Friday, October 31, 2014

A quick update

Hello, just wanted to give a quick update on the blog status. I had hoped to play and write about more games the past week, but I've been busy testing subjects 5 day a week, in one hour intervals, so I've only really had time to play IOS games between sessions and post on forums and Twitter. I should be done with data collection soon, and will be able to write articles at regular pace again

In the meantime, I'm active on NeoGAF, Reddit, and TIGForums, I actually put together a big "Best of IOS" thread recently if you're looking for mobile games to check out. You can peruse that thread here; I'm active in the monthly Indie Games and IOS Gaming threads as well. And of course, I'm easy to reach on Twitter and email.

Thanks for your understanding and patience. Have a good weekend!

Saturday, October 25, 2014

Quick Fix: Screenshot Saturday 10/25

Sneaky Sneaky
Developer: Naiad Entertainment
'Sneaky Sneaky' is a turn-based, stealth, adventure game. The game follows the imprisonment, escape, and eventual vindication of a lovable anti-hero as he tries to reclaim his twice-stolen treasure.
Learn more here
Developer: Clapfoot Games
Fortified is an exciting new take on action strategy games. It combines shooter, real-time strategy, and base defense mechanics in a way that will challenge players like never before. The game features a captivating visual presentation that is an homage to classic 1950’s sci-fi films. You will defend your cities from sky scraping robot invaders and menacing flying saucers. In Fortified, your goal is to work as a team to defend your base against unrelenting waves of enemy robots. Not only will you build defensive structures and engage in 3rd person shooting, but as a first for the genre, you will also be able to train and command units. Fortified features an uncompromising level of difficulty, and victory is only achievable with proper strategy and role fulfillment on the battlefield.
Learn more here
Jump Tanks
Developer: Mechanical Butterfly Studios
Dash and bound through vibrant battlefields in your 20 ft tall custom built tanks. Battle it out in 5 vs 5 battles that are equal parts skill, tank customization and team work. Build the perfect battalion of 3 tanks based on your play style by choosing each tanks pilot, chassis, gun, legs, shield and up to four additional attachments such as radar jammers, hover drives, x-ray scanners, floating gun pods and many more.
Learn more here
Developer: Ditto
Fast paced local multiplayer platformer brawler shooter.
Think Super Smash Bros cross Mega Man, but on crack or something.
Download here
The Great Emoticon
Developer: Hit That Switch
The Great Emotion is a top down action adventure game set in a charming post-apocalyptic future. Powered by the three prime emotional energies — glad, mad and sad — play the last Science Knight of an oddball world ruled by the nefarious & passive aggressive King of the Emoticons. Use a battery powered sword, and switch between the 3 emotional energies, to defeat all sorts of emotionally volatile enemies including: Flutterbots, Glitchbugs, Liquid Emotion, and the Undeleted.
Learn more here
Fragments of Him
Developer: SassyBot Studio
When a young man dies suddenly, his friends and family are left to pick up the pieces. What were his last thoughts, what were the moments in which he changed their lives, and how will their lives be without him? 
Fragments of Him is an interactive narrative experience. Follow the story of Will as you see how he influenced the lives of many people.
Learn more here

PC Review #111: Greebroll

Title: Greebroll
Developer: ThoseSixFaces
Platform: PC
Price: $6.99
You've probably played a ball roller before, perhaps Super Monkey Ball or a mobile game like Orborun and Gears. So in that sense, Greebroll will feel familiar: roll your sphere around, avoid obstacles, don't fall into the abyss. But the game stands out thanks to its abstract style, unique and varied levels, and interesting mechanics that open the door for a plethora of inventive challenges.
Greebroll separates itself from other games in the genre from the get-go.
Rather than long windy tracks, levels here are compact and dynamic, abstract shapes hovering in the abyss or structures based on fonts and pixel. The goal here isn't to beat your time or reach the finish line, but to simply survive for an certain amount of time. Easier said then done when levels rotate and twist, forcing you to jump from ledge to ledge or stay balanced on off-kilter spinning platforms. Equipped with a double jump and the ability to fire projectiles, the levels grow more complex as you blast through barriers, activate platforms mid-jump, or deal with clones and multiple spheres at once. In fact, I'd say Greebroll is closer to a game like Super Hexagon than Super Monkey Ball, as you will die and restart again and again until you've perfected your skillet and mastered each level's challenges. The vivid colorful style completes the abstract minimalist presentation.
If the 200+ levels aren't enough, Greebroll also allows you to play every level co-operatively as well as test your skills in a competitive multiplayer. You can download free demos and alpha builds of Greebroll on IndieDB. The game is also available to purchase on IndieGameStand and looking for votes on Steam Greenlight.

