a crazy premise: you control a hurricane trying to guide pollution into designated zones where it can be appropriate dealt with, before it enters the atmosphere. Stop enough CO2 from entering the atmosphere and you win the level. Completionists will get some replay value out of trying to get 0% on each level, but be warned that you likely won’t be successful on every one (the game speeds up and gets more frantic and more challenging as you progress).

I got a kick out of the old green-monochrome graphics which harkened back to the Apple IIs I used in elementary school and junior high. They won’t be everyone’s cup of tea, especially those without a nostalgia attachment to them, but they do the job for those who like them and/or can put up with them. Alternate colour schemes and additional visual effects are available as unlockable bonuses in the game for those who want something different. Another element of the presentation that I got a kick out of was that the depiction of your hurricane is similar to what some TV weather reports use to represent a hurricane.

The actual gameplay has you using the attraction power of your hurricane to modify the direction of CO2 clouds, while watching for wind currents and other environmental considerations in predicting what your actions will cause. This is simple enough in the early levels, but the later levels add more and more sources of CO2 which makes it increasingly challenging to simultaneously juggle them all. And keep in mind that you have to make sure your hurricane doesn’t actually come directly in contact with the CO2 clouds, as that would automatically disperse them throughout the atmosphere. It’s a great game for 80 Microsoft Points, and a bonus that the XBLIG version is several magnitudes cheaper than the PC and PSP/PS3 options. The fact that it has a positive message is a bonus, and one that doesn’t detract from the gameplay in any way (no lengthy Metal Gear solid soliloquies on the horrors of war or the terror of the nuclear age here). I strongly recommend greenTech+.

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