March 6, 2015 5:00 AM | Joel Couture
When Jonathan Whiting and his brother David get together, cool musical game things happen. Jonathan's most recent game, Mussel, throws players into an unruly ocean inspired by one of David's tracks. A rhythm game, but not in the sense of hitting buttons in time to the beat, Mussel pulses and the action rises as the music's intensity increases. The game's only the length of one track, but somehow manages to squeeze impressive glitch visuals, catchy music, and interesting gameplay elements into its short play time.
It's very easy to just jump right into the shmup gameplay. You play a tiny ship floating through dangerous seas, shooting your way through the acquatic life in your way. One aspect that makes the game stand out from other shmups is that it's hard to move while shooting. Shots kick the ship back, making it difficult to maneuver and shoot at the same time, so you often have to position yourself and choose your shots rather than just spray bullets as you roam. It added an interesting layer of strategy to what's otherwise a simple, short game. Familiar power ups that increase your shot frequency or give you a shield are also there, but that kickback really makes the gameplay feel fresh.
The visuals, while appearing simple in screenshots, showcase some neat glitch artwork when using bombs and some other interesting flares as the game progresses. Watching the last boss explode is quite an event, one that shakes the screen so hard you think your monitor will burst. The game's many visual effects really make it something special to see, and considering it's absolutely free, you should get it right now and try it yourself.