Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Paint Wars

Before I start, I want to make it perfectly clear that I realise I am not the target audience for Paint Wars. I engage in neither painting nor war, but the idea of combining the two does appeal to me.

The object of Paint Wars is simple - every level contains a number of shapes which you must draw (or more accurately paint) by clicking and dragging the mouse across the screen. Unfortunately this is not as easy as it sounds, as an army of brightly coloured assault vehicles want to stop you from painting your pinko freethinking shapes. It's a bit like East Germany except a lot more explicit and with even worse music.

Things start off easily enough. Just draw the shapes that you see on screen. Simple, right? I played this on a laptop, meaning I didn't have a proper mouse. But one would assume having a touchpad allows for greatly flexibility and faster drawing, which is a big advantage when the enemies start appearing. One would assume wrong.

In Level 2, all hell broke loose. Talk about a learning curve - I went from simple geometric shapes to hummers blitzkrieging across the screen. If they happen to drive over any of the shapes you've already done, you have to draw the shape again. The only way to get rid of the enemies is to click on them, but they're quickly replaced by more. So now you have to draw a bunch of shapes and destroy an army of fast moving Humvees. You'd think Humvees would be easier to squash, what with the low gas mileage and everything, but that's not the case at all.

The resulting mess looks kind of cool, but it's hard to appreciate it when you're trying to, you know, complete the level. Looking at these shots, I never realised just how frigging harsh that colour scheme is. Flourescent pinks and greens are not what you want to see when you're running on five hours' sleep and tea sugary enough to bring John Cadbury back from the dead.

Planes are a whole heap of fun, because they don't just cut through your painting; they drop bombs that explode in a hail of yellow and that are impossible to stop. So let's recap: your heart rate rises exponentially due to stress, your retinas are burned away by the glaring colours and you want to burst your own eardrums rather than listen to the annoying trance beat that loops ad nauseum throughout the game.

War is hell.

The only thing more annoying than planes? Tanks. Tanks that require two clicks to destroy them. I get the strange feeling that not only am I not the target audience for Paint Wars, the developer Coolio actually hates people like me, and this game is his revenge. Well, I'm sorry if I didn't spend my adolescence drinking Dutch Gold and listening to DJ Tiesto. The fact is, I grew a beard and stayed in my room listening to Nirvana and The Smiths, and if you think I'm changing now, you're greatly mistaken!

I was wrong - there is something more annoying than tanks. it's planes and tanks, together, in a never ending cavalcade of malice. I wanted to play this game - I must be punished.

At some point I realised that I didn't actually have to draw a perfect shape; all I had to do was cover everything with paint. So I started taking the easy way out and covered the entire screen with bright pink emulsion. Unfortunately this approach only works for so long, and it was only a matter of time before it backfired on me.

I am three years old again. And there is paint everywhere except where it most needs to be. Unfortunately there's no button that gets your mum to come along and colour in near the lines for you, so I was pretty much stuck at Level 7. To be honest I was surprised I got even that far without putting my foot through a wall (yes, a wall.) Paint Wars is the sort of game that's good in small amounts, which is pretty much what most people require in an online game. But I don't expect it will garner many fans or obsessives. I could be wrong though - fill the room with enough people off their heads on Ecstacy and you might just have the most bangin' rave this year.

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