Friday, February 10, 2012

Hot Tub Heist

Aliens. They're such bastards, aren't they? One minute they're reaching out in friendship with their glowy fingers, and the next they're trying to kidnap everyone on the planet. Just can't tell which kinda aliens you're gonna meet from day to day.

There are, unfortunately, no friendly aliens in Hot Tub Heist. These dudes wanna take you into their spaceship - and what they'll do after that is best left to the imagination.


You play the part of the industrious-yet-not-terribly-productive company owner, a dude with big pecs and a ridiculous set of hair, who's busy hanging out in his jacuzzi when aliens suddenly attack. Wearing naught more than a tiny speedo you must escape your rapidly-vanishing office building and dash away from the descending spacecraft on a subway at the bottom of each level.

This may not quite spell out the game's mechanics, but once you start playing you'll understand in a hurry: this is a falling game. With a twist. If the top of the screen catches up with you - which is, in this case, the alien ship - you're dead and have to start over. Each new level gets progressively harder and harder, though you also get ability power-ups as you go along, such as improved speed and dashing. using 'em all is absolutely necessary for survival.

I must admit, I'm impressed by Hot Tub Heist's concept. It's quite original, a step above the average falling game, and more than silly enough to enjoy on its own, as the boss is quite a douche. Not only does he spend his whole working day in a jacuzzi, sending messages to employees via cell phone, but he escapes by kicking said employees into walls. Professionalism.


Hot Tub Heist is nice and simple at first, gaining a slight bit of complexity as you go along (but, so far as I can tell, still using the same buttons): arrow keys for movement, space to kick things out of your way. Eventually you'll get some double tap dashing moves that ratchet your options up a notch, but they never make Hot Tub Heist overly confusing.

Control issues are, instead, more related to response time. Your boss is OKAY when it comes to reacting to commands, but not spot-on. He has a tendency to drift a bit, and moving him about just feels generally sluggish. I'm sure this is done to add to the overall difficulty, but it's a little irritating.


Hot Tub Heist looks great. The sprites and backgrounds are all clean and interesting looking, and the office environment offers a fair variety of recyclable elements that keep the stages from growing too repetitive. And that ship... that giant, alien ship... you just KNOW you don't wanna get near that thing. Ever.


Hot Tub Heist's music did not wear off on me in any great way. It's not bad, but it's also not terribly memorable. Take it for what it is.

I was more enamoured by the sounds than I was by the music, and when I say 'sounds' I mean the boss' dialogue. He's a pretty funny guy between levels, and his macho incredulity at what's happening is perfect for the situation - his action-oriented grunts are hilarious when you happen to be kicking an employee out the side of the building.

Challenge Rating

Heeeeere's the troubling part of Hot Tub Heist. It's a hard game. Potentially too hard.

I honestly can't say how long Hot Tub Heist is, because there isn't a chance in hell that I'll get through all the levels (unless there are only five, because five was my max). The growth of the alien ship's weapons is a bit too drastic between levels to make survival an easy task, and the randomized nature of the building's layouts sometimes leaves you with near-impossible escape situations. And, granted, you get powers that help a lot, but they don't come soon enough to be really helpful.

If I knew how many levels there were, I would suggest the programmers move the difficulty curve up a bit more gradually. As I don't KNOW how long the game lasts, though, I can't really recommend that. Just... be prepared for a brutal experience, especially if you're no good at falling games.


Hot Tub Heist is a solid experience. The visuals are great, the accompanying sound effects remind me of Duke Nukem in the business world, and the game play is addictive... if a little too hard. Overall, highly recommended.


No comments:

Post a Comment