Wednesday, 4 January 2012

starlaxis - in quest of an audience

Here's something I found by accident, a game which I suspect is struggling in the market due to being released in totally the wrong place.

Starlaxis is a modern little space game. It has animeish characters (with blinking eyes and moving mouths!), shiny metal panels, nice looking 3d spaceships, big explosions, it recognises my widescreen monitor, and at least for me it runs smoothly.

It's also a casual game, with a (at least to start with) fairly simple matching mechanic to drive it. So simple, in fact, that many people don't understand it at first because it involves 3D.

See, there's a grid and cubes fall into it. If you line up three cubes with matching symbols, they disappear. Simple, right? Wrong. If you do that, you'll be stuck in the tutorial for hours, making zero progress, and thinking that this is the stupidest game ever imagined. What you actually have to do is right-click to rotate the cubes. Not to change their shapes, this isn't tetris, but to change which symbol is showing. Because that's the ONLY way to get them to display the symbols you need to make progress. The tutorial sort of forgets to actually tell you that.

So what you really need to do is flip cubes around to assemble command sequences so that you can move your spaceship around on the grid. Matching exists only to get junk cubes out of the way.

The problem is, we have here a casualish game with a new mechanic that's extremely poorly explained, a space theme, and a male protagonist, being released solely on casual portals. Without fanfare. Hidden between other releases. And probably with higher technical requirements than many casual gamers have on their computers, based on the bug reports.

Also, BFG listed it as a match-3 game, which as I've said it very much isn't, rather than an arcade/shooter game. So even the tiny few fans of such games that visit their site can't find it.

I'm pretty sure it sank without a trace.

But if it were brought to the hands of the right audience, it's a perfectly shiny-looking game! It just desperately needs to be sold somewhere else!

1 comment:

Wadjet Eye said...

Blackwell was listed on BFG as a hidden object game. Although to be fair, I'm not sure what other category would have worked better.