I’m a huge supporter of games that focus more on skill and coordination than luck and grinding. That’s not to say I haven’t played my fair share of games like Everquest and World of Warcraft, but there’s just something rewarding about hitting a headshot and knowing that it wasn’t due to anything but your own talent. TeeWorlds is one of those games.
Right off the bat, you should know that TeeWorlds is an indie game. It’s free, yes, but it’s someone’s hobby project that they’ve worked on for years. Don’t come into this expecting something that’s as visually impressive as Quake or as widely played as Call of Duty.
Only when you get past that can you really appreciate the simplicity of this shooter game.
Remember those old-school games like Mario and Metroid where the world was flat and sideways? You’d move around, jump from platform to platform, and maybe throw punches and fireballs at your enemies? Take that concept and combine it with gun physics (like Worms) with a splash of Kirby-esque cuteness and you get TeeWorlds.
Each player controls a “tee,” the name for the little characters in TeeWorlds (so aptly named). Each tee has health, armor, and ammo which are all displayed in the top corner in the way you’d see in a Zelda game. All guns recharge ammo over time – some guns faster than others – and all guns use different ammo types which all cause different amounts of damage. Armor absorbs damage just like health does, but you won’t lose health until you lose all of your armor.
Most of the guns use Newtonian physics to determine the path of their shots fired. For example, the rockets from a rocket launcher will arc through the air and drop faster than, say, the bullets from a shotgun blast. This introduces an element of prediction on top of aim, making it more rewarding for better players. All guns shoot towards your mouse cursor, which acts as the aiming reticule.
TeeWorlds may seem like a game suited for deathmatch, but it’s surprisingly fun across many different game modes. TeeWorlds does support the primary trifecta of all multiplayer games:
- Deathmatch (DM): Everyone fights in a free-for-all battle to see who can rack up the most kills the fastest. When you die, you immediately respawn at a random point on the map so you can continue your rampage.
- Team Deathmatch (TDM): Team Deathmatch is like Deathmatch except players are split between two teams and the winner is the team who can rack up the most kills the fastest. This is a better game mode for newbies since they can still win without being the best.
- Capture the Flag (CTF): Players are split into two teams and both teams have a flag in their spawn area. Teams who can take the enemy flag and bring it back to their own flag net a bunch of points. Kills also grant points. First team to reach the point limit wins.
- Instagib: This isn’t really a game mode but more of a mode modifier. In Instagib games, all players start with the blue laser weapon and all players die in one hit. It’s a great way to practice aiming and it’s extremely fun.
If you watched the video above, you’ll notice two things that stand out: hooks and boosting. All players can shoot out a hook that latches onto terrain and onto other players, letting you swing around the map and redirect your momentum. Boosting is the use of rocket blasts to propel yourself with greater speed, similar to rocket jumping in Quake.
TeeWorlds gameplay is simple, yes, but it’s rather addicting. If you find the right server with the right kinds of players, it’s not hard to lose an hour of your day without realizing it. It’s the kind of game that is so deceptively fun that you’ll be taken aback.
On the Settings page, there are some things that you can fiddle around with. There’s the usual: graphics settings, window sizes, keyboard bindings, volume levels and such. Under the Tee tab, though, you can actually change your tee’s skin. It’s a little bit of customization that’s ultimately useless but still fun.
So what are the downsides to the TeeWorlds shooter game? Only two from what I can see.
- Slow development. Honestly, there isn’t much that TeeWorlds needs in terms of development. The game is playable and fun and there aren’t many, if any, game-breaking bugs or balance issues. With that said, the latest version (0.6.1) was released in July 2011.
- Small playerbase. I logged on at a time when there wouldn’t be many players on, but I saw about 200 players across the servers. Not sure how many there are during peak times, but one thing’s for sure: it’s no Call of Duty. On the other hand, the small community is tight-knit and hangs out on the official TeeWorlds forums, which may actually be a good thing depending on your perspective.
So there you have it. TeeWorlds is a 2D-version of Quake that focuses on skill and timing while utilizing the cute graphics of Kirby and it’s fun, fun, fun. If you need a game to pass some time, definitely give it a try. It’s even better if you have a group of friends with whom you can play together.