April 16, 2013 4:37 PM | John Polson
Matt Thorson (Give Up Robot) and Alec Holowka (Aquaria) have just released an intergalactic beat'em up on Adult Swim called Planet Punch. A wonderful re-imagining of Ludum Dare 23 entry Ra Ra: Extreme Star Boxing, Planet Punch has become a large, single-player game filled with survival, time challenge, and boss stages. Destroying a boss leads to another galaxy to explore and more planets to adorn as gloves for fighting.
Two sets of controls exist for the game: either WASD plus mouse (rather useful for aiming at enemies and setting up collision combos) or all-keyboard play. I don't want to spoil all the jokes and fun, but be sure to play to at least stage 1-4 where combos really come into play with a hectic 8-ball smashing around the stage.
Alec Holowka told me that this was his first completed collaboration with Matt, along with help from Frederico Machuca for the 3D enemies in the otherwise 2D game.
Alec spoke to me about the project's development. "Initially Matt pitched it to me as a single player version of RaRa, but it quickly changed into something different. Ra Ra uses the momentum of the stars to 'throw' the planets, but this ended up feeling tedious in single player.
"So we went with good ol' FPS style controls instead, and focused on making the punching feel really satisfying. This is the first time we've collaborated on something that actually got released, I think. And it's the first time we've collaborated on music."
I asked Alec why this project became successful, whereas other collaborations haven't been so. "Matt and I actually live together now in an IndieHouse in Vancouver. We first collaborated on a version of Marian, I think.
"I think the reason this one worked is that we were both opening to discovering and changing the game as we prototyped it. We both decided to put gameplay and fun first, and that freed us up to let the game be whatever it wanted to be.
"We were giggling a lot while designing the game, just at the absurdity of the concepts. I mean you're a rogue star punching things in the face with Earth and Uranus... I had a really fun day sitting at the kitchen table with my MIDI keyboard writing cheesy saxophone solos into the score. We had a lot of fun making the game and we felt very confident about it the entire time. Those are always good signs."
Matt Thorson and Alec are already working on another project together. For now, Planet Punch awaits players for free.