This week was awesome. I don’t mean that from a personal standpoint (although in that regard it wasn’t bad), but that there were a great deal of great games I got to play. Now I’m going to tell you about them all so you can play them, too. Oh, and of course I’ll also mention the turds. I’m not entirely sure that there will ever be a week without turds. Although the indies seem to be getting better in a general sense, so I have hope for what the future holds. Seriously, I do.
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(Developer: Torturas – 80 points)
So you fly around on a giant bee (or is the Avatar really tiny? They never make that clear) and shoot down opposing bees with various weapon loadouts and goals for each match. These goals include things like wave survival, team “deathmatch” and something involving pollination that I’m still not too clear on.
It’s a solidly built game despite some inherent roughness to the sounds and weapon effects. Plus the aiming feels slightly off but that could be due to the whole “flying” thing, I dunno. Anyway, it’s not perfect or something I’d personally consider an insta-buy, but it’s well made and I’m sure there’s an audience for it. I’m just not a member of that audience.
(Developer: Magiko Gaming – 80 points)
So the first PLATFORMANCE was cool. PLATFORMANCE: Temple Death is basically the exact same concept only with a new setting: the jungle. This is most certainly not a bad thing.
This isn’t a simple re-skinning of the old game. This is a whole new layout with mostly new hazards. As in the first, things will also change around a bit with tougher difficulties, but even the easiest mode is still chock-full-o-grisly-death. Plus, an update will change things up a bit and require players to carry the distressed damsel back to the entrance, effectively doubling the length of the game (give or take) and dramatically changing the way you’ll have to navigate the hazards since you’ll be doing it in reverse. This is a sweet little ball of frustration right here.
(Developer: Swissplayers Game Studios – 240 points)
I will freely admit that I made a snap-judgment about World Wars based on the screens and assumed it would be mediocre at the absolute best. I’m happy to say I was wrong.
The controls take some getting used to (the bumpers fire weapons, for instance), but the game itself is actually shockingly complex. In a good way. It’s kind of like a pseudo realtime/turn-based hybrid with a hint of games like Battlefield and Return Fire. I’ve no doubt gotten your interest with that sentence, yes? Good. Then use that curiosity to give this game a try. It deserves the attention.
(Developer: Hypercube Games – 240 points)
Games, games and more games. Six of them to be exact. Six full games. They range through an assortment of genres including tower defense, action and more. As expected, the quality isn’t jaw-dropping, but many of the offerings in this collection put a good deal of the other indies to shame.
Granted I wasn’t able to try all of them due to trial constraints and the top-down shooter crashing on me, but it seems like a pretty decent group. And, according to the developers, all (all) of the profits will go to Child’s Play. That alone is some pretty good incentive.
(Developer: kerry – 80 points)
I have one major gripe that I’ll get to in a moment, but I freaking love the concept (and most of the execution) behind BloodyCheckers. It’s a checkers-RPG hybrid, involving first-person exploration and loot grabbing, character leveling, item purchasing and combat via checkers. How sweet is that?
It also looks surprisingly good. I may catch flak for saying this, but I could probably mistake it for a King’s Field game if I just saw an exploration screen with no context. I also like the idea of using a candle to light your way but also having to be careful with it because running too much can put it out, as can breezes from traps. Then there’s the “combat,” which I both love and find slightly annoying.
I love that it’s Checkers, but with the ability to place hidden traps on tiles on your side and the option to utilize special attacks. What annoys me is that sometimes I’m forced to move a piece I don’t want to. I’m not sure why this is. Maybe it’s a part of the rules I never knew because I only played for fun with family and friends, but sometimes I’d prefer to leave that one piece where it is and move another, rather than be forced to jump my opponent’s piece and risk my own.
Still, aside from that one gripe I find this game to be awesome. So sayeth Rob.
(Developer: RedCandy Games – 240 points)
TIC: Part 1 is one of those out-of-nowhere, jaw-droppingly gorgeous (and functional) indie games. I don’t understand it, but I plan to run with it.
