Forum Overview :: Mischief Maker's Maker's Mark
Atomhex: the sequel to Grid Wars 2 by Mischief Maker 08/30/2008, 6:31pm PDT

World of Stuart wrote:

The original Geometry Wars and its largely-the-same 360 follow-up are both obvious and unashamed descendants of Eugene Jarvis' legendary coin-op Robotron. [...] In the Geometry Wars games, that's pretty much all there is to it. In Grid Wars 2, though, it's only the beginning. In GW2, y'see, despite all appearances you're not really a space warrior at all. What you are, in fact, is a farmer. The black holes are your fields, and the enemies are your sheep and cattle. [...] The black holes contain the key to racking up high scores in GW2. [...] To do this, however, you'll have to "farm" the hole - this is, lure a lot of enemies into it until it expands, shoot it back down to a more manageable size, then lure some more in until it expands again, then keep repeating the whole process until you daren't risk leaving it any longer and blow it to pieces.

Ray of Light wrote:

I'm not sure the author shared Stuart's vision of a harvesting sim.

Whether or not Mark Incitti shared Stuart's vision when creating Grid Wars 2, he certainly read the article and took it to heart when making this followup. Atomhex, a game that DOES NOT IN ANY WAY SHAPE OR FORM RESEMBLE GEOMETRY WARS, is more akin to Sinistar than Robotron. It's a game about amassing a potential fortune on an increasingly volatile powderkeg.

So you're this space ship in a hex-grid arena that continually spawns white atoms and colored hexes. The hexes have shields that can be shot off, and the resulting naked hex can be picked up for points and also change the color or your shots. Collecting several hexes of the same color in a row spawns powerups and score multipliers. Picking up multiple score multipliers will stack their bonuses (up to a maximum of 10,000x) but the bonus slowly decreases. The hexes and atoms are harmless by themselves, and it's actually useful to bump into them and change their trajectory.

The danger comes when these hexes and atoms start combining. If a hex comes in contact with an atom, the two combine and begin spawning monsters, the more atoms attached to the hex, the meaner the monsters. The combination of a hex and an atom also reinforce the hex's shield so that only shots of the same color can penetrate. Two atoms colliding create a spider.

But, if a hex manages to get six atoms attached, you get sucked into the subatomic bonus round, which can reward you with a huge surplus of naked hexes, bonuses, and obscene levels of firepower.

SO, the game is a complex balancing act of risk vs. reward more insanely intricate than Grid Wars 2 accidentally managed to be. You want to have one hex get six atoms to give you the bonus round jackpot, but letting a hex grow means exposing yourself to an increasingly nasty array of monsters. Going for a color chain spawns better and better powerups and score multipliers, but you leave lots of other colored hexes behind to produce monsters. The score multiplier degrades on its own, so you want to pick up as many bonus items as you can at once before letting loose with an orgy of destruction (or harvest of blood, if you prefer). However, by that time you may find that your shots are blocked by globs of vector-ferns, the bees have stolen all your naked hexes, cluster mines lay in wait to catch you off guard, squares bog you down with slow bolts and box you in with beam fire, while spiders steal your shot energy leaving you open to the rapid attacks of the homing stars. All this with no bull-fucking-shit deaths at the hands of gravity-ignoring circles and jacks.

It's a game of gambling over how many plates you can keep spinning without letting it overwhelm you.

As far as downsides go, while the game gives you several options for control schemes, mouse movement is utterly superior because there is no maximum movement speed, so you won't get nearly as good a score using a twin analog pad. The other downside is the aesthetics. The grid arena is disappointingly plain compared to the many many choices of liquid backgrounds in Grid Wars 2. I also find it jarring that some enemies are detailed vector representations of plants and insects while others are simple geometric shapes. I kind of liked the idea of a growing menagerie of weeds and pest animals overrunning the board as you farm your points, and the game would have looked better overall if it stayed consistent with that style.

Finally, this game is not freeware, but it uses the Radiohead model with its registration, giving you the choice of paying between $5-20 for the full game.

The game disappointed me the first time I played it, but once I learned the scoring system and the enemies' behavior, it quickly became an addiction. Recommended.
Atomhex: the sequel to Grid Wars 2 by Mischief Maker 08/30/2008, 6:31pm PDT NEW
    Did you get a mail with the registration code? by Ice Cream Jonsey 09/03/2008, 11:30am PDT NEW
        false alarm, it arrived just fine NT by Ice Cream Jonsey 09/03/2008, 11:48am PDT NEW
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