The Mass DiGi Open House

We went to the Mass DiGi open house yesterday! It was really cool and we want to tell you about the games we saw. They’re not all available to play for you yet, but you can see some of the excellent games of past years here!

Slime Break:

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  • Adorable
  • Like Breakout
  • Also an infinite runner kind of
  • High scores!
  • Very pretty

We had a ton of fun trying this out, it’s an idea we cannot believe hasn’t been done a hundred times because it works so well. Basically it’s like Breakout, the game where you hit a bouncy ball with a paddle to break blocks at the top of the screen, but the blocks scroll in infinitely from the right-hand side of the screen.

This basically turns it into the best version of Breakout ever, because it removes the worst part of breakout which is trying to get like 2-3 little leftover blocks on a screen you’ve mostly cleared. The one thing we didn’t love is that there are often “bombs” that clear a bunch of stuff instead of allowing you to watch the ball bounce around a bunch and the levels are a bit short and a bit repetitive. With even a tiny bit of tweaking though, this could be a really amazing game instead of just a fun one!

Comet Cats:

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  • Cats
  • Sticky cats
  • Collectible cats
  • Physics!

We were very bad at this game but it was clearly a very neat game. It’s about tossing a bunch of cats into a box and trying to build your stack of cats high enough to grab sparkles which give you more time to stack more cats to grab more sparkles!

The cats stick together if they’re the same color, and the magical nega-cat can stick to any cat, making it an exceptionally useful kitty. The gameplay is straightforward and moreish, with just enough control to make the odd accidental toppling of a precarious cat-stack hit that much harder. It needs a little bit of tweaking with the cat-generator, though! They said that the reason we were terrible might have been that too few nega-cats spawned in our games, in addition to our just being bad at it.

Takeover Trail:

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  • Realpolitik
  • Clever plans
  • A map

We lost this one real bad without completely noticing which maybe points to the win/loss condition being a bit more hidden than it needs to be. The basic play is you’re on a 4-color map where every country has a number, you start as one country generating a bit of money, and you takeover others by basically buying the “propaganda” that allows you to take over countries if you have an equal or greater amount of propaganda than they do… countryness? So buy 1 yellow propaganda, take over any yellow country with a 1 on it. Buy 2, take over any yellow 1 or 2 countries, etc.

As you take over countries you generate more cash and you occasionally need to squash rebellions. The thing that caught us out was that there’s never really push-back on the map itself to your takeover, you just keep advancing. The opposing forces are represented by a steadily ticking meter in the top of the screen, which is a bit of a difficult thing to focus on while you’re tapping about. Still, this is an interesting take on the map-takeover genre, we were a fan of the idea of doing away with combat-type stuff entirely.

Colosseum Coach:

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  • Monsters
  • Gary
  • Sunglasses
  • Flirting

We’ve got a real thing for games where you put together a little team of people, regardless of whether there’s any real effect of their being individuals on the action. Colosseum Coach lets you build a little cadre of gladiators and outfit them in cool clothes to fight monsters.

The game is absolutely charming at the moment, with evocative artwork that really gets you into the mindset of how cool sunglasses look with gladiator sandals. Unfortunately it’s also a little basic. You basically just fight/block/do an effect that lasts the entire fight. There’s something here, and we’re interested in seeing where it goes, but at the moment it definitely feels a little too much of a foregone conclusion that your fighters either win or die, because you’re kind of just going -5, okay monster did -2, we’re winning this thing in a couple taps. Still there’s a lot of room to grow in terms of adding some equipping or positioning tactical stuff, and it does look practically perfect visually.

So that’s that! The open house was fun and the folks were all really nice and we got to pet a dog. It was amazing to see what these hard-working young people managed to put together in 3 danged months, and we absolutely can’t wait to see what these games become and see what else the people on these teams make! Check out Mass DiGi for games from prior years or to get involved yourself!

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