Saturday, January 17, 2009


Dodge contains all the ingredients to make a good Flash game: it's a simple, but interesting idea, and implemented well. The result is a game that's short, but satisfying; it's overall an enjoyable experience.

The basic concept in Dodge is clever (although I'm sure other games have come up with this idea before). It's basically a shooter, except you can't shoot -- the enemies can shoot at you, but all you can do is dodge (hence the title). However, the enemy's shots are homing, so if you dodge to the right place, you can kill the enemy with his own missiles. There's a total of 20 levels; the first enemies just stay put and shoot at you, but later levels introduce moving foes, exploding enemies, and teleporting enemies (which have a really irritating habit of blending into the background), so you'll have to stay on your toes to survive. You can refill all of your health between levels for the low, low cost of 25,000 points, which is quite a lot in the earlier levels but not too bad in the later levels, so as long as you remember to refuel when you're running low, you shouldn't have too much difficulty beating the game.

The presentation of the game is also excellent. The game is filled with pretty, pretty polygon effects, making it quite nice to look at, and generally operates smoothly (although there is some slowdown in the last couple of levels when the screen just gets completely full). The sound effects are pretty average; the music is a nice non-intrusive techno which complements the game well without being annoying. There's no save feature, so if you want to finish the game, you'll have to play all 20 levels in one sitting, but this is quite reasonable, as the game is not particularly long.

I'd be remiss, though, if I didn't mention one point which bothers me. The hard badge for Dodge is to kill 100 enemies without being hit. In general, I dislike badges which require you to avoid getting hit for a long period of time; since my game skills are more in persistence and learning than pure reflexes, this naturally does not play to my strengths. But, objectively, these are kind of annoying; the Frantic impossible, for instance, requires you to finish the entire game without being hit once; this is really annoying, because no one wants to spend 20 minutes playing the first nine levels only to get hit on the 10th. So, the existence of this badge seems like a poor choice. I would have much preferred a simple score-based badge; since your multiplier goes up when you kill enemies without being hit, this would accomplish a similar goal without being quite as annoying. (But, of course, this is not the game's fault -- the badge choice is entirely Kongregate's, as far as I know.) However, I (along with, apparently, quite a few other people) discovered that the best way to get this badge is simply to play extremely defensively -- merely circle around the perimeter and focus on avoiding shots rather than directly trying to kill enemies. The game designer responded by labeling this strategy "a BUG or EXPLOIT" and changed the game (by moving enemies closer to the edges) in an effort to make this strategy less viable. Obviously, changing the game after a badge has already been created in a way which makes getting that badge more difficult is kind of poor form to begin with, but this also speaks rather poorly of his testing efforts -- it's not like this is a terribly complicated strategy; if this is really not something he wants players to employ, he should have found it himself. Blaming it on people not "playing the game how it was meant to be played" seems like a poor response.

Anyway, sorry for the digression -- if you don't care about the hard badge, you probably won't notice this issue at all, and it shouldn't detract from the fact that Dodge is a pretty fun game to play, and quite pretty to look at. I'm not sure how much in the way of replay value it has, since there's only so much content in the game, but you should enjoy playing it through at least once.


ToastyKen said...

Yeah it was fun to go through once, like you said. The purple dudes are definitely the most annoying!

I found myself using the edge trick naturally just to reduce the number of bullets on the screen. :\

Victoria Von Swarovski said...

Fancy finding a blogger who is also a konger! Thanks for silencing me today :D -Vict0ria