About the launching games
Launch games with upgrades are pretty much the most popular genre in flash-based games after tower defense games. They require skill and luck and any launch game worth its salt is bound to have enough material to keep you hooked for a few days at least, if not more. The very best of those, however, can keep you coming back for more for months and even years. Three of the launch games released in the past 5 years match up to the criteria of "so good that they're more addictive than caffeine". These are Learn to Fly 2, Burrito Bison, Burrito Bison 2 and Toss the Turtle. Here's how they match up to each other in the three most important aspects of launch games nowadays; Storyline, Gameplay and Graphics and Audio:
Common sense and experience dictate that the best things in life all come with a storyline. So it is with these three games, all of whom have storylines that, if not very detailed, have such interesting and delightful concepts initially that you can't help but stay hooked. Some of the challenges in Burrito Bison and Learn to Fly 2 are also related to the storylines themselves, so you can't help but be further immersed into the storyline and therefore into the game itself.
The storyline is also where one of those three best launch games out there currently step up to the plate and deliver a mile-long home run. Yes, the game being talked about is Learn to Fly 2. While it had a sequel to base its storyline on, to continue the original storyline the way they did was quite fantastic. It consists of the already humorous scenario wherein a penguin wants to learn to fly but it can't because of certain obstacles in its way, so you are tasked with using its dummy to remove those obstacles using payloads and bombs and what not. The initial picturization of the reason behind this urge to fly, the picturization of its earlier attempts to fly and the whole concept in general is fantastically funny. Who wouldn't want to watch or play something that can make you laugh 5 times in the first 5 minutes and then plenty of times thereafter?
Speaking of concepts, while the other two launching games on that list (Burrito Bison and Toss the Turtle, for the amnesiacs on here) don't have all that much in the way of storylines, they have concepts that hook you and make you follow them around like your first "girlfriend". Toss the Turtle, for instance, is based all upon firing a cannon with turtles as ammunition and getting them as bloody as a Mortal Kombat opponent with full blood effects on. You know you're going to love a game when it equates being decimated by a patch of foot-long spikes with acupuncture. Burrito Bison, while not having much of that addictive substance called blood with the only bit being where your minotaur falls onto the ground with his entire body consisting of nothing more than mushy calcium, has something better: Gummy Bears. You squeeze and squish them on the route to securing freedom from their world, which bears a startling resemblance to one where being decimated by a patch of foot-ling spikes might be equated with acupuncture. Who are you? No, you aren't the friendly neighborhood Spiderman, but you are a wrestler with a Bison-like head who's on steroids. In other words, you're a step up from Spiderman.The initial story about how you get sucked into a bag of gummy bears while shopping in a supermarket full of people staring at you because you're in full wrestler uniform, complete with nearly non-existent underwear and a mask, only serves to heighten the humor quotient.
With storylines and concepts like these, you've already won the battle to keep players hooked, at least for the first 10 minutes. Next comes the most important part, the gameplay.
Now, basic gameplay for any launch game is the same. Launch random object/living thing as far as you can, collect stuff or go as far as you can or as high as you can to gain money and use that money to buy stuff and launch the random object/living thing even farther (although some games don't have even this aspect). All of this sounds just as boring as it is, so when game developers decided to amp up the excitement quotient, they turned to the only part that could be upgraded in that line, the buying stuff to upgrade your launch part.
This seems easy, right? All you have to do is throw in a glider or a rocket for some of the more adventurous players and see the game weave its magic, right? Wrong. Game development isn't a Transformers movie for god's sake, you need some real content to get this to work. This is where the complexity of the upgrades comes in. Different types of gliders, different types of rockets, different types of launchers and so. However, even these need to be fun and exciting and not as drab as they sound in print.
Therefore, when you attach the missile to the turtle in Toss the Turtle, you need to feel excited to see it living your dream in that he's flying on a missile without ending up all bloody and beaten up (Spoiler: He ends up bloody and beaten-up, so you will never see that dream being realized. Wail!). And, quite simply, you do. Having a variety of upgrades and then introducing a bit more variety to each type of upgrade keeps you, the player, busy in trying to firstly get the best upgrades and then try out all the other ones too. Again, this is where Learn to Fly 2 takes the cake.
