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Minigore: Welcome to Hardland

Minigore is a twin-stick arena shooter where you play (at least initially) as a machine gun-toting guy named John Gore. After starting a game, he’s almost immediately beset by hordes of creatures called furries. Your goal is simply to survive as long as you can and score as many points as possible. When you inevitably meet your demise, your score serves a secondary purpose: the points you earn can unlock new characters, with some of them requiring a massive amount of kills.

While most of the characters simply represent a cosmetic change, a few of them have special properties such as starting with a different weapon. Even the ones without such special features often include new voice clips, with Santa being particularly amusing. All of the voices in the game were performed by Arin Hanson of Game Grumps fame, and he does a great job of giving the characters just the right amount of silly bluster. One nice feature of this GameClub version of the game is that a wide line of characters who were previously only available as premium purchases are now unlocked right from the start, giving you a choice of who you want to play as.

After choosing a character, you are then presented with a selection of three stages. After choosing one, you can select from three different difficulty settings by shooting the appropriate totem. The original game launched with just the forest stage, and it serves as the template for Minigore quite nicely. You’ll be attacked from all directions by ever-increasing numbers of furries, which are basically vicious shadow monsters. They come in multiple sizes, with bigger ones breaking down into groups of smaller ones when destroyed. There are also different types that will appear after a while, and between the differing sizes, speeds, types, and the change in sheer numbers, the action in Minigore ramps up quite nicely. 

You have a few things that will help you out as you play. Weapon crates will occasionally drop in. Picking them up will give you temporary access to one of a number of different weapons, and if you grab two in a short period of time you can carry one in each hand. You can also shoot the crates to create an explosion, which can be useful in certain situations. Enemies will occasionally drop clovers, and collecting three of them will temporarily transform you into a large bull-like monster. During this period, you are invincible and can take out enemies simply by running into them. Presumably, you’re goring them on your horns.

As you play, day will eventually give way to night. It becomes more difficult to see your enemies, but they help you out by lighting themselves on fire. You’ll also light a torch, which helps a little bit with visibility. There’s no question about it, however: the night is much more dangerous. The day will eventually come back, if you’re alive to see it. This day and night mechanic comes into play in a bigger way if you choose to play in the graveyard level. There, you’re battling zombies instead of furries, and you’ll receive a health pack that will restore one of your hit points at the beginning of each new day. Zombies are much more durable than furries, so you’ll likely need those boosts.

What makes Minigore work so well is in its simple, easy-to-use controls and well-planned difficulty curve. Everything you need to do can be done with the two virtual thumbsticks, allowing you to just focus on aiming your shots and staying alive. The added guns and monster transformation help mix up the gameplay to keep it from getting repetitive, and although it’s a simple thing, the day/night cycle provides pleasant visual variety as gameplay sessions go on. It’s cute enough to avoid being disturbing for the squeamish, approachable enough for beginners to enjoy, and action-packed enough to challenge even very skilled players. It’s little wonder it caught on the way it did, and it’s great to see it back for new players to discover and old fans to slip back into.


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