Monthly Archives: November 2010

The Polynomial: A Story of Variables and Constants

The Polynomial is a fucking hard game to describe. I suppose the easiest way to describe is that it’s what we thought the future of games would be in the 80s. The gameplay is simple enough, fly through space collecting power ups while shooting pissed off Pac-Men, but the artstyle is distinctively retro-futuristic. Remember when you watched Tron? Yeah, that sort of look. The beauty in the game lies in the fractal based level generation system, where it uses what I guess are polynomial calculations to randomly generate a level. If awesome level generation isn’t your thing (dirty hippy), then there are about 30 pre-generated arenas for you to choose. If, on the other hand, you want even more control over the level, there’s a fairly in-depth editor  for you to use. It’s fucking hard to understand, not even the developer can predict the outcome of the editor, but it’s also piss easy to use. Just right click on the variable you want change, and drag your mouse. And then hope it doesn’t break the game (some changes just wipe a level).

I guess I should of said this earlier, but it’s also a music game. Boring people can just use the built-in soundtrack, but it’s worth the time to set up your own. It’s a bit of a pain to use your music, as you can’t just drag your music to a folder, you have to make a playlist and export it to a playlist folder. Once you set it up, you can mix and match playlists (a person less lazy then I could, say, set up a ‘rock’ playlist and a ‘jazz’ playlist, etc. I just throw everything into the one playlist), change song ordering and start new songs, and there’s also hotkeys in-game for changing songs, so it’s not all bad. There’s also 4 different settings for how the game reacts to the music, ‘None’ for boring people, 2 different ‘light shows’ for average people and ‘wave’ for wonderfully awesome people like me, which makes the whole level move with the beat/melody. There’s all sorts of options for how the level moves, how much, how fast, etc and it’s a great feeling to find exactly the right settings you want. All songs work good, but some just seem to ‘click’ with the game, which provides a very Zen experience. Haven’t played Gimmie Shelter in The Polynomial? Then you don’t know shit about Zen. The Polynomial is a great game, well worth the price of the Indie Pulse Deal, and I’m sure it’ll be worth $10 once the deal is over.

Screenshot gallery:

8/10