Super Worm

The Radiant Combination of Two Classic Arcade Games

Radiance by developers SteakFace games combines two of the most fun and addictive arcade games in gaming history into one. Pong meets Snake – the classic arcade game not the hero from the Metal Gear series, in this new and modern take on our favorite old-school arcade games from the seventies. Combining two concepts from two of the most played classic arcade games in one game might be a daunting task for most game developers, but apparently the guys who made Radiance were willing and capable of accomplishing the task – creating a new game that is fun, addictive and modern.

That Classic Old School Look

To capture the feel of the past, SteakFace games decided to use Pong and Snake’s old school graphics engine with a little touch of blur effect to eliminate the blocky and jagged look. Additional colors and lighting effects were also added on later stages as parts of the game’s mechanics and also to enhance the overall visual presentation of the game. The look of the worm or snake the player controls comprises of different segments that lengthen and change color depending on the rhomboid – edible colored crystals, devoured. These are not just for show but rather play a key role in the game’s objective – which we will discuss in the gameplay section of the review.

Radiance game’s screen has a very clean and neatly arranged look that we normally see in classic arcade games. With the main screen being just the right size, so players can easily maneuver their worms – no pun intended, on the game’s playing field. The game’s score board, options and other gameplay information are located at the right side of the game’s screen and have that classic Tron look from the eighties that we all love, except the fonts were colored neon green rather than the classic white.

Messages and tips are written on the game screen itself and while this helps players with what tactics they might need to do in order to clear the level, we find it kind of annoying since it sometimes distracts us during the game. We found ourselves accidentally reading the texts on the screen rather than concentrating on maneuvering the worm properly, which caused us to either ram the side wall or bite our own tail – which are both considered a death in Snake’s gameplay. It would have been great if the developers added an option to remove the messages on the screen, so that the player would not get distracted by them. Still, these messages disappear later on once the player reaches a certain level and all the tips the developer wanted to share with the player have been shown.

Other visual effects are presented once the player reaches a certain point in the game, such as only having a few remaining colored blocks left to clear, this triggers a rhythmic blinking of the blocks and an increase in the tempo of the music – this really got our adrenaline pumping. The developer, SteakFace has accomplished something most game developers should strive to achieve, which is visual and audio synchronization to enhance a game’s overall experience.

The Slithering Sound of Success

Like a cobra waiting to strike, Radiance’s soundtrack starts off calm and simple, but in an instant revs up to an intense beat that will get the adrenaline pumping for gamers both old school veterans and novices alike. The music’s tempo actually reflects the player’s progress in the game, as the player gets closer to clearing the level the beat picks up to give a sense of urgency. What we really love about the background music in Radiance is the composition itself. At the beginning, the music feels mysterious and foreboding, which then becomes a sort of chase music – this was something we really appreciated since it the gives the player’s action within the game relevance especially since it is triggered by the player. Using various instruments such as drums, cymbals and a piano, the game’s developer obviously did not want to produce a game with a mediocre audio presentation – we really applaud them for this decision.

The game’s sound effects were presented in a unique way that it was kind of hard to tell whether you were hearing a sound effect or the background music itself. Since the game’s music changes its tempo when the ball hits the worm or breaks a colored block, this makes it a bit difficult to know if what you are hearing is an effect or not. Whether or not the sound effects were sacrificed in exchange for an interactive sound track, we strongly feel that it was worth the trade off. Still, menus and other optional commands such as pausing the game could have used some audio effects just to give Radiance a more complete feel.

Classic Gaming at Its Finest

Radiance combines gameplay mechanics from both Pong and Snake. You take control of a worm or snake – we can not really tell, and your objective is to devour colored crystals called rhomboids and clear the stage of any colored blocks. These colored rhomboids not only increase your length but also add a colored segment to your body. Once the ball hits the colored segment, it changes color. Players can then use these colored balls to break the colored blocks which are scattered all over the level. Clearing all the colored blocks lets the player move on to the next level. While the mechanics of the game are straightforward, clearing the level with the fastest time rewards the player with more points for their overall score tally.

The game added a certain feature where in the player can summon the ball towards their worm so that it can bounce off or hit a colored segment in order to change the ball’s characteristic. By using the space bar, the player can call the ball towards them – a space bar meter is located at the right side of the screen under the options menu; this can aid the player in making a strategic move so they can hit a specific colored block.

As the player’s worm or snake acquires different colored segments throughout the level, these colored segments automatically change once the corresponding colored blocks are cleared. As an example, once all red blocks are cleared the red segments change to the color of the blocks remaining on the stage. This really helps with the clearing of the stage since it would be pretty hard having a multi-colored worm when you only have a specific colored block left – it would have been a great challenge for puzzle game enthusiasts though.

Player’s should also watch out for the ball multiplier icon – it is represented by a letter M rhomboid. Devouring the multiplier icon will grant the player an additional ball, which can be a real time saver since it multiplies the chances of hitting multiple colored blocks at the same time.

A Radiating Conclusion

Radiance might have started out as an attempt to cash in on the popularity of two of the most recognizable classic arcade games in history, but the developer, SteakFace games was able to achieve something most game makers can only dream of and that is creating something new, with its fun and addictive gameplay, accompanied by an outstanding audio presentation, Radiance is a highly recommended game for all. Whether you are a novice looking for something new to play or a veteran Pong and Snake player from the seventies searching for your next great challenge, this game has something you will surely appreciate. We award SteakFace’s Radiance a radiating score of 88/100.