Categories
Archive

Switch – I Died Trying

Full Disclosure: I paid for this game in full like a pleb. But then again I don’t know the developers or anything about them, so this is to be expected. For now.

Full Disclosure 2: I am not playing this game due to overcompensating for not being able to buy a Nintendo Switch in Korea. My lack of Zelda is crushing my soul, but it has no bearing on this article. Honest Goron.

 

Switch or Die Trying - Black Murkiness
Switch or Die Trying – Black Murkiness and Trees

 

Switch Or Die Trying is an adventure through the horror of alphabetic high school social awkwardness. You play what turns out to be the letter I, tumbling through jumps and bumps to please a series of increasingly disinterested lowercase alphabetic rivals. The games gimmick revolves around the player switching between lowercase and uppercase forms (i to I to i) to wall jump and reach higher parts of the level. Switching between forms, which can be done at any time, provides a free jump. In a narrow pipe this isn’t necessary, as you can just wall jump back and forth, but when up against just one wall, switching lets you聽do a frantic back and forth Ninja Gaiden-esque clamber to the top.

I couldn’t get my controller to work (PS2, I know, I know, but I’m broke), and my keyboarding prowess is not what I fondly remember it to be from the 90s, which was to my detriment as switching became more integral to passing a level.聽As you switch,聽platforms appear and disappear,聽meaning you have to be conscious of the number of jumps and switches you’re making so you don’t whiff through a pile of nothingness where a platform used to be. As I聽advanced, this interaction between jump (space) and switch (left shift) becomes more complicated, leaving my hands a jumbled arthritic mess after 20 minutes of play. They recommend a controller.聽When I get a newer one I’ll try this again.

 

Switch or Die Trying - Level Selection
Switch or Die Trying – Level Selection Platforming

Other than my controller issues, I really liked this game.聽The graphics and music are really well polished. The animations, especially that of the uppercase I, are, excuse me for the expression, adorbs. The level select screens, which use world physics, are pretty cool too. The controls feel really tight when I remember what button I have to press, but on a keyboard it’s really easy to flub a jump or a switch and fall into a pit of murky blackness.

I really don’t understand what the other letters’ deal is though. Like, you jump through these levels and they still just get all pissy at you. Maybe I just don’t remember high school that well because I went like a bazillion years ago, but if I go through some American Gladiator-esque gauntlet, successfully avoiding all sorts of pits and traps, I expect people to be grateful.聽I mean you don’t have to shower me with praise, but a simple “Good on ya mate!” would be enough.

Letters are frickin’ dicks yo. Don’t let that get you down, though. Try this one.

 

Categories
Archive

Puzzle Puppers – BF Takes All Challenges

Full Disclosure: I bought this game on Steam like a pleb.

Burpy Fresh is not one to walk away from a blatant marketing scheme poorly disguised as a flippant tweet. Oh my no.

 

 

Nosiree Barbara, we’re going in this one paws-a-flailing straight into the sunset.

Puzzle Puppers, while sounding like a dog-based microwavable food substitute, is a puzzle game by Cardboard Keep. It’s a fairly standard affair as puzzle games go, with 80 levels all centered around a extended path-finding/line-drawing gimmick, like you’d see in those Layton-esque joints. In the standard version of this type of puzzle, you typically have multiple characters that have to navigate the map to their required destination in a way where none of the paths can overlap. In Puzzle Puppers, you get that, and a few innovations that make the game a bit more interesting.

 

How is this not uncomfortable?
Puzzle Puppers –聽Getting Theirs

 

Actually, there are exactly two innovations. The first is the incorporation of one-way streams. Pups can’t go against the current, and can’t stop themselves from flowing to the end.* The second is that you can stretch and unstretch pups whenever you like.* Together, these creates a few interesting effects聽that at first, this doesn’t seem like much, but when you realize that you can use one pup to block up a part of a stream to give another pup clear passage, and then still be able to remove the first pup to place it somewhere else without affecting the second, it adds a new level of gameplay which I think sets PP apart from others similar titles.

 

Puzzle Puppers – A more complex level

 

But really though, I’m not going to lie. I do actually have a few issues with this one. And I mean, the devs kinda asked for it. For one, the ocean effect in the background gave me mad mad motion sickness. And two, the game’s聽a bit expensive at 5 bucks. At most, it should be around 3-4. Overall though, the puppies are cute, and some of the level design is pretty good. If you liked this type of puzzle game from Layton or elsewhere, you’re going to enjoy this. Pick it up on sale.

