By Matt Hawkins . April 7, 2013 . 12:00pm
There was no shortage of FPSes on the PAX East show floor, at least if you’re talking about First Person Shooters. But when it comes to the First Person Soda genre, there was only one representative: it’s first and only entry, known otherwise as Soda Drinker Pro.
There are few games that genuinely defy description, and Soda Drinker Pro is definitely one such game. The graphics are spartan to put it mildly, the audio is virtually nonexistent, and the controls are barely passable. But when it lacks in all other conventional areas, the game more than make up in pure charm. As well as pure existentialism.
Each level drops you in an environment. Some room rooted in reality, others not. But even the former has a dream-like quality. You start out with a soda in your hand. Your task? To drink said soda. And that’s it.
Dotted along the landscapes are other sodas. You can go forth and collect more sugar water, or you can just enjoy the drink that you have. It’s up to you. Once you’ve finished your tasty beverage, you’re transported to another environment. The game takes you to the park, the beach, a castle, even outer space, plus more. All places in which enjoying a soda is quite appropriate, as it turns out. The PAX East build had about ten or so levels, but there will eventually be 100 levels.
Soda Drinker Pro is the creation indie and gonzo game maker Will Brierly. When asked about the origin of the game, he explained that the very first version was created six years ago. “I woke up, around 4am one morning, and was thirsty. But I didn’t have a soda! But nor did I have any ingredients to make a soda, but I did have the tools to make a soda-drinking simulator.”
As for initial feedback, that came from Brierly’s parents. “At the time, my mom thought something wasn’t quite right with me.” But his father was far more supportive. “But my dad said, ‘well, that’s nice.'”
Brierly’s brother helped him port the game to Unity, which is what drives the current build. Soda Drinker Pro has managed to get quite a bit of buzz over the past few weeks and months, for perhaps obvious reasons. And Brierly, in every single interview, seems to have another unique, joke-y answer to the same questions he’s asked over and over again.
Brierly has clearly taken advantage of his newfound attention, but is he a one-trick pony? Far from it. Right next to Soda Drinker Pro was another game, called Vivian Clark. Again, it’s another hard to describe game, but you start off as a raindrop, and as it falls, it hits a person, or a creator, or an object.
Depending on what it hits, a brief game mode takes place. One play through had my droplet hit a space ship, and next thing I knew, I was controlling the ship and shooting aliens. Then after a few seconds, I was trying to land the ship on a rocky surface. And next thing I knew, I was controlling a star with long legs as he ran across the surface of the moon. Imagine a mix of WarioWare’s frantic gameplay and Yellow Submarine’s visuals and absurdity.
Though more importantly, it speaks of a level of giddiness that is becoming increasingly difficult in indie games today, which despite being an alternative to AAA offerings, is starting form its own status quo. Most interesting of all is how Vivian Clark is supposedly already out in the wild. Soda Drinker Pro, which currently is a free download (and has been nabbed quite a bit), has Vivian Clark contained within.
Brierly says that he will soon reveal to the world soon as to how they can unlock this other hidden game, that is itself many games in one.
As noted, the game is a free download, for both PC and Mac. It’s also currently up for voting on Steam Greenlight. Brierly states that if it gets released on that end, that’s when the 100 levels will be released. In the meanwhile, Brierly is accepting ideas as to what those other levels should be.