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HealthyBodyHeadToToe Group

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Isaiah Bell
Isaiah Bell

Battle Block Theater UPD

In BattleBlock Theater, players control a prisoner as they are forced to play through deadly puzzle levels. Controls are simple, with the game largely consisting of running, jumping and punching. Levels are made up of various types of blocks, such as collapsing blocks, sticky walls, bouncy volcanic rocks and deadly spikes, and also feature hazards such as water and deadly creatures.

Battle Block Theater

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The game begins with the narrator (voiced by Will Stamper) telling the adventures of the hundreds of friends aboard the S.S. Friendship, as well as Hatty Hattington, who is known as "best friend to one and all". After encountering a heavy storm, the S.S. Friendship becomes shipwrecked on a mysterious, seemingly abandoned island, whereupon most of the friends go missing. Upon waking up from the wreck, the player character seeks shelter from the storm in a dilapidated theater.

Upon coming to, it is revealed that the entire crew of the S.S. Friendship is being held prisoner by cats, with Hatty, wearing a glowing top hat, as their apparent new leader. The player is then released from their cell and forced into deadly games by the feline wardens. As the player completes challenges, they find gems which are spent on unlocking fellow crew members to play as in these theater performances. Appearing to be possessed by the hat's unknown powers, Hatty begins working for the cats and against the player.

As the player progresses, the narrator reveals more about the theater. Hundreds of years before the player shipwrecked on the island, Purrham Furbottom, a theatrical aficionado, sought to build the world's greatest theater. The opening night saw the most jaw-dropping feats and thrills the likes of which were never seen before, making the theater an overnight success. However, Furbottom did not allow intermissions in the theater, and after an untold amount of time watching the show, he died after "pooping himself to death on the way to the bathroom." Since then, his top hat has been passed down to various others, who were each revered by the cats as their leader, and who each met with grim fates of their own. The hat, the narrator theorizes, is haunted by the grief and sorrow of each of its past wearers, and Hatty is its current victim, having sunk into a depression while being surrounded by the many gems the player has accrued, without doing anything to help the state of the theater.

Eventually, the cats grow tired of Hatty's inaction, and begin rioting, striking, and more, while the player's challenges grow increasingly difficult. As the theater deteriorates further, the narrator provides encouragement to the player and continues to shed light on the cats' mental state, which grows more unstable as time progresses. The narrator also instructs the player to enter The Vault, which houses Hatty and all the gems the player has spent, before the cats kill Hatty and the rest of the crew, starting the madness over again.

After completing the final set of challenges inside the Vault, the player breaks into Hatty's throne room. Hatty does not budge, so the player carries him out of the crumbling theater as the crew of the S.S. Friendship orchestrates a mass breakout. Everyone manages to make it back to the boat amidst the chaos, escaping the island and the cats that reside there. The cats try to foil your escape, but are shot by the others with guns. As the player celebrates with hot cocoa on the ship, he tries to cheer up Hatty, who the narrator says that he would not move, blink, respond to hugs, or talk. He also asks "Where has he gone to? Where?", referring back to Hatty's death during the riot at The Vault. The narrator sings a sad song as the credits roll, before quickly recovering and singing a nonsensical, upbeat song, rocking the boat and flinging Hatty into the sea, where he sinks to the bottom. The hat lands on his head and begins glowing green as opposed to its usual red, and shoots a beam skyward, where it sends the boat flying and continues into space, where it vaporizes Alien Hominid from the game of the same name and a bear that appeared during the narrator's upbeat song, foreshadowing the events of Pit People. The narrator claims to understand what just happened but does not explain, sending the game back to the title screen.

The game is simple to play as the protagonist mainly runs, jumps and punches. There are over 450 levels including arena, single player and multiplayer modes. Each level has various battle blocks, that can collapse, have sticky walls, deadly spikes or volcanic rocks. Some of them also consist of dangers like water, or various creatures. The main gameplay takes place in Adventure mode that can be either played alone or in co-op. There is an option to face challenges in normal mode that has checkpoints allowing to save the game or in so-called insane mode, where if your protagonist dies, you start from the beginning of the level, as there are no checkpoints.

