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When Zombie Kittens Attack

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My new Daily Puzzle (number eight) is up. It's called Zombie Kitten Attack. This one was a bit of an experiment. It's based on an old game of mine called Robottack, which in turn is based on the old text-based "daleks" games of the early 70's.

It's a bit interesting in that I wanted to see if I could make something that looked like an arcade game but is still a turn-based puzzle game under the hood. On the whole I think it succeeds. For one, I went with a whimsical arcade-friendly theme. I also added an above-average amount of animated bits(including my new favorite, the "lawn sprinkler full of blood" effect) and sound effects (including the Wilhelm Scream).

It also has levels, which is something new for daily puzzles. On the whole, I try to avoid Pac-Man-style levels, where things clear off and start over again a bit more difficult. Maybe it's just me, but I think that in most cases that's a copout and can be solved with a bit more design.

One example I saw was that C64 game that SteelGolem posted to his journal. It's a game where you have to blow up several oddly-shaped space stations. From what I saw, it appeared that the easy stations were close to you and the tough ones were further away. That way you could conduct yourself in a levelish fashion, but it all fit together smoothly.

. . .at least that's how it looked. I think it did level-up at the end. Would've been cooler if you were just slapped into the middle of 60 stations, with the easy ones close and the tough ones way out on the outskirts.

And that's how I tried to do it with Zombie Kitten Attack. Originally I wanted new kittens to wander on the screen in greater and greater numbers until you died. Only problem is that it's not difficult to completely surround yourself, thus making yourself invulnerable from any onslaught no matter how big.

So rather than levels, I went with sequels. The idea is that you're in a bad movie, and if you defeat the cats, you're taken to the sequel. Yeah, I know it's still levels, but it's a little bit cuter.

Enjoy the game. IMHO, it's still not quite as "balanced" as the existing puzzles. Most of the puzzles take a fairly constant amount of time to complete. For example, Poker Patience is done after you drag 25 cards. The only real time constraint is the amount of time you spend thinking about where to place things.

Zombie Kitten Attack, though, is more of a "feast or famine" kind of thing. You eventually will be killed, but it does seem that some games will kill you in 30 seconds while others can go several minutes.

Anyway, I'll see how it goes over the next week. If someone manages to get up to level 20 without getting killed, I'll probably re-balance things. Thankfully, it's pretty easy to make this game easier or harder by simply varying the number of cats/houses/cars/zappers, so I can fine-tune it without much trouble.

So try it out!

Oh, and if you've purchased one of my games and you want the ads shut off, email john@thecodezone.com with your handle, and I'll take care of it.

My to-do-list. . .

Fix the sliding pop-up windows so they have a bottom that uncovers the score. I originally wanted the boxes to be transparent enough that you could see the score through the panel, but it's one of those balances that's not working. If the panel's transparent enough to see the score, it's hard to read what's on the panel itself.

Make the "email me a daily score update" actually do something. Sorry about the delay in that.

Add ads to the games. Sorry, folks, but I have to pay the bills. Hopefully it'll be more of an incentive to buy a game rather than an incentive to abandon daily puzzles entirely.

Fix the "games played" panel so it works if you have some kind of gizmo caching up port-80 requests on your machine.

Cull the old scores from the high score table so that the stat-bars don't get so crowded that you can't read 'em.
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