Sunday, July 15, 2012

Game of the Day - Solar Fox

Solar Fox is a simple old-school game that is fun, easy to learn, lightning fast and most of all - compelling.

It's a quasi-pacmanish-maze game wherein you traverse around the maze, collecting the objects that are arranged differently on every stage.  While the objects are arranged differently, the maze is the same.  Actually, it's not a maze, it's simply a grid that covers the screen.  You turn left, right, up or down at any intersection on your way to completing the stage.  And the gridlines are close together, effectively giving you tons of choices to change course at any time.  This ability to quickly turn any direction at any time distinguishes this game from maze oriented games like Pac-Man.  There are simply more choices to make constantly.

As you go around the grid, there are enemies along each border that shoot at you along the gridlines.  They never leave the border, they just vacillate up and down or left and right shooting bullets at you.

You have a gun too - it's the first button.  In fact, you can shoot the objects instead of running over them in order to collect them.  But more importantly you can shoot the enemies bullets and make them go "poof".  The other button changes your speed.  There's an interesting choice at the beginning of the game: If you choose "Novice" mode, you move slowly and the 2nd button is used go drastically faster (you strategically use the change of speeds a lot).  If you choose "Expert", you naturally go the super fast speed, and the 2nd button slows you down instead.  The reason this is the Expert mode is that it is much harder to control where you are turning when flying around at max speed.

Other objects appear as the levels progress: bonus objects that move, quasi-power-ups that freeze the enemies, barriers that cause you to spin around like an idiot for a few seconds and others.

While you have an unlimited time to finish the level, the enemies get more aggressive as time transpires.  Moreover, there is a "skip-a-level" time bar at the top of the screen during each stage.  If you finish any stage before the time bar runs out, you get to skip the next level and still get all the points awarded as if you played the level.
The game is lightning fast and twitchy.  The number of times you turn just before you are killed is crazy.  It's a simple design that has endless possibilities and is tons of fun.

One final word - like most maze games, this game was designed for a 4-way joystick.  Hopefully, you can adjust yours to be 4-way instead of 8-way.  If not, and you play with an 8-way joystick, it can play a little sloppy and you might miss some turns until you learn to use the joystick crisply for the up-down-left-right action.

1 comment:

  1. Really a fun game, great sideart, too. This was the game that convinced me to add a second action button to my 4-way verticals MAME project.