So robots, bad things happen, destroying the planet through pollution and such, teaming up with nature-friendly mole people… you know, the usual… are all things found in this game. It’s a cute idea, taking the whole “settlers ruin the planet and the locals fight back” idea and twisting it slightly so that a member of the “invading” party is actually the hero. It’s not exactly mind-blowing, but I like the shift in thinking here.
Wrapped snugly within this context is a fun, responsive, exploration-heavy and absolutely stunning puzzle-action-platformer. TIC, like most heroes in similar genres, will gain new abilities as the game progresses which will grant him access to new areas. Likewise, there are plenty of goodies to find by wandering off the main path a bit. I’m seriously looking forward to however many other parts this series is going to have.
(Developer: Alex Kaiser – 80 points)
The Angry Hand of God makes for a decent (albeit blasphemous) little distraction. Point the Hand of God at things and blow them up with lightning, simple as that. Each stage has a set amount of juice available which can sometimes be recharged by hitting electrical transformers, and the goal is to simply wreck as much stuff as possible before it’s all gone.
Water-carrying things can be burst to soak objects (thus making them better conductors), vehicles can be zapped so that they lose control and crash into other stuff, some objects will redirect the lightning blasts and so on… It’s a fun little smattering of gameplay elements that makes this a fun but somewhat short-lived destruct-o-thon.
(Developer: Paul Fisch 1 – 80 points)
Games Master: Xbox Game Guides isn’t necessarily broken, but it’s existence astounds me. Here we have an app designed to be used to look up cheat codes, walkthroughs and the like for various games, but it’s being used on the very system that a lot of these games are on. So if someone wanted to look up, say, a walkthrough for Dead Space, they’d have to open this, search for the game, browse through the guide, find the entry they needed, exit the app, start the game up and then utilize the knowledge.
Honestly, the internet is much easier and has a much more extensive selection.
(Developer: SO SO DEV Games – 240 points)
The movement feels a little too speedy and a little slippery, but Fluffy: Operation Overkill is still a great game.
It’s basically a 2D side-scroller with lots of rabid animals and even more killing. Fluffy, snug in his little hazmat suit, is immune to the effects of “the virus” and has apparently decided to use his intact cognizance to mindlessly… kill… things… Anyway, he finds lots of guns, shoots the crap out of rabid woodland creatures and leaves insane amounts of gore in his wake. There’s absolutely nothing about that last sentence that I don’t like. He can even call upon a Point Man-style time-slowing ability that makes the graphic violence all the more appalling appealing.
Throw in a wave-based zombie survival mode and you’ve got one hell of an awesomely graphic (and graphically awesome) good time. And this game has that, so it is, indeed, one hell of an awesome good time.
(Developer: Creaturesoft – 80 points)
I just don’t know about this one. When Maidens Attack seems to have its heart in the right place, but it just feels random and disjointed. The humor is actually pretty humorless (an evil clone of who may of may not be an ex boyfriend stole your shoes? Really?), the graphics are a little… weird and the animations are downright terrible.
I do like the action-RPG elements and the choice between different character classes, but mechanically it all just feels “meh” and the presentation is pretty rough. I wouldn’t call it one to totally avoid, but I think people should check out the trial before they use the points.
(Developer: Stamp – 80 points)
Send In Jimmy isn’t so much a train wreck as a train that’s still sitting in the yard because it failed to pass inspection. I dunno, it made sense in my head just now.
So the game looks bad, obviously, but that’s fine. The problem is more that the aiming feels off, the terrain has zero effect on your character unless you’re walking into a rock or tree (i.e. hills mean nothing), the fire-tossing ability seems like an over-simplified version of a Plasmid and there’s a horrifying lack of a run button. Seriously, the guy moves like he’s walking through knee-deep mud and a lot of the waypoints are kind of far apart.
I’d say this is one to avoid.
(Developer: Team Shuriken – 240 points)
Beach Paddle deserves credit for adding elements like enemies to batter and power-ups to collect to the Pong formula, but the rest is just no. Actually, it’s more like No. That’s right, it has to be capitalized.
