Day 982: Don’t Die Pluto

Posted: 2013/07/19 in Indie Games

If “Break.” was “an interactive allegory for the fall of communism and the reunification of Germany,” then “Don’t Die Pluto” is a complex metaphor for the pain that bullying causes. Or something like that.

The game starts with an extended cut-scene where we establish that Pluto is being bullied by several other planets (including Earth), that Saturn doesn’t feel good about the way Pluto is being treated, that Pluto is in love with a gaseous cloud of some sort… seriously, I don’t think I could make this stuff up if I tried.

Gameplay-wise, despite thematic similarities with “Solar”, the gameplay reminds me a lot more of XBLA title “Fishing Frenzy”. You try to “eat” asteroids smaller than Pluto, and avoid contact with asteroids larger than Pluto as touching them means instant death. In true Katamari/Solar/etc. fashion, each smaller asteroid you consume increases your size. But there’s a catch: Earth’s humans have it out for poor Pluto (who has recently been downgraded from planet status down to “dwarf planet”, only one of perhaps dozen, maybe even hundreds, in the solar system).

The game’s title seems to be playing on the passions that erupted after Pluto was downgraded in status, including letter writing campaigns by school children, and even some scientists objecting. The gameplay’s pretty interesting. Going back to the “Fishing Frenzy” comparison, here you move around inside a tank of infinite size, and have missiles being fired at you by Earth’s humans at the start, and the screen gets busier (and the game crazier) from that point.

It’s got some humour, and even attempts some poignant moments as Pluto evaluates its feelings of inadequacy, which you will probably either find cute as hell or really annoying. Either way, it’s an interesting 80 Microsoft Point experiment. BTW, my suggestion with the missiles is to fly sort of towards them, then deke and get the missiles to chase you (yes, they ‘home’ in on Pluto, what else would they do?) and manoeuvre asteroids behind you that the missiles will smash into.

Here’s what the developer (AJspartan) has to say about the game:

“Pluto, always being looked down on, seeks revenge and a desire to fit in. Don’t let Pluto die.”

And for a humourous review of the game, from someone less fond of it than me, and with (apparently) a lesser understanding of astronomy, you may be amused by this:

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