Save lives from the comfort of your own browser.
Video games often get a bad rap in the mainstream press, with outlets like Fox News and the Daily Mail calling them things like “murder simulators” and complaining that they cause aggressive behavior and violence. But even video games’ harshest critics would struggle to find anything objectionable about Save The Day, a cute, simple-but-addictive browser-based game from Denki.
In Save The Day, your objective is to save as many people as you can from a natural disaster as you fly around in your helicopter. Initially, your helicopter can only hold 10 people, so you’ll need to fill it up and then head back to one of the landing pads to offload the grateful survivors before heading back out into the disaster zone to rescue more stranded civilians. You choose who to save as they all earnestly plead “Pick me! Pick me!” or shout, “I’m over here!” The characters include Granny, leaning on her walking stick, a young boy called Mikey, and of course, fluffy kittens. You start to feel genuinely torn as to who you should save first, despite knowing it’s all only really a game. When you’ve failed to save everyone and have to abandon them, flying off in your helicopter to safety while you leave them to their fate, I felt bad – much worse than I’ve ever felt for killing anyone in a game.
As you play, the more people you save, the more Heroic XP you will earn. If you save people quickly, you can stack up bonuses which nab you more Heroic XP. When you have enough XP, you will gain a level, which will allow you to access a new range of cool power-ups for your helicopter. You can also pick up special VIP passengers, jewels and money which enable you to buy these power ups, which include extras like better armor and extra time.
The controls are the keyboard directional arrows, and you’ll need to move carefully to avoid destroying your helicopter by banging it into rocks, accidentally incinerating it in fire or knocking over boulders onto the people you’re meant to be saving. You can use space bar to shoot, which in this case involves shooting a powerful jet stream of water that puts out fires.
To be honest, shooting things gets boring sometimes and it’s a refreshing to change to play a game which doesn’t involve having to kill things – Denki has branded it a ‘save-’em-up’. The game probably won’t be something you’ll want to sit and play for hours on end, but it’s good fun to give it the odd five minutes here and there. Surprisingly, though, Denki has found that people play between 45 and 60 minutes on average.
Twitch-based gameplay is used perfectly in Save The Day – it’s quick and easy to get the hang of it, but hard to master. You have to split your time effectively, saving people whilst putting out fires to get your mitts on more money and choosing when to leave an area and move on to the next.
As you get better at the game, add more power-ups and learn where the people are and a system for saving them, you’ll find you’ll be able to explore more of the game and play for longer. However, it’s still disappointing that there is only essentially one level to play. In that sense, Save The Day is like an old-school arcade game like Xevious or Xenon, where you start from the same position every time you play.
The power-ups and leveling do give you something to hang around for, but once you’ve left the game there’s not much to tempt you back for more. You can create an account and save your progress but still, with so many things clamoring for attention in this modern world, out of sight is likely out of mind.
Perhaps in the future, Denki will be looking to add some new challenges. Really, though, when the worst thing you can say about a game is “I wish there was… more, somehow,” then that’s not so bad.