*

 

*BF to Dev: Real Talk聽1. Even though they have the ability to stretch themselves for miles and miles they can’t use that to go one block up stream? Like, just pull a Jake and use the volume to get your inu ass upstream. It’s not even that strong of a current! Look at that piece of ham just sitting on top of the water, it’s not even wobbling. There’s no way these dogs couldn’t have figured this out.

*BF to Dev: Real Talk 2. What are these pups made out of? I don’t know where you get your pups, but only Long Cat has the magical abilities you’ve assigned these neon pups.

*BF to Dev: Real Talk 3. I’m going to simultaneously pass an olive branch and up the ante here. Here’s a terrible stream.聽Take a listen, tell me why it stinks 馃槢

Categories
Archive

Abz没 – There Be Whales Here

Abz没 is a game where you swim in the ocean. You look at fish and explore sea caves. You can ride on big fish. Sometimes you can ride on squids.

20170226-Abzu-6
Come on, ride the squid, hey, ride it

Graphics:聽Let鈥檚 get the important thing out of the way: this is one of the best looking games I鈥檝e ever played. The artwork is the selling point of the game. Abz没 was designed by, Matt Nava, the art director for Journey and uses the same cell shaded 3-D art aesthetic. Mr. Nava knows what he is doing and has created an amazing visual experience in Abz没. The lighting, shading, and colors all come together to create an almost spiritual experience. Ugh, I need to work on my art vocabulary. I don’t have any better聽words than: It’s very pretty. Let me roll on a random art criticism table* and see what comes up…

Where’s my d12 at… here we go… art criticism:

HOW DOES IT SIGNIFY!

Indeed, how does it do that? Signification is important. That is very art criticism-y. Games are art. Checkmate.

Anyhoo, I may not be a great art writer, but I do know magic, and this game is magic.

20170226-Abzu-4
Hammerhead shark idols are fun!

Gameplay:聽In Abz没 you control a diving suit avatar who explores eight levels of beautiful ocean scenery. Each level has dozens of different kinds of fish and other delicious sea life that each act in different ways. Sometimes big fish will eat little fish. You will experience the circle of life.

Much like Copoka, Abz没 is more of an exploration toy than it is a game. There are some nominal puzzles where you need to pull a switch or find a robot helper to unlock the next area, but they really aren鈥檛 difficult. They aren鈥檛 really puzzles at all as all the triggers are pretty heavily signposted along the mostly linear path of each level. I get it. It鈥檚 not that kind of party. This isn鈥檛 meant to be a puzzle game where a player can get stymied and give up. The designers want to show off all their pretty work. I dig it. I just feel like there鈥檚 a lost opportunity here of making this more of an environmental puzzle game ala ICO.

20170226-Abzu-8
Found some manatees!

Ridiculous aside involving聽Aquaman:聽I think the seeds of the Best Possible Aquaman game are in Abz没. Seriously. There will be a terrible licensed tie in game to the Aquaman movie, but I think the possibilities that Abz没 presents would make for an actually good game. Who needs another cruddy 3D punching game? Why not make a game where you explore the deep blue sea? Add in a puzzle mechanic where you need to direct fish to get you through environmental puzzles (鈥淗ey, you whales, push those boulders out of the way!鈥), and I think you鈥檇 have an actual honest-to-goodness good Aquaman game. ICO + Abz没 = The Aquaman game I want. It occurs to me that this game kind of already got made. I need to dig up my Dreamcast and load up Ecco the Dolphin: Defender of the Future. I am way into the fairly useless realm of dreaming about the game I want rather than enjoying the game I have, which is always really shaky ground for a critic. Like, just go create something yourself, dude. I’ll stop.

20170226-Abzu-1
The true hero of the game is the oboe soloist

One caveat is that this is a short game. It鈥檚 only going to take about two hours to get through the whole mainline. You could probably double that if you went back and searched out every collectible in a second play through, but that second play-through is going to much lighter on the awe of new discovery.

Sounds like I’m complaining, I’m really not. This game is good. Mostly because it looks awesome. Play it.

