When you think of France*, you think of ennui, of world weariness, of mimes, of overly verbose stories that still leave you staring at the remnants of raw extruded humanity (some of it yours) on the floor as you wonder if you’ve wasted your entire life on flights of triviality.
It’s true. You’ve only made horrible choices thus far. But that’s okay. You can give that child back and play some unWorded. It’s fun. I mean as fun as this bleak existence will allow.
Bento Studio, based in Lyon, have recently released unWorded for Steam, having come out late last year for Android and iOS. It’s a sweeping narrative with themes mentioned above, that is connected through the drawing pictures with letters. Yes, it’s a bit gimmicky and McGuffiny, but it’s simple, elegant, and it works, really making for an enjoyably different game experience, as long as your mind’s eye is in line with the creators’, which is really is the only thing I’d call a downside. For example, there’s this one scene where you have to make a boat, but I thought certain pieces were waves instead of an upper deck, and the thing ground to a halt. Of course when I saw what the answer should have been it was obvious, but I just wasn’t thinking along those lines.
On the reverse, it’s a really beautiful game. Every cut scene could be a wallpaper. I mean look at this from near the beginning.
Gorgeous. It’s weird, and weird games need more attention. I only went through a few levels, but I’m going to go back into it now. I’ll update if I find anything cool.
*Maybe this is reminding me of Illumine, and hence the French connection? Maybe I’m just a bigot.
The mainstream Korean mobile game scene contains a whole bunch of garbage. Like a planet of garbage. Mostly it’s just basically re-skins of Progress Quest, where you slowly grind levels so that you can see bigger numbers. I guess that’s mobile gaming in a nutshell world wide, but the current Korean scene seems pretty trash heap to me. Partly this is because I am a huge snob.
And good news for snob, wizards, and the like is that the good folks at Humble Bundle put together a Made in Korea mobile bundle. It’s well worth the five bucks. The charity du juor is SpecialEffect. So, you can buy these and even help some people. Good for you. There’s a week left on it at time of this writing*. I thought I’d run it down quick like.
This game is number one and the best. Worth your paltry $1. A fun little shooter that looks like an old Tiger Electronics handheld, but plays like a modern game. Shoot aliens. Save farm animals. Get power-ups. This is really addictive and one of only a handful of twitch action games that I’ve found to be playable on mobile. Here’s a Burpy rundown of Totaly Battery’s games.
Atmospheric mobile survival horror. Slick monochrome graphics. You have a flashlight that can only illuminate a small triangular area. Pretty low key in the beginning, but then OMG WHAT ARE THOSE ZOMBIE BUG THINGS RUN. Good times.
So, I guess the Law is that Sally is some horrible ball person! She must roll everywhere! It is body horror much worse than the ZOMBIE BUG things from Dim Light. This is a two part plat-former where you initially roll sally through a level and then you go back and roll her father through a different path in the level removing obstacles from Sally’s path. Because he is a caring father even though he is distant, he is protecting his daughter. Also, he is a ghost. When did simple little puzzle games like this start to add touching stories to basic puzzle-y game-play? I blame Braid. I mean, I ain’t need to know the feelings of the 1 x 4 block to enjoy Tetris. I don’t care about it’s life. I just want it to clear blocks.
This game is also great. Worth the $5 for the top tier. Some not wizard reviewed it a while ago on some site. I’m looking forward to SOMI’s new game “Legal Dungeon.” Got a look at it at BICFest, but it is currently only available in Korean and my Korean reading is the sucks, so text heavy games are out.
This one has been on Steam a while and now it’s on Android! Hooray! It’s a high difficulty plat-former with the gimmick that gravity is very low and you can jump right off the top of the screen and come back in from the bottom. It’s fun, but I can help but feel that the lack of precision on the Android touch pad makes this less fun than it should be. I’m really keen to try this out with a proper controller. Burpy Fresh reviewed the Steam version here.
*If you come to this post late go get I.F.O. and Replica. In my snobbish opinion those are the two gems here.
Hey, so @curttheinvert and I went to Seoul Indies this month and they actually had games. Like 5 of them! I forgot to bring my camera, but I’ll scavenge some stuff of the Internet.
