Endless Forms Most Beautiful is a Locomalito remake of a fairly recent (February 2012) ZX Spectrum game by David Hughes. Spanning 15 levels, the goal of the game is to collect all the imps on each level while avoiding various monsters. Moving around takes a bit of getting used to as it defies convention – you can travel up and down on teleport pads but only if you’re standing on top of a pad. Also, by leaving the screen you’ll end up either on the row above (if you went left) or the row below (if you went right).
Once you get a hang of the controls, though, EFMB becomes a fun little “coffee break” action game that offers a relatively large amount of variety from level to level. Two-player co-op and versus modes round out another polished gem from Locomalito and the guys at RGCD (and David Hughes, of course).
TIGdb: Endless Forms Most Beautiful
Run, by Chris Whitman (also known to old-time forum folk as “I Like Cake”), is a game that you can play for free or buy. He describes it as an existential horror farming game. The game cycles between three modes of play.
You Have to Win the Game is a free platformer by Pirate Hearts. Reminiscent of games like Locomalito’s L’Abbaye des Morts and Terry Cavanagh’s VVVVVV, YHTWTG doesn’t venture too far from its roots but is nonetheless a fun “explore ’em up” with plenty of tricky sections and interesting locales. It also features a neatly-done visual gimmick that makes it look like its being played on an old CRT monitor.
TIGForums: DevLog for You Have to Win the Game
Shadow Break (direct download) is fun freeware action game with a unique take on Breakout – ninjas and other opponents are trapped in the blocks and can be released to the ground to slay with your sword. Aside from slashing and jumping, your character also has an invincible dash and ninjitsu techniques that let you, for example, freeze the ball in place. After defeating all the enemies in a level, the remaining blocks are converted to coins.
Quite a polished little Japanese indie title. I like the variety in the enemies and bosses.
(Source: Free Indie Games)
TIGdb: Entry for Shadow Break
If you’re interested in NES homebrew, you should check out Zooming Secretary, an original action game from programmer Shiru and artist PinWizz. In the game you play a secretary who has to answer phone calls after visiting the appropriate filing cabinet. Various co-workers will hamper your progress, but a coffee power-up will offer a speed boost to help you get through each of the eight work days.
Zooming Secretary is simple but polished, making it a good study for people interested in making their own NES games. The source code of the game is available here. A NES emulator like FCEUX is required to play.
Also, FEMICOM has an interview with PinWizz here.
Booting up Bloodlands, you’re met with a warning screen that indicates the level of action the title is aiming for – the screen that greets you is a tribute to Cave’s famous shoot ’em up DonPachi. It’s a tall order for any game, but especially one that’s made in the ANSI-based game creation tool Megazeux! But Maxim, who developed Bloodlands over the course of two years, has managed to squeeze a lot out of the aging engine, offering some pretty intense “dual stick” arena shooting with a full complement of cutscenes and special effects.
Classic 80’s arcade games like Galaga and Centipede were the inspiration for Verminest, the latest release from the prolific Spanish developer Locomalito. The game features a simple scoring system that offers bonuses for killing enemies up close or taking out wave leaders early on. Large bosses and scrolling sections are also welcome additions to the Galaga formula.
The original release in February was black and white (with an optional “3d mode” for viewing with 3d glasses), but recently Locomalito put up a colored version called Verminest ’83 (pictured above). The gameplay remains exactly the same as before.
Also, now you can receive boxed versions of the Locomalito games for donating over a certain amount (~30 euros for each game or ~90 euros for all five). It’s not clear from the website whether the boxes include a printed version of the games’ PDF instruction manuals, however.
TIGdb: Entry for Verminest
LabChirp by Labbed is, like Bfxr (which we posted about previously), a tool for synthesizing sound effects. LabChirp is lesser-known than Bfxr/Sfxr, and each program has options the other program doesn’t. I’m not an expert in sound generation at all (although I have used both programs quite a bit, and create the sound effects for my games using them), so here’s my ignorant appraisal of it:
A group of teenagers enter an abandoned mansion on the outskirts of town to see if it’s haunted… an unimaginative set up for a horror tale, but thankfully it’s not indicative of the rest of the game. Released in 2009 by the Japanese developer noprops, Ao Oni has since gained a cult reputation for its inventive scares and challenging puzzles. Given that it’s made in RPGMaker XP, the game’s not Amnesia-levels of scary, but it squeezes a lot out of the aging engine to provide a suitably creepy backdrop for the puzzle-solving.
Everything you need to play Ao Oni is available at its homepage, including the RPGMaker XP runtime. There are Japanese, English, and Italian language editions of the game – just download your preferred translation, unzip, and run (after installing the runtime, of course). Keep in mind that different versions of Ao Oni vary greatly in terms of plot and design… older versions are available from other websites if you’re interested (but beware of spoilers).
TIGdb: Entry for Ao Oni
TIGSource hasn’t covered Crawl since 2007, back with Linley’s Dungeon Crawl, and it’s changed a lot since then. Dungeon Crawl Stone Soup is the living branch of Linley’s Dungeon Crawl (the original branch hasn’t been updated since 2003). Most fans of roguelikes have played it or at least know about it, but for those seeking to get into roguelikes this is a good place to start. Ortoslon got me into this particular game, and it became the first roguelike I ever finished (albeit as a Minotaur berserker, one of the easiest combinations to beat the game with).
The new update added (among many new features) a new species, octopodes, which can wear eight rings, but can’t wear armor except hats. In Crawl, species matters a lot more than starting class, class just determines which skills and items you start with, but is non-binding because you can always learn other skills and find other items: so you can begin as an elven fighter but then find a spellbook and decide to focus on magic anyway. Your species determines how fast you can increase different skills (varying from -5 to +5 learning rates), your movement speed, body size, metabolism, whether you have horns or claws or other features, and so on. If you get into the game you’ll probably try out all the species at least once, but then stick with a few favorites.