*Courtesy聽Maze of the Blue Medusa. 聽Perhapse the finest D&D adventure from the last few years.

Note: I did not record this properly. The mic didn’t record voices properly. Or rather, the user of the mic didn’t properly set it up to record voices properly. Which is too bad as I had my apprentice with me. It was pretty cute. We named the shark “Sharky McSharkshark.”

 

Categories
Archive

Neverend – This Game Pisses Me Off

Full Disclosure: I bought this game for like $1.60, and I played the fuck out of it. Don’t know the dudes who made it. Don’t know anything else about it.

 

Neverend - Title Screen
Neverend – Title Screen

First off, right out the gate, I’m going to tell you why this game pisses me off. Right the frick off. The game itself is fun, it’s a simple Rogue-like that has fairly good聽controls, interesting character and enemy style, and decent music. And it’s on sale on Steam for an introductory 1.59 before jumping up to the full price of what I assume to be 1.99. Like 2 bucks.

How the hell am I going to release my piece of shit game if stuff that’s pretty decent goes on sale for 2 bucks?聽Hey, Duck Devs, leave something for the rest of us will, ya? Seriously, what am I supposed to sell my crap for like 50 cents now? Who does that? Is that even possible? I just threw my whole marketing strategy (admittedly, just a coffee-stained notebook and a few pens) out the window.

I bet they’re probably donating everything to charity or something as well, too. Typical.

Thanks a lot Duck Devs. Thevs. Thobama.

Okay, but seriously, onto the review. The quality/price ratio being waaaay too high pissing me off aside, the game delivers a decent explorative experience. The game is hard, but not so hard I want to throw everything else out the window as well. In the hour or so I played it, I died a lot, but every time I respawned I did a little bit better. That’s not to say that you restart with any sort of advantage, because you start right from the beginning every single time, but knowing what to do in certain types of rooms and how to kite enemies around helps a lot.

Neverend - Weird Spider Hive
Neverend – Weird Spider Hive

 

Every time you die you restart from the very beginning, which means you get stuck with this stick that they try to call a weapon for the first 5-10 rooms of every run. I mean, it’s fine enough I guess, but it has terrible range, and I most of the times I died were from not being close enough to kill and enemy when I thought I was going to. I mean, I know that the dude here isn’t a big dude, but I think he could use a longer stick without any problems. And don’t give me any of those “it’s all how you use it jokes” because that’s only like 50% true and you all know it.

If you can last a bit, the game opens up a lot more. You start with two potions that help keep you alive for just a bit longer, and your experience amounts to gold which can be spent in the shops for better weapons, a fishing rod, or some more potions to keep you alive for just a wee bit more than just a bit longer. If you can use these to survive 10+ rooms or so, eventually you’ll encounter some sort of kill quest, but I haven’t been able to complete one to tell you what’s going to happen if you do, mostly because my stick isn’t long enough. I bet something probably amazing happens knowing the 2-dollar-price-setting-bastards who made this. Like Princess-Leia-awarding-you-a-medal-of-honour-while-wearing-that-Jabba-bikini-awesome. There are also shops, places to buy a mount, and a few rooms I haven’t quite figured out yet.

Neverend - Get used to seeing this.
Neverend – Get used to seeing this.

Aside from the stick length, I’d say the only other downside would be a lack of variety. Maybe that’s just me though. I wished there was more variation in the type of rooms available, other than a few features changing from room to room. Maybe a little less Zelda 1, and a little more, Zelda: Link to the Past? Also, having some benefit from playing previous runs would have been nice as well.

But yeah, aside from having to completely rethink my stance on making garbage games and selling them for 2 bucks (Damn you Duck Devs… uhh… Dobama… Devs.), this game is worth a couple of play throughs.

Categories
Archive

Oh, Deer! – Don’t Fear the Deer

Over the deer and through the deer to grandmother’s house we go. That鈥檚 how I remember the old song and Necrosoft Games have brought that song to life in Oh, Deer!*.

20170220-OhDeer-1
SPLAT!!!