I can’t decide which I hate more: the overly sensitive paddles that move too fast, the wonky ball physics or the blatant pandering to hormone crazed males with bikini-clad anime girls. Ultimately it doesn’t matter I suppose, because it’s a lame attempt at the genre. A lame, overpriced attempt.
(Developer: Greenstone Games – 240 points)
Hey look, it’s another clone of that game that’s actually a clone of that other game which also wasn’t the first one to try and… yeah, no one cares. It may “borrow” heavily from an obvious source, but Total Miner: Forge does do some things that its inspiration doesn’t.
The world is smaller, which is to be expected. However crafting is now tied to recipes which must be found, there are other collectibles to nab, there’s more kinds of gear to make and there are even random caches of loot to find in caves, which makes the exploration feel a little more worthwhile. I also love the addition of being able to press a button and get info on a given block or object. Plus there seems to be more kinds of blocks here, with new materials becoming available at lower depths.
So yes, it’s a clone, but this clone is trying to set itself apart. And overall I think it succeeds. Now go buy it so we can make and share levels.
(Developer: Pixel Psyche – 80 points)
I can’t really say much about Avatar Typing: Horde Invasion because it requires a keyboard which I don’t have. It certainly looks like a well-made game, though.
It’s pretty much The Typing of the Dead with Avatars. And less Dead. The little buggers run at you from a ways away and you have to select a target and type out the word or phrase attached to it before it reaches you. The imagery is crisp, the animations don’t look as awkward as a lot of the ones I’ve seen in Avatar games and some people just like to kill things by typing at them.
Again, it looks interesting, but I can’t actually play it since I don’t have a keyboard. If you do, by all means give it a look and feel free to tell us what you think.
(Developer: xGcRaydenx – 80 points)
I kind of like House of 1000 Demons. It’s a simple choose-your-own adventure kind of game with some decent writing and moody imagery. Unfortunately some of the humor (actually, most of it) and various references (pop culture and otherwise) fall flat, thus killing the mood. It could have been a somewhat unsettling experience, but instead it’s more like the world’s biggest cynic taking a trip through a haunted house.
(Developer: Teaser Creations – 80 points)
Shock! Gasp! An Avatar puzzle game that’s actually pretty well made! Feinting!
Okay, I’m overdoing it a bit but Arranger – My Avatar really is a pretty neat little image-tile placing puzzle game. You know the kind: A picture is broken up into squares and you have to rotate and replace them all in order to make it whole again. It’s nothing new. However, in this rendition you get to see your Avatar in each photo. It’s actually a bit more nifty than it sounds. Plus, and this is what really impressed me, all of the images are in HD and they move. Well, at least some of them move. I dunno, reconstructing a photo of a landscape with giant windmills while they lazily spin (even when the pieces aren’t placed yet) is kinda neat to me.
(Developer: Angry Wizard Games – 240 points)
I feel like Angry Wizards could do with some adjustments. It’s okay as-is, but there are a few nagging issues that hold it back.
Getting your wizard to wander a dungeon, find a key and then make it to the exit is all well and good, but the overall experience feels kind of unfinished. The animations consist of, I assume, two or three frames. Those stupid goblins seem to be able to hit you from way too far away. The aiming with the right stick feels a little stiff. Most of all, the character upgrades (tied to coin collection) seem to take too long to earn. I know I’m no designer, but I think making the earlier upgrades (such as adding a single point to offense) should be obtainable after completing the first stage. Instead, absolutely nothing is available after the first stage because there just isn’t enough gold to be had. It seems like a lack of planning to me.
I’m sure it’s more fun with friends (up to four player co-op), but the progression just feels sluggish.
- PLATFORMANCE: Temple Death (80 points)
- World Wars (240 points)
- BloodyCheckers (80 points)
- TIC: Part 1 (240 points)
- Fluffy: Operation Overkill (240 points)
- Total Miner: Forge (240 points)
- Games Master: Xbox Game Guides (80 points)
- Send in Jimmy (80 points)
- Beach Paddle (240 points)