Her Knights – Byulbaram
First up was Byulbaram, the godfather of Korean indie, featuring 그녀의 기시단 (Her Knights) in English from back in like 2004 for the GP32, and old Korean handheld system that I’d never heard of. According to Wikipedia, it’s similar to the first edition of the Game Boy Advance. I should look for one the next time I’m in Yongsan.
The game had early 2000s anime pixel art and a bit of a story. It played kinda like Turtles in Time, but with hand drawn cutscenes, and a fantasy sort of vibe. What’s notable are how well the characters and enemies react to what’s happening on screen. In fact, in a response to Gon Lee, from Total Battery, who asked about the most important characteristic of a fighting game, Byulbaram explained that every attack would bring out a distinct animation in enemies, that made sense with what was happening to them. Like, a right handed punch would push a person left, etc. I know that seems obvious now, but watching the game one more time after hearing this really made me appreciate just how many animations were actually in the game.
Oh, I should note, that this guy had to find the old source, and then rewrite everything for OpenGL so he could bring it to BIC and Seoul Indies. Hard core.
Bouncing Hero – ZPink + zniq.co
Bouncing Hero, a collaboration with ZPink and zniq.co, was also at BIC. It’s a puzzle-platformer, where you’re constantly bouncing, and you have to time your movements to each bounce. The developers wanted to create something that was challenging, but also was easy to control with a touch screen interface.
The point of the game is to touch all of the red star emblems on the screen to either open the door or to defeat the boss. The concept and design are simple, but crazy challenging. Each level is not randomly generated, but has a number of different permutations that can occur, which adds replayability as well. I could see myself getting frustrated with this, but it’s a solid concept.
Superstream – zniq.co
Superstream is a vamped up version of Pipe Dream, but with a Tetris style piece delivery system. The water (in this case a pulse of light) starts flowing as soon as you’ve laid 6 pieces on the board, removing the original pieces in place. When the pulse goes through a piece on the board, including one you’ve placed, it randomly regenerates, and gives you the ability to place one more piece from your tray. The difficulty comes from only being able to have a maximum of six delivered pieces on the board, meaning you can’t just throw what you don’t want away.
Superstream is free to play on zniq.co, and on Telegram apparently?
Hwasal – Jang Wonsun
Hwasal looks like a roguelike, but it’s more of a puzzler. Basically you’re an archer and you have to set up your arrows to hit every enemy on the screen in a number of turns. As you progress you can unlock upgrades and other things to use in the levels.
Ninja Issen – Jang Wonsun
This is another game by Jang Wonsun. The goal of the game is to defeat all the enemies on the screen in one go. The gimmick is that the entire level (with the enemies in them) shifts around in front of you, meaning you have to wait until everything lines up correctly to strike.
It’s a bit hard to explain, and I can’t find anything else on the game online, so I’ll just leave this one here for now.
Seoul Indies is the last Thursday of every month, and we’re usually located between Daeheung and Gwangheungchang stations on Line 6. If you have a game, or want to see some new stuff, come check it out!
Full Disclosure: I’m still a fucking pleb paying full price for games. I mean, intellectually, I know I’ve nothing to deserve free games, but I still feel like I should be getting them somehow? #NorthAmerican #WhiteMale #EvenStillIWantFreeGames
Snakebird is quite possibly the most adorable puzzle game I’ve ever played.* Bright colours, adorable birds that react to the environment around them with such a wide range of expression, and sublime music all come all come together to create a memorable experience that almost masks the sheer frustration and torment you’ll face at every stage as you juggle two to four birds in a graceful and delicate dish spin, only to have everything come crashing down on you with less than a moment’s notice.
Yeah, I couldn’t make it a paragraph just talking about how well polished it looks. This game is crazy hard. To the developers’ credit, it never feels unfair, the difficulty is purely due to your (my) inability to recognize the pattern in a situation. There is a curve, from easy to moderate, to throwing a Molotov while screaming “Hahaha, good luck bastards!” and I seem to have been caught off guard for the last bit.
