The word ‘fusion’ always arouses curiosity. This is because it involves subjects that we are familiar with combining together to become something entirely new, something we have never seen before. However, this new creation can sometimes end up as something bland. Fusion restaurants, which were quite trendy in the past, have now all but vanished along with the novelty of odd food combinations. When done right however, fusions can turn familiar elements into a new and enjoyable experience.
When it comes to gaming, players often expect fusions to have only the best features of their original parts, which often leads to players being quite critical or disappointed when a fusion ends up not as great as they imagined. In contrast, there are other instances where players themselves, through sheer curiosity or boredom, change the way a game is played and end up creating a surprisingly wonderful fusion. The nature of fusion games is quite odd; some great ideas bring terrible results, and some terrible ideas give way to great experiences. However, whether by design or by chance, when a fusion game is done well, it can be a fun experience that is new and yet familiar. For those who find interest in such experiences, here’s a list of unthinkable fusion games.
Knights Fall - Pinball, but your projectiles are an army of knights
The first one on the list is called Knights Fall, a pinball game that involves both action and strategy. Knights Fall was developed by Carbon Eyed and resembles the classic game of pinball, but involves fighting enemies by launching soldiers out into a battleground. The company introduces a new genre known as ‘Fall Game’ through Knights Fall and the fairy tale version of the game, Tiny Fall. The game may look somewhat chaotic with all the destruction and countless projectiles bouncing in every direction, but the company’s aim of ‘simple controls with a swipe of your finger and thorough thinking’ is still well represented in this game.
The goal is simple. You are to launch soldiers and damage enemies or disable obstacles. You can change the direction of your soldiers’ launch, but they all eventually succumb to gravity and fall to the bottom just like in pinball. The element of fighting enemies with soldiers is similar to strategy games, the element of shooting and hitting targets is reminiscent of shooting games, and the map and general operation of Knights Fall function like a pinball game. The controls are relatively easy and a round is much more fast-paced than other strategy games.
The combination of pinball and action strategy in Knights Fall results in a game that has the general enjoyment of pinball but with the challenge and clear objectives of a strategy game. Rather than aimlessly knocking around projectiles, you’ve got to be smart about how you use them in order to clear objectives. As you progress, the game offers more challenge through various obstacles and enemies, which keeps your mind moving. While strategy becomes more involved, the main objective is always clear: defeat the enemy.
The game also provides numerous devices in the different stages that help with objectives or spice up gameplay. Players need to skim through the map and figure out where the devices are, and what obstacle you need to launch soldiers at in order to activate it. It can be quite entertaining just watching your soldiers bounce about in the fray or pile up on switches that require a lot of soldiers to activate. As the game progresses, the soldiers start to seem less like humans and more like bouncy balls.
Zombie Sweeper - Shooting Defense and Minesweeper
Made by a single developer, Zombie Sweeper has been nominated for the Top 3 of the Google Play Indie Games Festival 2017. While it is a fun game, it’s not one that players get the hang of right away. As the title suggests, the game resembles Minesweeper combined with a shooting defense game. It is a shooting game that requires to fight with zombies, but the general gameplay is similar to Minesweeper as you need to figure out how many zombies are hidden in different boxes based on the numbers you are given.
Most players can understand the rules of the game fairly easily. While not everyone has played shooting defense games, almost everyone has played minesweeper at some point, so most already know how the game works. Puzzle games are often difficult at first since people have to learn all the rules, but since most people know the rules of Minesweeper, almost anyone can easily pick up Zombie Sweeper.
Moreover, the game provides a three-dimensional map with various weapons such as a pistol, rifle, shotgun, sniper rifle, and chainsaw. This system adds a lot of fun to the Minesweeper-esque gameplay. The game also provides various modes like zombie shooting, cooperation, airstrike, and civilian rescue.
Crypt of the NecroDancer - Hey you! Shall we dance? Rhythm and Rogue-like
Next up is Crypt of the NecroDancer, a game that combines the rhythm and rogue-like genres. Developed by Brace Yourself Games, the game was released in 2014 and is similar to most rogue-like games, aside from the fact that players need to dance to the rhythm in order to move and attack. The title itself clearly embodies the features of the game, though it does make new players question if the game takes place in a dungeon or a nightclub.
