Armed and Gelatinous Preview | MOUSE n JOYPAD


Over the course of the last decade or so, gaming as a whole has made strides in virtually every relevant area of development. Whether it’s gameplay, graphics, physics, simplicity of development… you name it – it’s been improved. It’s a natural process of iteration that, strangely enough, ignored a single element older games had nailed back in the day: hotseat  multiplayer. Of course, there are titles such as the latest Rayman games that have the option built-in, thankfully, but these are few and far between, and it’s a wonder just how fast the majority has forgotten and moved on from this multiplayer format off to greener pastures. But… are they really greener? I bet each and every one of you has a great memory concerning hotseat; of a situation that you deem was more fun than the regular online multiplayer you may be playing on a daily basis. There was an element of socialization to hotseat  – one that is sorely missing from a large majority of modern multiplayer games of today. Even with all the communication options we have at our disposal, you can’t laugh in your friend’s face as you mow the floor with him, nor can you pour a bowl of chips over their head just because he or she kicked your ass. Don’t get me wrong – online multiplayer is great and all that, but we do need more hotseat games, and Armed and Gelatinous is just that.


Blobs are more interesting than one might imagine; especially if they have guns.

The premise is jolly enough – after achieving world peace, the governments of the world collected all the remaining weapons on Earth, threw them all into a rocket and launched said rocket into space, where they could not be used to cause any real damage… or so they thought. As it turns out, there was a number of space-blobs floating about just around the place which the rocket was speeding towards. After the vehicle got wrecked, these colourful genocidal maniacs immediately started hoarding the guns and killing each other. And that’s all as far as the story is concerned – it’s almost entirely superficial and simplistic simply because there’s no need for it to be anything else. This is a hotseat multiplayer game through and through, and that’s what its core gameplay is focused on.

Remember Rayman Legends’ Kung-Foot mode? Well, if you do, you already have a pretty good idea of what to expect from Armed and Gelatinous. The game can host up to four players, whereas one can play on a keyboard and the rest have to hook up their appropriate controllers into the host computer. The gameplay mechanics are as simple as they get; you can move, shoot and dash, and these three combine to form a rather fascinating crescendo of colours, gibs and dangerous space-jelly.

Seeing as how the game is not yet quite feature-complete, I can’t say I have any real issues with the way gameplay works. For an Early Access title, Armed and Gelatinous is nicely polished and has a fair amount of content for what it is, even though you’ll have to wait if you want to edit your controls or change the game’s options, both of which are currently blacked-out. There are four game modes to choose from, at the time of writing, the first three are fairly standard and play with the notion of either killing the most other blobs in a set amount of time or nibbling down at a set amount of lives to take each player out, one by one. Here is where the meat of the game is found. Each player will first select their appropriate blob and upon spawning, will be greeted with a view of a large map with a whole lot of rocks floating about. Almost immediately, weapon crates will start appearing randomly, and you’ll have to chase them around in an attempt to gain firepower before other players do. It’s important to note that, when you pick up a weapon, it will stick to the part of your blob you touched it with, making initial placement important since you can’t move it around afterwards. Now, as you pick up more firearms, your blob will also grow in size, making you a more dangerous, but also much larger target. You will quickly become a bullet-hell factory, and others will have to outmaneuver you and find a gun-less weak spot on your blob. Even though you can quickly become one such powerhouse, other, tinier blobs can ram you in an attempt to instagib you and take all of your dropped weapons in one fell swoop. The game is balanced around these mechanics and works surprisingly well, and seeing just how many weapons there are, there’s a fair amount of content to toy around with for such a simple title. The fourth gamemode is decidedly less violent, and revolves around playing football in space. It’s fun, but you’ll need a whole crew of four to play it properly, while the rest of the game can be enjoyed in pairs or threes just fine.


Their expressions are so appropriate it hurts.

Visually, Armed and Gelatinous is a cutesy release, and is bound to be interesting to a player of any age. Its cartoony characters and minimal violence makes it ideal not only for older gamers but also for kids, effectively making it a great family game to play on a lazy Sunday afternoon. It’s not impressive by any stretch of imagination, but it’s right where it should be in regards to its graphics. The sound design is definitely worth noting, with a great soundtrack and additional effects, it makes the game that much more dynamic without ever being overly intrusive.

Even though I’m mostly happy with this build, I do have a couple of criticisms that i hope will be addressed in due time. Firstly, I hope the devs include the option to customize a single keyboard for multiple player profiles. There are very few keys being used to play Armed and Gelatinous at any given moment, so it wouldn’t be a problem to fit an additional player on a single keyboard in a pinch, if need be. The game would also be more interesting, I feel, if the devs manage to come up with even more game modes that don’t necessarily need to revolve around killing other blobs, a prime example of which is slime football, as mentioned earlier. Three Flip Studios have already shown they know how to think outside of the box with their previous release – Influent, and it would do them well to try and imprint as much of that ingenuity on Armed and Gelatinous as possible. Finally, hit feedback. There’s got to be that ‘oomph’ of hitting someone present to keep people entertained, and I’m not really feeling it right now. I am hardly the person to offer advice on matters of game development, but I’m hoping the devs figure this out in due time.

If you’re looking for an exclusively-hotseat multiplayer game to play with mates, siblings or whoever in bursts when there’s nothing else to do, Armed and Gelatinous should definitely be the game to look out for. Even better, even though it’s only just been released in Early Access, the current build will serve you well since it’s fairly stable and reliable. For more, we’ll have to wait and see what the full release brings us.