Bloody Trapland: Like a big, bloody, trap…. land
Playing as a commando cat with crimson fur, I gingerly leap between a set of spikes hanging from the ceiling of a blood-drenched desert cave and a set protruding from the floor as a saw blade whizzes past my little cat ears. I pull my head and feet together mid-air to narrowly dodge a bullet aimed at my cute kitty whiskers. Landing on my graceful paws at the edge of a cliff, I leap down a pit of spinning blades, dodging this way and that. Another fine landing and I leap to a nearby ledge.
Splat! Commando Cat explodes in a burst of blood as spikes stab out from the narrow ledge I’ve just landed on and it’s back to the start of the level. Again.
Bloody Trapland is bloody hard. The single-pane platformer, winner of the 2011 Karlshamn Game Concept Challenge, was designed to be just that. From level to level, the difficulty and traps continually increase (as will the deaths) until you start to wonder how many hundreds of sets of 9-lives you’ve gone through. Toss in three of your friends to increase the chaos, and you’ll be glad the game doesn’t keep track.
“We wanted to create a simple game, but still with depth,” said 2Play CEO and game designer/programmer Christoffer Torshall. “We wanted to create a simple yet addictive platform game that we ourselves would enjoy playing together with friends, no matter what earlier gaming experience they had. One of our main focus points was to create a game mechanic simple enough that you didn’t need an explanation beforehand, but still keeping the element of gradually becoming better and better.”
It’s that combination of simplicity, difficulty, skill and multiplayer that makes Trapland what it is: addictive and fun. But the most important aspect in this case is definitely the multiplayer.
Trapland has no real story or means of immersion besides the joy that comes from one success after a hundred failures. Intelligent but tough level design keeps that catharsis coming at regular enough intervals to keep your mind consumed with the game while you’re playing it, and the solid, well-handling controls leave plenty of room for game mastery, but the continual level repetition from death and complete lack of story make the single-player game largely forgettable. The true beauty of Bloody Trapland is found in bringing some feline companions to play alongside you.
The game supports local and online multiplayer for you and up to three of your friends, Xbox controllers in hand, with three different modes: racing, a cooperative (sort of) adventure and death match. It’s in these multiplayer modes that Trapland really shines.
Leaping off the exploding heads of your friends to a shortcut will have you laughing like a maniac until you walk straight into a trap and your friends suddenly get the joke and start laughing too. Each level will give you more reasons to bicker, giggle and cheer as you run, one after another, into blood-splattering saw blades, ground-pounding fists and molten pools of lava.
“One of my main goals was to create a game that I personally would enjoy playing with my friends, and I actually have had just as much fun playing it with others as I’ve had in developing it,” Torshall said. “If you ever get the chance to try it out playing with your friends locally on the same machine, do so! … All the rage and energy that generates when 4 people in the same room are trying to complete the levels is totally hysterical.”
Bloody Trapland’s multiplayer is hampered by a lack of active players (though Torshall said that problem has been relieved somewhat lately by an increasing player base), but if you’ve already got some friends and a couple controllers, you’ll find a wealth of fun hidden in this obscure title. The new price of $7.49 on Desura is a just right for the fun you’ll have with a few pals handy. You can give it a test drive by checking out the free demo at their website. If you can’t stand to support struggling developers, however, pick it up for a bargain price during one of its sales and let the bloody good times roll.
Pros: Smart and tough level design; A bloodbath of tough, rage-inducing fun in multiplayer; simple controls with high skill caps
Cons: A non-immersive and forgettable (though fun) single-player experience; a still small but growing gaming community means you may need to have friends already handyBloody Trapland: Like a big, bloody, trap.... land,