Shrubnaut is a fun little puzzle platformer that sees you using a hook-shot to traverse the charming pixel art landscape while solving puzzles on a space terrarium full of secrets and wonders.
In Shrubnaut you find yourself on a space terrarium, full of lush green plains and crystal clear water. You wont find anything to harm you in this place, but to reach the exit of the terrarium you must solve an interlocking puzzle system that is spread out across the entire map. Using the way points to help you return to found locations you must find your way to each key fragment (diamond-shaped keystones that have a white glow to them) that will allow you to unlock each of the four locks on the exit door. Although no enemies will be found here, the puzzles involved will test your wit and reflexes as your jump from platform to platform with the help of your newly acquired hook shot (found at the start of the game).
The hook shot in Shrubnaut is very simple to use – simply press the hook-shot button to release its grappling hook in the direction you’re facing and the hook will dig itself into the green terrain and pull you towards it. You can of course change the direction of the hook by holding the up or down keys to make it launch in that direction instead, giving you greater mobility in times of need. Most of the terrain you can sink your hook-shot into, but you’ll also encounter a different form of terrain (one I’ve simply dubbed Negaterrain) that your hook will not attach to and is more prevalent the more you progress through the level.
There are four people who contributed to the creation of this epic titles. Andrew Gleeson, the coder/designer and Art designer, was the head of the team and has shown his artistic skill in this gorgeous, yet tricky, demo build and he should truly be proud of the team he assembled for it. Niilo Takalainen and Nathan Antony did the SFX and Musical components respectively and have given a superb effort in bring the world to life with their delicate combination of soothing gentle music and awesome sounds of the hook shot and environmental sounds that bring the world and the character to life. There’s also Maike Vierkant, the extremely talented artist that did the title card for this game. All round this team works extremely well together and I hope to see more from them in the future.
All in all Shrubnaut is a wonderful little throwback to classic Metroidvanias, but with a colorful palette and a relaxing vibe that offers a refreshing take on a genre that is usually dark and nightmarish in design. A must for anyone that loves a good old fashioned puzzle platformer but with a more cheerful and chilled out scenario.
Watch a First Impressions Video of Shrubnaut Here
Download Shrubnaut Here (Windows and Mac)