[MAGFest 12] Getting an early taste of Bacon Man

Originally published on Pixelitis.net on January 20, 2014.

You never know what kind of neat and kooky projects you’ll wind up happening upon at an Indie showcase. This year, MAGFest housed its own share of titles, with one of the more popular among them being that of Skymap Games’ tasty-sounding Bacon Man: An Adventure.

Bacon Man is described by the Massachusetts-based developer as a “3D action platformer beat-em-up RPG” for PC and Mac that stars a muscular superhero with a head made out of bacon. The game puts a fantastical spin on the Food Groups, which are essentially a group of kingdoms with villainous leaders that are plotting to take the throne from Bacon Man. The places we expect to find food, like the freezer, are represented by treacherous ice caves filled with various enemies, including armed Eskimos and a disgruntled boar with the power of invincibility.

You know, the usual.

The concept was cooked up during a typical college day for the developers, when they were sitting around, eating BLT sandwiches and throwing out ideas for making a videogame. The topic of food came up, and the rest was history.

Bacon Man still has a long way to go (the developer estimated about a year to a year and a half), but the build I got to play, while missing some polish in the textures and controls, shows a lot of promise.

In the demo, I jumped up and climbed walls lined with fish meat in a manner similar to Super Meat Boy and Mega Man X. 

The game’s physics take some getting used to: Bacon Man can fall pretty fast and the timing of your jumps across long gaps needs to be sharp; hesitating before that leap of faith is often not the best course of action. There were several hairy moments where I was bouncing on floating blowfish in order to cross a bottomless pit. This is the type of platformer that will really test your finesse when it comes to maneuvering in sticky situations. Expect to die a lot.

The game’s wackiness could be best compared to Earthworm Jim. I noticed during the game’s loading screens that Bacon Man’s running animation was strikingly similar to the way Earthworm Jim struts his stuff in his 2D escapades. Aside from being able to grab, throw and jump on top of enemies, Bacon Man eventually gets equipped with a toaster gun for long-range combat.

Skymap promises four playable characters as well as a leveling up system in the final game. The team also recently revealed that the game’s soundtrack will be done by a composer duo of Kyle Landry and Braxton Burks, with a sample track entitled “Excaliboar Fight” made available on Bandcamp.

For an early glimpse at something we won’t get to fully experience for a while, Bacon Man looks like it’s totally capable of becoming a unique sidescroller with the sort of wacky premise we were accustomed to back in the 16-bit era. Expect a Steam Greenlight page and potential Kickstarter in the near future.

Now if you’ll excuse me, I have this sudden hankering for a Wawa BLT.