Parasite Pack by Lowtek Games
Parasite Pack is a bundle of two retro 8-bit style games themed around the titular parasites. Flea! is a platforming title following the adventures of a rather energetic insect as it ravenously hunts down the blood it needs to sate its thirst. Tapeworm Disco Puzzle provides a slower pace of action with an assortment of brainteasers involving the musical tapeworm protagonist. Both games are set in the same surreal world where blood is a much coveted resource.
Flea to Do What I Want Any Old Time
Flea! is the more familiar entry of these two games. The leaping protagonist is on the hunt for blood and must jump, hop, and bounce through 80 levels to free it from the grip of a tyrannical king flea. Each level features a few blood containers to collect, each of which provides an extra life, and these soon start to pile up. A good thing, too, as Flea! begins to dial up the challenge after the first few levels.
Flea! brings a twist to the classic platformer experience in the form of the eponymous parasite’s inability to stop jumping. It’s important to avoid any overhead obstacles, and the only control over this relentless leaping is the ability to shorten the jump with carefully timed button presses. This adds a sense of constant flow to each stage, and the level design is built around this limitation.
A couple small boons are provided as the game progresses, most notably the ability to dash forward in a straight line. This arrived a little too late in the adventure for my taste, as it adds a fun dynamism and control to the action that feels absent earlier on. That said, it also makes the levels a tad easier and so it demands trickier level design to compensate. The stages themselves are well conceived, and there is an engaging boss at the end of every set of ten that involves a sprint across a scrolling level (as opposed to the static screens that make up the bulk of the game).
Tricky Tapeworm Time
Tapeworm Disco Puzzle slows the action down a bit, but that isn’t to say it isn’t without some pace of its own. The majority of its levels are puzzles built around moving the worm across a grid to achieve various goals with limited body length to spare.
Some stages involve protecting fleas as they navigate the environment, while others simply require the collection of musical notes. Every few levels, there is a more action-oriented stage that takes its inspiration from the classic Snake video game genre.
Both games share an 8-bit aesthetic, and this is superbly executed. Pixel art graphics depict everything from fleas to wormholes to the rather grisly environment of the levels. I have to question the choice of theme for these titles – I can’t say parasites leap to mind as an appealing choice of protagonists for platforming or puzzle games – but to each, their own!
All in all, Parasite Pack is a well-designed, flavorful, and challenging pair of games that will bring something to the table for platforming and puzzle fans alike.
Parasite Pack is available via the Nintendo Store, the Sony PlayStation Store, and the Microsoft Store.
Watch the trailer for Parasite Pack below: