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Friday, March 19, 2021

Explosionade DX, Out Now, Which Explosions I Remastered and Why

Explosionade DX is out now on Xbox, Nintendo Switch, and Playstation!

As with Shoot 1UP DX from a few months ago, this is a remaster of one of my older shooting games. Though we added 2 new levels to Shoot 1UP, I feel like we did even more to improve Explosionade for the 'deluxe edition'.

Discovering the Horronyms surprisingly organized culture is a subtle part of the fun.

Explosionade DX is a run 'n' gun mech game, in which you gleefully blast walls, and squish poor, little critters to gooey bits. I've always enjoyed the game, but one thing felt lacking--the difficulty was always a bit low. The final levels never really challenged you until the literal last areas. 

To address that, I managed to get the original level design program working again! I couldn't believe it, but the program Richard Rosenthal made for me, over 10 years ago, still worked, with a bit of help. The original version of the game had 40 levels. We basically scrapped about 35 of those levels, and created 55 new ones! 

All levels are hand-balanced for Easy, Medium, and Hard difficulty.


The most exciting part, is I got to work with my kids on it. Specifically my 10 year old son really took to making new levels. It was a great division of work. He loved making extremely hard levels. I strove to make varied levels. Often I would make new enemies and write new code, to create some original situations, such as the two "all dark" levels, or the new "barf bag" enemies. 

On the right side, is the result of the concrete-like sludge that comes from the "barf bags".

Not surprisingly my son's level designs did need some polish, but it was fun to have him block in the level, with ridiculous challenges. Then I would work with him and show him how to smooth it out just a bit, to make it more enjoyable over all, but still preserve the great challenge. 

In the "all dark" levels you'll have to "feel your way" through by destroying walls.

The end result now has at least 5 very tough levels (probably more depending on how you grade them) but these levels are spaced out later in the 60 total levels. I like these difficulty spikes, as you can enjoyably blast your way through several short levels in a row, but then hit a "wall" where you'll have to step back and actually think about how to proceed. These levels aren't that tough, but they offer a good bump in the challenge here and there. 

Cris-crossed by the laser-shooting Bruiser Horrornyms can make for some tricky fights.

 In addition to level design, we've added many new enemies, uprezzed the graphics to 4K, locked the framerate to 60fps, added Trophies/Achievements, and online leaderboards! 

It's only $5.99 on all systems, so if you enjoy shooting up some baddies, give it a go this weekend!

And do yourself a favor, if you've ever played through a Contra game, go ahead and pick the "Serious" difficulty for Explosionade DX. You'll have more fun.