Learn to Fly 2 goes beyond all the other games, even on this list, in terms of sheer variety too. There are 40 different upgrades before you come to the individual options for each upgrade, like a single-shot fuel source or a toggled one for your rocket, and that's before you come to the part about being able to customize everything from the length of your run-up before the launch to the Earth's gravity. The customization options even allow you to develop different kinds of strategies, so if you would rather glide in the beginning before going full throttle on your rockets towards the end, you can select a single-shot type of rocket, or if you prefer timely repeated boosts, you can go for the toggled option and do that instead. Being able to build and develop coherent strategies makes this game way better than it already was.
Burrito Bison provides a slightly different angle amongst the launch games in that because he actually has to crush some gummy bears to be able to fly, he needs to have squishier gummy bears as well as rocket-equipped underwear to do so. Basically, you can upgrade yourself and/or the things that you bounce on to fly, and thanks to there being twelve such upgrades each with 3 to 5 inbuilt levels, you have enough material to be staring at that man-bison hybrid with nothing but his underwear for clothing for quite a while.Even after this, you have walls between each stage of the game that you must break in order to get through, which means additional upgrades in the form of adding weight so as to be able to break through those walls.
Graphics and Audio
Graphics are really important because they influence the gaming experience as a whole, taking a good launching game that extra step towards very good, or in some cases, great. This also applies to all three of the games mentioned in the lists above, because all of them have really good graphics to back up the other aspects that they possess quite excellent. Turtle Launch, for example, has nice vivid colors and some incredible detailing to make sure that your eyes never tire of the sameness of it all.For instance, being clearly able to see the turtle's nose bleed in toss the turtle it bounces for the 373rd time from a height of a million feet is definitely exciting, and the same applies for all other games. Also, props to anyone who spots the slight (major) exaggeration in the last sentence.
Learn to Fly 2 doesn't have very colorful graphics because it is set in Antarctica and all, but there's definitely as much color in there as you could possibly hope for. The graphics aren't all that polished either, so despite the gameplay being very good you won't be going back to take in the breathtaking sights available to you. But this is where Toss the Turtle and Burrito Bison take the colorful cake. An example of the detail in Toss the Turtle has already been mentioned above, and we can't stress enough on how the little details like that add to the game. Burrito Bison is just a smorgasbord of color, with all sorts of gummy bears, both in the background as well as in the crowd running away from you. There is that attention to detail with the way that the Bison reacts after being stopped or banging into a wall.
The audio of these launch games also helps in making the entire experience a great one. Bull Launch (Burrito Bison) has a great racy tune to go with it and get you in the mood for the game, while Toss the Turtle has some epic if overused music to complement it too. Learn to Fly 2 has music that seems strangely inconsequential (it makes about as much sense as that last line, in other words), but we can put that down to the paucity of good composers down south.
Let's Go Berzerk!
On the horizon pretty soon (we hope) the geek is back for more pain and torture as he is tossed relentlessly across a rugged playing field by a matcho guy with huge biceps! Yes that's right folks the sequel to the first geek launching game is coming soon and Bezerk Ball 2 looks every bit as tasty as the original title.
Of course with all sequels we look for additional improvements and fresh content - and Berzerk Ball 2 looks like it has plenty of that with six additional powerups to aid you in your quest to make the geek fly as far as possible. We also love the outfit customisations options available - take a look at the trailer to see what's in store for you launch fans!
Knights at the Ready!
These days there are plenty of new launch games coming out every month, we've already seen some pretty funny new projectiles such as sheep, pigs and robots. But how about a Knight? Yep that's right now available in a browser near you is a knight launching game by Juicy Beast. We loved Burrito Bison: Revenge and we are of no doubt that Juicy Beast's next launch game will be just as enjoyable if not better!
Your mission in Knightmare Tower is to rescue all ten princesses from a monster who is at the top of the tower. Along the way as with most launch based games you collect upgrades and become even more powerful. We love Knightmare Tower more though because as with the developers previous Burrito games there's a lot of cool items to collect not just a few random upgrades...
All of these launching games manage the hard task of balancing a storyline that is funny but doesn't take attention away from the game, gameplay that is perfectly challenging and varied without being overly complex, and graphics that make the game look good without having lag issues on slower internet connections with an amazing amount of ease. All in all, if you're looking for the perfect launch game experience, it doesn't get better than these three games.