QCF: Offspring Fling!

Offspring Fling is a nice blend of puzzle/platform, and the rules are simple enough. As the momma, your job is to get the babies to the door safely. The offspring can be carried (even stacked up) or flung in a straight line. The stage layout and placement of puzzle elements are the barrier to your success. Switches enable or disable blocks, bumpers ricochet objects, enemies will actively obliterate your kin, and so-on. Each new stage gradually incorporates more set peices, and thickens the complexity of the challenge.

While the gameplay is engaging, the difficulty doesn't impose itself until late in the campaign. It's easy to fly through a vast amount of it in a couple of hours. This is offset with ghost playthroughs that the player can race against for better completion times.

A level editor has also been included; I've been a sucker for these features ever since their inclusion in games like Excitebike and Wrecking Crew on the NES. Luckily the community around this title is pretty large, and there are a number of enjoyable and challenging user-created stages to try.

As for graphics, Offspring Fling has the charming visual style of a Super Nintendo game, but with a few modern touches. Specifically, the pulsing vignette and numerous sprites come to mind. Black or dark colors fill the negative space, while brighter colors highlight the landscape and stage objects. This is contrasted against a background with a rich predominate color. The linework is thick, and details are kept at a minimum to create an animated look. Oddly, the framerate looks a bit stilted. Whether intentionally retro or not, a higher framerate would have better served the game.

Though the soundtrack is more modern with its rich sounds and multi-layered instruments, the concept is very much retro. Melodies are often short and memorable, invoking this mischevious whimsy when newer game tracks are either too subtle or pounding your ears with heavy bass and drums. Sound effects are very poignant, and tied to specific actions which, again, works to that feel of old-school sound design. And if I'm not mistaken, the coin sound is a nod to the Mario series.

The enticing gameplay and creative community of Offspring Fling will keep players coming back. The retro styling also speaks to my heart. I'd like to see the title make the jump to mobile, as I feel it's framework would especially work well for that platform. However, there's no problem snagging a Steam copy or direct download from the developer's amazing website.


Four.Five of out of Five Hadokens

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