Players progress through the dungeon by attacking and moving to rhythm that appears on the bottom of the screen. You can move one space per beat, but you won’t move or attack if your rhythm is off. Moreover, everything from the character designs to effects are all themed and centered around music, making the game a very coherent musical experience. Also, the voice of the market owner who sings everytime you enter the market is quite attractive.
The rhythm game element in Crypt of the NecroDancer provides some nice beats while also adding some difficulty to the gameplay. This unique system adds a lot of fun to the rogue-like game setting. Keeping track of the rhythm and using each beat strategically is both challenging and enjoyable. By combining these two genres, Brace Yourself Games has created an title that reinvents both game types into an innovative and fun experience.
Enter The Gungeon - Where do these bosses get their bullets? Shooting and Rogue-like
Whereas Crypt of the NecroDancer is a fusion game with rogue-like and rhythm genres, Enter The Gungeon consists of shooting and top-down rogue-like genres. It’s a bit like Binding of Isaac, but with guns. The game requires you to roam around the dungeon, shooting down enemies and bosses while evading their bullets.
As it is with most fusion games, the title is a pun. Just as you’d guess, the game is about using guns inside a dungeon. The puns don’t stop at the title though, as players will find much more word play and parody as they progress through the game. While ‘Gun’ is in the title, there are also other types of weapons that can be found and used for some unconventional combat.
The game’s difficulty is somewhat high. Just like all other rogue-like games, dying in the game comes with a big penalty. That, along with the bullet-hell-esque shooting, makes the game quite a challenge.
Thankfully you don’t have to constantly Matrix your way through the hellfire, since there are objects that you can use for cover. You can pick up the cover lying around and use it to defend yourself from incoming bullets, and give yourself a chance to reload. The ability to take cover is a nice shooting game element that really adds to the gameplay.
Rocket League - Racing and Soccer
The simplest way to summarise the game called Rocket League, which was voted number one on Steam right after its release in 2015, is soccer with rocket-propelled cars. Players are divided into the orange and blue teams and the one who scores more goals wins the match. The game requires you to play a typical game of soccer but with a car than can jump and boost around the field. The fields are usually a combination of soccer field and racing track.
The game is an expansion of the game called Supersonic Acrobatic Rocket--Powered Battle-Cars, which was released in 2008 for the PS3. The graphics and features in Rocket League are greatly improved compared to the previous game. Using Unreal Engine 3, the game boasts smooth backgrounds and detailed car models. There is also some nice customization available, allowing you to change the appearance of your car however you want.
The general rules of the game do not follow the typical rules of real-life racing or soccer. The only objective is to score a goal, even if you have to crash your car into walls or into the vehicles of the enemy team. If you prefer to play the game just to have a good time, then you can easily enjoy some casual matches. If you’re more into victory and competition, then you may need to practice a lot in order to become skilled at controlling your car.
Besiege - This was not what it is supposed to be…
Spiderling Studios’ Besiege released as an Early-Access game on Steam in January 2015 and is siege simulation game that requires you to create various weapons of mass destruction and wage war on various buildings and soldiers. Players can build a catapult with various materials and attack a castle, or make a tank and crush everything in their path. The game consists of stages and each stage has a different objective such as killing a certain amount of enemies or destroying particular objects, so you need to construct different types of siege weapons in order to complete the various stages.
However, when the game was released, developers were surprised to find that players only went through so much of the main content, and spent more time with a different part of the game. The players used the sandbox features of Besiege to unleash their imagination, creating absurd, brilliant, and even enormous siege constructs. Putting the siege war aside, players showed their creativity through countless weapons and even flying vehicles. Though more often than not the creations would not work as intended, players would still take pride in their masterpieces. In an odd but wonderful turn of events, the players of Besiege have taken a small part of the game and turned into something grand and fun.
There are many new genres being created by developers, and sometimes even by players. If a game introduces some interesting or new way to enjoy a simple concept, that new method may take shape as its very own form of gameplay. Besiege was meant to center around completing the various stages, with the weapon-building as a simple means to an end. However, the players found the means to be more entertaining than the end, and this shift in interest actually shaped the game in future updates. Besiege may not be a fusion game, but it is a standout example of the brilliance that can be born from the flexible minds of players and developers.
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