It’s rare that I get totally addicted to a game under Linux. I mean, the
environment isn’t really conducive to totally immersive gaming. Back in my
Windows days I’d have a serious game every week or two I’d play pretty
constantly until I either beat it or got tired of it. Since I’ve gone totally
Linux, that just hasn’t happened. Now, many would consider this a -good- thing,
since games can in fact be total time sucking life suckers, but gosh darn it,
sometimes ya just have to take a break from the full time job and just blow things up
for a while.
I’m not a cutting edge sort of gamer. If I like something, I’ll play it for
a while. And I mean a while. I’m still playing Quake 3 Arena just because
durnit, it’s a fun game, and lets me, well, you guessed it, BLOW THINGS UP!
When I shifted over to Linux, Q3A wasn’t really an option anymore (yes, I know
it’s possible, but I just wasn’t up for the hassle.
I moseyed over to a wonderful Linux gaming site called Happy Penguin and started browsing
listings. A couple looked interesting, and I tried a few, then someone pointed
me to Kobo Deluxe. Happy Penguin had a
page on it which
had some pretty positive commentary, so I decided to check it out.
As I’ve come to expect, my Debian Linux
installation was all over the application, and all I had to do was type
‘apt-get install kobodeluxe’ and in a few moments, things were ready to go.
The nutshell of the game is, well, SHOOT EVERYTHING. There’s no powerups, no
plot or anything, just keep shooting until there’s nothing left, then go to the
next level and do it again. Ya gotta respect that, it works mighty well.
You are the pilot of a small ship trying to destroy complex fortresses. The
fortresses are guarded by impenetrable walls that can only be destroyed by
shooting the emplacements at the end of the walls, which cause the walls to
disintegrate. Destroy enough of them, and you can shoot the ‘core’ of the
fortress, thereby destroying the whole thing.
When you start out you only have 1-2 small fortresses to destroy, and they’re
pretty easy. As the game progresses, it gets harder pretty quickly. There
are zillions of levels in the game, and some of them you just have to keep
pounding away until you can get through them.
On a PIII-700 in full screen mode the game is responsive and playable. There’s
no pausing or noticeable flicker, and the soundtrack plays fine. Kobo Deluxe
is completely SDL based, and includes support for OpenGL. Control of the ship
is done either via keyboard or joystick (I use the keyboard), and is very
The ship can only shoot in 8 directions (no smooth turning), but always
‘forward’ and ‘back’ whenever you fire, so really, it’s pretty easy to lay down
a world of hurt on the things around you just by ‘spinning’ the ship around and
blasting anything within range.
Each level has its own combinations of different defenses, other ships flying
around, even indestructible asteroids. It never really gets boring.
This is an example of a relatively simple game that is COMPLETELY addictive and
very clean and simple. I find myself constantly saying “Oh just one more
level” even at 3am when I have to be up and working by 8:30. Not good, but
nice to see it on a Linux platform. I don’t have many gripes with the
entire setup, the music is quite good, the sound is great, the playaction is
good, and it’s consistently challenging. What more could someone want?
For those who are already playing, my best level so far is level 33.