Sunday, August 24, 2008


Cirplosion, the second entry in Kongregate's Buried Treasure week, is a game which manages to overcome its terrible name and be quite an interesting game, requiring both quick puzzle-solving skills and quite a bit of manual dexterity.

At first glance, Cirplosion looks very similar to filler (review here): you have a playfield with a bunch of orbs bouncing around, you click and hold to cause a circle to expand, and can move while the circle is expanding, but if the circle hits an enemy orb (or, in Cirplosion's case, a wall), it is destroyed. However, what happens after you let go of the mouse button is entirely different from filler -- once you let go of the mouse button, the circle becomes a targeting circle, which you can now move freely over the board; when you click, all orbs within the targeting circle are destroyed. (There are also large orbs, which are blown into three smaller orbs.) So the advantages of trying to get your circle as large as possible should be obvious. Whenever you set off a Cirplosion, orbs outside of the circle's radius are affected, too, in that they are blown with the force of the explosion. If you're careless, this can give orbs very large momentum, which makes them very annoying; however, you can also use it strategically to clear up some open space to give you some more room to operate in.

In each level, you'll have to clear all the orbs given a limited amount of time and total number of Cirplosions. (You don't have any lives, so getting your circle destroyed doesn't cost you anything directly, but it does cost you precious time.) Generally, both of these limits are pretty tight, so you'll need to be sharp in order to destroy all of the enemies without running out of one or more resources. Some levels also have freeze orbs, which will freeze all of the enemy orbs if your circle touches one when expanding (not when you shoot it, confusingly enough), which can be very useful in setting up good shots.

Cirplosion offers three modes: normal mode, which contains 20 levels of the typical frenetic action that you'd expect; challenge mode, which has 12 more puzzle-like levels which require very careful thinking; and finally, cirvival (sigh) mode, which is pretty much what you would expect. Somewhat irritatingly, normal mode doesn't have a save feature, so if you want to beat it, you'll have to do all 20 levels in one go. The challenges do save, so you can beat them piecemeal if you'd like. Neither normal nor challenge mode is easy, but they are quick; a given level may take a lot of tries (and some of the harder levels may get quite frustrating, since there is some element of chance involved), but since a single level only takes 20-30 seconds, you can still play the whole agme in one sitting without too much difficulty.

The graphics are pretty basic -- you have enemy orbs of one color and your circle; there's not much in the way of special effects. The background music is very ambient and lends a nice touch, but (like so many other Flash games) it does get rather repetitive eventually. The sounds are also pretty basic, but they're not bad, either.

Anyway, Cirplosion clearly does a much better job of fulfilling the Buried Treasure ideal -- it's definitely a game that's deserving of a look. It's by no means a perfect game, but it'll provide a half hour or so of interesting gameplay, so give it a try.

1 comment:

ToastyKen said...

I did the challenges except 7 and 12, then decided to move on. It's definitely pretty interesting!