Monday, October 20, 2014

Quick Fix: Screenshot Saturday 10/18

Developer: TimeMachine
Gliese is an upcoming 2D action-adventure RPG from new developer, inspired by great games like Half-Life, Borderlands, and Shadow of the Colossus.
Learn more here, Kickstarter on November 4th

Developer: Windy Hill Studios
It started as any other day. And then they came. In Orphan, you are a young boy left to fend for himself as an alien race invades the earth to eradicate humankind. There's not much else to do but run, but along the way as you evade enemy forces you may discover the way to halt their attack and save humanity before it's too late!
Learn more here

Sky Rogue
Developer: nihilocrat
A simple, accessible-yet-difficult, fwooshy, “feel good” arcade flight simulator. Blow things up over land, sea, and air, on an infinite number of procedurally-generated islands, but watch out for volleys of missiles; when you die, you're dead.
Learn more here, download the alpha here

Developer: Morgondag
Space is big, empty and silent. Your role as a spaceship pilot is unclear. You know a few coordinates to some random locations; but this is the only information you got. RymdResa is a text-based game, a space odyssey. Based on randomness. Abstract poetry and art are expressed throughout a lonely journey in space. Customize your ship, explore and interact in the retro stylized world of RymdResa.
Learn more here

Saturday, October 18, 2014

Apologies for the delay

Hello, readers and followers! I wanted to apologize for the lack of articles lately. In case you weren't aware, I'm a college student. I write this blog as a hobby, because I enjoy helping devs and spreading the word on games, but I have to put school before my writing here. This semester, I've been working on my senior project, and I'm a psychology major, so that means recruiting and testing subjects, collecting and analyzing data, so the past weeks I've been pretty busy.

I'm still active on Twitter and other forums like Reddit, NeoGAF, and TIGSource, so even if I'm not writing here, I'm still posting about games elsewhere. I've actually been more active on Game Mob, since I have more time to play IOS games than PC games, so you can also watch that site for some mobile game coverage from me.

Anyway, thanks for continuing to visit and read and I hope to have some articles up tomorrow and over the course of next week. Have a good weekend!

Thursday, October 9, 2014

PC Review #110: Hangeki

Title: Hangeki
Developer: Pentavera
Platforms: PC
Price: $9.99
By now, you're probably familiar with the Space Invader formula. Enemy formations at the top of the screen, your ship along the bottom, shoot down enemies while evading their bullets. In that respect, Hangeki doesn't reinvent the wheel. But what the game does accomplish, exceedingly well, is taking that well known formula and turning into it an over-the-top frenetic visual spectacle.
Yes, visual spectacle perfect sums up the kind of experience Hangeki offers. It doesn't take long until the screen is full of color and motion and particles, as lasers flash and bullets fly, and you decimate your enemies with a plethora of weapons, each one more dazzling than the last. Energy blades slice through entire rows, swarms of missiles streak and coil as they home in on targets, fiery blasts obliterate formations. the blast of your titular Hangeki super-weapon clears the entire screen. The sheer variety of your arsenal is the game's standout feature and offer a depth that other shmups lack. However simply firing wildly won't net you a high score. Hangeki rewards speed and accuracy; by maintaining a combo, you earn the ability to use the more powerful weapons in your loadout. Lose your kill chain and you'll eventually be reduced to your most basic weapon.
Between its main campaign, multiple challenges, endless mode, boss rush, there's a plethora of arcade action here to keep you occupied for hours. And if solo destruction wasn't enough, you can also double the chaos in local co-op. You can purchase Hangeki on Steam.

Monday, October 6, 2014

No Money, No Problem: "Ludum Dare 30" Edition, Part 2

Ludum Dare 30 ended in August, with hundreds of entries to check out. If there's one thing I love about game jams like this and 7 Day Roguelike, it's seeing the many creative interpretations of the themes. I couldn't possibly play every entry so here's a selection of some of the more interesting and fun entries I played.

