RagDoll Cannon 4 Game

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Ragdoll Cannon 4 - The fourth instalment to the impressive physics-and-launch-based puzzle series which now borders on being canonical in its genre

Physics-Based Puzzlement

If you're bored of the usual colour-filled world where firing people out of cannons is considered somewhat of a social (and legal) faux pas to say the least, then you're either a) mildly to moderately deranged or b) familiar with the Ragdoll Cannon series and wish real life was more like these games. It would be so much simpler though, wouldn't it? I mean, you've already got the physics in Ragdoll Cannon 4 which simulate those of real life. If only everyday life involved firing expendable ragdolls (read: people, if you are genuinely homicidal) skilfully at increasingly intricate contraptions in order to successfully hit a target which allows you progress to the next, even more complex level, and all presented in an attractive blueprint-like colour scheme. It isn't completely sadistic however: the goal is actually to use as few ragdolls as possible, so that's got to demonstrate some compassion, right? Whether you're in it for the puzzles or are simply seconds away from a violent mental breakdown that could lead to you climbing the nearest clock tower with a sniper rifle, Ragdoll Cannon 4 may be your cup of Earl Grey (that's tea if you're not familiar) to bring you back from the edge of boredom (or insanity).

Challenges Aplenty, Physics Galore

Ragdoll Cannon 4 is, as the title subtly suggests, the fourth iteration in what has been a steadily- developing physics-based puzzle series that's only ever been moving in the right direction. The game's premise is wildly simple: just use your mouse to aim and fire a cannon in order to hit a designated target somewhere on the screen. The brilliance is in the details however, as you're actually firing different types of ragdolls from this cannon (two extra types have been added since Ragdoll Cannon 3) and the target isn't sitting openly on the screen: it's usually obscured by or actively moving around various physics-adhering contraptions, just to make things all the more challenging.

 And challenged you shall be whether you're a completely new player or simply a returning fan of the series. You've got a total of 50 levels to complete, all with difficulty increasing steadily over time so that you're not breezing through like some madman that just loves firing people indiscriminately out of cannons for pleasure. You'll be utilising your mouse to aim the cannon whilst paying attention to the distance of the aiming reticle from the cannon itself: close proximity equals a weak shot whilst placing the crosshair far away will result in a stupendously powerful blast. It is with the consideration of aim and power that you will be firing the ragdolls across the screen, with additional attention paid to timing in some cases as your target is sometimes inaccessible with just one shot.

Deduction, Destruction, Redemption, Repeat

If you break down the gameplay, you've got a cycle in each level of deducing the correct solution to the puzzle (usually aiming in a certain direction and shooting with a certain strength), destroying any obstacles in your way, redeeming yourself by finding the correct solution, and repeating.

 The destruction part can be done with the regular ragdolls, but developer Johnny K has been kind enough to include two additional ragdoll types to make this destruction and resulting victory much easier. The first type is the explosive ragdoll, which detonates on impact with beams and objects, and the second is the sticky ragdoll which adheres to any surface it touches. The former is useful for simply getting things out of your way quickly whilst the latter type allows you to change the balance of certain objects permanently so that they can be moved or modified enough to shoot your regular ragdoll at the target. These special ragdolls are finite in number and can be collected by firing your regular ragdolls - which are in infinite supply - at either the explosive or sticky ragdoll power-ups on the screen. There are limited quantities of these special ragdolls per level, so use them carefully.

A True, Blue Masterpiece

As far as physics games go, Ragdoll Cannon 4 is top notch in every department. It has a simple premise, some fascinating variables which make for a unique experience, and enough content to keep players occupied for a great deal of time. The aesthetics are also a point worth noting: the hand-sketched artwork is great to look at whilst the blueprint-only hue makes the whole thing even more pleasant to have in your eye line. It could do with a bit more RPG-like progression or at least some upgrades in the style of fellow launch game Berserk Ball 2, but this would mean quite a reworking for the series to say the least. This is a great sequel and a brilliant addition to the genre, and one which makes ragdoll games worth bothering with in the first place.