Developer: Andy Wallace
Platforms: PC, Mac
Shoot-em-ups - or shumps as they're known - usually revolve around shooting. Particle Mace does not, and crafts a fun and challenging game from the usual shmup framework.
You're in control of a damaged ship among dangerous debris and hordes of enemies. Your projectile weapons don't work, but you do have one final ace up your sleeve: a particle mace, a trailing cluster of particles that obliterate anyone on contact. Like the Pacifism mode in Geometry Wars or Radiangames' Fireball, Particle Mace is all about evasion and close calls as you thread between enemies and debris. Alone, the game would be enjoyable, due to the smooth controls and different hazards to avoid, but your mace weapon adds a great offensive aspect to the gameplay. Not only are you looking for gaps and areas to maneuver, you're looking for way to gain momentum and space to swing your weapon around and line up hits. It's a fun weapon to use, a fine line between being in control and being at the mercy of physics and momentum, and each hit is punctuated with a split-second pause that makes each kill satisfying. As hazards pore in from all angles, and then even the arena itself starts moving, Particle Mace is a game where you must stay focused and adaptive to survive.
Particle Mace offers a number of different modes to test your evasive and mace swinging skills, between the various Arcade difficulties and Asteroid Field, even competitive and co-operative multiplayer. If you enjoy fast paced frantic arcade gameplay that requires skills to progress, then check out Particle Mace. You can purchase the game from the developer's site.