I grew up in the American Midwest so I can attest to the accuracy of this game. Once you left the safety of the the suburban street lights you quickly entered a wasteland of Only Deer. The roads were lined with them. Their beady little soulless eyes reflecting your headlights. Only murder on their minds. Like a zombie movie except that the zombies have horrible multi-bladed swords strapped to their heads and even more hunger for human flesh. Deer are horrible. People think Americans carry guns everywhere all the time because we鈥檙e all crazed murder-hobos. Naw, dawg. It鈥檚 the deer. We fear the deer.**

Oh, Deer! is a retro racing game with graphics reminiscent of the Sega classic, Out Run. The goal is to drive your wood paneled station wagon through five levels while hitting (or not hitting) as many deer as possible. In the beta version of the game score isn’t really important. You can try to hit as many deer as possible, or you can try to spare them.

20170220-OhDeer-4
Gotta have some Moai heads

Graphics: As I said before the graphics look much like the old Sega arcade games designed by the great Yu Suzuki (Hang-On, Space Harrier, After Burner, Out Run, Sword of Vermilion***). It is a fun game to look at. Each of the five levels has a unique albeit knowingly cliche aesthetic.

Music: The music is composed by Motohiro Kawashima, who is a great聽old school chiptune composer who did a lot of work for the Genesis back in the day. Listen to this noise. It鈥檚 so rad. And I know what things are rad. Because I am a wizard.

20170220-OhDeer-2
Waterfall and volcano on the way to Grandma’s house

Gameplay: Oh, Deer! is Out Run with the addition of a more modern drift mechanic. You make the sharp turns by tapping the breaks and going into a controlled skid. The lines of deer show you the best lines you should be taking. That鈥檚 really it. It鈥檚 a simple mechanic, but it鈥檚 a fun one. Once you get in the Video Game Zone (VGZ) you feel pretty cool drifting around all those tight corners and making a huge bloody mess. My only mild criticism is that some of the turns are not as well telegraphed as I would like.

Overall, Oh, Deer! has a cool retro/gore aesthetic, a legit legend doing the music, and a fun mechanic. I鈥檓 eager to see what Necrosoft will聽do with the finished game.聽On the roadkill scale I rate this a tanuki on a turnpike聽out of 10.

20170220-OhDeer-5
Killed more than I spared. I’ll call that a win.

*I鈥檓 reviewing the beta version from the Humble Monthly. The full version might be quite different. You have been warned.

**At least we aren鈥檛 Canadian. Mooses are like steroid deer. You need, like, bazookas or something when you鈥檙e driving up there.

***Heck yes, Sword of Vermillion. It is the best. You鈥檒l note I didn鈥檛 mention Shenmue. That is because that game is all kinds of not the best. It is bad. No, I don’t know where you can find any sailors. Go away.

Categories
Archive

Even the Ocean – Story and Motion

Full Disclosure: This was just a dumb working title I had but I forgot to change it before I finished the article. Oops. Oh well, my shame of loving terrible rhymes will follow me to the grave now.

 

Even the Ocean - Title Screen
Even the Ocean – Title Screen

 

I’ve been waiting for this game since it was announced at the end of Anodyne. Sure, I didn’t know what type of game it was or when it was coming out, but someone had finally reignited the flame in聽that long forgotten chamber of my dusty desiccated heart where Zelda 1, Duck Tales, and the original Dragonlance NES game* resided, so I figured, in a definitely non-jinxily way, these people are on the ball enough for a sequel, even if the name makes no sense yet.

Even the Ocean is about a person named Aliph (讗?), who is basically a hired goon mechanic for the聽Man in a huge radiation power suit. You and some butch, Cassidy**,聽head out to fix a power plant that seems have been knocked offline as the target of some suspected terrorist attack. Almost right away Cassidy gets electrocuted and bites it, and you’re stuck alone, suitless in the middle of聽what I can only assume to be radiation central, and you can’t radio for help until the plant is up and running again.

Here’s where you learn the core mechanics of the game. There are two types of energy in the world, green and purple. If you have more聽green in your system, vertical motion is easier. If you have more聽purple, you can fling yourself left and right more easily. If you get too much of either you frickin’ explode in a burst of green or purple.

Easy way to think of it: Green gives you Luigi legs. Purple gives you Sonic legs.

Aside from the gimmick, the controls are tight overall. I really feel like I’m in the action, but not in an aggressive ’90s Sega way, it’s much more enjoyable than being screamed at for having a Super Nintendo. It’s like a significantly less frustrating Ninja Gaiden, where you actually feel like you have control over something, despite being manipulated by the government and potentially the FF9-Black-Mage-cum-narrator.

