The description of Floating Point featured on the Steam website is perhaps one of the most accurate and complete game summaries I have read. It states:
“Floating Point is a free, peaceful game about using a grappling hook to swing yourself gracefully through randomly generated spaces. In the air, you’re fighting gravity. When you splash down beneath the water, you’re fighting your own buoyancy to swing yourself further into the depths. The only objective is to collect points, and the only thing that increases your points is swinging swiftly, smoothly and elegantly without hitting anything.”
This is quite spot on. Perhaps the one piece of information the description is missing is that the player’s character is a small, red/orange dot. When the game opens, our dot is falling in a 2-D space, surrounded by floating platforms. The controls are quite simple. We point at a platform and left-click with the mouse to fire our grappling hook and we can attach the hook to any platform. We then hold the left mouse button to reel in the grappling hook, pulling us up (and increasing our speed). The right mouse button releases the hook, enabling us to grapple onto another ledge. There are keys that help us adjust our swing or walk across surfaces (in cases where we land on objects). That is all we need to know of the controls.
The object of Floating Point is quite straight forward. We swing about the map and pass through columns of light. Once we touch most of the columns of light we can proceed to the next map. The faster we are moving through the air the taller the columns of light get and the more points we are rewarded when we touch these light columns. There is no time limit and there are no enemies. Now, for those of you who think this means the game lacks challenge, let me assure you it can take time to master the art of swinging around the platforms. The bottom half of the map is filled with water and this means gravity and buoyancy constantly fight to move us to the centre of the map. Meanwhile we want to be soaring across the top of the screen (or the bottom) at high speed.
Some people might think a 2-D grappling hook game without enemies or time limits would be boring and I could not disagree more. There is something about this game which makes me want to clap my hands in glee. There is a little boy inside of me who always wanted to be Spider-Man and this is the closest he is likely to get to having a completely open world sandbox game where he can swing across around randomly generated (and therefore limitless) rooms filled with platforms. This free exploration with grappling hook fun was also one of the great things (in my opinion) about the Trine series.
Recently I reviewed a couple of games which seemed to focus on appealing to children, the So Many Me and Braveland games specifically come to mind as being designed for younger audiences. I, as an adult, can play them, but I feel those games have children in mind. Floating Point is sort of the opposite. I feel it is designed for adults who want to let their inner child loose. There are no penalties, no health bars, just an open sandbox. It is Spider-Man style swinging in an endless supply of maps. As an adult I love the opportunity to turn off my brain combined with the challenge of learning to swing just right to fling myself entirely across the map. This game is free to play and I highly recommend giving it a go, it’s a joyful experience.
Have an open source game you would like to see reviewed? E-mail me your suggestion at firstname.lastname@example.org