With it’s simple visuals and iconic monochromatic art style, Here Comes Launchman! immediately conjures indie darling VVVVVV to mind. Though both titles share other similarities, such as space, platforming, and a steady diet of spiked walls, Launchman! carves its own niche with its unique take on platforming.
As the titular space faring character, players launch themselves across pits and to distant platforms using a mouse based charge mechanic. Somewhat akin to aiming in the venerable Worms franchise of titles, the cursor acts as a trajectory while the left button charges launch power, visible via an on-screen gauge. Launching your little space duder is a simple to understand but hard to master form of traversal, further fleshed out by Launchman’s ‘air brake’, which lets him stop immediately in mid-air – necessary for not overshooting most launches.
In addition to platforming, Launchman! boasts a healthy dose of puzzling. Pressure plates and crates separate our hero from the goal gem, which serves as the level exit. Most of the puzzles utilize Launchman’s alternate telekinesis mode, allowing him to pick up and fling objects at will.
In the demo, following the handy tutorial, stages start out and quick and painless. Players should have no trouble launching and ricocheting Launchman through the early levels, which smartly employ all of his abilities in simple, organic ways. But, before long, Here Comes Launchman! dumps players into some devilish arrangements, asking players to think before they leap as they shut down lasers, trigger switches and generally try to stay alive. The puzzles thankfully are challenging without being obtuse, though there is a little bit of trial-and-error that comes into play while you learn how all the objects and obstacles work.
In its current state, Here Comes Launchman! looks to be shaping up as a satisfying, alternative take on indie platformers. Developers, The Layabouts, hope to release the game later this year. Check out their demo here!
And, lastly, the music is awesome.