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GDC 2009: Diatomic WiiWare Preview

SuperBlipsBros: vote it up!

Grendel Games shows off a work-in-progress version of its Sinistar-inspired WiiWare action game.

SAN FRANCISCO–While wandering around the Moscone Convention Center this morning, we had the good fortune to bump into Tim Laning, founder of Grendel Games. The Netherlands-based indie developer has a number of games in the works, including Diatomic–a WiiWare action game that we got to see for the first time today. Inspired by the ’80s arcade game Sinistar, Diatomic is a shooter of sorts, set within the confines of a particularly dangerous petri dish.

Assuming the role of an organism that’s similar in appearance to the first playable creature in flOw, your mission in each level (75 are planned) is simply to kill all of the enemies on the screen so you can progress to the next. There’s an interesting twist, though: Large “spawner” enemies constantly introduce new enemies to the dish, so if you avoid destroying them you can score a lot of points killing the increasingly challenging waves of smaller enemies that they spawn.

Those enemies will purportedly include around 10 different organisms, including drones that fire projectiles at you, revolvers that spin around firing in every direction, and unusual “pregnant Mary” creatures that grow rockets and homing missiles inside their bellies. Like the spawners, these femmes fatales can be destroyed before they deliver, or you can wait for them to give birth to their deadly offspring and then earn points for destroying those. If you’re familiar with the Geometry Wars series, you’ll find that enemies in Diatomic–though clearly more complex–feel similar in that each species behaves differently but predictably. You’ll also know that being able to predict enemies’ behavior doesn’t always make them easier to deal with when you’re onscreen with two or three different species simultaneously.

While swimming around in the petri dish using the analog stick, you’ll have two basics methods of attack at your disposal, as well as a third that needs to be charged up before you can use it. The first attack is to use your tail as a whip, which you’ll achieve by flicking the Wii Remote in the direction of your target. The second involves the use of a shield (with a limited but recharging supply of energy) that, rather than deflecting or absorbing enemy projectiles, holds onto them so that you can launch them at enemies later. Killing enemies will earn you “spinergy,” which fuels your powerful spinball move. The spinball move appears to temporarily render you immune to enemy attacks and is apparently one of only two ways that it’s possible to kill the aforementioned spawners.

Another way to achieve high scores in Diatomic will be to use score multipliers and special combos at every opportunity. Score multipliers will be triggered when you kill large numbers of drones, while combos with names like “Back At Ya,” “Minesweeper,” and “Clint Eastwood” will involve meeting very specific criteria–killing a specific enemy in a specific way, for example.

Grendel Games hasn’t set a release date for Diatomic yet, but we’re told that it plans to have the game finished within the next couple of months. We look forward to bringing you more information on this promising action game in the future.

Check out the source at GameSpot

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