Pteroglider is a vertical scrolling shoot em up featuring four levels of non-stop action, outstanding production qualities, and an innovative “mouse targeting” firing system.
I’ve been wanting to post an interesting mindless shoot em up for a while now, and a reader just emailed and tipped me off about this one (thanks Alexi). This game apparently was launched as a commercial game in 2004 and just launched as freeware.
Although it might look like many other polished vertical shoot em ups, what makes this game interesting is it’s unique combination of mouse and keyboard controls: while the keyboard arrow keys (or W/A/S/D) are used to maneuver your craft, shooting is done by moving a little targeting crosshair with the mouse, firing with the left mouse button and shooting rockets with the right.
A very interesting and atypical element, although it does take some time to get used to.
Incidentally, it is precisely this unusual control scheme that’s been cited by one of the developers of this game in his blog as one of the reasons why it wasn’t commercially successful (the mouse targeting making the game “much too difficult for casual gamers”). Personally I think that’s a bit too harsh; I was able to play the game and control the ship fairly well very quickly after installing it, in fact getting to the end of the second level within an hour of installing. Moreover, once you finish a level your can always re-start from the beginning of that level, rather than from the very beginning.
Aside from the controls this game offers many of the usual elements that you might expect: different themes for each of the four stages, opponents of all shapes and sizes (including big-boss baddies at the end of each level, and a variety of powerups to collect (see this page for a list of these).
The verdict: a vertical shoot em up with high production qualities all around and an interesting control system. Very fun in general and, being only an 11 meg download, is well worth checking out.
[via Casual Games Harmony – and thanks Alexi for tipping me off about the game]
Version Tested: 1.4
Compatibility: WinAll; DirectX Compatible 3D Accelerator Graphics Card, DirectX Compatible Sound Card.