September 15, 2013 10:36 PM | Paul Hack
Wild King, by La Ventanita (Moby Dick 2), seems like a pretty basic game at first, but it quickly reveals itself to be a deeper experience than your typical sidescrolling shooter. You are the wild boy-king of the woods, riding along on your flying blue turtle companion. Your enemies are cute but twisted animals-- your former forest friends mutated into monsters by a great evil, Dr, Robotnik-style.
Wild King is instantly endearing. Most of the graphics are made with paper cutouts, which gives the game a unique visual appeal. The controls are elegantly simple: Scrolling happens automatically and you just move around with the mouse and left-click to shoot. Hold the button down to keep firing.
In addition to avoiding enemies and their shots, you need to keep from getting stuck behind walls or other obstacles as the screen scrolls by without you. Large blocks will often obstruct your route, some of which can be pushed out of the way and others which must be blasted until they crumble. Often, these blocks will not be directly in your line of fire, and so you must make use of your bullets' ability to bounce. This bouncing also comes in handy while shooting enemies, especially on the levels that don't just scroll horizontally.
As you fly along, you scramble to collect golden leaves to add on to your treehouse castle, red hearts to refill your health, and blue plus symbols to unlock power-ups and increase your firepower. From the map screen, you can select a level, take a look at your castle, or view the bestiary and learn a little about each type of baddie, including the mechanical bosses that lie in wait for you.
Wild King is easy to pick and play but ends up displaying surprising complexity while ultimately becoming quite a challenge. If you like a little puzzle in your shooter, give Wild King a play in your browser.