Sawbuck Gamer

Ripple Dot Zero

Trust Falls

Place your faith in Ripple Dot Zero, and good things will come.

By Steve Heisler • July 17, 2013

Sawbuck Gamer is our daily review of a free or cheap game ($10 or less).

Ripple Dot Zero is an exercise in faith. There are plenty of blind leaps your giant penguin character must make, hoping that there will be a spring below to shoot him back into the sky. Sometimes you have to run up a steep incline, without knowing exactly how many pills you will find—yes, pills. In order to rescue your mallard friends from Alien-style chambers full of goo, you must take drugs and pray for the strength to take even more drugs. There’s no way to be sure when addiction will set in. And some of those drugs are behind false walls—to get around them, you must believe you can walk through. The gods of Ripple are of the trickster variety.

This harkens back to the days of the Sega Genesis and Sonic The Hedgehog, when jogging wildly was par for the course. Most enemies in that game only succumb when you slam into them at full speed. Our instinct is to run away from a threat, but Ripple Dot Zero, like Sonic, demands the opposite. The deeper you get in the game’s backdrop—a futuristic cityscape at dusk—the more threats abound in the form of mutated snails, and the more faith you must have. Levels become more vertical, with deep pits to either leap over or will yourself into, hoping the fear in the pit of your stomach is supposed to be there.

Share this with your friends and enemies

Write a scintillating comment

19 Responses to “Trust Falls”

  1. Dariusz G. Jagielski says:

    I love this game because of penguin. And because of reminding me of Jazz Jackrabbit (funny thing, I’ve liked JJ more than Sonic even if JJ was blatant ripoff, maybe because of gun).

    It SHOULDN’T work on Windows though.

    //edit: YAY! First!

  2. Very fun game and review, just one quibble. You use the term mallard, which is a wild duck (Anas platyrhynchos), these seem to be battle penguins (Aptenodytes badassacus).

  3. Enkidum says:

    Hey, I just successfully defended my PhD. thesis! Yeah, it’s Dr. Enkidum to y’all now. Gonna go marinade some meat for a barbecue tonight and get some booze in me!

    *this has been another total non-sequiter from Enkidum.*

    • Girard says:

      Hey, so, doc, I’ve had this weird growth I was wondering if you could take a look at…

    • NakedSnake says:


      How long can you hold out? Defend your Thesis against wave after wave of barbed questions, ignorant or lazy panelists, and bowties, bowties, bowties. What are you waiting for? Succeed and you will win all the treasures that a doctorate can achieve, depending on your discipline!

      • Dave Dalrymple says:

        How is this not already a browser game?

      • caspiancomic says:

         *Places burlap sacks full of money on desk*

        @baneofpigs:disqus, you’ve done it again!

      • Enkidum says:

        My committee were really very nice to me. 2.5 hours of questions, but all pertinent and interesting and kind of fun, really. Was cool to be able to strut my stuff.
        And now, the burning question is whether I’ve sobered up enough to drive this morning. The burning answer is the pile of car wreckage.

    • His_Space_Holiness says:

      Way to go, Doc!

    • caspiancomic says:

      Nice one, doc! Man, we’re really racking up doctors here at the Society.

    • Matt Kodner says:

      Whoa, congratulations! That’s incredible!

    • You must feel like Enkidu felt when he, too, was cultured and released into society after a lifetime of being an almost feral wilderness-dweller.

      • Enkidum says:

        Well, I did drink seven skins of wine and became merry. And now… I am somewhat less merry. Ouuuuuugh.

    • Merve says:

      Congratulations! Go out there and doctor shit up, man.

    • dreadguacamole says:


  4. Victor Prime says:

    I’ve been playing the hell out of this game.  Other than the graphics being of a higher resolution than the Genesis could do (I think), it really DOES feel like someone’s attempt at an old-school mascot platformer, right down to the main character having those 90s-cool touches (sneakers on a penguin? madness!).

    My only complaint? It’s browser-based, meaning it uses cookies for progress storage. You wipe your cookies (using, say, CCleaner), and it’s like your snotnosed little brother erased your game.

    … well shit, I guess it really IS like an old Genesis game!

  5. JohnGames says:

    I appreciate allowing me not have to get 100% pill collection to get five stars, otherwise compulsion would dictate I play it again again.