Proof that Sonic Team
with a passion
. Think Lemmings
on a bad mixture of cocaine
and crystal meth
. The main game mode
involves up to four automaton
(such as human
s, and whatever banana slug
s you might be able to find on the street) trying to achieve their goal
The goal (dismissing the puzzle and challenge modes): guide mice (chus) into your rocket. Guide cats (kapus) into your opponents' rockets. Whoever has the most mice at the end of a time period gets to blast off. First to blast off a certain number of times wins.
Chus keep going forward until they get into a rocket, fall into a black hole, get eaten by a cat, hit an arrow tile, or hit a wall. If they hit a wall and there's more than one way for them to go, they will turn right. Kapus follow the same rules of motion, except they go at about half the speed of chus, and if they hit an arrow tile head on, they weaken the tile (and if a tile is weakened twice, it breaks). If a kapu gets into a rocket, he will eat one-third of the chus in it. A small number of chus have 49 others hidden away in their clothes (giving you 50 chus if they get into your rocket). Even fewer chus cause something special to happen, usually benefitting the owner of the rocket which they go into.
Players can have up to three arrow tiles placed at once. Arrow tiles slowly fade away over time.
Okay, so if you distill the rules to their basic elements as Sonic Team does (guide chus into your rockets, guide kapus away), it sounds very simple. It's not. Even at the normal speed, it's too fast for ready comprehension. One of the special things that the special-event chus do is to double the speed, at which point you're basically screwed if all the other players are guiding kapus to your rocket.
The round's resolution can be changed literally in a few seconds. One time I was sitting pretty with 800 chus with 15 seconds left in the round; suddenly, a cat mania event happened, and all of the other players ganged up on me, sending as many kapus to my rocket as possible. I lost the round with only 100. Other times it's been the reverse, and many times I've had some very close matches where literally the last half second of play decided it (even with a 100-chu spread - one cat or two 50-chu mice).
There's also a cooperative mode where it's two on two. With that it's even harder to deal with, since you have to keep track of twice as many rockets to keep kapus away from.
But damn are those chus cute. (You can also replace them with Alifes or Chaos by completing other game modes, though I don't really see the appeal.)
Oh, and they're not mice and cats, but space-mice and space-cats. The whole game is realtime-rendered in a "the genetically-engineered son of Jules Verne and Chuck Jones has an opium orgy" style.
In any case, the game definitely sums up holism ("the whole is greater than the sum of its parts") quite nicely. The individual rules are simple. If it were only a few chus and a few kapus, it would be no problem. However, a lot of mechanics, side effects, and strategies are bred by these simple rules.