Indie Game: Atlantis

I’ve never had much patience for Tetris.

It’s not just Tetris, mind you, but pretty much any game that falls into the broad category of “usually brightly-colored, abstract pattern matching games.” (And Sherlock doesn’t count. That’s a logic game.) I don’t get an almost-sexual satisfaction in making blocks of similar colors merge and vanish. Lumines doesn’t call to me. It’s just something in my nature; I think I need a plot to really enjoy a game.

The closest I’ve come to liking this class of game would be the little minigames in Yohoho! Puzzle Pirates, probably because the piratey goodness gave it enough flavor for me to be willing to put in the drudge work (“I’m not mindlessly playing Bejeweld! I’m, uh, pumping bilge! Yeah, that makes it. Um. Better.") Despite the fact that I don’t love this type of game, I’m still capable of recognizing a good one when I see it.

Enter Funpause Games. I recently read a review of their work, that compared them to Ambrosia Software. My love for Ambrosia’s games is very well documented. So of course, I had to try some of their games.

And you know what? The comparison is fairly apt. Like Ambrosia, Funpause seems to have a “house style”: shiny, lots of attention paid to music and audio cues, and simple gameplay.

Funpause calls Atlantis a “ball-matching game.” I call it “Snood with more motion.” Snood is a frighteningly addictive game with a quirky sensibility that is something like a cross between Space Invaders and Tetris. Essentially a port of the arcade game Puzzle Bobble, Snood is a strictly tactical game; there’s no time element pressuring you to make a move.


Funpause’s Atlantis

Atlantis has an implicit timer, yet is a much easier game than Snood. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing in a casual game. Brightly colored marbles are pushed down a channel towards an exit. You have a gun that shoots marbles up at the incoming stream. When your marble hits another marble, it becomes part of the stream. If by shooting a marble you create a string of 3 or more of the same color, the like-colored marbles disappear (and the incoming stream slows down accordingly). If enough marbles reach the end of the line, you lose a life.

There is a system of upgrades and bonuses in Atlantis – clearly inspired by Arkanoid – but it doesn’t really gel. It’s more of a distraction from the core game than an enhancement. But the core game is good enough that I don’t mind.

Atlantis is available for both Mac and Windows, and a free demo (limited to one hour of play) is available for both platforms. I think it’s a fun little diversion. Will you? Download it yourself and find out.