TWTPB – To Win The Peanut Butter



Wha-huh?  Top Wafer Thin Pizza Batter?  To Win Twenty Pieces Back?  Till Wind Tears Prairie Bears?  Tough Women Tickle  Poor Boys?  Oh wait I got it – Twenty Wait to Pay Bills, sounds like a headline doesn’t it?  Heck I gotta million of ‘em.  We could create acronyms till the cows came home.  I don’t really understand what the letters mean either.  But our next game is called T.W.T.P.B.  And again I say “Wha-huh?”  This doesn’t really give you any idea of what this game is about, but that’s where I come in.

T.W.T.P.B. (herein referred to as TWTPB as it is easier to type), is an old school style shoot’em up (I refuse to call them shmups, that’s just the stupidest contraction ever, at least shoot’em up is a more natural contraction of  “shoot them up”, but you would never say “shoot them up” in a conversation, now would you?) by Spell of Play Studios.   It’s what they call a “bullet hell” shooter.  Meaning there are so many bullets flying that just avoiding them is a challenge.  It has the unique aspect that the enemies are glowy, vectory, goodness, even though they’re not necessarily vector graphics, but more on that later.  There really isn’t much of a story.  You’re some dude (assuming you are a dude, you could be an alien, or a chick for all I know) who is in some empire, and you’re fighting to cleanse the universe of these glowing, beautiful, aliens.TWTPB_SS02

You start a new game by selecting “Start the Cleansing”.  You’re presented with three skill levels, apparently the hardest skill level is blacked out, I’m assuming because this is the demo.  So in the demo then you’re presented with two skill levels.  First being the wimpy level of Legio Hastati.  Then the middle one is called Legio Principes.  Finally the skill level I can’t access the all powerful Legio Triari.  I chose the easiest skill level this time.  Normally I like to try the hardest because easy usually is too easy and boring.  In this case it’s scaled quite nicely.  There are 10 levels labeled “Gates”  and in the demo you’re only allowed up to 4.  Before you can access any levels though you must complete them in order.  Before each level is a little message, a sort of story, something about aliens being around and you need to destroy all heretics or something.  Finally ending with the message “Be Pure, Be Clean” – which is I guess a good message in any case.  I like to be clean sometimes.

TWTPB_SS03Game play is easy.  Use the mouse to control your ship.  Left mouse button to fire, right mouse button to activate a certain ability.  In the case of the first level it’s rapid fire.  You have to hold down both left and right mouse buttons.  The scroll wheel, if you have one, changes “abilities”.  So far I only have regeneration and rapid fire.  By the way, rapid fire uses mass amounts of energy.  You only get energy by collecting green energy diamonds.  Power-ups are in the form of glowy green triangles instead of diamonds.  There are also keyboard controls, left, right, up, and down (configurable).  A and S switches abilities.  Z enables rapid fire X is for regeneration.  Spacebar to fire.  I have a feeling though you won’t care too much about keyboard controls, but they are there if you wish to use them.  There are also a few more controls, but you can check out the configuration in the options menu.  Time warp is cool.  It slows down everything while you can move about freely.  Kind of tricky to hold down both the left and right mouse buttons and move.  But not too hard.  This game is pretty sweet.TWTPB_SS04

Graphics are really nice.  It’s not actually a vector-based shooter though.  The player’s ship is a 3d model (or at least looks like it is, although it’s possible it could be pre-rendered).  The background star field, clouds and planets scrolling by are regular graphics.  These look ok.  But then there are the glowing enemies.  These look pretty sweet.  They have that vector look although I’m pretty sure they’re regular bitmapped graphics.  So you can’t call it a vector-shooter, but it does have that oh-so delicious vectory glowy graphics.  The sound and music are a bit of a let down though.  They sound staticy (okay so I’m inventing lots of words here, so shoot me) like 8-bit quantization or if you prefer like radio-static.  I’m not sure if this is on purpose or if they’re keeping the sound requirements down.  In any case it doesn’t really help the game much.  Other than that I don’t have any real complaints.


Final Analysis: Fun with a capital FU.  Oops, I mean if you like old-school style shmups (okay so I used the term, and I still hate it – the term that is not the game.  I mean I love the game, I hate the term shmup.) you’ll love this.  Long live the Empire!

Name: T.W.T.P.B.

Developer: Spell of Play Studios

Price: $19.95

Where to get it:  T.W.T.P.B. page on the Spell of Play Studios website.

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