Confetti Carnival preview

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This indie puzzle game might be the surprise hit of the year. You control several blobs of sentient goo in turn, clicking to fling them across the level. Your objective is to set off the level's bombs, but they can only be detonated by, well, your blood. There isn't a nicer way of putting it. As a blob, you have to gash yourself open or blow yourself up to shower the bombs with your internal fluids. They explode, and yay, confetti!

The challenge is: how do I knock all these bombs into roughly the same area so I can splash them all at once? What should I smash myself against to bleed over them most comprehensively? And which blobs should I take control of to splash which set of bombs? Blue bombs will only be detonated by blue goo, red by red, and so on. Sometimes bombs are arranged in sticky strands that block off other bombs, so there's some strategy in which colour to eliminate first.

This is all done with a squishy exuberance, polish and big grins. It feels like PopCap and 2D Boy made a game together: Peggle of Goo. Your goos smile as they rupture themselves, and splat satisfyingly on impact. And after each level, you unlock a new ability or mechanic.

In case you were following me so far, here's where it gets nuts. Some abilities are fairly simple: redirect your trajectory in mid-air, or fire off a little sub-blob when you splash, to get two patches of bombs at once. Then you can reverse time. Well, not time exactly, but motion.

You've fired yourself at a bomb, burst, and your fluids are gushing out – but wait! Your impact has knocked the bomb away! Everything is flying in the opposite direction! Hit the spacebar, and all velocities are reversed. The bombs flying away from your ooze fly back into it, and the fluids flung into the air come crashing back down. Everything converges satisfyingly, the bombs are drenched, each one detonates and the level is complete.

That's called a U-Turn. As you unlock more abilities, you're asked to do more stunts: a Slide is when you arc perfectly round a slippery surface, an Air Slam is when you direct yourself into some bombs without hitting the ground.

No stunt is hard to pull off, but it starts to get interesting if you go for combos. Suddenly there's a tempo – you've got to do something else interesting before the combo timer expires. Hitting the bombs becomes secondary, and it's all about flinging your goo about in spectacular ways. An effectively chained 15-stunt combo is a sight to see.

It's up to you whether you want to play Confetti as a pure puzzle game or more of a timing challenge – the main game mode almost never requires combos, and there's a separate string of levels just for playing around with them. It'll be interesting to see whether it takes off - it deserves to.

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