I should clarify this immediately: ‘three quick distractions’ is not the name of a game (at least not to my knowledge). This week on CPCG I decided to point out some games that might not necessarily take up a lot of your time in one go, as they’re not designed to do so. By their very nature, these three games are not expansive enough for me to get through a whole article on one of them, so instead I’m rounding up three games that have eaten up a lot of the time I have spare between doing things.
So first up, we’ve got Desktop Tower Defence. DTD (as it shall henceforth be known) is a free, in-browser, flash-based tower defence game quite literally on a desktop (as if you didn’t guess) and is actually very well known. Regardless of how well known it is, it’s still worth pointing towards if you’ve got some spare time that you want to occupy with a little distraction. Be warned, though; DTD is one of the most addictive games I’ve ever played in a browser and it is single-handedly responsible for me not handing in homework in sixth form all those long years ago.
The idea of DTD is a simple one – one you probably already know, in fact. It is a tower defence game, like Fieldrunners, Pixeljunk Monsters and the original Warcraft 3 maps that essentially created the genre. If you have any experience with the genre you’ll be aware of how quickly these games eat up your day. For the uninitiated, however, I will explain: waves of monsters approach and you have to defeat them via the tactical placement of different types of turrets. The monsters come in different shapes, sizes speeds and modes of transport (some of them fly). Your objective is you stop these monsters getting to the other side of the map.
There are two types of tower defence games; one that gives you specific spots to place your turrets on and one that gives you an open area on which to build a maze out of your defences. DTD falls into the latter category and excels in making the genre accessible but suspiciously deep. I’ve never been quite so proud of something I’ve done in a game than when I created an intricate maze out in the game that took up the whole building area and letting nothing through. Then a wave of flying monsters just flew over like they weren’t there because I’d neglected to strengthen my defences for flying hellspawn. I was furious – so I tried again.
Next up is Teenage Mutant Ninja Puppets. No, this is not related to Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles in any way beyond the very odd name. In TMNP you control a ragdoll with your arrow keys and you have to fly him around the screen in a way that will have him ‘kick’ and ‘punch’ other flying ragdolls. That’s it. No, really – that’s all you have to do. Once you’ve played it, however, you’ll notice that there is actually a certain knack to it – it’s easy to just fly into another ragdoll, it’s another thing entirely to time your approach and spin in such a way as to actually kick it in the head.
Your hands, feet and head do damage, but so do your enemy’s, so you spend your time trying to get your hands, feet or head to hit their body whilst trying to avoid theirs. If they hit your head (or you hit theirs) you (or they) will be stunned for a few seconds, which will completely disable their movement until it over. Luckily, you can defend against this by blocking with your hands and feet. It’s a remarkably simple yet strangely addictive game that you can play in local two player. Skeptical? It’s less than a tenth of a megabyte, so there really isn’t much reason to not give it at least a try.
Finally, we come to GunBlood. I’ve never played another game like GunBlood (GB henceforth). It’s a side-on pistol duel game you play in your browser via flash, in which you have to quick draw after a count down and kill your enemy before they kill you. It rewards both speed and accuracy (especially since you only have 6 bullets) and gives you points based on both, as well as how much health you’ve got left. These points then stack with the remaining of the 9 duels (and 3 bonus levels in which you shoot bottles or pigeons whilst trying to avoid hitting the ‘assistant’). If you die at all whilst going through the levels it’s game over and you have to start them all again.
Before doing that, though, you can upload your score to some leaderboards. Here comes theinteresting part, though; you can then make your own leaderboard so you can compete with your friends. The link above, for example, will take you directly into the group I made earlier, called TheSixthAxis. The TSA leaderboard currently only features my mediocre score of 222 points (in which I didn’t even get all the way through the levels). So why don’t you go and beat me, then? Oh, but before you do, make sure you’re using a mouse or you’ve got no chance.
So that’s the first round-up of distractions. Three addictive games that I genuinely find difficult to tear myself away from. Ok, so perhaps they’re not ideal for 10 minute breaks as you’ll almost certainly end up playing them for longer, but they’re still fun so you won’t be too bitter about doing so. Until next week, then…