Weekly Web Game: Warning Foregone
"Shoot 'em ups" (or "shmups" if you want to sound in the know) take a certain kind of game player, with flagella-like fingers and the kind of reflexes you only wish caffeinated sodas would bestow. Needless to say, that's not normally us, and we were somewhat skeptical trying out Warning Foregone, and while we never really got very far with our limited skills, we definitely got sucked in.
What captivated us is the way the game reacts to the way you play it. The levels consist solely of a single, modularly constructed boss. Your goal is to shoot off enough of its parts that you can destroy its heart. Instead of lives, you have a timer. Completing a level adds 20 seconds; dying takes 20 seconds away. So the faster you can destroy your easy enemies in the beginning, the more chances you have to screw up later.
Now comes the clever part: Each of the bosses is generated based on information from your previous rounds. Every time you play, you face a different set of challenges. Depending on what type of weapon you die from (bullet, missile, laser, etc...), the game will add more of those weapons to your future enemies. You're able to circle around and attack from every side, so the game also keeps track of where you're most prone to attack and adds the new parts to fortify that side of the enemy's heart. There are opportunities to power up after a certain number of levels, but your choice of weapon depends on how many achievements you've unlocked in past plays -- we hit a wall soon after our first half-dozen of these.
As you start to see the feedback dynamic more clearly, there's a desire to use it to your advantage. We imagined it as if you were raising a child, and you realize quickly that raising a well-rounded child is a terrible, terrible mistake. You want to coddle the child, so it's strong enough to match you at your strengths, but stuck with all sorts of flaws and weaknesses to exploit and manipulate against it when you need to. Sure, you might feel like a real asshole for screwing up your kids like that, but hey, you've got shit to blow up -- another golden real-life lesson learned from the virtual world.
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