So yeah… I’m still stuck on level 7… out of like 80, like a year later. Which is kinda why I’m writing about it now. I still like the game. When one of he birds is stuck up against the wall or itself it still makes me smile. Mostly because I want someone or something else to feel the pain that I’ve felt, but also because it’s totes adorbs. Mostly because it’s totes adorbs. Honest. I mean look at this.
See? It’s so cute and also so painfully obvious that ol’ Reddy only has a few seconds of oxygen left to live. Schadenfreude much? Yes. Yes, indeed. Maybe if I could get past level 7, I’d feel better for him/her/it.
And don’t you go thinking that that Undo button is going to help you. It’s fool’s gold. You’re on your own here. It’s you and your raw Snakebird machismo/a.
Right, so mechanics. Snakebird is a game about eating fruit to grow longer, which is both a blessing and a curse. Being longer means it can stretch out further from the land, and it have more room for other Snakebirds to rest and move about, but it also means it has more body to get in the way of junk. Like, in the image above. When you have multiple birds, it means you can use them to crawl all up and over each other’s mix, slowly boosting each other to victory.
Sounds simple right? You try it. You see if you can get past level 7 in like less than an hour. And if you can, you come here and message me, and make me feel bad, and make me have to play it more so I get a divorce and lose custody of my 18 nonexistent kids. Great. Glad we’ve established that you’re a dick and my love life is in shambles.
Uh… what was I on about? Snakebird is good. Go play it. Yeah. That’s all.
In this, the year of two-thousand-fuck-you-and-everything-you-love, with the US and Europe slip-sliding haphazardly ever towards the extreme right, you might think to yourself while in a definitely-not-purple,-Officer haze on a late Sunday afternoon, “How can I capture a portion of this horrific experience in a video game?”
And if you do, you’re a real sick freak for doing so. Shame on you. Shame. How is Mexico going to pay for that wall by themselves? Tsk tsk tsk.*
Enter the world of Replica, where the government of some unnamed Americkesque country of the nearish future now relies on teenagers to hack into the phones of potential terror suspects and look for clues that point towards a clandestine assembly’s association with terror, all while hoping said teens never learn the concept of the prisoners’ dilemma.
Umm, that was meant to sound ridiculous, but rereading it, it kinda seems like something that could happen in real life, doesn’t it? Or at least something that could happen on FOX. Huh. Maybe Somi is on to something here. Maybe he knows too much… he’s been a little too fair and balanced these days…
Replica is a point-and-click adventure, entirely set in someone else’s phone. Basically, the interface is kinda like your own phone except this one doesn’t have your duck face all over it.
The actual game starts when you figure out how to unlock the phone. (Luckily everyone in the game is kinda terrible with passwords, and numbers larger than 9999 don’t seem to exist.) When you get in, you’ll get a call from 4885 telling you what and what not to do. Listen or don’t listen, it’s up to you, but know that your choices directly determine what ending, bascially who’s bed you’ll end up in. Throughout the game you have a large number of choices to make, and honestly most of them seem pretty bad. You kinda get stuck in their weird catch-22 where by exploring the phone to see the story, you’re helping the government, and yet by refusing, you’re helping the other guy, but the game might end without finding out what’s really going on.
Now I know what it feels like to be a rubbernecker at a car accident. Well, at least aware of the fact that I’m rubbernecking.
The story overall is fairly heavy handed, but the main plot points feel realistic within the game world. There are 12 endings in total. It’s designed to be replayed, so it’s okay to mess around with all the shiz the game tries to hide from you. The endings vary a lot, so there is incentive to try to find at least a couple.
Or is that what Replica wants you to think? Somi! Tell me! You’re really a secret operative performing experiments on consumers to see how easily it is to create model citizens, aren’t you?!? Oh, I’m on to you buddy. Why else would you have multiple endings and encourage users to dime out the deplorables all from the comfort of their own computers and mobile devices? Hmm? HMM?
I have come to believe that this is not true. Enjoy playing games. Everyone enjoys playing games. Enjoy. Play. Games.
*Get at me later when they’re not looking. It’s too hot. I gotta play dumb for a bit. Yeah, yeah, it’s easy because I am dumb. I get it. I get it. Just get the jokes out of your system now, okay?