Down-on-his-luck agave farmer Juan Aguacate will have one more opportunity to improve his luck this year in this multi-genre mashup, thanks to Sony’s Pub Fund. Guacamelee! will hit (and probably be hit) on the Vita and PSN at some point in the yet-to-be-determined future. If you’re headed to E3 next week, you can catch a glimpse of it running on both devices, or follow along for more melee news at their blog.
Twin-stick shooters are nothing new to the XBLIG Marketplace, but they generally get caught in the endless shuffle of titles that flood the platform unless they really stand out or showcase an exceptional level of polish. Fortunately Compromised delivers on both of these elements and proves to be well worth your time and money.
Naturally, a game’s visuals are the first thing that grabs most of our attention, and there was no disappointment here. The aesthetic is a careful blend from a number of influences, but in the end work out to be a beautiful concoction. The dark art style and blown up hand drawn textures are reminiscent of the Dishwasherseries on XBLA, while the green font used for narration is displayed in a manager similar to that of TheMatrix. Smoke fills the background and menu screen, while the foreground is often subtly obfuscated by framing, as though you were peering through a destroyed glass ceiling overhead. Read more
Utopian World of Sandwiches appears to have a great eye for concept delivery. The critters that star in Chompy Chomp Chomp are undeniably cute and insatiably hungry. The game is as eye-catching as it is frantic, though sometimes a bit too much for its own good. This party game will provide entertainment for most, but its flaws may grate the enjoyment of others to a fine dust.
Imagine a game of Pac-Man with just the ghosts, but the ghosts are tiny-horned devils. Each of the four devils is controlled by a player. A circle rests beneath each one — its color represents the devil you need to eat. You’ll have to chase them down and eat them up while avoiding your own assailant, at least until the color of the circle and the targets change. This is the basis of every match in Chompy Chomp Chomp.
There are elements that provide a level of chaos, like every good party game should. Several power-ups may litter the stage at any given moment, like deployable ice-patches and speed boosts. There are also poison items that slow you down for a short period – usually long enough to be eaten by your enemy. The frequency and appearance of these can be tuned to your liking, which is great because being poisoned is simply not fun. Read more
We here at Armless Octopus are proud of our pro-mother/pro-baby agenda. Other indie sites have balked our our goody-too shoes approach, but we generally – with exceptions, naturally – oppose eating babies, even though we all know their sweet undeveloped juices are as tasty as god’s urine. So it’s rather unsurprising that I had a natural affinity for Offspring Fling!, an adorable puzzle platformer about good old fashioned family values.
Offspring Fling! uses its retro aesthetics to create a warm, familiar feeling, but actually playing the game feels like a completely new experience. You play as a creature that is most definitely the result of Kirby and Pikachu mixing DNA. Your task is to guide your progeny of kirbachus to the exit of each level. Sounds easy, right? All you have to do is avoid the water, bees, and acid-spitting plants and it’s off to nursery school.
The world has been shattered, and space-time has been thrown into a blender. In A Valley Without Wind, players take on the role of Brain Guy from Mystery Science Theatre 3000 to save the world one continent at a time. It’s a randomly-generated platformer shmup RPG wrapped around an optional fetch-quest grind-fest by Arcen Games, the team behind AI War and Tidalis.
AVWW is a game that is fun for a shallow reason. At first glance, it looked to be a casual loot game, which led me to skip reading the in-game “Big Honkin’ Encyclopedia” manual. This is considered to be a very bad idea, and I would recommend this strategy to only the most stubborn and deductive players with inconceivable amounts of free time. At its heart, AVWW is an SNES-era Metroidvania title, with difficulty levels ranging between ‘hold my hand’ and ‘I have a plethora of spare keyboards ready to break.’ Read more
A new Sonic game always brings a level of uncertainty with it. Sega’s mascot has seen more highs and lows than a bipolar roller coaster, something of which fans are acutely aware. There’s a level of trepidation one must enter a modern Sonic title with — that way the potential disappointment stings less. Dimps and Sonic Team have addressed a few of the flaws found in the first episode of Sonic the Hedgehog 4, making the second a bit more fun to play through. It’s a far cry from the Genesis entries, but it’s enjoyable regardless.
One of the biggest complaints in Episode One was the physics, and they’ve mostly been fixed. Sonic no longer stops on a dime in mid air if you take your thumb off the analog stick and you can no longer walk up walls like Spider-Man. The ball-rolling still seems to be slower than running when going downhill, making spin-dashing nearly useless, but hey, two out of three isn’t bad. The truth is this game controls pretty well, approaching levels folks might consider “good”. Read more
As a lifelong fan of shmups, I’ve played my fair share and come to the realization that it isn’t what initially catches your eye – the visual presentation – that counts as much the gameplay does. Fortunately for developer Studio Evil, it flies its most recent vessel, Syder Arcade with grace while excelling in both fields.
Syder Arcade’s strongest asset lies in its appearance, though its gameplay mechanics are nearly as lustrous. Throughout my trek across space, the framerate was consistent and the vivid explosions from enemy ships illuminated my screen with fluorescent colors. Vehicles and adversaries were all distinctly drawn, but at times I had a bit of difficulty discerning friend from foe, at least on the escort missions. Further adding to this confusion, was the fact that my weapons could also damage the vessel I was supposed to be guarding.
Upon loading the game I was also given the opportunity to select a very large number of filters to apply to the graphics that greatly changed the overall appearance of the game. I could select to have a cutting edge visual presentation from the current generation of gaming, while the next I could replicate it with a filter to replicate the look running the game on an Apple II or Commodore 64. The team clearly knew what they were doing when it came to designing the engine, and it shows.
It’s doubtful that there will ever be an Xbox Live Arcade game as anticipated as Polytron’s FEZ. I wondered how the game would fare against years of previews and hype when I pressed start for the first time, but it wasn’t until sometime after completing the game that I found my answer. FEZ is a complicated nut to crack, but what waits inside is worth the effort.
Saying FEZ is ‘complicated’ is actually a disservice to the work put in by Polytron. The cliche of “a puzzle, wrapped in a riddle, wrapped in an enigma” is all-too applicable here. Puzzles are so intricately weaved through the game that they only begin to make sense several hours in, or during a second playthrough in some cases. Taking actual pen and paper notes is a necessity to solve some of the greater challenges. The air of mystery surrounding just about everything can feel suffocating, so much so that I wasn’t sure I was enjoying my time with FEZ early on. It turns out that sticking with it was one of the best decisions I ever made. Read more