The story is pretty good, though it did feel a bit lengthy at times.聽During the stream, I was skipping through it faster than I could read it near the end of some of the larger segments.聽I think I just need to get further into the game, to where less needs to be explained.

 

Even the Ocean - Outside
Even the Ocean – Outside

 

The art and music are absolutely wonderful. Just when I think I’m getting sick of pixel art, something else comes around聽and amazes me. The backgrounds have a very mid-nineties quality to them, but in a good way. They remind me of some of the quality point and click adventure games from that time, or maybe even the cities of Star Ocean 2. They complement the pixel-based characters as they move through them on predefined paths (also reminiscent of SO2).

 

Ewww....
Even the Ocean – Starfish Transportation System (STS)

 

So yeah I played an hour, and I haven’t seen much of the ocean. There’s a plant on the coast near a resort that needs fixing. You travel through a sentient four-legged star fish that is a little bit creepy, but hella convenient. I guess that’s the closest I’ve seen so far. But since we’re on the topic of the ocean, let’s play a little game. I’m going to make three predictions about the ending of this game, and I’m going to see if I can get it right based on the title of the game and what I’ve played up until now.

 

  1. The government of this island is hiding an awful truth that the power being absorbed from the plants is actually killing the planet, specifically the ocean and its wildlife.
  2. The government is protecting the聽people from an overflow of energies, and is fabricating the terrorist attacks to maintain belief that the operation of plants and the city is for the public good.
  3. The government is keeping the energy from spreading by using these plants. The energy causes mutation or some sort of enhancement in people and it’s worried that it will face its demise if word gets out.

 

Hmm… not all of these had anything to do with the ocean. Oh well. When I finish the game I’ll come back here and edit these to make me sound smarter than I really am. I think it’s something I will finish, there seems to be enough to make me keep going onwards and upwards.

I just don’t want to walk through that starfish again. That just felt… wrong. And why does it only have 4 legs?

 

 

 

*Ssssh, just let it go. It was good in the 90s and I had a thing for Raistlin. Just let it go.

**This has to be why she’s named Cassidy, right? Right?

 

Categories
Archive

Mega Man 2.5D – Fangame Man

20170211-Mega Man-6
These guys are a waste of time to kill. Get it?

Fan games and ROM hacks are a mixed bag. Most of them have good intentions. The intentions presumably being to share one鈥檚 love of a video game franchise by making your own version to share. I鈥檝e explored a bunch of these games over the years and found a lot of fun along with a whole bunch聽of stupid junk.

The problem, as I see it, is that they鈥檙e often made for the hardest of hard-core fans who know all the advanced mechanics and glitches in the game. The games are generally beyond difficult for casual fans. This is generally a bigger problem in the ROM hacking community. 鈥淥h, hey! Someone made a new version of Link to the Past. The community around the game seems to love it. Sweet!鈥 And then you load it up and find it completely unplayable because you are a NOOB and don鈥檛 understand how to glitch the game so you can walk through walls or some nonsense. It鈥檚 not a great way to spread to love, y’know? It keeps the love locked away behind impenetrable lore and mastery of ticky-tack skills. You鈥檇 think as a wizard that would be totally what I鈥檇 be into, but no, that is no fun. I play games for fun.

20170211-Mega Man-5
Jump, Mega Man! For everlasting peace!

Mega Man 2.5D is a new fan game that鈥檚 been in development for the better part of decade. It mostly avoids the ROM hack-y pitfalls of many fan games. I think it鈥檚 fun. It is a game I can play for fun. You should also play it for fun.

First things first, understand that Mega Man is my JAM. The first game I bought with my own money was Mega Man 2. I didn鈥檛 even own a NES. I played that at my friends house for a whole weekend after I bought it. I didn’t leave. His mom was pissed. I played the heck out of the NES & Gameboy versions of Mega Man. I can play Snake Man鈥檚 theme on the oboe. Basically, I鈥檓 all about a fan game for Mega Man.

Mega Man is a great old school platformer with slick graphics, awesome music, and more robots than you can shake a robo-stick at. Some of the robots are squids. Y鈥檏now, I鈥檓 not going to waste anymore time explaining Mega Man to you. If you鈥檙e reading this you probably get it. If not, go play Mega Man 3. I鈥檒l wait.