Part 1

Rest In Peace
A simple shooter where you must swap between the world of the living and the dead. Enemies will return to life unless you burn their corpses in the alternate dimension.
Swing through the levels and switch between dimensions to avoid certain barriers and obstacles. The grappling feels a bit unwieldly and could probably be more refined, but still worth checking out

A cool Sokoban-inspired puzzle game where you control two characters and must interact by switching dimensions. Certain platforms and switches are only available in one dimension or the other.
Glitched is a shooter set in a virtual landscape, where you must clear away glitched growths and defeat enemies. Not the fastest, or most hectic shooter, but the glitch effect is cool and it's an enjoyable experience that grows more challenging as more enemies are introduced
A puzzle platformer. Control two characters that reside in their own realities but can interact with each other. Some obstacles may be hazardous in one world but not in the other, and the fluid switch between worlds is really well done. 
A minimalist puzzler where you switch dimensions to navigate through obstacles. Not that challenging, but the visuals and backgrounds make it worth checking out.
Not much game here, but certainly an enjoyable meditative experience. Essentially you're presented with a revolving globe and by tapping different patterns of colors, you can spawn various environmental items - a tree here, a mountain there - thus offering new colors and new items to spawn. An interesting feature is that you can play solo or with a random anonymous player.
An interesting shooter with a great visual style, but feels far complete. Switch between the red and blue layers to avoid enemies, but you can only shoot while in the red layer. Definitely has potential for an expanded game.
A quick game where you essentially got to play HAL. As the ship's sentient AI, rid the spacecraft of all humans by manipulating the various systems onboard.
Line Crossing
A short adventure as you explore a mysterious alien train. Has some lovely pixel art, an intereting story, and multiple endings
A sci-fi game of avoidance as you evade asteroids and missiles and smash through enemies. The low-poly art style and sense of movement makes Starpiecer an enjoyable experience.
A visually inventive auto-runner where you manipulate multiple dimensions to allow your rolling sphere to travel safely. The seamless transitions between worlds is very impressive and allows for some unique and interesting level design.

Sunday, October 5, 2014

Quick Fix: Screenshot Saturday 10/4

Developer: studio oleomingus
Rituals is a narrative driven, exploration game with element of stealth. The game is set in an alternate Colonial India and explores the strange consequences of the search for a mythical city called Kayamgadh. Explore this convoluted construction, celebrate its absurity, and piece together its strangely crafted stories
Learn more, download the alpha demo here

Dawn of the Ronin
Developer: Rising Sun Studios
Dawn of the Ronin places you in control of an unnamed Ronin warrior right in the heart of 16th Century Japan. Your only companion cut down by Tokugawa’s soldiers, you become one of the thousands of warriors that Toyotomi calls to defend Osaka and stand against the Tokugawa regime.
Learn more here

Developer: UnscrewedGame team
Uncrewed is a real-time strategy game for the PC with the ability to design units from scratch. Unlike in more traditional RTS, units obey the laws of physics, making design choices especially important. The game will feature a single player campaign, stand-alone single player maps, and multiplayer play. A map editor and capability for further customization will also be available.
Learn more, vote on Greenlight here

Developer: Tim Conkling & co.
Antihero is a fast-paced 4X strategy game set in a gaslit city overrun by corruption & greed. In Antihero, you run a Thieves' Guild. You recruit and train thieves and street urchins, scout the city, infiltrate banks and factories, perform assassinations, and generally behave in a very un-hero-like fashion.
Learn more here

Unnamed gladiator game
Developer: bignic
Couldn't find an official description yet, but from the developer's Twitter posts, it'll involve shields, gladius, gladiatorial training, bloody dismemberment, and glorious victory
Learn more here

No Money, No Problem: "Ludum Dare 30" Edition, Part 1

Ludum Dare 30 ended in August, with hundreds of entries to check out. If there's one thing I love about game jams like this and 7 Day Roguelike, it's seeing the many creative interpretations of the themes. I couldn't possibly play every entry so here's a selection of some of the more interesting and fun entries I played.

Part 2

Lethal Reflection
Shoot red things, avoid red things, collect green things. Lethal Reflection's instructions are easy in theory, but a challenge to achieve. A hectic shooter that grows more difficult as the screen becomes increasingly cluttered with hazard and enemies.
A simple platformer where obstacles and platforms only exist in certain dimensions. It's a bit buggy and it's easy to die, but the game's still worth a try

An interesting take on the Connected World theme, with some nice pixel art to boot. Your battleground is split into; on one side, you're a staff-wielding wizard, the other, a rifle-firing futuristic soldier. Enemies encroach from both sides and you must move between worlds to survive the waves. The gun feels especially satisfying to use.

