Sunday, May 22, 2011

Of Preparedness and Bonesaws

With the recent news of Randy Savage's death, I've seen the word bonesaw around a lot more than usual. While this mostly brings Randy Savage to my mind, it also reminds me of another thing. Bonesaw: The Game is a free 2D platformer/beat 'em up for PC by Kyle Pulver. It can be downloaded from his website here. I remember reading about it a while back, and I played through quite a bit of it, though I don't have the save file anymore. It's a pretty fun charming little game.


I like the look of the game. It is simple, but it has a distinctive style, and the limited color palette for the sprites gives it an authentic look that many retro games don't achieve. The music matches the feel of the game's look and feel, and it is generally cheerful and fun. The story is weird and funny in a way that few modern games are, and it apparently references a lot stuff from the creator's university. Of course, the most obvious reference isn't related to his university, but to Randy Savage and the bonesaw.

It's weird playing a game like this on PC because even though the game has a retro design, the platform doesn't have a strong history of 2D platformers or beat 'em ups. Even so, this is a solid game. Bonesaw: The Game starts as the main character's hockey team is kidnapped. He goes on a journey to save them, fighting rival team's hockey players and collecting hockey pucks. I suppose the sprites have the limited palette with only one dominant color to show off the teams' colors. The platforming physics and the fighting system are both simple and good.

The most exciting part of the game is when you get the ability to use the limited-time bonesaw. When activated, Randy Savage flashes on the screen and says “BONESAW IS READY!” The player is the given the bonesaw weapon, which destroys everything in a flashy manner. The regular attack causes enemies to fly off screen, the forward attack shoots a blade beam, and the jump attack is a spin attack. There are other weapons you can pick up sometimes, and while they are nice, they are not the bonesaw.

Both the combat and the platforming become more difficult further into the game. The big bosses are quite challenging, as is the later platforming you have to do, especially if you want to find all the golden hockey pucks. It's a fun little game that is definitely worth a bit of your time. If anything, playing it will make you feel like you are honoring Randy Savages memory more so than making some stupid joke connecting him to the failed rapture.

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