Strange Attractors by Ominous Development was created for Retro Remakes’ One Switch Competition. It tied for sixth place in the competition, but has since been nominated as a finalist for game design in this year’s Independent Games Festival. Everything in the game is controlled by a single button. In Strange Attractors, this single button toggles in the influence of gravity between the player’s ship and everything else.
Gravity in Strange Attractors resembles planetary motion. Rather than a downwards force, each individual object has attraction to all other objects. The end result is a lot of orbital-like motion. Orbital motion is fairly intuitive to control, even though we don’t have a direct analog to it in our day-to-day lives.
I’m not entirely sure what the goal in Strange Attractors is, to be honest. I just launched right into the game without reading any documentation. You have a timer, though, so I suppose the goal is to get to the next stage before that timer expires. There are a lot of crazy little men floating around, too, and dashing their tiny bodies against other objects appears to increase your timer. Strange Attractors is definitely a suitable name, because the game itself is a little strange.
Despite the one-button controls, it is possible to control your ship with some degree of intention. It’s hard to exactly hit any target, but you can influence your motion to a general degree. The later levels introduce vortexes that will fling you around and drastically increase the number of large objects blocking your way.
Playing Strange Attractors is a bizarre experience. I would recommend just launching right into the game. The first half of the fun is figuring out how to control your motion, and the second half of the fun is figuring out just what, exactly, is going on. Why are there little men floating everywhere, and why do they scream so?
If you’re looking for neat one-button game design that makes great use of physics, check out Strange Attractors. Or, if you’re looking for a game with a lot of tiny little men that say strange things before their inevitable demise, Strange Attractors is a good match for you, too.
An interview with the developers of Strange Attractors is posted over at Gamedev.net for some insight into the game’s development.
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