After the heavy subject matter and dense theoretical prose of your last Mid-week Mission, I am just going to make this one a brief recommendation of another cheap, oft-overlooked indie product. This might just be another outlying opinion on a tiny title, but when it comes to Offspring Fling!, I love the game.
After beating Offspring Fling! casually (or as soon as you care to notice it), the real challenge of the title opens up: one of the most precise and challenging speed-run systems built into a game of which I am aware, which upon completion unlocks a suite of precision platforming bonus levels.
Precision Platforming in Offspring Fling!:
Maybe it’s because I am a glutton for punishment, but I am almost halfway to beating the developer times on all of the levels of Offspring Fling! (which are an even less forgiving tier of objectives beyond an already daunting set of gold times). It’s clear from the developer’s method of clearing even the very first level that Kyle Pulver is intimately familiar with not just how the mechanics of his game work, which goes without saying, but also with actually utilizing the mechanics as a player.
Pulver exploits the fact that picking up a child once a jump has already commenced does not truncate a jump like jumping after picking one up; he exploits the fact that jumping rapidly in small corridors will speed the player-character up, though jumping in an open area will slow the player-character down; and within any given level he uses many more situational techniques. Finding and executing maneuvers like these are where the real puzzling challenge is for me in Offspring Fling!, and the ‘dev ghost’ which appears when you near its time on a level is a well-implemented nudge toward the solution.
The actual puzzles of the game are relatively easy, and I wish more of Offspring Fling! was focused on (and built around) the unforgiving platforming of the 20 bonus levels, as Pulver clearly has a knack for designing them. The art, too, is relatively charming, if a bit overdone on the cutesy side (still, I would be remiss if I did not mention that the slight shaking animation of the motherly player-character when one of the children explodes is good for half a second of pathos).
Further Virtues of Offspring Fling!:
Another great thing about Offspring Fling! is the sound. The sound effects add an incredibly satisfying responsiveness to maneuvers, which assists tremendously in knowing when an action has occurred for moving those few frames faster to beat the dev times. The soundtrack is outstanding. Now, I hear a lot of game reviewers praise the soundtrack of indie games for being great, and they often are, but I consider the music of Offspring Fling!, despite its utter simplicity (and that there are really just a few tracks in all) to be truly wonderful.
Its bouncing, simplistic title theme actually gets stuck in my head. That is something that has not happened to me with a video game’s background music since the original Sonic the Hedgehog trilogy and the Legend of Zelda series (more recent examples of games with nearly unbeatable music, in my estimation, would be VVVVVV and FTL: Faster Than Light).
Offspring Fling! was a game which I obtained simply because it was added as a bonus game to a Humble Bundle at some point, and I expected very little out of it; it blew me away. Though I definitely can not predict that this is the norm, Steam says I have already played this game (whose main campaign can probably be completed in a leisurely 2 or 3 hours) for 14 hours.
If you’re only looking for a puzzle platformer, then I would say that Offspring Fling! is fairly standard fare (though this is a peaceful, enjoyable offering on that front), but if you’re a perfectionist like me—the type who chewed up Super Meat Boy and spat it back out—and you like your games blazing hard, then I defy you to prove yourself and complete this innocuous game 100%. As a person who beat all of the remix bosses in Rogue Legacy; all of The Lost’s unlocks in The Binding of Isaac: Rebirth before any of the buffs; a no gold run, a 1,000,000+ gold run, and a sub-8-minute run in Spelunky; and obtained all of the trinkets in VVVVVV, Offspring Fling! has provided me with a challenge that I have not, as of yet, surmounted.
A Hidden Gauntlet: