1D Dungeon Crawler played on LEDs with a spring
Of all the games I saw at this year’s EGX Rezzed convention, Line Wobbler is the one I kept finding myself recommending that people go and check out. It wasn’t the most in depth or complex, but a 1D dungeon crawler played with a spring and a strip of LEDs is nothing if not unique.
Line Wobbler places you as a single LED on one end of a strip of lights, challenging you to avoid environmental obstacles, fight enemies and reach the end of the strip so you can move onto the next level. You play using an accelerometer connected to a fairly lax spring, pulling the spring to the left or right to move and flicking it back and forth to attack.
The unexpected thing is that this works really well.
Using nothing but light colour and intensity to denote the difference between the player, hazards like lava and enemy strength, Line Wobbler boils down the Dungeon Crawler formula into something easily controlled and understood regardless of your level of core competency playing videogames. It’s certainly not easy, but the challenge never comes from trying to understand the challenge ahead of you or how you control the game. It boils down the genre to an accessible entry point for non gamers, then scales up it’s challenge in an easily understood way.
Now, the downsides to Line Wobbler. A big part of why I recommended the game to so many people on the show floor is that it’s prohibitively expensive to purchase. The strip of LED’s alone costs the developer around £200, with the spring, accelerometer and developer’s manufacturing time adding another £50 to the cost. While Line Wobbler is a fantastic experience to have available for people to experience, it’s not something most people are going to ever want to purchase for themselves. It’s a hard sell to tell people your single game played with springs and LEDs costs nearly as much as a full games console.
For those interested in giving Line Wobbler a look, the game is apparently getting an installation at London’s Loading Bar in Dalston in the near future. It’s certainly worth giving some time if you see it at an event, even if you’re unlikely to have a setup at home for yourself.
If the developer wanted to create a version that ran on my PC monitor rather than a physical strip of LED lights at a more affordable price point, I’d probably pick it up.