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Indie Nation #42: Minotaur China Shop

2:28 PM on 12.12.2008 // Anthony Burch

You liked Jetpack Brontosaurus and Off-Road Velociraptor Safari.

That was not a question.

The guys who made those, Blurst, just released a new game. It is called Minotaur China Shop and it is, in my opinion, their best game yet. Since you liked their other two games, you know what a significant compliment that is.

You don't really need me to explain what makes Blurst games so great -- once again, the goddamn thing is called Minotaur in a China Shop -- but if you really want to, you can hit the jump for a rundown of the basic mechanics and why they're so awesome.

Minotaur China Shop is about the neverending battle between unspectacular self-control and ridiculously satisfying rage. As the Minotaur, you have two ways to make money: either act as a legitimate businessman and sell china to your customers, or go apeshit and destroy everything in the store to collect on the insurance money.

Initially, your instinct might be to just follow your gut. You are, after all, playing a game called Minotaur China Shop. To hell with legitimate merchanting: just trash the place.Though it is ultimately more profitable to destroy than to sell, I nonetheless have a few suggestions that, personally, made the game much more satisfying. Your own mileage will vary, of course.

Put off destruction for as long as you can

If you just destroy everything in your path from the word "go," the game will get kinda boring. Even though there are only five levels and it takes less than ten minutes to play to completion, there's no reason to spend the entirety of that time mindlessly smashing crap.

Even ignoring the fact that it's not a financially viable way to make money early on in the game, it removes the sense of visceral reward from finally annihilating your entire shop after trying to be a good, honest businessman.

As you shuffle from aisle to aisle, inhaling sharply everytime one of your enormous knuckles tips over a rack of teacups, your tension and stress will increase until it all finally releases in a beautiful torrent of minotaur-on-china violence in the later levels, once you've increased the size of your inventory and the cash from the insurance fraud. It's basically an orgasm of broken pottery and plates. 

Shout wistful things as you smash stuff

Given how petulant, sad, and clumsy the Minotaur looks as he shambles around, accidentally knocking things aside with his oversized arms, it's not hard to imagine him as the ultimate tragic figure. Banned from the Labyrinth and trying to turn over a new leaf as a respectable businessman, his very nature prevents him from being a true success. When he finally gives into his destructive urges, it can make for some hilariously sad moments, even further punctuated by the player's own mournful shouts at the world for turning you to a life of property destruction.

My favorite things to yell:

"We thought we could be decent men in an indecent time!"

"I just wanted to be a legitimate businessman!"

"I just wanted to sell PLATES!"

"Just when I thought I was out, they pull me back in!"

"Why didn't you love me, papa? Why didn't you LOVE ME?"

I thought I had a full-blown list, but that's really all I can come up with. At least, those are the two things I ended up doing on my first playthrough that made me consider Minotaur China Shop my favorite Blurst game yet. In case you somehow managed to read this far without checking the game out, do so now. It's free, and awesome. In that order.

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