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Casual Smack: Drifting Afternoon

Quick little game today from the wonderful site Orisinal and its visionary, Ferry Halim. If you’re not familiar with Orisinal, it’s a perennial source of beautifully cute, short games with inventive mechanics. Orisinal is in fact one of the sites we innovative game people look to continually to remind us we’re not alone in the world. Orisinal’s latest is Drifting Afternoon and it lives entirely up to happy, smiling expectations.  Hooray that the world has Orisinal. Short description (not really much to spoil here) below.

In Drifting Afternoon, you play a cat. You run on the ground, and balloons hover over your head and drift from right to left. You click to cause the cat to jump, and the position of the mouse determines the angle of jump. Each balloon you jump on earns you increasing points, and if you jump clean over another balloon to land on balloon further down the screen, you earn bonus points for each balloon you cleared. Of course, jump incorrectly and you hit the ground and lose your chain, starting again for the lowest score. There’s a time limit, but time extension balloons appear as you go.

The game will only last you about five minutes, but it’s a terrific five minutes. First, the game is SOOOO QWUTE!!!!! I’m sorry, I am a sucker for cats, and this one has just enough character to make my heart melt a little. The background is a nice pastel piece and the music is soft and warm. Overall, the use of the word “drifting” in the title is appropriate in the art and sound. The nice thing is that the gameplay completely backs up this emotion. Jumping for balloon to balloon is not at all finicky. You basically end up where you expected, and the game is forgiving about having any balloon contact count as a successful land. And even when you do miss, all that does is put you back on the ground to start over. All the feedback is saved for the good things you do; missing has no strong penalty. I’m a pretty good game player at these little things, but I was impressed by how far I got in a single play. The time limit is forgiving enough to give you a good session without totally diluting the challenge.

Overall, it’s a wonderful little game for a few minutes of your time. It’s a great example of how to use failure states and theming to create a nice casual experience. And it’s a new-ish mechanic to boot. Thank you again, Ferry — you put a smile on my face.

Posted in Casual, Reviews.

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One Response

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  1. Kurt Bieg says

    Cool game. I’ve spent so much time at Orisinal, but that game has such a great feel to it. You kind of zone out for a while and it really does start to feel like a lazy afternoon. I love the illustrations and animations though. I think the core mechanic is great too, I wish it actually played with the balloon idea to give more options and choices in the gameplay, like a balloon that bounces you automatically, or one that slows you down. But other than that, I think its a perfect way to be lazy.

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