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.
[This is a guest review by SirNiko. Originally posted on TIGForums.]
I finished Deadly Rooms of Death: Gunthro and the Epic Blunder and the bonus dungeon “Flood Warning”. This is a great series, but this entry is a little disappointing. I feel it’s my duty to outline it for those who haven’t played.
For those that are new to DROD, Deadly Rooms of Death is a puzzle game wherein you move the player around a grid-based world, killing monsters by carefully moving to hit them with your sword while keeping them from catching you and killing you in revenge. The result feels a little bit like chess meets the Adventures of Lolo. The game is broken into multiple levels, each of which contains roughly a dozen rooms. Slaying all the monsters in a room “clears” it, sometimes unlocking doors or allowing passage to new rooms. Clearing levels is required to advance the game. The experience is entirely cerebral.
Gunthro and the Epic Blunder is the fourth game in the main series, not counting some expansion-pack style bonus dungeons and DROD RPG, which more closely resembles Tower of the Sorcerer. The story is a prequel that takes place between DROD 1 and 2. Mechanically, the game is the easiest of the lot. This is in sharp contrast to the rapidly scaling difficulty of the previous games.
Offspring Fling is a new puzzle platformer from Kyle Pulver, the creator of Bonesaw and Depict1. You play a mother whose children have gone missing – the goal of each level is to bring your children to the exit and then exit yourself. True to the game’s title, you can fling your children horizontally to move them around and set off switches, among other things. Multiple children can be carried at once, which is sometimes necessary but limits the player’s freedom of movement.
The flinging mechanic is simple but is executed quite well – the timing and sound effects are quite satisfying. There are quite a few interesting things you can do with it, too, like stun enemies or perform mid-air catches. Throughout the game’s 100 unique levels you’re introduced to a lot of these concepts, and the finer properties of the game’s physics must be exploited to beat the developer’s speedruns (displayed as a black ghost during replays).
The one fault I find with the game is that it’s quite easy and doesn’t force you to use enough different tricks in each level. Even the final stages can feel like introductory ones, since many of them still revolve around a single concept. After beating Offspring Fling in a couple of hours, I couldn’t help but feel like some of the earlier levels could be combined to free up room for more tricky ones in the late game.
Still, there’s a lot of fun to be had here, and with the replay system and flower system I’ll definitely be enjoying the game for a while longer… especially since the graphics and Alec Holowka’s soundtrack are so delightful. Hopefully, a level editor or sequel will see the light of day so that more involved flinging can be done!
TIGdb: Entry for Offspring Fling
Version 0.9.9.6 of Kornel Kisielewicz’s DoomRL was finally released this month. If you haven’t played the game in awhile, there’s lots of new content, from new level features, skills, and challenges to high-quality audio upgrades. This is also the first graphical release of the game, and includes my graphics (tiles and title screen) and mouse support.
Players who prefer ASCII graphics will still be able to play 0.9.9.6 that way.
Dys4ia is a new game by Anna Anthropy / Auntie Pixelante, developer of REDDER, Mighty Jill Off, Calamity Annie, When Pigs Fly, and other games, and who is also just about to release a book on independent game development, Rise of the Videogame Zinesters. Dys4ia is an autobiographical game about transgenderism and hormone therapy. The music is by Liz Ryerson. From Anna’s blog:
“dys4ia is the story of the last six months of my life: when i made the decision to start hormone replacement therapy and began taking estrogen. i wanted to catalog all the frustrations of the experience and maybe create an “it gets better” for other trans women. when i started working on the game, though, i didn’t know whether it did get better. i was in the middle of the shit detailed in level 3 of the game, and at the time i had no idea what the ending would be; it was hard to envision a happy ending.”
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.
Indie studio Young Horses has released a teaser trailer for their sequel to 2010’s fumbling physics game, Octodad. Titled Octodad: Dadliest Catch, this sequel continues the story of an octopus posing as a human as he tries to accomplish everyday tasks with, and for, his oblivious human family. No task is easy however, when all you have to work with are boneless, suction-cupped arms. Additionally, there’s now a catchy theme song that I’ll no doubt have lodged in my head for quite some time.
The original game is still free for download, and anyone who hasn’t
hopelessly smacked every household object in the room onto the floor while trying to turn off an alarm clock played it yet should go give it a try.
The teaser trailer states that Octodad: Dadliest Catch will be arriving on shore in 2013. As a fan of the first game and all things cephalopod, I’m looking forward to getting my two, perfectly human hands on it.
Starfarer is a promising real-time tactics RPG that’s currently in development. The latest pre-order build, 0.5a, was released today, bringing the game one step closer to the open-world space opera that its developers have planned. Previous iterations of Starfarer have let you choose from a number of scripted missions, but in 0.5a you can finally tackle a basic campaign map that lets you expand your fleet (through purchase or capture) and level up your crew. No matter how large your fleet is, though, you’ll always control a single character and ship, directing your allies through a detailed tactical map.
The game already offers quite a bit in the way of customization to your fleet, from types of ships (large capital ships to tiny fighters) to weapons and armor, down to even the personality and experience of the crew. The final release, though, sounds like it will be a dream for fans of space combat and trading games like Escape Velocity Nova – whether you want to be an ace pilot, the admiral of a large fleet, or something in-between, there will be plenty of ways to make your (permanent, meaningful) mark on the galaxy. On top of that, Starfarer’s devs seem committed to making the game friendly for modders, with fans already creating their own ships and missions.
The final price of the game is set at $20, but you can pre-order it right now for $10 and receive the current build as well as all future updates.
Release 0.34.01 fleshes out world generation (including massive cities complete with sewers, dungeons, catacombs, marketplaces, and outlying farmland), creatures (including werewolves, vampires, mummies, and necromancers capable of raising the dead), and many other features.
(Image Source: Fault, of the Bay 12 Forums)
[This is a guest review by Tof Eklund.]
Katawa Shoujo is a visual novel that takes place at a school for the disabled. The game’s protagonist, Hisao, arrives there reluctantly after a long hospital stay for life-threatening arrhythmia (irregular heartbeat). His first episode occurred when a girl at his school confessed to him, setting the tone of heartbreak, isolation, and the difficulty of human connection for the game. Thus the game’s logo, a yellow heart criss-crossed with bandages: wounded and frightened.
This is a relationship/dating sim game, but it is closer in feel to Evangelion than any of the “harem” anime and manga (Tenchi Muyo, Love Hina) that it may seem, on casual inspection, to resemble. Each of the girls that Hisao can wind up falling in love with at Yamaku Academy has a different disability, and that, combined with the fact that there is (semi-)explicit sex in this game, is the reason some people have dismissed it, unplayed, as a fetish-fest.