The endless climber isn't a new category in games. The market is crowded with endless verb titles, many of which play in similar ways. Beast Games is hoping to break from the pack by offering a fast-paced, procedurally-generated climbing game that allows players to use and manipulate the environment to their advantage.
Avalanche 2: Super Avalanche is the sequel to Chris Peterson's original Flash game, Avalanche. In the original title, players took on the role of a little marshmallow as it tried to jump and climb its way upward while leveraging blocks that were falling from the sky. Avalanche 2: Super Avalanche (now on Steam Greenlight) is based on a similar premise, but it also feels completely different. It is both more frantic and strategic. There are more enemies and dangers, but also more tools to get out of sticky situations.
"Instead of learning the levels and how to play a level, you're instead playing to the system."
As blocks fall from the sky, players will have to control a marshmallow as it bounces from surface to surface, jumping and wall-climbing, to get as far upward as it can. Falling blocks will help and hinder the player, sometimes acting as a platform that players can bounce off, sometimes creating traps. There's a sense of urgency to keep climbing because a rising pool of lava serves as a constant threat to the marshmallow. But climbing too quickly and careless can result in slipping and falling, missing and falling, or bouncing straight into an enemy's jaws and falling.
The game is procedurally-generated, so there are no levels to learn or memorize. The whole game is one ever-changing, unpredictable level, and that's how Peterson likes it.
"I started to realize after a while how much more interesting the gameplay was when you didn't know what was coming," he told Polygon. "Instead of learning the levels and how to play a level, you're instead playing to the system."
Throughout the game, players can pick up to 20 power-ups, four of which can be applied at a time. There are more than 70,000 power-up combinations that players can use, and different bosses and enemies will be scattered throughout the game. While players may not be able to "learn" the game's levels, they can learn how the game works, and apply this knowledge to how they use power-ups, when they time certain jumps, and how they approach certain platforms or enemies. In co-op mode, where two players try to work their way up the screen together, players will be able to revive each other, but there's added complexity in not getting in each other's way. By understanding how the game works, players can navigate it strategically. Every move becomes a negotiation.
"So it's like, should I spend those power-ups here or should I save it for later? Is it worth the risk of blowing myself up to try to blast out of the rock?" Peterson said. "I realized how much deeper the game was when it had all these items added to it, when it had all the power-ups, and how it contributed to a cohesive world that you have to learn to adapt to.
"You're playing to those sort of world view where you have this idea of what's possible in the game and what's not possible in the game," he said. "It becomes so much more like living life, where you're hedging your bets and you're trying to make trade-offs and these complex, difficult and almost unknowable decisions."