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Game Maker Games - Ceramic Shooter
Ceramic Shooter by Theta Games
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Review by Jabberwock
There are some things that seem like good ideas but just don't really work in practice. A new Star Wars trilogy, Paul McCartney's solo career - some concepts just fail to deliver. Ceramic Shooter is sort of like that.

The author of Ceramic Shooter calls it an "Anti-SHMUP". You pilot a ship with a wildly malfunctioning gun and attempt not to damage civilian property.

Now, while this sounds like a nice idea, it is not really as good as you might think. One problem is that the player is poorly informed. A timer counts down, and time is subtracted every time you crash or destroy something. But the game fails to tell you just how much time you need in order to finish a level, and thus you may waste a lot of frustrating time playing levels you can no longer even finish. Furthermore, you're not told just how long you have to avoid the "bosses" when they appear. These sorts of unknowns make playing an uninspiring experience.

The music is actually very nice. The author made it himself, which is another plus. It is slow and relaxing, which I guess goes well with the anti-SHMUP idea.

The graphics are okay, but nothing to write home about. They fit together well and have a definite style, but they are not that engaging. Perhaps because the goal is to not destroy anything, the game has no impressive graphical touches; everything is pretty undetailed and purely functional. The "explosions" are downright pathetic, the ship's bullets are plain gray blobs... furthermore, I was bugged that you are supposed to be flying through actual, civilian places, yet you find yourself destroying (er, make that not destroying) letters of the alphabet, German flags, and flying violins, rather than things that would likely be more at-risk from a malfunctioning aircraft's gun. This lends the game a somewhat directionless air, perhaps because it's not very much fun in the first place.

And therein lies the problem with this game concept - not shooting stuff just isn't very much fun. I don't think it's the author's execution that ruins the game (after all, for all its problems, it is a well-polished game); the concept is just inherently un-fun. I realize that this is trying not to be a shooter, but much of the fun of shooters lies in dazzling, visceral graphics and sound, and the actual shooting-things part. Turning all of these things completely around seems like it could work, but instead the finished product feels like a shooter that is just missing all of the elements that would make it enjoyable. It is not like I don't enjoy non-violent games - indeed, I enjoy them very much. But the trick is that these always have something to take the place of the violence. Whether it's puzzle-solving or stealth or diplomacy, there's always something else; this, though, is a pure "avoid-em-up", which is kind of a bore.

Still, if you have ten minutes, you should give it a try. You may find it more fun than I did, and if you could find it in you to enjoy it, it is a pretty large game.

Download Ceramic Shooter (EXE, ~5.6 MB , Suitable for everyone )

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Opinions about Ceramic Shooter
engaging
100%
artistic
100%
original
100%
strange
0%
challenging
0%
polished
100%
compelling
0%

Overall: indifferent

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