.
.
.

Yeah, those games are hard. You die a lot, right? That鈥檚 really the thing to keep in mind when enjoying Mega Man 2.5D. You鈥檒l die a lot. Mostly ’cause spikes. It鈥檚 not the most modern of gaming conventions, but it is what it is. Mega Man 2.5D takes eight of the robot masters from the 8-bit era games (including an 8-bit version Time Man from ‘Mega Man – Powered Up’ which is pretty cool). You go through the eight thematic levels and defeat the robot master and gain their weapons as you do in Mega Man.

Let鈥檚 break 2.5D down a bit.

20170211-Mega Man-1
I’m robo-sick of all these robo-snakes on this robo-plane!

Graphics: The primary gimmick in 2.5D is that it鈥檚 presented in鈥 2.5D! Which just means that the 8-bit blocks look more three dimensional and the perspective shifts from time to time. Basically, it鈥檚 just a really solid visual upgrade of NES era graphics. I dig it. It鈥檚 a nice homage to the old school by using new school graphics, and I鈥檇 like to see more of this style done when creating old school pixely platformers.

20170211-Mega Man-10
I’m intentionally missing Pharaoh Man to lull him.

Music: Remixes of the classic Mega Man music? Yes, please. Mega Man always had the finest of chiptunes, and the remixes in 2.5D are well done. Tornado Man鈥檚 theme is the best. 聽There鈥檚 an option to use the original 8-bit mixes if you want to change it up.

20170211-Mega Man-9
Auto scrolling shooter section!

Gameplay: For the most part it controls like a Mega Man game. You can run, jump, shoot, and slide. The creators clearly did their homework and 2.5D always felt true to the original physics. I only have two minor complaints/constructive criticisms:

  1. Some of the platforming challenges in the game are ROM Hack-y nonsense. Every level has maybe one or two jumps where the tolerances are just way too tight for my tastes. I don鈥檛 mind a good challenge, but I also want to feel that the game is fair (final jump in Tornado Man鈥檚 stage I鈥檓 looking at you.) This is somewhat mitigated by a difficulty setting. I played through on 鈥淣ormal鈥 and many of the problems are not as big on 鈥淓asy.鈥 You could choose 鈥淗ard鈥 if you wanted a true ROM Hack experience. But, this ties into my next criticism.
  1. No Rush. You don鈥檛 get access to the Rush Jet or Rush Coil until way too late. Mega Man has always had level design with unforgiving jumps. These have been alleviated by access to items that let you skip over difficult pits or fly around obstacles. I鈥檝e always liked that as a game design choice. You can choose to go through obstacles the hard way, but if they are too frustrating (Guts Man, right?) you have a way to avoid them. 2.5D takes this option away from you which I feel inflates the difficulty into the Ninja Gaiden Frustration Zone (NGFZ). Game Developers who work within the NGFZ are consigned to an afterlife where birds are forever pushing them off pillars.
20170211-Mega Man-4
Some of the robots are octopuses.

Extras: One of the best parts of 2.5D is it comes with a stack of extras. You can unlock extra playable characters (Dr. Light!). There鈥檚 a co-op mode which I haven鈥檛 had a chance to try. There鈥檚 also a battle arena which I played around with a bit. There鈥檚 a fair amount to explore beyond the basic game.

I heartily recommend this game to fans of Mega Man or old school platformer fans in general. It looks like the developers have plans to add some more content in future updates, so keep an eye out for those.

 

Categories
Archive

6180 The Moon – Up In The Sun’s Grill

Full disclosure: I know the developers of this game at Turtle Cream, but I purchased聽my copy of 6180 the Moon like the rest of the聽plebs. 銋犮厾

 

6180 the moon
6180 the moon – Title Screen

 

This is a bit of a weird one. You’re the moon, and you’ve suddenly realized that the sun has disappeared. So, you, as the moon, decide to embark on聽a trip all the way to the centre of the solar system to see what’s up. As moons are known to do.

Gravity be damned, I say!

On the way, you make some planet friends (or frenemies? Looking at you, Venus!), hang out, learn some different mechanics, and finally witness a big revelation at the end. It’s an emotional tour-de-force. Yellow jackets for all!

