We may actually honestly be nearing end-times when an Old Spice adver-game is suddenly a very serious contender for November and December’s web-gaming-best, but here we are, and Dikembe Mutombo’s 4 1/2 Weeks to Save the World very easily could be.
The idea might come as less of a shock when you consider the all-star team at the heart of it: Canabalt creator Adam Saltsman along with his Capsule cohort Robin Arnott, artist Paul Veer & musician Jukio ‘Kozilek‘ Kallio — both behind the other Venus Patrol-exclusive game, Gun Godz — and artist Sven ‘ptoing‘ Ruthner, best known (or maybe should-be-best-known) for his work on 2008 action-tunneler Thrustburst.
Working with ad agency Wieden & Kennedy, the team were tasked with coming up with a new, full mini-game every week straight through to the Mayan apocalypse, the second (and stronger of both so far) of which has launched today. Shown at top, it’s a multi-tiered mine-cart action game that doesn’t fall that far from the tree Saltsman & Veer planted for their Hunger Games movie tie-in Girl on Fire, and continues the overall initiative’s reliance on a steady-stream of non-sequitur jokes.
It’s those “no idea turned down” jokes that seem to be giving the project its vitality — between handing retired basketball champ and game-star Mutombo an insane script for him to deadpan his way through (with shades of the way TV cult-classic Fishing With John played with its own narrator) and the punch-drunk exhaustion that must come from providing a new, polished design every five days, the games have the same raw enthusiasm as any from a typical game jam.
Three more ‘current event’-ish games will be released up to the December 17th deadline, a countdown to which you can watch via the vaguely terrifying computer-aided Mayan calendar carving live-cam happening behind the scenes: play the first two now to make sure you’re caught up on the non-storyline as it develops.