Ocular Ink is hands down one of the most fun and unique freeware games I've played in the past few years. Just reading the official storyline will already give you a clue as to how wacky this game is: "In a strange and twisted land where evil dismembered body parts roam the countryside, you play the role of a young paintbrush-wielding eyeball that is determined to free his home town from the fearsome clutches of the evil eye-pirate known far and wide as Patches Deadlights."
Yes, you really *are* a paintbrush-wielding eyeball in this game. You roll around the 3D landscape, fighting baddies throwing things at them. You throw things by "drawing" a line from the object (say, a rock or a bomb) to the enemy by pressing down the left mouse button, dragging it across the screen and releasing the button. The right mouse button is used to move around (click on the spot you want to roll to), and interact with other eyeballs (for instance, to talk to them or purchase upgrades) and other objects.You need ink in order to draw, and this ink is also your "life force" – it's game over if you run out. Although it is mostly a very furious freeform shooter, some strategy is essential in Ocular Ink as well. For example, you have to be careful not to put yourself in the trajectory of your drawing, or you will be hurt by your own shot. Certain places have few potential projectiles so you have to 'lure' enemies to blast a few large rocks into smaller pieces you can make use of.
As you progress in the story, you will learn new drawing skills such as creating bombs (by filling an area quickly with your brush) or shooting lasers (by drawing a circle around an enemy). The game's unique gameplay is accompanied by a neat plot, cool bosses (the cowboy eyeball is my favorite), and varied landscapes. Sometimes you also get help in the form of friendly eyeballs that fight beside you.
My only gripe with the game is that it seems a bit unbalanced, i.e. some late-game bosses are actually easier to kill than earlier ones. Since the game has not yet reached final version 1.00, I am sure these imbalances will be corrected as time goes on. In its current form as at 20 September 2005, Ocular Ink already won a spot on HOTU as one of the best freeware games of 2005. Two thumbs up, way up!Reviewed by: Underdogs