Obsolescence – A Vicious Circle Of Shmupping

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A little freeware palate-cleanser to help ease you into your scheduled evening of videogame bliss: earlier today, the latest game by Flash maestro Connor Ullman (creator of pocket-sized Zelda-like Seedling and masocore platformer Quietus) comes something a little more terse and experimental – Obsolescence.

“Fight your way through this bullet-hell shooter by rotating left and right or moving closer and farther from the complex motions of the ten bosses. Your laser will wear away their defenses and destroy their weapons, allowing you to grow to match their power.”

In essence, it’s a bullet-avoidance shmup with no need for a fire button. You’re constantly shooting at whatever you’re pointed at on a rotating playfield. At the center is a boss comprised of rotating sections of armor, weaponry and general nastiness. At the periphery is you, a lone circle with a laser. Your goal? Kill ten bosses, descend and avoid getting hit.

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It’s a fun little thing, although I can’t help but think that this is a nice proof of concept for something (potentially) much bigger. The game, as it stands, suffers from some pacing issues. The first boss literally requires you to press nothing to win, and the second only the most occasional course correction, and both take long enough to feel a little tedious and drawn out. Perhaps the game could do with some kind of risk/reward mechanic – have your weapon do more damage when you’re closer to the enemy?

The hit detection seems a little wooly as well, with projectiles that I was sure touched me causing no damage, while I seem to explode from contact with shots still a few pixels away. It does suggest that the game was developed in a bit of a rush, but it’s still worth your time. There are some clever elements, like the edges of the background being based on the last destroyed boss and its components, zoomed in as you dive deeper into the circle.

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Grumbles aside, it’s a fun little thing. I hope that the concept gets expanded on for a possible sequel at some point down the line. With a bit more music (the one track is nice enough now, but more is always appreciated) and maybe a Warning Forever-esque evolutionary system, this could grow into something great. You can play Obsolesence in the comfort of your browser window over on Newgrounds now.

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