This was an entry for the XNA UK usergroup's 48-hour competition in June 2007. The game won an special commendation for gameplay, and judges were impressed by the originality and presentation.
In contrast to our own 48 hour competitions, the theme ("Ocean Odyssey") was announced in advance and we were allowed to work on games before the 48 hour period. There would be an extra element announced 48 hours before the deadline that we would have to include. This gave us time to discuss ideas, and one suggested was a game where you play as the mythical sea beast the Kraken, using the two analogue sticks of an Xbox controller to control tentacles and destroy passing ships.
I loved this idea, and created a prototype in Java to see if it was a viable control mechanic. I decided that not only was it feasible, it was also damn cool.
Unfortunately, due to the competition being right in the middle of my exams, my participation in the competition itself was limited to porting my prototype to C# and helping to integrate it with the game.
You can download Kraken here. You will need XNA 1.0 installed to run the game (more recent versions may not work).
Paul Foster: "We loved the tentacle technology in this game. The tentacles of your kraken are controlled by the thumb sticks on the Xbox controller and yes I did frequently get my tentacles tied up in a knot requiring a break from destroying things to get myself untangled."
IGN: "Erm... this was a weird one. Featuring only three levels and backgrounds that could have been produced on MS Paint, Kraken was notable for its game mechanics. Playing as a massive sea serpent, you use the 360 controller's dual analogues to manipulate two huge tentacles, smashing boats and aeroplanes. If you don't control the tentacles adequately, they'll tie themselves in knots. Ugly it might have been, but that didn't make it any less unique or compelling."