‘Samosa – Auto Shooter’: A black and white take on good vs. evil

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A vehicular action adventure game with minimalistic silhouette art-style and a story revolving around the rickshaw driver Sam, his Samosa (another word for an autorickshaw) and a quest to get back his pet chicken from Osa, an evil scientist, is what Samosa is all about.

Samosa – Auto Shooter, developed by Madras Games, an indie studio which has been working on the game since the last one year, finally launched the game with much improved art-work and play style than we had seen the last time around at an event.

Games like Limbo and Oscura have made the minimalistic silhouette art style somewhat mainstream. Although the games do have a single tone of art work, they manage to convey the message through the gameplay and strong narrative background.

The game starts with a back story where Sam, the rickshaw driver, is sitting by the riverside with his pet chicken; where Osa, the evil scientist, is hunting and sets his eye on the pet chicken and steals it from Sam. Now, Sam is out on a journey to rescue his pet chicken and take revenge and the road is filled with Osa’s minions.

The game’s UI is simplistic with only a play button to start and a video button to watch the story again. The game is level based which is divided into 5 environments like Town, Ocean, Forest, City and Sky. Each of the environments has 8 levels ending into a boss battle.

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The environment sports different backgrounds during the levels, for example: the Town has a small storey house, tents and a ferris wheel, whereas the Ocean level is literally inside an ocean where the auto is submerged into the deep waters and one has to pass these to reach the end. Similarly for other levels like Forest, City and Sky, the environments change with the environments changing. One thing that does not change is the black and white tone of the game.

The auto is a moving war machine which gets equipped with weapons as you complete certain levels.  The weapons include basics like a laser, a magnet and more advanced inventory like a nuclear gun and an entire auto covered with weapons.

The game studio has also invested time in localising the game to various Indian languages wherein one can find languages like Hindi, Tamil, Telugu and Malayalam apart from the standard English language; there are also witty words like a ‘Jugaad’ in Hindi language, which is used for ‘Setting’ in English which the studio has translated given the little knowledge of the language that they may possess, but it’s all in good jest.

The levels are linear and sometimes a little tough to win, but one can master the art of clearing levels as and when you go on killing your foes. The game has been updated regularly post the release, ironing out a lot of bugs and bringing out a crisper animation and gameplay for the players.

Being a free-to-play game, the player has three lives, which increase as you keep playing but once they are exhausted, one can either watch videos and get an extra life or purchase it through IAPs. If you don’t want to purchase and have worn out the video ads, one has to wait for the lives to refill; this is a norm these days in the free to play games market, do no surprises there.

Samosa – Auto Shooter is a start for Madras Games, with the game showing positives in the art department, which though not unique but has been executed with meticulous detail. Music for the game is another encouraging sign, and will give much confidence to the studio that it is headed in the right direction. On the gameplay front, the back story is short and forms the game’s crux but it fizzles out as you keep playing with you only shooting and forgetting the primary reason for going on the killing spree in the first place – remember the pet chicken? The game plays out well on the mid to high end phones but lags on lower-end phones, which was expected keeping in mind the relatively larger byte size of the game, but the developers have managed to squeeze in a lot of heavy artwork and other peripherals as well.

The studio is currently working on the iOS, Windows and PC version of the game of which the PC version was Greenlit on Steam long time ago. Apart from Samosa, the studio is working on a number of other arcade games which it says would release in the coming months.

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