Archive

Posts Tagged ‘Review’

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…

Advertisements

Escape Goat [REVIEW]

February 20, 2012 Leave a comment

Escape Goat: release November 2nd, 2011
Developer: MagicalTimeBean
Platforms: Xbox Live Indie Game Marketplace

An increasingly popular subgenre of late has been the skill based platformer. Games like Super Meat Boy, Dustforce, Splosion Man, and a handful of others, have taken the age old genre of platforming off of it’s life support, and given gamers everywhere a reason to care about it again. Popular as they are though, not everyone can get behind these two-dimensional tests of acrobatic showmanship, and would rather opt in to a slower paced platformer, something that retains the challenge, yet drops the insane obstacles. Escape Goat, a puzzle platformer from developer MagicalTimeBean, is exactly the title to fill that role.

In Escape Goat you play the role of a purple Goat who has been imprisoned for witchcraft (what the what!?), and somehow, you must find a way to escape. Along the way you’ll also encounter a mouse who has the ability to switch places with you by way of a teleportation hat. The game starts you off in a brief series of tutorial levels to help show you the ropes, and once you’re finished, it drops you in to a hub world where you have a little more freedom concerning the paths you take. There’s a total of nine main worlds, each with six levels to overcome, and each with their own unique themes and ideas. When you first begin there will only be two “worlds” unlocked for you, but each time you conquer one of them, it unlocks two more. After you’ve completed a minimum of seven of these areas, you’ll unlock the final door, which is an extra lengthy ten stage endeavor. Read more…

Soulcaster I & II [REVIEW]

February 15, 2012 4 comments

Soulcaster: released March 1st, 2010
Soulcaster II: released December 14th, 2010
Developer: MagicalTimeBean
Platforms: Windows, Xbox Live Indie Game Marketplace

For this review I’ll be covering two separate games, the original Soulcaster, and it’s sequel Soulcaster II. They’ve been longtime favorites of mine on the XBLIG Marketplace, and what with their recent launch on the Windows OS, it’s high time I finally show these games some love. The Soulcaster games are an interesting blend of Action RPG and Strategy mechanics that manage to take the hack n’ slash out of the dungeon crawler, and still maintain a fun, unique take on the genre. I’ll be starting off of course, with the original Soulcaster.

What immediately makes these games stand out, is the interesting gameplay mechanics they employ. On the surface it may resemble an old school Gauntlet game, and to an extent, that’s fairly accurate. Where it differs is in the execution. Instead of choosing a class to play as and going to town on baddies by way of your own combative prowess, you instead take the role of a Soulcaster, who uses something called a soul orb to summon “images” of great warriors. You first encounter these warriors by way of a trio of statues, each made in their likeness. From there, the spirits (or whatever they are) of these warriors grant you the ability to summon images of themselves which will aid you during combat, assisting you to thwart the evil that has cursed their land. Read more…

Monday Night Combat [REVIEW]

February 8, 2012 Leave a comment

Monday Night Combat: released January 24th, 2011
Developer: Uber Entertainment
Platforms: Windows, Xbox Live Arcade

If I were forced to describe Monday Night Combat in one sentence, it would read something like, “It’s as if Team Fortress 2 and Defense of the Ancients had a baby, and all of that baby’s friends growing up were tower defense games, and despite the crazy mish-mash of cultures, that baby still grew up to be a perfectly adjusted member of society, and in fact excelled at whatever it put it’s mind to!” Okay, yes, that’s a helluva sentence, but it seems somehow appropriate considering that Monday Night Combat is one helluva game. Competitive shooters are a pretty tough nut to crack, so it’s understandable that developers would want to do whatever they can to differentiate their title from the pack, but blending a competitive classed based shooter, with tower defense, and DotA? As insane as it sounds, that’s exactly what Uber Entertainment have done here, and it works amazingly well!

