Posts Tagged ‘Free’

Noitu Love and the Army of Grinning Darns [REVIEW]

March 2, 2012 Leave a comment

Noitu Love and the Army of Grinning Darns: released December 31st, 2006
Developer: Konjak
Platforms: Windows

Noitu Love and the Army of Grinning Darns is a true blue beat ‘em up in the most old school of senses. You don’t level up your character, there aren’t any special attack combinations, and you don’t have to solve any half-assed puzzles to progress the game. It’s just straight ass-kickin from start to finish, though while it fails to innovate, the original Noitu Love makes up for it by offering some of prettiest sprites, and most well designed boss fights I’ve seen in a while.

The gameplay is pretty standard. You have a basic attack, two special attacks, and a jump, and for the most part, that’s all you’ll have at your disposal to take on the swarms of Darns that will be making constant attempts on your life. Basic as it is, the gameplay is still a lot of fun, namely because of the differing enemies. Each new level will introduce new foes, each with their own quirks and patterns, which keep things from getting too stale. In fact, the levels themselves are all quite beautiful, each with their own unique styles. One of my favorites is the rave you find at the graveyard level that has all of the zombie Darns dancing like mad in the background. Each level has it’s own unique look and feel, but the graveyard was a particularly enjoyable experience. Read more…


Super Monday Night Combat [PREVIEW]

February 10, 2012 Leave a comment

Super Monday Night Combat: released April 19th, 2012
Developer: Uber Entertainment
Platforms: Windows

EDIT: This preview was written during the closed beta period, and while it’s still the same basic game, many things have surely changed. It is still free to play though, and totally open for anyone to download and enjoy, so log on to Steam and give it a go!

In the past few years we’ve seen a pretty steady rise in the popularity of MOBA (Multiplayer Online Battle Arena) games, with the charge being led by F2P big shot League of Legends, and of course Valve’s upcoming entry, DotA 2. While DotA (the original Warcraft III mod) came out quite a while ago, the gametype seems to have only recently really caught on with the gaming masses, and Uber Entertainment has decided that they’re not going to be left out in the cold. Their first game, the original Monday Night Combat, was a unique outing that managed to successfully blend tower defense and DotA, with the in your face action of a competitive shooter. The original MNC was a fantastic game, one that I will remember fondly for as long as I consider myself a gamer, but it was still more of a shooter with DotA and tower defense influences, than a standalone DotA-shooter hybrid. Super Monday Night Combat looks to change that.

If you’ve gotten in to the closed beta or have recently visited the game’s forums at all, you’ll likely have seen the phrase “The rules have changed.” mentioned quite frequently. I’ll let you know right out the gate that this is not a marketing ploy, the rules really have changed. As someone who spent a pretty significant chunk of time playing the original MNC, I can tell you that moving on up to Super MNC was a pretty jarring experience. The controls are still the same, the amusing announcers are still there, and it still looks like my beloved Monday Night Combat, but the way games unfold is significantly different this time around. For the multiplayer mode (called Crossfire) at least, all aspects of the gameplay that mimicked a tower defense title have been dropped, and Super MNC has gone the route of being a total shooter-DotA hybrid. Read more…

Tribes: Ascend [PREVIEW]

February 6, 2012 Leave a comment

Tribes: Ascend: released April 12th, 2012
Developer: Hi-Rez Studios
Platforms: Windows

EDIT: This preview was written during the closed beta period, and while it’s still the same basic game, many things have surely changed. It is still free to play though, and totally open for anyone to download and enjoy, so head over HERE to check it out!

We’ve come a long way since the days when Quake and Unreal Tournament ruled the multiplayer roost. Back then games moved fast, and quick reflexes played a much larger role in the players’ overall strategies. Multiplayer shooters of today are a far cry from their comparatively nimble forefathers, with big names like Call of Duty and Battlefield trying to focus on the “realistic” aspects of modern warfare. Even sci-fi centric games such as Halo fail to capture that surreal sense of high speed action present in the shooters of yesteryear, in fact, console multiplayer shooters likely played a pretty sizable role in the decline of this style of gameplay. Speedy titles like Quake and Unreal Tournament didn’t really translate so well to controllers, so the overall market started leaning more towards the slower-paced frag-fests that we see today, so as to try and accommodate both crowds.

Regardless of how it came to be, the fact of the matter is that multiplayer shooters are noticeably slower these days, and if you’re anything like me, you’ve long been pining for a return to the time when games moved at a breakneck pace and reflexive crackshots ruled the arena. It’s been a long time coming, but it seems we’ve finally got a champion to ring in the return of fast-paced multiplayer shooting. Many of us have gotten used to the comparatively sluggish pace at which most modern shooters move, so I’ll warn you now that your first steps in Tribes: Ascend will catch you off guard. This game moves significantly quicker than almost any game in recent memory, so you’re going to need to relearn how to maneuver yourself. Read more…

Path of Exile [PREVIEW]

January 10, 2012 2 comments

Path of Exile: release date TBA
Developer: Grinding Gear Games
Platforms: Windows


Path of Exile is still being worked on, and the fine folks at Grinding Gear Games are constantly updating and making changes to the very fabric of it’s existence. The version played for this preview was 0.9.5, and there are still many plans in the works that have yet to make their way in to the game. That said, the core of the game is there and I feel confident that my impressions of it thus far will undoubtedly carry over to the final product once it finally makes it’s debut.