The Other Sky
Am abstract first person platformer. By reaching the special zone in each level, the world flips, revealing a new set of platformers to traverse. Not much gameplay-wise here beyond jumping and activating switches, but the inverse environments are cool.

An inventive puzzle platformer. Destroy the runes to unlock the exit, but Legend of Light quickly reveals to an involved clever puzzler. With a press of the spacebar, you learn that each level is divided into a various tiles that can be moved around to reshape the environment a la the flash game Continuity. Not only can you move the level around, you can rotate individual parts, allowing you to traverse seemingly impassible corridors by falling through or dropping a platform from one level onto another. Definitely worth checking out,
A mysterious shooter. The game is a bit unclear on what exactly you have to do, but it involves shooting warp crystals and enemies. The best aspect of Legacy of Lamas is its art style and weird creatures that roam the levels. 
"FTL meets Oregon Trail" is a pretty apt description. Expand your ship, adding new modules such as engines, medbays, and storage, stay mindful of your food and fuel as your crew grows in number and ages with each jump. Simple, but fun, challenging, and one of the few games I can think of that utilizes the generation ship concept.
Short and simple, you control a weaponized hoverbike as you travel through the level, shoot enemies, and dodge projectiles. Doesn't really do anything new for a shooter, but the bike is fun to control and I liked the visual style
It's almost like playing The Matrix from the other side; you control a small maintenance drone who must reconnect human pods. The pixel style is nice and detailed and the puzzle mechanic - connecting limited-length cables to open paths and plug pods - is enjoyable and tricky. 

A simple puzzle game where you must maneuver the figure so each end reaches the marked location. Earn three stars by performing less moves. 
Guide mirrored character through worlds that are not exactly reflections of each other. Hazards on one side must be avoided by using plaforms that only exist in the other. Spikes, harpoons, and other dangers await. Fun, and stylish, but the lack of checkpoints can be annoying 
Another first person platformer, where you can shift from one environment to one composed on the shadows cast by structures. This allows you to bypass obstacles, but be careful not to fall. Short, but interesting

Connect Home
An isometric Sokoban-style puzzler. Push the cubes around to complete the connection. You can't undo moves, only restart levels, which can be frustrating once levels grow larger and more complex, but it's still a fun challenge
Light Year Wars
Strategically capture nodes to control the entire screen. It's not a new concept, seen before in Galcon and Tentacle Wars, but the minimalist style and the visual of your forces arcing across the screen and converging on enemy nodes makes it worth checking out.
One of my favorite entries, HopSlide consists of two games, Hope and Slide, played simultaneously. I won't say more, because learning how HopSlide works is one of its ingenious charms. Highly recommended.

Saturday, October 4, 2014

The Watchlist: Phantasmal

Title: Phantasmal
Developer: Eyemobi
Platforms: PC
Releasing 2015
The crux of horror games is the unknown, never being able to rely on your previous experiences. Welcome to the world of Phantasmal, a procedurally generated game that will feel like a new experience every single time!
Ah...horror games. The thrill of good scare, tensing in your seat, that creeping dread. If there's one flaw, it's that once you've died or restarted at a checkpoint, you know what to expect; the scare has lost its potency if you're expecting it. Phantasmal hopes to sidestep that by blending first person horror with procedurally generated levels. Set in an university plagued by some Lovecraftian evil, you play as Vietnam war veteran John Hope. Drawn into the haunted place by dark voices, John finds himself in a struggle for survival and sanity against nightmarish creatures, Armed with impromptu melee weapons like pipes and brooms or perhaps the rare gun, you'll also need to fend off the darkness with limited flares and your flashlight. The most unique aspect of Phantamal is its procedurally generated levels, meaning new layouts, new enemy and weapon placements every time you play. However, there will be a persistent element, through earned XP that allows you to upgrade John between playthroughs.
Phantasmal is currently aiming to be released mid-2015; you can download early alpha demo here. Learn more about Phantasmal on its official site, support the game on Kickstarter, or vote for it on Steam Greenlight.