Traditional platformers we associate games like Super Mario Bros and Kirby’s Adventure for the Nintendo Entertainment System extends more towards the light-hearted and younger demographics with the use of vibrant color tones and a positive music soundtrack. But what if the character decided to go hostile rather than how we already expect the game to initially play out? Hamachi The Psychotic Killer does just that by twisting what we already know about the retro genre of platformers.
You play as the small white sprite named Hamachi, however, he possess the drive to kill everything that is in his path. It’s as simple as that. As you play the game, every time you kill an enemy in your peripheral, it sprays a coating of blood across the screen and paints the platform and those surrounding with bloodshed of those who have fallen. And like how we pair the look of the game initially, it does not fully link to predecessors due to the in-depth amount of violence subjected to the player.
During this past Dreamhack Atlanta over the weekend, I got a hands-on demo with the game and even spoke some words about the project with the game’s creator, Gavin O’Riley. Landing into the first world, feeling out the controls are as expected for a standard platformer with left-to-right movement and the option to jump. As well as the action button which you use to stomp the soon to be victims on the stage. And for an early build of the game, it is impressive with how responsive and well-tuned the game feels once the controller is in your hand.
Level design is also to par with ranging elevated platforms, scattered enemies, and several patches of bottomless voids for you to fall in unintentionally. Each stage is organized well enough to keep the experience fresh without the feeling of repetition of platform placements. However, the transition between each level is done through an randomly placed door at the end of each stage which does break the design of the world in the demo. Besides that, there game does hold up well visually.
Upon completing each world, the authorities will close in on the white protagonist and you must rush through an obstacle course before being detained. Unlike the main stages, the run-away segment shows less variation in original layout as you run into similar-looking obstacles. However, there is more dynamic platforming by scaling between adjacent walls in the concluding chase which you don’t see in the standard platfroming portion of the world. The only other complaint is that you run by default, unable to move left during the chase which limits the player’s freedom when playing.
Expanding on the core creation of the sadistic main character, O’Riley shares that the name for Hamachi actually comes from the shared-name networking software for managing a virtual private network (VPN). As for the character’s look, Hamachi was initially blue with green shoes, but a change in choice of color stuck when made to what we see in the demo. As for the overall look, Hamachi’s design was the placeholder look, but ultimately was used for the project when developing the game.
But what sourced the inspiration for the lovable-looking character to do such inhumane things? When asked where he got the idea, O’Riley revealed that it was actually inspired through his time when watching a livestream.
I was listening to a stream in the background when he went AFK [away] for a little while. He was playing Psycho Killer by Talking Heads and the name gave me the idea for the game.
Asking how development is looking following the build available at the Atlanta event, O’Riley tells me that the main focus is for the game to implement the base levels before expanding to other opportunities. Initially, Hamachi was promised six worlds, but an additional two was later decided to be included. Other development hurdles that is scheduled to be added later on is the soundtrack as O’Riley says that to be an element that resources require more to be focused towards.
Currently the game is planned to release for PC as of now, but O’Riley does expand upon the idea of including a version for the Nintendo Switch later down the line following the initial release. If you are interested to try out the game for yourself, you can access the demo on the project’s GameJolt page here.
Hamachi the Psychotic Killer is set to release for PC sometime in October 2020.