Hi all! Have all of you enjoyed the recently unveiled cancelled Nitrome game Fluffball? How about completing it? Did you complete it (it's incredibly easy, so yeah, you probably did)?
I actually discovered this game a long time ago when I was going to the URL unreleased Nitrome games would have got if they got released (e.g: http://nitrome.com/games/surface). I used the list of unreleased/cancelled Nitrome games on Template:Games for inputting URLs. The reason I did this is because I had previously has success trying out this method in another domain of Nitrome.com.
I entered "http://nitrome.com/games/fluffball/" one day, and came across the page. Shocked and amazed at its presence, I instantly viewed the page's source code to see if I could find other stuff, but only found out that Fluffball was the brown mud monster like creature in the Party skin. Still, I searched on Google for "nitrome fluffball" and pulled up a .swf of the game on Miniclip. As the .swf failed to load at that time, I went to the game's page on Miniclip by manually typing in "http://miniclip/games/fluffball". To my surprise, I found it.
Although I did intend to write about it when I completed all the Icebreaker iOS articles, NachoSpy14490 of Youtube did a video of the game, which caused me to have to write about it before Nitrome (presumably) removed it. When someone on Nitrome's Facebook page found the Nitrome.com page for the game, I thought Nitrome would delete the game on Miniclip (as that would be what it would bring to mind), however, they apparently didn't, and revealed some very interesting information.
Now, I have these two questions - what do you think caused Fluffball's cancellation and what do you think will Nitrome do when they discover its presence on the internet?
Why it was canceled
My first thought on why it was cancelled was that Nitrome likely didn't want to use a similar idea Nintendo used in the then-recently released Super Mario Galaxy. Super Mario Galaxy lacks traditional levels, rather, the game is divided up into Galaxies, each galaxy containing missions for the player to do, and some missions containing alternate missions in them.
In one Galaxy - Bubble Blast Galaxy - Mario jumps into a Bubble and the player gains a cursor that appears as a fan. In this level, the player has to blow Mario around the level by pressing any button on their controller in order to cause the cursor to blow air.
This stage has one missions consisting of six levels - for the first five, you have to go to a large area that contains levels 1-5, each level containing a Star Piece at the end, and completing each level transporting you to the start of this mission, where you can pick another level. Once collecting all five pieces, you can go to the sixth level, which is a fast paced level that contains lots of enemies that constantly follow you, forcing you to move quickly.
Levels are seen from a top-down (overhead, birds eye view) perspective. For all of you Nitromians out there, this mission seems like a mixture of Hot Air and Fluffball, in fact, the top-down perspective is the only things that differentiates this mission from Hot Air!
However, this likely isn't the reason that Fluffball was cancelled, as Super Mario Galaxy came out in November 2007, while Fluffball was already in development for 4 months. So this can't be the reason.
Problem is, I don't really know why the cancelled it. One possibility was that the currently playable version of the game is actually a beta version of the game, as the levels seem incredibly easy, lack hazards/enemies, and are not very challenging. Many times I just went through enemies instead of waiting for a gap to open up, and on levels with Treadmills, except for a few instances where I had to, I was able to safely navigate around every treadmill.
Also, the game has screen scrolling glitches - only when you stopped moving would the screen scroll (I believe the screen was supposed to scroll as you move). This glitch becomes apparent on level 15, when you have to go across long bridges of disappearing tiles, and having to stop on the bridge can be near-fatal (although if you move Fluffball close enough next to a disappearing platform, you can scroll the screen far enough to see where you are going).
Also, if you moved the line of stars too fast, Fluffball would go through them, but then, why would you move the line of stars so fast? The game also does not use many interactive objects and hazards, and most hazards are incredibly easy to avoid. However, this may not be the case - all the beta versions of Nitrome games I've tested, the levels I've played were slightly modified for release, but not drastically (although some levels of Super Stock Take were removed).
It's possible that Nitrome put a beta version of Fluffball on Miniclip's website, then forgot to take it down when the game was cancelled. I don't know about game beta testing on Miniclip, only Nitrome.
What is its future
I think that upon Nitrome finding out about Fluffball being playable, they will immediately remove it. It was never meant to be released, we don't know Nitrome's reason for not releasing it, and it will be because of that reason Nitrome will remove it. But then, maybe they put it up for a unique treasure hunt for all those who want to know everything about Nitrome games?
However, if there is enough demand for Fluffball (no... not that type of demand), Nitrome may re-release it on their website... perhaps even credit the Nitrome Wiki! But then, there will have to be lots of Nitromians asking Nitrome to bring the game back in order for Nitrome to bring it back, and then that will put Nitrome Must Die as Nitrome's 101st game, and Mirror Image as their 51st, and then 123 games they currently have, which would confuse fans in Nitrome Must Die being Nitrome's 100th game.
Still, it is going to be rather interesting what Nitrome will do.
What do you think Nitrome will do about Fluffball? Why do you think Nitrome cancelled the game? Post it in a comment below.