Shortly before joining the TGH team, I embarked on a long but great Indie Games trip which made me play many forgotten gems on PC and the Xbox LIVE Indie Games platforms. Amongst the games that grabbed my attention, Hermitgames’s Leave Home was one of my favourites (to be honest, it is my #1 Xbox LIVE Indie Game). The studio is back to kick off the Indie Games Uprising 3 promotion with another game called qrth-phyl, a blend of many genres that piqued my interest as soon as I heard about it. There is still one thing to know and thatis if the game is as good as it looks.
qrth-phyl borrows from many other games. At its core, it is a remake of the old Snake game (eat one pellet, your snake grows by one unit and so on). However, it brings in elements similar to Geometry Wars, Pac Man: Championship Edition DX and Rez (just like Leave Home). The game starts out as your traditional Snake game on a two-sided 2D plane until you reach a specific amount of pellets collected. At this point, an exit opens in the middle of the level. Once you touch this exit, you enter into a 3D area in which you still play the same old Snake game but from a totally different perspective. Those who learned how to navigate in zero gravity like in Descent will have no problem moving around in this part of the game while others will definitely need a bit of time to learn. Once this area is cleared, your character goes back outside the “cube” in a Super Mario Galaxy-like level. The game keeps growing into a crazier experience afterward, throwing in deadly lasers and enemy snakes to make your life harder.
While all of this may sound relatively simple, the game does get insanely crazy rather quickly. Whether it is the short game space you are allowed to move in, the ridiculously huge amount of hazards on screen or simply the length of the snake, qrth-phyl does manage to make you feel like you are under constant danger even though the core mechanic is very easy to master. However, this never gets out of control and it is always a blast to restart a new game to beat your best score. For the ones that want to test out their skills in specific areas of the game, the game includes a single-area game mode that can be played and it also supports local leaderboards.
On the production side, qrth-phyl is more or less along the same lines as its Hermitgames predecessor; Trippy Rez-like graphics that fit the gameplay perfectly, taking you in a retro yet futuristic environment. As for the audio, it also hits home perfectly with synthesizer sounds that makes it feel like you are changing channels on a radio when you are moving the snake around in the 3D environment.
qrth-phyl is a great game. It does not seem like much at first but I dare you to try it out and walk away indifferent about it afterwards. Its gameplay is fun and highly addictive which makes it one of the best Xbox LIVE Indie Games out there, keeping the bar as high as previous Hermitgames titles did. If you have a few Microsoft Points lying around, you should definitely buy this game right away.
qrth-phyl is available on the Xbox LIVE Indies Games channel for the Xbox 360 for 80 Microsoft Points ($1USD) and on PC for $2.99 at hermitgames.com . The game is also on Steam Greenlight at http://steamcommunity.com/sharedfiles/filedetails/?id=92940165 .
Game experience at time of redaction: Cleared all of the game’s area. Progressed through 50% of the game.
- Interesting take on an old video game classic
- Simple and very addicting gameplay
- Beautiful art
- Very low price
- Some people might not like the low replay value