Ceramic Shooter – Electronic Poem by Theta games is a sequel to their earlier 2008 game Ceramic Shooter. Although it was released nearly a month ago, when I went to play it it had only been tried by 10 people. Ortoslon’s video playthrough of the game (above) had far more views as the game had plays; Death Worm had about 15000x as many plays. This was kind of surprising to me considering how good this game is.
I suggest neither watching the video or reading the rest of the review under the jump; just play it first. If you want instructions: avoid breaking stuff for the first half of the game (this is hard, because you can’t stop firing). After playing through it, then watch the video, because it shows some things that you probably missed while frantically trying to avoid shooting stuff. I watched the video first, which made me expect the game to be a lot easier than it actually is (it’s an Ortoslon video).
I found the design and music of this game top-notch; the sprites and graphics less so, but this is freeware. I especially liked how the music was in tune with the stuff that you have to avoid.
The concept for the game was also something I’ve been working on and thinking about for a while: an action game that isn’t about shooting everything, but still feels like an action game, with the same intensity. And this was achieved here, through a simple reversal: you have to move quick to avoid shooting things, because you can’t stop shooting. It’s certainly one way to do it. Maybe there are more.
There’s a trade-off in the game: if you stay near the bottom of the screen, you’re less likely to run into things and destroy them with your ship. But you then generate a long string of shots, which will destroy things more often. If you move to the top of the screen, you aren’t very likely to shoot anything at all (since your shots immediately go off screen), but you’re more likely to crash into things as they come into the view. How the player handle’s this trade-off is important; I usually kept myself in the middle of the screen.
The climax of the game comes about halfway in, when you’re finally able to shoot things (and encouraged to), although your real goal is to paint the screen full of color. That point is what makes it feel like a crime to me that this game had only 10 plays (hence this review). I hope to see a lot more from Theta Games.