Friday, May 20, 2016

The Friday FREE GAME Feature! Ep65: Grass Is No More

Mowin' the lawn, movin' the lawn!

Grass Is No More is a lawn mower driving "simulator" where you score points by cutting grass while avoiding obstacles. It was developed during a competition in a limited time, so it's not going to have all the bells and whistles that one might expect due to the deadline.

Each level places you in a square yard with similar obstacles - tree stumps (or logs), trees, power poles and the nefarious RC car that can stop you immediately if you come in contact with it. You get bonus points for running over mole hills and can hit the crates to get a short-term rocket boost (which will often run you headlong into a tree). I should also mention you have 60 seconds to finish each level.

The controls are straightforward (arrows or WASD to move and space to jump), but it's not as easy as it sounds. The lawn mower handles about as good as a real one might, if it were long past its prime, including sometimes taking several pulls before it finally starts. It's fairly common to get stuck along the wall or even between obstacles, trapping you for some amount of time (if not permanently).

If you fail to score the required points, you're sent to a mini-game where you have to mow down mole hills in between some fences to redeem yourself. This section is similar to games like Audiosurf (minus the music sync) where you have to move back and forth collecting things in a multi-lane area.

As you reach certain milestones (levels 10, 20, etc.), you'll unlock power-ups you can use the next time you play. On my second run, another optional mini-game appeared between levels in which you're tasked to cut down mole hills in a square lawn instead of a multi-lane area. These features add some replayability I suppose, but its really more of the same... though what would one expect from a game like this?

Thankfully, this title doesn't take itself seriously, and places you in some ridiculous locales - from what appears to be European ruins, to inside a swimming pool, to (my personal favorite) the tilting lawn possibly attached to an amusement park ride. Additionally, a code is displayed at the end of the game which you can scan with your phone, allowing you to post your high score to Facebook (which I'm certain is a jab at all those FB games that spam your friends' walls with notifications).

Unfortunately, Grass Is No More doesn't go quite far enough in terms of silliness. I imagine that's probably due to the limited development time for the competition, though it would've been nice to have seen more outrageous obstacles or locations. I feel that Enviro-Bear 2010 offers a similar game experience, only with greater absurdity.

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