Games for the Weekend is a weekly feature aimed at helping you avoid doing something constructive with your downtime. Each Friday we’ll be recommending a game for Mac, iPhone or iPad that we think is awesome enough to keep you busy until Monday, at least.
Don’t Run With a Plasma Sword (Free, Universal) is one of those games that you just have to try out based on the title alone. Inspired by classic low-budget B movies, this alien invasion side scroller is a real screamer. With its straightforward gameplay and nearly endless level-ups, this game has more to offer than its modern update on that all-too-familiar nostalgic alien soundtrack “Woo-EE-Euh.”
Exactly how Cornelius found a plasma sword while working at his comic book stand will forever remain a mystery. Thankfully, how he put that plasma sword to good use by fending off the alien invasion of Earth is simple enough to master. As a side-scrolling action game, Don’t Run With a Plasma Sword offers a great deal of control over character movement. Jump over or slide under obstacles, and attack invading aliens along the way. You can do this by configuring the placement of on-screen buttons or by enabling the swipe control method.
The longer you run, and the more aliens you slash, the greater you are rewarded. You gain experience points along the way that can be used to level up your skills, unlock levels and change the appearance of your character. Before too long, you will find yourself double jumping, diving and dashing in the air. Be careful not to jump too high as you will not be able to see if there is a safe place to land. And if things are not progressing fast enough for you, there are, of course, in-app purchases to help Cornelius become the hero he has always wanted to be. These power-ups range from $0.99 up to $11.99.
There are four environments and two game modes. In story mode, you progress forward to various save points on your way to a boss fight. The boss fights break up the repetitiveness of the endless mode and give you a sense of accomplishment. In endless mode you are presented with challenges, but they all basically just keep going and you gain as many points as possible. One of the subtle elements of the game that stands out from other game styles is that when a particular level proves to be more challenging than Cornelius can handle, he “dies” and is presented with an opportunity to level up. This is a switch from being given a power or ability before you are presented with a challenge to use it.
If the soundtrack does not grab you, then the fact you have control of a plasma sword will. The dynamic nature of the side-scrolling levels keeps things fresh, and there always seems to be yet another skill, level or article of clothing that Cornelius could use to help save planet Earth.