When I recall my history as a gamer and think back to the titles I played growing up, the important ones, the ones that really shaped who I am as a gaming enthusiast, there are a handful of names that will always stand head and shoulders above the rest. Of course there are the more obvious gaming staples such as Mario, Zelda, and Metroid, which you’re likely to find on almost any veteran gamer’s all-time favorites list, but another franchise that truly left it’s mark on me was that of Diablo. The thrill of unlocking new skills and hunting down rare loot was something I had never really experienced before, and to this day it’s that very same formula that keeps me coming back to the series.

After doing a few years time in the land of Diablo 2, I began to crave something different. I wanted that same loot based, dungeon crawling experience, but with new settings and characters. Some might argue that the Forgotten Realms titles (Baldur’s Gate, Icewind Dale, and Neverwinter Nights) appropriately fill that void, but let’s be real here, those games are nothing like Diablo. I still loved them to death, but I missed the addictive qualities of randomized dungeons and looting. It’s taken some time, but we’ve recently started seeing some real forward momentum with the Diablo-style of game design, and today I’d like to talk about a particularly promising title called Path of Exile. Read more…

Knytt Stories [REVIEW]

December 19, 2011 Leave a comment

Knytt Stories: released August 30th, 2007
Developer: Nifflas
Platforms: Windows

These past few weeks I have been scouring the indie gaming scene on a journey to try and discover some new MetroidVania style games. Thus far I have found some pretty high quality titles, but nothing that quite nails that Metroid or Castlevania experience. Saira came pretty damn close due to it’s great ambiance and sense of exploration, but there were still certain key components that were missing to make it really feel like a MetroidVania game. This week’s game is brought to us by the very same soul who created Saira actually, Mr. Nicklas Nygren, otherwise known as Nifflas. As with the other titles I’ve tried thus far, Knytt Stories definitely possesses some key features that you’d expect to find when playing a MetroidVania game, but also like the other titles I’ve tried thus far, it’s also missing a few of those key components that you’d look for in a MetroidVania title as well. Still, I wouldn’t be writing a review for Knytt Stories if I wasn’t impressed by it!

If by chance you happened to play Saira, you can definitely tell that Knytt Stories was made by the same person, as is evident from the visual style. As with Saira, the visuals may look crude or simple when you first see them, but it really takes no time at all for them to grow on you, and as you continue to explore the world of Knytt Stories you’ll see a good variety of locations, with each region of the world possessing its own look and feel. Not to mention there are additional stories you can download (essentially small expansion packs) that give you entirely new stories to play through and experience, and each one of these brings with it a totally new environment as well. The art style just has a certain flair that makes everything really pop. Something I’ve learned from playing both Saira and Knytt Stories is that screenshots really don’t do Nifflas’ style justice. Yes, the game isn’t terribly detailed or complex, but it’s vibrant, and varied, and it feels alive. It just feels like I was exploring a real environment, and the overall style of Knytt Stories is charming to the max. Read more…

Hero Core [REVIEW]

December 10, 2011 2 comments

Hero Core: released May 3rd, 2010
Developer: Daniel Remar
Platforms: Windows

Metroid and Castlevania are two of the most beloved and highly regarded franchises to ever have graced the industry. In fact, they are such staples of the industry that they even had an entire “genre” of games named after them, referred to as MetroidVania games. Technically these games are 2D side-scrolling Action Platformers, but their semi-open world design helps to differentiate them from similar titles such as Contra or Rush ‘N Attack. You don’t simply move from left to right, knocking out baddies and completing missions by reaching the end of the level. In a MetroidVania game, your character has multiple paths he or she can choose from, typically all interconnected in some kind of hub world, such as Dracula’s Castle from Castlevania or Planet Zebes from Metroid. Along the way you’ll find hidden power-ups, bosses that grant new abilities, and who knows what else. The point is that it all takes place in one, big location, and it’s your job to explore that place, gain new powers, and generally raise hell all throughout.

Sadly, as amazing as these games tend to be, there aren’t as many of them as you’d think, though perhaps that’s a good thing. The vast majority of MetroidVania style games I’ve played have been top notch ventures that I will rave about until the day I either die or develop alzheimer’s, but I’m sure if the market for MetroidVania games had gotten more saturated the over-all quality wouldn’t be nearly as high among the titles. Still, whether it’s quality control or not, the fact of the matter is that it’s been years since I completed Shadow Complex and the various DS entries in to the Castlevania series, so I recently decided I’d try to hunt down a few indie entries in to the MetroidVania genre of games, which leads me to Hero Core, a unique blend of MetroidVania and another favorite genre of mine, the Shmup. Read more…