Vlambeer specializes in twitchy, arcade-style games that get really hairy (while remaining plenty fun) in a hurry—like iOS greats Super Crate Box and Ridiculous Fishing—and its latest Mac entry, Luftrausers, certainly maintains that philosophy. You'll pilot a tiny plane as enemy craft and carriers launch a barrage of gunfire, zipping about and laying waste to foes while trying to maintain a score-boosting combo streak. And much as the combat itself proves entertaining, it's matched well by an awesome customization system that allows you to swap various parts to create the fighter of your dreams.
Catching scads of fish at once and then blasting them with a firearm as they're launched into the sky? It sounds like dumb fun – and it is, at first – but also potentially a flimsy gag concept intended only for shock and momentary diversion. Luckily, there's much more beneath the surface of Ridiculous Fishing, and that's not simply an easy water pun. It's the difference between a game designed for laughs and an experience made with heart, and the distinction between a title you'll pull out for moments and one that'll command your attention as you plunge into the vivid depths.
Upon first glance, Super Crate Box seems singularly focused on the speedy collection of the titular objects, which pop up randomly on the screen one at a time until nabbed. Each bumps up your top-of-screen tally, but also equips you with a surprise weapon: a laser rifle, rocket launcher, or mines, among other possibilities. However, as you nimbly leap from platform to platform trying to boost your score, the screen fills with anxious alien foes, all aiming to nix your pixel protagonist.
Dutch game developer duo Vlambeer has only been making games since September of last year, but the studio has made a strong impression on fans of independent video games in that short span of time. Part of that impact has come from its games -- notably Radical Fishing and Super Crate Box, a pair of free Flash-based titles that rely on simple mechanics to deliver electric play experiences. Unfortunately, the other part comes from the notoriety of having one of their games copied by another company, which proceeded to take the idea near the top of the App Store charts -- while the studio was quietly creating its own iOS version of the original game.