The game BattleBlock Theater occasionally contains a puzzle which is a generalised version of Lights Out. You've got three adjacent blocks, each of which indicates a level between 1 and 4 inclusive with bars, e.g.:

If you touch a block, then that block as well as any adjacent block will increment its level (wrapping back from 4 to 1). The puzzle is solved when all three blocks show the same level (it doesn't matter which level). Since, the order you touch the blocks in doesn't matter, we denote a solution by how often each block is touched. The optimal solution for the above input would be 201:

Given a sequence of block levels, return how often each block needs to be touched to solve the puzzle. E.g. the above example would be given as 142 and could yield 201 as a result. If there is no solution, return some consistent output of your choice, which is distinguishable from all potential solutions, e.g. -1 or an empty string.

Now let's denote a[k] to be the current level of block k and x[k] to be the number of times we touch block k in a solution. Also let n be the total number of blocks. As @Jakube has noted, a solution must satisfy:

This explains why there are 4 solutions for 0 mod 3 and 1 mod 3, and usually 16 solutions for 2 mod 3. If you have a solution already, touching the blocks as above gives another solution which ends up at a higher block level (wrapping around).

The algorithm first makes sure that the values of all blocks except the last block are the same (by iterating through and adding to the "touch counts" of all blocks except the first 2). Then, if the number of blocks allows for it ((num_of_blocks - 1) % 3 != 1), goes back and makes sure the values of the rest of the blocks match the last block. Prints x if there is no solution.

Flash games aren't the crucible of indie talent that they once were, but Battleblock Theater carries the legacy of those halcyon days. The technology might have changed, but this is a game from the culture that produced Meat Boy and N+. It's by The Behemoth, the guys that made Alien Hominid and Castle Crashers, and it marks a sea change in how much indie developers are capable of achieving with a single game. It's a platform adventure, a co-op and versus multiplayer game, a creative suite and a comedy revue.

You're an anonymous doughy prisoner, stranded in a dilapidated theatre run by cats in the sway of a haunted hat; cats who build deadly platform challenges out of blocks and make prisoners like you run them for laughs.

It's all presented wonderfully. Battleblock Theater is a very funny, sharply written game, narrated with incredible energy. Puppet theatre cutscenes put a smile on your face and intermittent lines of voiceover keep it there. Then there are the excellent songs, particularly the hilarious, nonsensical scatting that accompanies secret levels. There's a lot of The Muppets in Battleblock Theater, in the best possible way.

Parents need to know that BattleBlock Theater is a side-scrolling platformer and fighting game with cartoon violence. The player's small, block-like character can suffer a broad range of deaths, from slow drowning and electrocution to spike impalement and being swallowed whole by a reindeer raccoon. Tiny dry bones sometimes go flying after an avatar's death. Violence aside, it offers a positive social and cooperative gaming experience, encouraging up to four gamers to play and laugh together in the same room, as well as an outlet for digital creativity via a level editor.

Cartoony cats are portrayed as evil and sadistic in BATTLEBLOCK THEATER, a downloadable game for Xbox Live Arcade. The felines take a group of blocky protagonists prisoner when they wash up on the cats' strange island. The cats force the players' heroes to traverse dozens of deadly side-scrolling obstacle courses for their amusement, leaping over liquid-filled chasms, avoiding beams of electricity, and dealing with enemies ranging from kung fu kittens to weird reindeer raccoons, all the while keeping an eye out for gems, strawberries, and balls of yarn that can be used to buy new avatar items and offensive abilities in the prison gift shop. Beyond the campaign lies an arena mode containing eight team-based and competitive game types for up to four players, as well as a level editor that allows players to quickly and easily build and share their own challenges with players around the world.

The Behemoth is growing up. You're over halfway through Battleblock Theater, the indie developer's latest, before you get to see someone poo themselves to death. Considering the team's previous game, 2008's Castle Crashers, had a variety of woodland creatures suffering from varying degrees of terminal diarrhoea within the first few levels, this clearly represents a significant stride towards maturity.

Thankfully, such restraint doesn't mean that Battleblock Theater has abandoned the studio's goofy, surreal sense of humour. Quite the opposite. This is by far The Behemoth's funniest game, with a laugh-out-loud narrator spinning a barking mad tale about weird little puppet people with interchangeable heads, shipwrecked on an island ruled by sadistic cats who force the refugees to survive deadly gauntlets in a shabby theatre for their feline amusement. 041b061a72


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