How My Grandfather Won the War is Bean‘s entry in JayIsGames’ Casual Gameplay Design Competition 6. The first thing that strikes me about this are the aesthetics. I really like the diorama look and feel, and the slightly melancholy sound track.
Gameplay is simple. Up and down arrows move your ship. There’s no left and right movement, though by charging your water cannon (space bar) you can “pull back” a little bit. These intentional limitations mean that level design is important, and Bean has done an admirable job here. At first the game seems to be about managing your water cannon, which has to recharge. Use it to splatter a safe path through the game’s hazards.
It’s actually possible to get through without shooting, however, though this is a challenge. I realize that this is also part of the game’s message. My only criticism is I wish that there was more use of the splatter mechanic in “defeating” the bosses. But then it wouldn’t be this type of game.
There are some nice touches in the game. Each dangerous element has its “good world” equivalent, and this is shown nicely within the splattered areas. The game tells a story, and I felt like finishing it for that. Similar feeling to “hearing the whole song” in Fire and Forget. Nicely done.