Here’s a great game: a scratchy, noisy, ridiculously tough arcade game that I can’t stop one-more-trying. You control a heart-shaped entity, zooming it through top-down 2D mazes, trying to find each level’s key to open the exit. All the while just about everything else is trying to kill you.
By everything, I mean swinging pikes, stabbing knives, fire-spurting clusters, patches of spikes, and the ever-growing number of furious swords that pursue you everywhere you go, should you ever make the ridiculous mistake of staying still.
Along the way you can gather treasure, carried on your heart’s… tail? These can then be spent in bizarre stores that appear every few levels, giving you bonus items that frankly I barely understood. Still, it felt good to have them.
I started off playing with the mouse, before discovering it’s somehow a very different game than when playing with a controller. Mouse controls are brilliantly bonkers, the game seeming to run faster, more erratically, but in a way that felt great. However, for better progress, the controller proves the more suitable choice.
While the games have almost nothing in common, FEWAR-DVD really reminds me of Teleglitch, with its glitchy world, rapid pace, and a constant sense that if I play it one more time I’ll reach that tiny bit further. And importantly, I do.
Each round I get a higher score, a little bit further in, and gain a smidgeon more understanding of the process. Plus it has kick-ass music, and a superbly bemusing visual style. At under £4, you’d be silly not to.