Lightning is a party game by Danny Nanni, Ben Sironko and Denver Coulson (all MFA candidates at the NYUGameCenter) that was on display at this year’s Boston Festival of Indie Games that toed a perfect line between casual fun and frustrating chaos, all thanks to every one having the same random chance for things to go in their favor…or not.
Lightning is incredibly simple: one to four players control a small ship in classic Asteroid style, and your goal is to be the last one standing. You’re all armed with the same weapon: Lightning. This is a volatile weapon and all you have control over is when to fire and when to create a angle. You have no way of knowing what angle that will be, so your chances of it actually going towards your enemy are pretty slim. However, the fact that all players are on equal footing with this mechanic means that, at least in my experience, everyone just ended up having a good time with this random fun.
Lightning is a bit of a prologue, as the team plan to have it as one part of collection of party games:
Over the next 9 or so months we’re working on several games for an album of noisy party games and while [Lightning] is best as a multiplayer experience, we are also specially designing a single-player mode that kind of stands on its own as an experience in addition to the collection’s utility as a multiplayer thing. Ben Sironko
It should also be said that Lightning is one of the best combinations of mechanics, artistic style and sound design I’ve ever seen. The clashing colors, jarring sounds, randomness of the main mechanic and the sharp angles all just seem to fit together perfectly.
A perfect mix of simplicity and chaos, Lightning is sure to be a hit, and is a sign of very good things to come.