Physics Games and Physics-Based Game Downloads

Jupiter Brutally Beaten, Pluto Still at Large

Sunday, January 21st, 2007 by Matthew in Physics Games
1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars (Rate this game! 103 votes, average: 3.88 out of 5)

Pluto Strikes Back is a great solo project by Petri Purho, who has been rapidly prototyping games in the spirit of the Experimental Gameplay Project. This title was created in seven days, and the concept is awesome: Pluto, angry at being reclassified as a “dwarf planet”, takes a bat to the rest of the Solar System to act out his jealous revenge.

Beauty in Simplicity

I’m impressed with the elegant minimalism of Pluto Strikes Back’s design. It may seem, at first glance, that designing a simple game would be easier than producing a feature-laden one. In my experience, though, the opposite is true: It’s really hard to create a tight, simple design. And once you have that core game built, it’s pleasantly easy to start adding on top of it (Petri does mention on his blog that destructible planets and a few other features were planned but scrapped for time).

Feature-wise, Pluto Strike Back is in dire need of a high score table. The game is based on arcade scoring–you keep racking up points until you inevitably die. Sure, you could write down your scores and share them with friends, but the game should really be doing that for you. In-game high score lists would really give the game some legs.

Planetary Physics

Pluto Strikes Back utilizes a simple planetary gravity physics model. As the asteroids get closer to the planets, gravity’s influence exponentially increases. It takes a few minutes to adjust to the sudden boost of speed the asteroids get as they approach the baseball bat-wielding Pluto. Asteroids will orbit around planets and swing back around if they’re moving slow enough.

The one thing I would’ve liked to see in the gameplay is more dynamic objects. All of the planets are essentially anchored via springs to their starting locations. They behave a bit like really sluggish pinball bumpers, moving back to their initial position after taking a hit. It would be nice to have the ability to knock them lose, clearing the Solar System of planetary swine.

Pluto Strikes Back Screenshot Screenshot of Physics Games
(Pluto Strikes Back Game Screenshots)

And, Hey, It’s Free!

Pluto Strikes Back does a lot of things really well: an obvious scoring system, a clever concept, and solid production quality (especially considering it was a week-long solo project!). The game presents a short 5-minute distraction, rather than a deep world to explore, but it never claimed to be. It’s free, too, so you really don’t have an excuse not to sink five minutes into it. I recommend you do so now!

Download Pluto Strikes Back Game (4.36 MB)

Make sure you visit Petri’s blog for his other, also excellent, experimental games.

Related Posts:

17 Responses to 'Jupiter Brutally Beaten, Pluto Still at Large'

Subscribe to comments with RSS or TrackBack to 'Jupiter Brutally Beaten, Pluto Still at Large'.

  1. levi said,

    on January 21st, 2007 at 8:41 pm

    fun game. im realy glad your getten back on reviews again. thanks alot

  2. on January 21st, 2007 at 8:56 pm

    51,000 on the second try.

    While this is a fun game, and I’m rather impressed by it, it just made me dream of bigger things. All of a sudden my mind was filled with “I hope you can throw asteroids at planets in Spore” or “I wish someone would make a Celestia-type game where you can fling rocks at planets”, etc so forth. There could be many a feature added to this, like, as you said, high scores.

    There were a few annoyances, like not being able to turn the music off (I hate it when my Magic Bus is interrupted) or the annoying bug where I’m waiting for an asteroid to appear and all of a sudden BAM, one is kicking my ass without warning.

    So it’s a good game, but left me wanting more. I REALLY hope you can throw asteroids in Spore. :P


  3. Ballroy said,

    on January 22nd, 2007 at 3:02 am

    Great game. Keep it simple. Perfect music. Hilarious.

  4. Lehti said,

    on January 22nd, 2007 at 10:04 am

    I get an interesting error stating “There is no disk in the drive. Please insert a disk into drive .” when trying to run the game. I’ve never seen an error like this before, anyone else get it?

  5. Beakless said,

    on January 22nd, 2007 at 10:20 am

    Oh man, I saw this coming a mile off, i found this game last year or so, my main point for concers with this is that it wasb’t full-screen when i last plaed it, resulting in many mouse problems, i hope this is an updated version…

  6. Beakless said,

    on January 22nd, 2007 at 10:22 am

    oh man, i saw this one a mile off, i found this little thing last year sometime. It was OK, but it wasn’t fullscreen so there were many mouse problems, i hope this is an updated version.

    fun game though

  7. Beakless said,

    on January 22nd, 2007 at 11:10 am

    oops, sorry for the double post

    (triple post now, how embarassing)

  8. Wunderbear said,

    on January 22nd, 2007 at 12:06 pm

    This is a very fun game. I admit, moving planets that you can swish off their orbits, or destroyable planets, would make it more interesting. But as it is it’s pretty hilarious.

    I like the music. It’s maad.

  9. Toshiba said,

    on January 22nd, 2007 at 1:10 pm

    My record is 56.000 something.

  10. Danny Martinez said,

    on January 22nd, 2007 at 4:42 pm

    at the end of the movie is so funny

  11. Dennis said,

    on January 22nd, 2007 at 9:28 pm

    Hey!! Very cool game!! 55.000 and something on the 3rd try =P

    I wish that ALL the Physics games here in Fun-Motion were free =( I Live in Brazil and can’t buy the games… My parents don’t allow me… Very cool games here i need to search for illegal versions on the NET, and only sometimes i found…

  12. Wunderbear said,

    on January 23rd, 2007 at 11:40 am

    18845. High score!

    My fun tactic is if one asteroid is approaching, to stop it with the “head” of the bat, then while it is bouncing, slam it at a planet. :D

  13. Ye said,

    on January 23rd, 2007 at 11:43 am

    wunderbear: yea that’s coolz0r :D
    Great… One of the asteroids got stuck between few planets… :D
    Got something like 20 000 points :DASD

  14. Kurrus said,

    on January 23rd, 2007 at 3:47 pm

    Awesome, I love this game, it’s fricking hillarious. I got the score of 34393 on my 2nd try. :D

  15. silentnight said,

    on January 24th, 2007 at 12:20 am

    i got 50000 on my fourth try and found a variation of Wunderbear’s tactic where if you position the bat a little off center on the asteroid it gets caught in plutos gravity and hits the planet but is slowed enough that it does no damage at all great for getting a better aim on your shots.
    and i also try to get two asteroids stuck between the inner planets and hit an asteroid hard enough to get two dubble hits and a sun hit and a master batter or what ever it is called makes for really good bonuses

  16. kyle said,

    on January 24th, 2007 at 5:12 pm

    I’d make a bunch of different game types like duel where the first to kill the other wins.

  17. Cello9213 said,

    on June 7th, 2007 at 4:24 pm

    Good game, especially for being made in only 7 days!
    44040 on my third try.

    The music and the idea of a “meteor magnet” and a “giant baseball bat” is hilarious

    My method is to stop a meteor with the end of the bat, like wunderbear, but then hit it back and forth until I can get it going in front of Pluto to aim so I can hit a planet; it’s a good way to get a “pro bat expert” bonus.

    However I often end up swinging wildly trying to defend myself if another one is coming while I’m still trying to do that, usually flinging both meteors into outer space. =\


Leave a Reply