Plant a tree! Hug a skunk! Save the Earth! Stop the Woodcutter! What a bunch of hippie propaganda cleverly disguised to coerce those impressionable youth into an anti-lumber mindset! It’s radical left-wing liberal propaganda wrapped in a cute and cuddly fuzzy-wuzzy tower defense package.
The basis of the game is that the mean ol’ lumberjacks are trying to cut down the trees, much to the chagrin of the forest’s furry little inhabitants. The largely rodent population bands together to prevent those flannel-wearing tree carnivores from cutting down tress, laying ruin to the forest and (probably) devouring baby brains.
Let me tell you – I’ve played my fair share of tower defense games, and most of them feel far too similar for their own good. If you’ve played one, then you feel as though you’ve played them all. Scribble Defense, however, offers a fresh perspective on the genre and forces players to think outside the box for a moment.
Players begin each level the same as they would any other tower defense game: with a set number of lives – that is, the number of times your tower can be attacked, and a depleting number of enemies on the map. Their job, quite simply, is to stop the enemy from reaching this point.
Enough of those barrel-throwing games; it’s time to grow up, and you’ll need lots of guns to do that. We all know that mature gamers appreciate gun violence, so it’s appropriate the gorillas went into deathmatch mode for Kong360: Gorilla Warfare. This is a top-down multiplayer shooter that will take you back to the days of Unreal Tournament and Quake 3 Arena. There’s a whole lot of shooting, some flap capping and nothing much else. But it’s that simplicity that makes a game so appealing in an age of increasingly complex shooters, where you have those damned vehicles, experience points and customizable weapons. Here, it’s all shoot and fun, and nothing more.
But first you’ll need to get used to the controls. They’re a little tricky, especially if you don’t change the default “chasecam” mode. With chasecam, the camera looks down in an isometric view with your avatar on the bottom-center of the screen, and it strictly follows your movement as you look around. Your gorilla aims with a straight line pointing out from his hairy body, and there’s a tiny circle that slides along the line to determine where you’re going to shoot. Because the levels all have multiple stories, this allows you to shoot at different altitudes. It’s a good way to solve the dilemma of having a shooter with a top-down perspective, but it comes with a few minor issues. Sometimes when you’re trying to shoot a gorilla on an elevated area, your bullets will fly right above his head, and the same can happen vice versa.
Decay – Part 1 was doing a dandy job of giving me the willys and ensuring that I was unable to sleep at night until it concluded abruptly sans conclusion but with plenty of unanswered questions. Continuing right where Part 1 left off, our amnesia-plagued protagonist continues trekking on his search for identity and tries to discover why he attempted to turn himself into a cadaver and why in the world he is meandering around in such a creepy building.
Part deux picks up in an appropriately dank and depressing building with its own set of puzzles, ominous musical tones, mysterious apparitions and creepy dolls. When a game begins with the main character pulling himself out of a murky oily pool to find a note telling him to hurry the hell up, it’s a safe bet it’s going to be on the slightly demented side.
Remember back when a game’s story consisted of ‘rescue the princess’ or ‘stop the mad scientist?’ Prior to the time when games have cut scenes that require popcorn and novelizations sold in Borders? Vampire Rage hearkens back to those days of extremely limited storytelling, which ensures its cheesy, Twilight-esque-emo vampire narrative doesn’t obscure a fantastic, though maddeningly difficult shooter.
Of the three vertical shooters I’ve played on the indie platform, Vampire Rage is by far the most traditional. Forget about the wacky multi-ship madness of Shoot 1UP or the killer kaleidoscopic psychedelic polygons of Prismatic Solid; Vampire Rage is an old-fashioned bullet-hell shooter, and a fun one at that.
The trend of zombie shooters continues with Zombie Sniper HD. If you’ve ever played the old cabinet arcade title Sniper Scope, then you’ll have the gist of this game. As the name implies, you are a sniper, and your only form of movement is panning your crosshairs across the screen. With a click you can zoom in as well which makes things easier.
Points are awarded for each kill, the catch however, is that they must all be head shots. (You did know that the only way to kill a zombie is to shoot it in the head, right?) The range if the target will determine your point value as well; the further a target is from you, the more points you will be rewarded, naturally. Take heed though, as misses will deduct points from your total score.
There isn’t much to say about Avatar Cannon. It’s a game where you fire your Avatar through the air across the savannah with the goal of bouncing off of wild animals to see how far you can get in a set number of shots. The popularity of games like this exploded over half a decade ago, with arguably the most popular one being Kitten Cannon. The fact that games like Kitten Cannon exist and are so widely known creates problems for Avatar Cannon in a number of ways.
The first and most obvious problem is one of timing. These games peaked in popularity a long time ago, and that popularity has never really recovered. Numerous variations on the theme came out all around the same time and each got relatively popular and then faded into almost total obscurity.
I really needed a game like Hurdle Turtle. My brain actually had to bribe my hands to pick up a controller again after the muscle-cramping disgrace of Avatar Ninja and the totally uninspired cash-in, The American Hot Dog Race, and I was in dire need of some good old-fashioned retro-game loving. Hurdle Turtle thankfully delivers and is the total nostalgic package, complete with authentic 8-bit sprites, chiptune music and of course, quarter-munching difficulty. The namesake hero is a delightfully designed reptile donning a white cotton headband and sweatbands on all his tiny turtle feet. As his name indicates, he’s a bit of a track and field fan, and the purpose of the game is to survive as long as possible on three increasingly difficult courses. It’s a simple game to understand, yet it’s surprisingly fun and becomes quite difficult in a hurry.
There are two types of obstacles that must be avoided: one that can be bypassed by guiding the turtle up and down on the track and another that has to leapt over. Every few seconds the turtle’s velocity increases and in short time, the obstacles are flying at our poor little reptile friend. Turtles can apparently get those stubby legs moving at an enviable pace, which means that avoiding the obstacles becomes no easy feat.