If Velocity was Futurlab’s big critical and commercial success, Fuel Tiracas, their second PlayStation Mobile game after Slidin’ Beatz (now Beats Slider), will be that cool cult hit that everybody’s talking about and – with PSM’s ability to use global leaderboards – the one everyone wants to be the best at.
Take the first level of this quirky, futuristic, neon-tinged take on plate spinning and whack-a-mole. Free from any of the later levels’ dangers and intricacies, all you need to do is tap enough of the coloured areas when they light up to fill an energy bar, flip to the other bar, and then do it all again.[videoyoutube]There’s no time limit here, no chance of failing, it’s just you against the clock. The first time I played it I managed about 30 seconds. By the end of the night, once I’d checked the leaderboards, I had it down to about six. Practice? More like persistence, and the realisation that nothing about Fuel is random…
Any game that draws upon our competitive streak is likely to find immediate favour, of course, especially when it’s ranking us alongside everyone else on the planet, and Fuel Tiracas, which is the game’s slightly amended Sunday best moniker, does this rather well.
It’s not a belt and braces approach – it’s literally just the best times for each level, but it’s good enough. Good enough? We’re not frustrated by the lack of Friends-only filters, or ghost-like replays? Nope, because of one simple thing: Fuel costs just 40 pence. Yes, it looks like one studio at least is going in hard with the pricing, bettering even the iOS App Store, and at such a disposable amount it’s hard to find much wrong with the game.
In reality, there really isn’t a great deal to complain about, and as you move through the twelve levels on offer the mechanics mature rapidly into something more than just a twitch tapper: skulls when tapped lose energy, some circles need to be tapped multiple times, or together in pairs – and as the number of bars to fill up increases (and the rate at which they automatically drain bumps up) Fuel actually ends up feeling like much more than the sum of its parts.
There’s a joyful abandon about Fuel that shows the Brighton-based developer in freeform mode, experimenting with ideas and concepts that wouldn’t hold weight as full commercial titles at silly prices. Fuel, much like Beats Slider, demonstrates that all you really need is an idea.
James Marsden, studio head, told us they’ve had little time for play testing, such was the rapid development and says he’s had to go with his own “personal hunches” – that’s what gaming can be all about at this sort of price point, the consumer under very little risk. He needn’t have worried, this is a lovely little game.
Crucially, it’s one that works just fine across multiple devices, too, the PSM platform pushing the same code, visuals and sound effects to various Android phones and tablets as well as the PS Vita, and barring any last minute changes the game should be out to buy this week.
Try it, there’s really no reason not to.