 

6180 the moon - Game Play
6180 the moon – Game Play

 

In 6180 (which better not be聽either of your birthdays Turtle Cream!), you guide the moon through a series of puzzle platformer levels in聽space. As the moon, you can do the usual move left and right, jump, and you’re also affected by normal Earth-like platformer gravity. Let’s聽pretend there’s a large planet just out of view pulling you down. It’ll be fun. We can call it Willis.

The “gimmick” for the game though is based on the lack of top and bottom level bounds. If you fall through the bottom, you’ll shoot around the other side of Willis and pop back out the top, Portal style, forever and ever, accelerating until you reach terminal velocity, which I suppose is a thing, even in space.聽Monitoring your speed becomes a crucial factor in later levels when you need to make some tight slow-speed maneuvers between blocks, spikes, long spikes, and one-time-use blocks that fling you right into other sets of spikes. It’s like this delicate space dance from beginning to end.

Aww, look at me trying to be poetic. So cute. Seriously though, I was enchanted and stuff.

6180 the moon - Level Select
6180 the moon – Level Select

 

There are a lot of levels, about 50 or so, and there’s a decent progression through the game. And then when you’re done (SPOILERS!), you can do all the levels backwards for an extra challenge.

I decided not to do that one. I might come back to it though.

In short, a good puzzle game that’s not too short that you can pick up and put down easily on the go.

In shorter, good game. You buy.

 

Categories
Archive

Zup! 3 – Back to Basics Again?

Full Disclosure: I have never played Zup! 1 or 2, nor will I ever play Zup! 1 or 2. I will likely play Zup 4 though.聽

20170201-ZUP3-2
Zup! 3 – Stop Sign?

Basically, there’s gravity and you blow stuff up. Or around. Or down. Move the ball with the yellow blocks and then get the ball on the green thing. Then you can click on the door to go to the next level. That’s about it for Quiet River‘s Zup! 3, and that’s kinda all it needs to be, honestly. I wanted something mind numbing for an hour or two of not-so-quiet Twitch contemplation and that’s what I got. Worth the price for recovering sanity from Level 8 of Thumper.

Why do you have to put the ring on the fourth stage of the Level 8 boss? Complete dick move, Drool.

I digress. Although this is physics based, the play is not as loose as other similar games. Doing the same thing over and over again generally gives the same results with only minor variation. This tends to lead itself to two types of levels, ones where you have to pull off a finely timed series of maneuvers to get to the goal, and ones where you press one button and watch a whole/partial automatic-Mario-esque level play out. Honestly, this game is about 50/50. When you hit a really well designed level it really feels great, you sit back looking at the board feeling accomplished. The rest are like “Oh, well, that was kinda cool, I guess. I hope I can press a button on the next level.” In all there are 77 levels, including the ones where you don’t really do anything. For like a buck though, I’m cool with that.

The Level Select Board
Zup! 3 –聽Level Select

 

There are a few weird things about the game. Each level is pretty weird because everything you do gets you 6-15 achievements every time you do it. Like, start a level – 6 achievements. Finish a level – 6 achievements. Touch anything – 12 achievements. I’m not making this up, the game has like 1708 achievements in it, and currently the lowest rate of completion for any of them is 55.3%. I’d like to think it’s a statement on the achievement system, but maybe the developers just like fucking around with people.

If that’s the case, two can play that game Mr. Quiet River. Oh, you just wait until I’m really bored one day.

Also, you may notice that there’s like this random Chinese in the middle of the level select screen*. Looks like a traditional saying (Lit. Again Buy Sever Hand), but no dictionary popped it up. I ended up finding it on a website for Koreans to learn Chinese. If the Korean is correct, the above means something like “Do it again and your hands will be cut off.” It seems like something you say to a chronic gambler who claims to have a system.

So… in the current context… this means what exactly? That this game is going to come and kick my ass for finishing it? Does it not want me to buy Zup! 4? I’m really confused. Let’s just say that the game doesn’t want me to buy Zup! 4.

No worries dudes. Forget what I said in the disclosure. I got your backs.

 

Categories
Archive

Total Battery – Gameographies

Straight up, Gon Lee of Total Battery is a frickin’ machine.聽Dude, has like a wife and two kids, a full time job (at his father’s battery company aptly named, you guessed it, Total Battery), and he still manages to put out a game every few months.

