Prepare to plow through pixilated pandemonium. Navigate with unbridled courage through 8 treacherous stages of low-resolution carnage. Use your explosive firepower to battle swarms of deadly enemy fighters bent on your annihilation. Collect power-ups to better blast the baddies to ballistic dimensions. Strike with destructive force. Only your skills can decide whether you become a champion or an insignificant speck of cosmic dust. This is the big one. Your mission awaits.

Screen Shot 1 Screen Shot 2



The Start Game link above probably requires Internet Explorer. If it doesn’t work, try downloading the executable instead. If neither works, you might be missing the .NET Framework. Grab it here. If you’re not running Windows, give up now.

Move in any direction using the arrow keys. Fire your weapons by holding down D. Press P to pause. Restart the current stage by pressing Backspace. Tap F11 to toggle in and out of full screen mode.

It’s possible to beat any stage starting at the lowest weapon level as long as you collect sufficient power-ups along the way. In the event that you reach a barrier that cannot be breached without better firepower and no power-ups are readily available, then you may need to hit Backspace to restart the stage. The next time around, don’t miss those power-ups.

Full screen mode is essentially a hack. F11 actually hides the form border and reduces the screen resolution. Unfortunately, when you lower the screen resolution, Windows automatically rearranges the icons on your desktop.

Consisting of solid colored squares, rectangles and circles, its graphics barely match Pong-era games. It lacks sounds effects. It lacks music. And, it only accepts keyboard input. But, this retro game parody, inspired by early side-scrolling shoot’em ups, makes up for what it lacks with awesome game play.

The original SQUARIUS was a tiny Java application created for the J4K2007 competition. The limited graphics reflected the 4,096 byte file size restriction imposed on entries. For the sequel, I decided to maintain the same look-and-feel as the original, but I made no attempt to squeeze the game into a 4K executable.

SQUARIUS2 was written in C#. It was tested on a 1.8 GHz single-core Windows XP box using .NET Framework 3.0. Feel free to hack up the source code. Remove the strong name key file and the certificate from the solution to avoid being prompted for a password during compilation.