Saturday, 27 November 2010

Indie Game Review - Tasty Planet: Back for Seconds

Tasty Planet: Back for Seconds is a simple but extremely fun game by Dingo Games.  The game stars you as an experimental amorphous blob (which, admit it, you've always wanted to be) that can absorb ("eat") anything smaller in size than itself.  Since the blob expands when it eats, you can see where this is going.  The intro - the first in a series of entertaining cartoon sequences introducing each level - shows the blob escaping into the distant past through a time machine.  Let the eating commence...


There's nothing complicated about Tasty Planet, you just eat everything in site that's smaller than you, avoid the bigger creatures (which can set your development back a bit).   Depending on the game world / level, you might start off eating insects and end up eating dinosaurs and volcanoes!  There are two game modes - Timed and Casual - with the latter having no time limit and being very easy.  As you get bigger, you can eat bigger creatures, and eventually you'll reach your target size for that game area.  On certain levels you have bigger enemies that can get really quite annoying, so it's extremely satisfying when you get bigger, are able to turn the tables and eat them!


The game is very easy to pick up and play, and it's a lot of fun - there's a bit of long-term appeal because more challenging game modes (and numerous bonus levels) are unlocked when you complete the game in Timed or Casual game mode.  There's also a two-player mode which is quite fun, though my wife always accuses me of cheating (this isn't a phenomena unique to this game, however! :-D)  If at any time you lose track of where your next meal is, there's a handy indicator next to your character pointing to the biggest closest object you can ingest.  At the top left you can see your current size compared to the level goal, and your last meal is displayed at the bottom left. 
The graphics are bright and colourful, good sound effects and jazzy, fast-paced music throughout.  The whole effect is that of a cartoon which you control.  The only real drawback is the repetitive nature of the game - despite a few variations in some levels that make the game play a bit more like a puzzler (you have to navigate the game area in a particular order to get to the next eatables), or the slightly unsettling levels where you have to eat humans, it all feels rather samey. The game can be played with the mouse, but personally I'd recommend the keyboard as I found it far easier to control my amorphous blob with them.  A joypad would be even better I guess, as I don't have one at the moment I can't confirm that.


All in all Tasty Planet: Back for Seconds is a highly playable game, one that can be instantly enjoyed and you'll probably come back to it every so often for quite some time to come.  With a bit more variation in gameplay I'd have rated it higher, but as it is I'd give it 7/10.  Lots of retro fun to be had here - you don't have to take my word for it though, you can get a playable demo and see more information at the official website:

Tasty Planet: Back for Seconds:  (PC)   Order Demo More Info
Tasty Planet: Back for Seconds:  (Mac) Order Demo More Info

Prequel:

Tasty Blue for PC:    Order  Demo  More Info
Tasty Blue for Mac:  Order  Demo  More Info

Sequel:

Tasty Planet for PC:    Order Demo More Info
Tasty Planet for MacOrder Demo More Info





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