I, on the other hand, woke up at 12 today, spent 4 hours changing up like 100 yuan at the bank, and then I came home to take a nap. I even took a 30 minute break to watch YouTube after writing that sentence.聽Fuck me, I’m wasting my life. (Ten more minutes after this one.)

I digress, again. Total Battery puts out some crazy cool games. Most of them use that old LCD Game and Watch aesthetic, with simple well-tuned controls and gameplay to match. None of them are large enough to do a whole article on each, so lucky you, you get a gameography. Here’s every title I know they’ve put out so far.

 

I.F.O. – iOS, Windows, Mac

I.F.O. - Total Battery
I.F.O. – Total Battery

 

In Identified Flying Object, out just last week, you pilot an old-school prop plane, and get into Snoopy vs Red Baron style dog flights with aliens pulling Defender-style lifts of cattle, and power-ups, and power-up cattle from the planet. Shoot the aliens, save the cows and absorb their sweet sweet buffy innards, kill the bosses to get ahead.

I have mixed feelings about this game. Hear me out. What if the “aliens” are actually just trying to save the cows from prop plane absorption or ending their lives on a dinner plate? What if they’re actually from the Alpha Centaurian branch of PETA, trying to save one of Earth’s most peaceful and intelligent species from destruction to give them a life of dignity and grace?? And you’re SHOOTING THEM FROM THE SKY!?!

Hmm… I’d probably still shoot them, too, but… um… moving on.*

Escape! Skeleton.J – iOS

Who is J
Escape! Skeleton.J – Total Battery

 

Escape! Skeleton.J is a runner, and a boss battler? 聽You gotta take your weird little skeleton dude, and outrun a mob of angry townspeople as they chase you down for collecting all of their purple poo. The more poo you collect, the better… for some knight dude anyway, because at the end of the level you get shot and your spirit and collected purple poo gets absorbed so that the knight dude can try to defeat some other dude. It’s kinda like an 80s soap opera, you know where聽Jill and Katherine duke it out only to find out that they’re actually mother and daughter…for a bit? You know, plot twists. Yeah, I don’t get the end part, but it’s fun. Gon tried to explain it to me, but I was too busy playing to listen.

Try it yourself and see if you can figure it out. You can also fart in it. I’m down with that.

Nightmare – iOS

Nightmare - Total Battery
Nightmare – Total Battery

 

Nightmare is a run and shoot聽that behaves a lot like 1943 or Galaga but with a running dude trying to kill a bunch of enemies and escape some sort of nightmare. I can really relate to the dude, being 40 and still Skyping into my parent’s basement every week or so. (Yes, I’ll cut my hair, mom. No, I haven’t joined another cult, mom.)

There’s a wide variety of enemies and bosses and it doesn’t feel restrictive like an actual Game and Watch game does. Controls are tighter on I.F.O., but give this one a shot too.

 

R.Hood – iOS

R.Hood - Total Battery
R.Hood – Total Battery

 

Okay this one is clever, but I wish it had the same Game and Watch feel. You play as R.Hood (abbreviated for copyright reasons? Maybe to avoid the Diznee hounds?) walking through the woods, violently swinging around a woodsman or other characters to beat the ever loving shit out of some hungry bouncily attacking wolf heads. Spin your dude too fast and they’ll get dizzy, and they won’t be able to save you. If things get intense you do have a board wipe or two, but for the most part, you’re just going to get mobbed and eaten alive.

Older fairy tales are the best. So family friendly.

I Hate Santa! – Windows, Mac

This is the last title I know about. I think Gon belted this out in a week for a game jam at some point. If think society is not doing enough to help the war on Christmas, then you’re int he right place. In I Hate Santa!, your job is to destroy santa before he can enter your small, poorly drawn, one room house to give you a present. You have three traps at your disposal and you need to mash on them to keep Santa at bay.

20160117-IHateSanta

My current high score is 2. (The controls are horrific, but then again it only took one week of dev.)

 

Right, so that’s Total Battery. They’re on Facebook or something. Go check them out. I’m going to work on my game now. I feel like I need to… actually do something. #motivated #butforhowlong?

*That’s a joke, PETA, a mildly humourous JOKE. You remember, humour? From back before you ascended to not eating anything that casts a shadow? No? Tough room.