Dear Lost Decade...

by Matt Hackett, 2011 Jul 18

Onslaught! on iPad

About a week ago we launched Onslaught! on iPad, and during the weekend we were surprised and delighted to discover a few things. First, Onslaught! is in the "New & Noteworthy" section of the iPad App Store. We're thrilled to see Apple helping to bring exposure to our game, and have been excited to see a significant boost in sales. We think this speaks loudly that HTML5 is here, today, and there can be no more doubt that it's a viable development choice.

Second, and no less impactful to us, was a well-written and thoughtful review from a loving fan of the game. The subject of the review is "Dear Lost Decade..." and you should be able to read it on the review page. Here it is verbatim:

Onslaught! is a love letter to a certain subset of gamers; those that grew up playing white-box Dungeons & Dragons and video games in equal measure, i.e. - me. If you are a fellow member of that elite but dorky minority, buy this game immediately. If you are not, wait five minutes, then buy it anyway.

It feels like this game has been marinating in awesome since the day it was conceived, lovingly nurtured through the development process, and then birthed into the app store, kicking and screaming. This game is truly original. Not oh-em-gee, I've never seen anything like this and it's going to change the world; that's innovation. This is originality; taking tried and true game mechanics and themes and melding them in a way that feels new. In some ways, this is superior to innovation, because it deftly tiptoes ninja-style over the pitfall of creating something that is new, but not necessarily better. An original title safely co-opts proven content in a way that feels startlingly fresh.

But enough philosophizing. This game has Owlbears. Do want. The sewer level boss is a Gelatinous Cube. Yes, money, give it. This game has an icon in the front end that looks strikingly similar to the silhouette of a Beholder. That's right, take it baby, you know you want it. That's how freakin' kewl this game is, that's the way that it's retro, and that's why the devs had me at hello.

Add that to the fact that the controls are perfect, the weapons are diverse, and the enemies are brilliantly differentiated in the most elegant of ways. Yes, this is dual-stick, but it's not Geometry Wars, where you are pouring out bullets at light speed, across the length of the screen. While I do love that, it would not have been on theme for this game, and the decision to steer clear of it was a smart one.

Instead, some of the weapons have noticeably short ranges, both to match the fantasy theme and to distinguish between other weapons with different properties: double dagger with a wide arc-of-fire, high rate-of-fire spears, burning fireballs, freezing ice shards, and axes that ricochet. Enemies have vulnerabilities and invulnerabilities to some of these weapons too. Ever tried to fight a Gelatinous Cube with a dagger? Tried and died...

The diversity of the enemies is just as important. When the Minotaur enters the first arena, then charges at you blindingly fast, you realize that fact. Some enemies multiply, some have ranged attacks, some teleport, and some just mob you till you suffocate.

Add to this laundry list that you can purchase gear for your adventure from Ye Olde Shop, with a heaping pile of golden doubloons from your previous trek. Also add three levels of difficulty, each with its own arena (watch out for the traps amongst the piles of glistening treasure in the dragon's lair). Also add that this game will receive continued love and support from the devs, because anyone who cares enough to share their baby with the world will make certain that it fairs well in its strange and wonderful new surroundings.

Some people will not like game as much as me. That's okay, I don't mind. I happen to gravitate toward beauty in simplicity. I am not of the opinion that Gameloft's latest flavor-of-the-week clone is what makes the app store special, no matter how polished they are. What makes the app store special is that a guy can have a simple idea, release it into the wild, have it sit toe-to-toe with those games, and come out on top in gamers' minds. I have to think that would be his proudest moment.

To the developers of this game,

Thank you so much for the letter. It means the world to me; it really does. Love you too.



The player known as djflippy took the time to write this eloquent review, so we wanted to spotlight it. As Geoff and I are oldschool hardcore gamers ourselves, our intention was very much to appeal to this audience. Since it seems that we have accomplished that with at the very least this supportive fan, we are beyond satisfied. Here's a huge digital hug for djflippy, and thank you for making our weekend delightful!

To help spread the love, we are making Onslaught! 50% off for the rest of the week. If you haven't yet, pick it up now for $0.99!

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