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Game Maker Games - The Design
 The Design by cactus
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Review by edenb
I fell down the rabbit hole and hit my head on the two-dimensional ground with a large thunk.
Where was I?
What can I do?
It was the Alice in Wonderland effect all over again - almost complete disorientation.

“Ah” I said to myself, “press F1 for help”.
The controls were all on the keyboard; green dot: arrow keys, yellow dot: ASDW. Between the dots a line was formed, and manipulation of each dot allowed you to control the direction in which you were firing (press space to fire, by the way). What I was meant to do in this bizarre new world was normal at least, simply destroy the squares.

The controls were also disorienting at first, and in my mind too complex (especially if you just want to “pick up and play”. Why couldn’t the mouse control one of the dots?
Of course, after a while you get used to the controls, but the way they are laid out seriously handicaps the speed of which a player can learn how to control the game with precision.

When I finally entered the game world, I was still getting to grips with the entire look and feel of The Design.
I am no longer in a 3-dimentional world; no, I am in a very flat place where cubes interlink with lines in a very vector way, where I am no longer a human being, but a line with a dot on each end that has the ability to fire white dots and blow up the squares (but only when they’ve turned from red to white). I can collect icons that enhance the way I fire my dots, but that is irrelevant to the big picture; it’s still essentially the same game mechanics.

The landscapes of The Design seemed to be always changing, yet they were somehow the same, probably because of the lack of variation with the geometrical style. Sure they’re always moving around creating a new picture, but they’re still the same, and fail to become eye-candy after a while, becoming a somewhat bland palette. However, through my turbulent journey in the actual game itself, I didn’t notice the passing landscapes all that much. They were just a haze of light contortions designed to make me feel I’m in some elaborate alien world. So does the sameness of the graphics, the ever-changing landscapes matter? Nope. Not if you’re actually playing the game anyway.

At this point I’m probably expected to criticize The Design’s repetitive music; and indeed, it was very repetitive. It’s a gnawing robot-factory piece mixed with synthesized plonks, and a lack of any melody to boot. Obviously on it’s own it’d be a horrible piece of music (in my humble opinion). But when combined with the rest of the game it adds to the seemingly drug-induced trance atmosphere that The Design has. (To quote Dali: I don't do drugs, I am the drugs).

If you take away the music, the infinite landscape and the sheer weirdness of this game, what you are left with is a fairly standard, fast-paced arcade shooter. You have a gun in the form of a line that shoots backwards and forwards at the same time, and you have a normal goal: Destroy the squares that loiter along the lines, which might occasionally shoot something at you.
And that’s the genius of The Design; it is weird enough to make someone think this is a whole new gaming experience, and flexible enough to let the player play how they want to some extent.

Each part of the game, if dissected as one would dissect an insect, has a few flaws of its own.
The music has no melody, the graphics get boring, etc, etc. But when all the parts have been put together they form a truly original and unique game and the flaws become small and insignificant - no-one notices them while they’re playing.
It's only once you've returned to the real world that you notice there might be a few flaws here and there. But are they really flaws if you don’t notice them whilst playing?

The only problem that I felt really hindered my experience of this game was simply the difficulty; it was just a tad too hard to stay in the game for a decent period of time. But maybe it's meant to be like that: this is a hard and fast drug that wears off quick.

The Design is a short period of confused ecstasy that I keep wanting to come back to. Eventually I suspect the Alice in Wonderland effect will wear off, maybe decreasing the game’s replay value.
The Design will leave you pleasantly bewildered. Download it. Now.


What the creator said:
You are in a battle against the designer, who keeps expanding the design. Try to stop him by eliminating the new elements he adds.

A mini game made for the New Year's celebration.

Download The Design (EXE, ~1.83 MB , Suitable for everyone )

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Recommendations: The 3 people who like The Design also like the following games.
Comments (Add your own):
2007.05.30 darkcheese
Rating: 9

An amazing game. Yes, the controls are hard, but that seems to be the whole point of the game; you have to rely on reflexes and quick thinking, even if only to work out which hand controls what! The power-ups are entertaining, if a little rare, and a good incentive - many a time have I died trying to get to one!

I love the graphic style - it really adds to the atmosphere of the game, and in a sense proves how good it really is; it doesn't need fancy photo-realistic graphics and an in-depth storyline to make it a good game, instead the core of the game and the gameplay itself makes the game good.

One minor problem is the intrusiveness of the gameplay statistics in the bottom-left of the screen - they are good, and useful, but they take up too much of the screen for my liking.

Me and my dad wasted away a good half-hour playing this; I havn't tried it but having one player control each circle could be great fun. Even better, being a ble to do that over LAN (if it's fast enough) would be hilarious!
2007.05.29 Xadius
Rating: 8

Hard to master, but it's alot of fun once you do.
2007.05.22 Vivi
Rating: 1

This game is sucks, WORSY GAME EVER!
2007.01.19 cactus
Rating: --

If anyone gets errors when playing the game, it's because you haven't extracted it before playing.

Thanks for the kind ratings and comments everyone!

I'll finish a new game pretty soon
2007.01.16 NintendoTeen
Rating: --

It won't let me play the game. An error occurs.
2007.01.13 Erik Leppen
Rating: 8

Very cool game, but quite hard to control. I like the graphics, I would have set the mouse to control one of the colored dots. My way to play is to keep the dots close to each other, go to a safe place by user_ferai's method of moving both dots simultaniousely in the same direction, and when I read a safe location, circle with one dot around the other while firing. It's quite hard to keep track of both dots not being hit by what the squares shoot. Maybe teh game could have some difficulty setting, and why are the variables displayed?
2007.01.12 David Lindberg
Rating: 9

Very creative, and very funny! I´ll give it 9/10
2007.01.11 Lorenzo_The_Comic
Rating: --

This must be one of the games at 64Digits.
2007.01.11 user_ferai
Rating: 7

I had a little trouble getting the hang of it, and it was a mite repetitive, but definately original. Also, for me it helped to get the circles close to eachother and then move them simultaneously in the same directions (that is hit right and 'd' at the same time, release at the same time).
2007.01.11 FlamingCow90
Rating: --

Jabberwock, isn't 8 days into the year a little early to be making your judgement?? ;-)
2007.01.11 Jabberwock
Rating: --

That was the point. I like to be sarcastic sometimes.

Not that this isn't a good game or anything. In fact, it's excellent.
2007.01.11 Joewoof
Rating: 8

This is definitely a very good game. Very well crafted. Like all of Cactus's works, it is very original, but unlike the rest, this one is more engaging, relatively easy to learn and still leaves much of the experience to the player's experimentation. Good job!
2007.01.08 Jabberwock
Rating: 8

This is the best game I've played all year so far. Congratulations.
2007.01.06 twizko
Rating: 10

crazy,very hard... also loved it!
2007.01.04 omnimedium
Rating: 9

This game is confusing, and dizzifying, I absolutely love it.
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