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Battle Painters

From the Database of Home of the Underdogs

GAME DESIGNER:

GAME DEVELOPER:JJ Soft

GAME PUBLISHER:Freeware

Copyright 2000, JJ Soft

Relax, friend. For this review, I am going to lead you into a dreamworld of happiness and colour, and it’ll read sort of like a hypnosis script; although not a particularly beneficial one. Unless you really want to learn about Battle Painters.

O.K.: take a deep breath, and let your eyes close naturally. No, wait a second, leave them open. Sorry.

You wake up in your computer room, relaxed and tinglingly warm. Floating gently into your chair, and in front of your 25 inch flat-screen monitor, you click on the icon for JJSoft’s Battle Painters and wistfully dream of some sort of Doom clone with lots of giggling room-mates wandering round the basement flicking paint at each other from gloopily-laden brushes.

At the title screen, a man, a woman, and two monkeys (you guess it, it’s manga-style) scroll up holding what seem to be gloopily-laden paintbrushes, and you lick your lips feverishly. Selecting Battle Mode over Rankings Mode you notice there can be 4 players, all of which can be human controlled, that the control scheme is a mere two buttons for each character, and that you can even create teams.

Excitedly, you hit play.

For the next few minutes, you sedately pilot a paintbrush around the screen, controlling their turns. You attempt to cover as much of the canvas as possible with your colour of paint, getting the powerups, and making an artful mess.

Does this sound like fun? It isn’t fun in the sense that these paintbrushes can coat the field in napalm, or fire needle-like bristles into the eyes of the other characters; but it is fun in a slow-moving, pretty way. Sort of similar to Liquid War, it’s a relaxingly pleasant diversion that will nibble at your time rather than compress it into a ball and slamdunk it. Hey, when you smack into another paintbrush you both bounce away and land with little crossed plasters on you, don’t expect uncute gameplay.

To the problems:

Ranking mode isn’t very engaging, as it’s a one player paint-fest where you try to rack up the highest percentage of canvas covered for the score table, and I can’t really see playgrounds full of kids boasting about such feats as scoring 100% in a game where “you sort of try to paint the whole canvas with a rotating brush.”

The in-game music sounds like the bit of an anime series where the baddies are vanquished and Sho and girlfriend Leena jump around and giggle and blush, except the music is on an endless loop. You may feel like turning it down after a while.

Simplistic AI, which does little more than weave around spinnily and avoid you (unless you’ve collected the powerup where the other brushes lose their paint until they knock into another brush, in which case they chase you around).

Being a 4-player game is where Battle Painters shines, and if you like multiplayer games I suggest you glance at this well-formed, and nicely unique, gem.



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