Photon Baby

Jeremias Babini
Suggested By:

Photon Baby is an excellent puzzle platformer, with NES-ish graphics and an interesting puzzle style. You play a little fellow with a sort of gun; while babysitting, the child you were caring for was kidnapped by a vampire bat, and you evidently have to fight through thirty platform levels featuring vampires and bats to get the brat back.

Vampires wear differently colored capes; some surfaces of each level are colored lines. You bullets are gray when fired, but take on the color of one of these lines; and a vampire can only be killed by a bullet the color of his or her cape. This is where the puzzle aspect comes in; you must figure out how to slay each vampire, given the organization of the level, and the positions of the colored lines.

The controls are quite simple; move with WASD or arrow keys, aim and shoot with the mouse. In addition, holding the space bar makes bullets move to the location of the mouse pointer, so you can drag bullets where you need them and release them.

At later levels, some cape colors do not match any of the colored lines; you need to bounce a bullet through two, different lines to change it by the laws of color combination. Sometimes more than two, in fact.

It's a nicely tuned game, with the difficulty ramping up over time; the difficulty is less in the platforming, which is straightforward, than in enemy evasion and figuring out solutions to the puzzles.

For a freeware game, it's quite polished, with very nice level design.


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Gameplay got stale fast

I have to admit I got tired of the gameplay pretty fast. I'm not sure why. It took me about two seconds to mentally solve each puzzle and something about actually running through the solution in-game was tedious to me. I have definitely found it frustrating at times to translate an obvious solution into action (Nitrome games with funky controls, mostly) but never did I just quickly get bored and turn it off halfway through like this.

Side note: He is not interested at all in getting the baby back. He just wants his science experiment he had handed over to keep it quiet. That part amused me to no end.

Were the controls a little

Were the controls a little choppy for anyone else? There was some kind of lag going on - it occured in the music as well, little skips? Didn't seem that hardcore a game that'd need more than my computer has?

I like the ability to use an attractor on the shot!

It was irritating, and yet...

The game had some pretty cool things going for it. The color system was really cool, especially when you started mixing colors. I liked the scoring system in the fact that it would take 10 points off for a death but you'd get 1000 points for beating a boss. I thought the combo system was really cool when I found out it existed.
However, I found the game kind of irritating in other ways. the difficulty curve was all over the place, there wasn't a good progression of skills that you learn over time. The game would seem to just throw in platforming challenges with instant-death spikes for no adequate reason(levels 17 and 26 are good examples). Sometimes the color mixing rules would work, and sometimes they wouldn't; the mechanics should have been consistent throughout the game. I mentioned the combo system was really cool, but it was nearly impossible to use because there were rarely any vamps of the same color and the mechanics for changing colors were arbitrary from level to level. The bosses were REALLY disappointing, the first one was pretty good, but the other two were so dependent on memorization over knowledge of the mechanics that they might as well have been from different games.
All of that said, I did end up finishing the game and I enjoyed myself well enough beyond these nitpicks. The game has a great art style and its charm helped win me over.

I think that the platforming

I think that the platforming / enemy dodging part of the game just got boring for you. Even if you can easily solve the puzzles, the rest of the game could have kept you busy. The last part of the game is certainly more platforming than puzzle.

Side note: he was even a little happy to have the baby kidnapped. I wonder what his wife would say?