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Phaser Engine and Its Games

This week marks the first time that I have used Phaser and even heard of the engine so to help get up to speed with what it can do, I decided to explore what games have previously been created on the engine so I can get some expectations and set some realistic goals that I can achieve within the engine.

Fireboy and Watergirl is a popular series of online co-op platformer/puzzle games. Src: https://phaser.io/content/news/2020/06/fireboy-and-watergirl-5-elements1.jpg

Fireboy & Watergirl is a game I heard a lot of in my childhood and I’d always see people playing it in break time at school or even in lesson when the teacher wasn’t looking. It was a nice surprise to see this listed on the Phaser staff picks knowing that such a popular game was made with the engine. I personally never played too much of the game in the past so I decided to give it a try, but being a co-op game, it was a bit tricky to control 2 players at once. The game overall is a simple premise but it is well put together and plays with the characters traits to create some interesting obstacles (Fireboy can’t go in water and visa versa), the graphics are pretty basic but they get across what they need to plus being a puzzle game the simple graphics help distinguish things more so that you can focus more on the puzzle side of things. After my dive into Fireboy & Watergirl, I felt I’d try to find a game of a completely different style to see how diverse Phaser can be which led to…

Miner Dash is a pixel art progressive game about digging down to the Earth’s core. Src: https://phaser.io/content/news/2020/07/minerdash1.jpg

Miner Dash! This game caught my eye for its visuals, I’m a big fan of pixel art and this game seemed to have a lot of love put into them, so naturally I clicked play to see what this game was about. At first it came across as a pretty simplistic game, dig down until the tool breaks and upgrading them, however the upgrading side was a lot more interesting that I anticipated, with resource collecting being an important feature rather than just for score. Each item has unique sprites instead of just a level bar from 1-X like a lot of online games have, plus a crafting grid akin to Minecraft where you crafted new items that allowed you to progress further like, pickaxes, drills, bombs and even more fantasy inspired items like youth elixirs for character buffs made the upgrades have a bit more character. The better items were unlocked as you progressed through the Earth’s layers, with each new layer unlocking a new recipe which was fun to see what kind of item would be next and made the game pretty addictive. Overall I was very impressed with this game, the visuals were pretty, vibrant and clear which was paired with simple but addictive gameplay, which gave me more confidence in Phaser on how adaptable and customisable the engine is.

C.A.T.S. is a free-to-play online and mobile game about building “battle cars” to become the best engineer. Src: https://phaser.io/content/news/2019/04/cats-instant-fights1.jpg

The final game I will talk about is one that I played a fair bit when it first came out and I’m very surprised that it was even made in Phaser, it’s called C.A.T.S. and falls into the category of mobile free-to-play with microtransactions and wait timers a fairly common sight within the game. Now, I don’t play many free-to-play games, or more that I simply can’t get into them and don’t really come back after a couple days, but this one had me hooked for quite a while, I just found building the cars and trying to get the most damage and survivability out of your items you had a fun challenge and when you got a more powerful item from the loot boxes it was exciting because sometimes it wouldn’t be compatible with you current battle car and you’d have to rethink the whole thing if you wanted to use the item. The game has a general cat theme to it too with the graphics aiding to bring out various aspects of the world and cats to create a fun, cartoon aesthetic that worked well for the tone of the game. Though it may not be among the most popular free-to-play games, it certainly had a lot of players, including my friends where we would always fight to be the best in the weekly leagues that we were in, and to see a game like this made in Phaser really puts into perspective to how adaptable the engine really is, especially for its simplicity.

In conclusion, I’ve been impressed with the quality of games that the Phaser engine has produced, not just in gameplay but in graphics and customizability too, and it gives me great excitement to learn more of what the engine can do in the future. With these games in mind, I feel like I can set myself a clear goal for where I’d like to be by the end of my time using Phaser academically, and that would be a project similar in scope to Miner Dash since I enjoy making progressive games and I feel would not be too big a task once I’m more familiar with Phaser.