Anyone who knows me well knows that cutesy single screen arcade platformers are one of my favourite types of game. Bubble Bobble, Snow Bros, Rod Land – all of those titles are firm favourites of mine and have been ever since I first played them in the arcade.
So when I heard about an indie game that’s a modern tribute to games of that nature, I couldn’t wait to feature it here!
Smoothcade is a game that’s definitely in the spirit of those aforementioned titles. Players are tasked with achieving different objectives in each level. They’ll be capturing enemies in Cloudies (and then popping them), collecting fruit (with seeds unlocking characters), popping all balloons on a stage before time runs out or solving puzzles to find keys and unlock doors.
Just like those older titles, there’s a large number of levels in the main mode – 100 of them – but there’s also an Endless mode, in which levels are procedurally generated. In theory, then, you can play an infinite number of unique levels in Smoothcade, which is pretty cool!
There’s support for up to four players to take part simultaneously – and even a multiplayer battle mode if you want to be a bit more competitive with your friends (or enemies!).
It’s all very charming in its aesthetic and there’s an admirable, deliberate attempt to create a diverse cast of characters that aren’t often seen in video games – such as the wheelchair-bound main character, Lambert, who’s joined by Clementine, a non-binary unicorn character.
Impressively, Smoothcade is the work of a solo developer, Joseph J – who, in the game’s press release, mentions that his aim was “to create something that anyone, regardless of past gaming experience, can pick-up, play and create memories.” That goal certainly looks to have been met; gamers who experienced these arcade-style games for the first time will feel right at home, but players with more modern experience of gaming will still appreciate the pick-up-and-play mechanics, along with the more contemporary touches such as online leaderboards, achievements, and the ability to speed-run the game.
Smoothcade is due for release in 2022 on Steam – followed later by console releases – and I’ll be keeping a keen eye on it, with updated thoughts on the game once I’ve had a chance to play it for myself. Watch this space for further updates!
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