There is a reason why so many independent game developers are in the media forefront in this day and age -even with the massive production budgets of most AAA titles, the gaming community easily recognizes a well made game. Sift Heads World also comes from a relatively independent team, but instead of producing premium content, they have focused on the browser based distribution model. SHW is basically a culmination of several years of the awesome Sift Heads series. Featuring all new game modes, an incredibly detailed storyline, and amazing use of Flash graphics sans the Unity 3D engine, this browser based action-adventure is setting a new standard for the medium.
Vinnie, Shorty, and Kiro are all back in an all new Sift Heads adventure. Much like the last SH undertaking, World is also a massive game (actually, it is bigger than the last), and this time, the focus is in direct player controlled combat with FPS style aiming. The art style has remained the same, but the overall graphical delivery has been improved for smoothness of delivery (and even better animation frames). Overall, we love this latest installment in the series, and the multi-part episodic style delivery means there is plenty of gun-slinging action to enjoy.
The Bloody Newcomer is the first act of the 6 part (seven if you count Ultimatum) SH World series. Each act comes with several missions that will take you a good chunk of an afternoon to finish. Overall, the entire game takes about 20 or so hours -if you decide not to skip the narratives and actually explore the locations for side quests and other random stuff. Yes, this Flash game has plenty of animated narrative events and a good dose of side quests to make exploration rewarding.
Combat in the game is mostly the standard shoot and hide FPS fare -except that you're not really hiding all that much and just standing there without aiming your gun. Pressing spacebar will toggle using the gun or not -do note that you cannot reload unless your gun is propped up so try to conserve your bullets. Fortunately, the game is quite rewarding of headshots so if you can aim well, you can finish off an entire screen's worth of enemies using only a single clip (provided that you're using a gun with a decent sized clip). Additional weapons can be bought and purchased at a gun shop.
Exploration is present in the form clickable locations and area-hotspots. Basically, from the headquarters -you click on the car to choose a destination to go to. Once there, you can navigate through different rooms, doors, halls, and other stuff to look for story-related content, item pickups, or even a chance at getting an NPC interaction that leads to a side quest. Some locations will allow you to shoot NPCs without any consequences; other locations will have NPCs that are completely not affected by hostile actions.
The delivery is the main reason why Sift Heads World is so well made. The animation is smooth and fast -even when played on a humble netbook; the game performs without much slowdown (except when loading between scenes). The game is also polished in the sense that the story actually feels well thought out and properly executed. The lack of voice acting is hardly even noticeable -as the animations provide the necessary emotions players need to connect. Overall, this is a great game series, and Act 1 is just the start. There's a full gaming experience to be had when you finish all the acts at sifthead.net, and that is something that the developers behind this game should be proud of.