The basic gist of the game is that it’s some kind of futuristic bloodsport tv show. Games are played in huge, packed stadium arenas, there are announcers, mascots, sponsors, and of course there’s Pit Girl, who is the game’s token eye candy/cheerleader. There are two notably different modes of play to choose from, those being Blitz, which is the game’s dedicated tower defense mode, and then the meat of the experience which is Crossfire, Monday Night Combat’s shooter-DotA hybrid mode. Read more…

Defender’s Quest [REVIEW]

January 25, 2012 Leave a comment

Defender’s Quest: released January 20th, 2012
Developer: Level Up Labs
Platforms: Windows, Mac, Linux

It never ceases to amaze me how indie developers continue to push tower defense games in new and interesting directions so frequently. Many old school genres such as platformers and shmups, have enjoyed a pretty notable resurgence in recent years, almost entirely thanks to the indie scene. Tower defense games on the other hand, are a genre that have just about always thrived exclusively at the hands of indie developers. Most recently it’s become quite popular to take the core mechanics of a tower defense game, and blend them with a totally different style of game. Sanctum and Monday Night Combat did it with shooter mechanics, Dungeon Defenders and Orcs Must Die! did it with action RPG mechanics, and Defender’s Quest goes an entirely different route, choosing to blend tower defense, with traditional, story driven JRPG mechanics.

At this point I’m beginning to wonder if tower defense isn’t just some kind of all encompassing super-genre that manages to blend well with any type of game. Each time one of these hybrids is released, I smack myself on the forehead and wonder how nobody had ever thought to do it before. Having now sunk the past couple days in to the extremely addictive Defender’s Quest, I once again find myself wondering, how the hell has nobody ever thought to do this before?! Read more…

Dustforce [REVIEW]

January 18, 2012 Leave a comment


Dustforce: released January 17th, 2012
Developer: Hitbox Team
Platforms: Windows, Mac, Linux

[NOTE: Mac and Linux versions are currently unreleased, but are on the way!]

Skill based platformers are a truly unique beast. To some extent you could say that all platformers are skill based (and of course you’d be right), but what I’m referring to here is a completely different breed of platformer. Something familiar, yet so very unique from your Super Marios and your Donkey Kong Countrys. Each level of these games presents you with a unique challenge, a series of obstacles that you must overcome by exercising quick reflexes, minute precision, and an extraordinary amount of practice, practice, practice! These games are hard, and they make no apologies for it, because it’s that very difficulty that gives them their style, their power, their edge. That old feeling of getting a high score and beating out your friends’ best efforts is reimagined in the form of getting a new best time and completing each level faster than your peers.

It takes a lot of hard work, but there’s nothing quite as majestic as a perfectly executed speed run in a game like Super Meat Boy. Seeing someone jump and slide along these perfectly calculated paths is a truly impressive feat. Rarely do we get to see such noteworthy displays of skill in single player gaming, but thanks to titles like Super Meat Boy and N+, it’s becoming more and more common. Case in point, Dustforce, the newest skill based platformer to enter the fray, brought to us by developer Hitbox. So has Dustforce earned the right to be mentioned with the likes of those previously mentioned classics? You bet your ass it has! Read more…

Wrapple [REVIEW]

January 15, 2012 Leave a comment


Wrapple: released January 4th, 2010
Developer: Awoken Entertainment
Platforms: Windows

You are a genetically modified potato, created in a lab to be resistant to grasshoppers. Unfortunately for your lab coat wearing overlords, you have evolved and are now sentient! In your attempts to escape the lab you make use of various portals that are scattered about, but they weren’t designed for the transportation of potatoes, and as such each time you pass through one it destroys the room you left behind. At this rate, if the scientists can’t stop you, tomorrow’s headlines will read, “Sentient potato goes on portal hopping rampage and destroys laboratory!” And that’s the story folks!

I’ll say this much for the indie gaming scene, they are absolutely fearless when it comes to pushing the boundaries for whacky-as-shit premises in their games. Not that a terrificly plausible or complex story is even remotely necessary in a puzzle platformer such as Wrapple, but you’ve got to admit, that’s a pretty bizarre backstory, even so far as indie games are concerned. It’s all in good, light-hearted fun though, and I enjoyed the amusing story related journal entries that broke up the gameplay during Wrapple’s brief campaign. Read more…