Some games don’t follow the traditional convention in that they don’t necessarily plot a linear path, or even present you with specific goals. Take The Sims for instance. Instead these games give you a set of tools, toys or characters and you decide how the game should be played. “Simulation” or “Sandbox” are the terms often used to describe such games. Whatever you call them I find that these often provide the greatest potential for fun. Maybe it’s my natural sense of curiosity or penchant for exploration. In Powder Game experimentation is the setting of the day. Upon loading you’re presented with an invitingly empty space and numerous ingredients with which to add however you please. To name just a few are Water, Fire, Ice, Oil, Magma, Seeds…even those little pink Super Balls we’re all familiar with…and of course the mysteriously essential Powder. Now you might think this all amounts to abstract mixing and blending but it turns out this is only the tip of the iceberg. What you find after spending a little time with the game is a chance to experiment with cause and effect in new, even at times fascinating, ways. The best example I can give you are the numerous (and highly creative) ‘saves’ uploaded by fellow players. There are always three or four featured on the homepage or you can go to the rankings. By playing a few of these you’ll see how others have set up elaborate chain reactions waiting for the final push of the button. They do tend to vary in quality so try out several before moving on.
At first it seems almost strange that everything is presented as tiny pixels; but once things get moving you realize just how brilliant this turns out to be as it allows for convincing physics reactions. Without a doubt the most enjoyable aspect for me has been discovering how the various ingredients react to one another. When you’re ready to start setting up chain reactions a good starting point is to use Metal and Ice (for bowls and ramps). Solid, unbreakable Block works great as well. From there pools of liquid or powder can be strategically placed about, waiting for something to react with. A well placed Wheel or Fan tend to work well for getting things moving. Don’t be surprised if, along the way, you stumble on a self-replenishing miniature ecosystem in your experiments. It can happen.
There’s no denying the appeal of explosions, which probably accounts for the inclusion of Gunpowder, Nitro, Fireworks and…stick men? Yes; for the sake of scale (or some such thing) little stick men can be added to the mix, of which there are two types. Your fighters jump and kick about, apparently looking for something to beat up or fall into. Player stick men, on the other hand, can actually be controlled using the arrow keys on your keyboard. Just be sure to avoid the Fighters. How to best implement these I’ll leave up to you.
Powder Game is, without a doubt, one of the most original games I’ve ever played. The addition of playable user-created uploads provides for unlimited replay value and helps to inspire one’s own creations. I also really appreciate the ability to save a work-in-progress, especially with this being a browser game.
P.S. If you find you really enjoy messing around with the stick Fighters, as well as the occasional role-playing adventure, you may want to check out Stick Ranger.
Designer: Dan-Ball (ha55ii)
Format: Browser (Flash) Game
File Size: N/a
Control Scheme: Keyboard & Mouse
Version Played: 5.8
Visit the Official Homepage