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Freeware Game Pick – They Came From Verminest

Locomalito (creator of 8-Bit Killer, Hydorah and others) releasing a new game is always a good reason to sit up, pay attention and play some videogames. Today marks the launch of his latest project, They Came From Verminest, a Galaga-inspired love letter to early 80s arcade games and cheesy 50s sci-fi. Pop on those red/blue 3D glasses, blast off and come zap some bugs. After the break, the delightfully low-fi, live-action trailer and some thoughts on the game.

Officially a spinoff from Hydorah (his excellent Gradius-inspired shmup), you’re on another mission into space, and into the depths of the bug-filled planet Verminest. This one is shorter and simpler stuff, of course. A fond reminder of just how simple videogames can be, there’s not much to this beyond dodging, shooting and grabbing the occasional powerup. Don’t mistake ‘simple’ for ‘easy’ though. With very limited lives and no continues, it’ll take most people a fair few tries to get to the end.

The graphics are resolutely monochrome here, simple as can be. There’s two visual filter modes to polish things up a little, though. The first is a scratchy 50s cinema effect, just for laughs, and the second is downright nifty if you’ve got an old pair of red/blue 3D glasses to hand. You too can experience pixellated SCIENCE-FICTION TERROR in the THIRD DIMENSION with the aid of ADVANCED DUOCHROMATIC POLARIZATION! Fun stuff, if you’ve got some spare. There’s even an appropriately tinny FM music synth used, just like Capcom’s old arcade cabinets.

It’s an expertly balanced, tough and rewarding little game. The level design mixes things up a little beyond the original Galaga format, and it’s about 45 minutes long if you’re going for the end. It’s also very unapologetic about beating you right back to the start if you don’t make muster. If you have some fond memories of the early decades of gaming, or just want something a little tough and retro, this is an essential download.

[They Came From Verminest]