Trouble Thinking

July 19, 2012

Steam Summer Sale 2012: Days 7 and 8

Filed under: Game News — Tags: , , , , — Durandal @ 6:17 pm

More games! NEVER ENOUGH GAMES

-Gratuitous Tank Battles: Have not heard great things. Get Gratuitous Space Battles instead, wait on this until you’re really certain. $7

-Indie Bundle VIII: Man these things have been a mishmash. Hoard, not worth it, Swords and Soldiers seems fun looking, Demolition Inc is interesting but flawed… I mean it’s just such a mishmash. I can’t imagine someone interested in all of these. Worth it if you want all of them? But, you won’t. $10

-Krater: Interesting, but flawed. Get if you like flawed weird gems. It’s kind of an old-school RPG, only a bunch of shit isn’t working the same, usually for the worse? That makes it sound terrible, just try the demo it’s probably worth it if you like the demo. $7.50

-The Witcher 2: Yes. Yes now, yes get it get it now it’s the best fucking RPG. It’s so good, so good. They even updated it for free with a bunch of extra shit just because they love us. It’s fun, engaging, reasonably complicated, it manages a bunch of shit people keep whining about games being unable to do. $16

-Alan Wake: I’ve heard middling things. Nice high-production-value game, decent but repetitive action and a mildly interesting but mostly wasted narrative. I wouldn’t bother unless you’re really intrigued. $7.50

-Fallout New Vegas: I’ve heard amazing things, go for it! Fallout 3 was actually pretty fun, worthwhile. It’s one of those games I never actually finish finish though which nags at me forever so I’m not into it, you should give it a shot though. $5

-Amnesia The Dark Descent: Fun! Go for it. One of the only scary games, even if people keep acting like it’s the most frightening thing in the world, and it just ain’t. $5

-Sniper Elite V2: I’ve heard decent things. Kind of inherently repetitive though. I wouldn’t bother for $25, it’s a series of pot-shooting exercises.

-Plants vs. Zombies: Fun times, not worth $10, definitely worth $2.50

 

Yesterday’s Deals:

-STALKER: YEP. Get it, now. Yep. It’s a fun, weird, strange shooter/RPG that just you cannot get any other way. Nothing else is quite like it, you need to give it a shot now. $3.75

-Age of Empires Online: NO. $2.50

-Thief Deadly Shadows: The whole series is such a touchstone, this is a necessary purchase. At least Deadly Shadows, the latest best-looking one. I’ve heard it’s less interesting than the early ones, but it’s probably worth not seeing super early-gen 3D $2.50

-Super Meat Boy: The best platformer, yes. $3.75

-Sins of a Solar Empire: Rebellion: Instead, grab the Sins of a Solar Empire: Trinity deal, it’s only $5 and you’ll get essentially the same dang game. Pony up for Rebellion if you’re really into it. $25

-Total War Mega Pack: Eh. They’re big, impressive, but I’ve never really felt that much for them. Fights are huge and impressive but not nearly fun enough, and the strategy AI isn’t quite smart enough to be fun. $12.50

-Indie Bundle VII: Dungeons of Dreadmor is definitely worth it, the rest I’m not certain about. I’ve seen Vessel and it seems like a good puzzler, and Avadon is from Spiderweb Software, who make good shit. Yeah, go for this one. $10

-L.A. Noire: Supposed to be wonderful, but like Alan Wake it’s leaning more production values than actual gameplay. Unlike Alan Wake, the gameplay it does have is interesting and reasonable uniquely focused on investigation and interrogation. Go for it at $5, come on.

-Carpe Fulgur Collection: Only get Reccetear, but get Reccetear. It’s a weird sort of almost Diablo clone, but you also run a cute little item shop oh man it’s the best. $5

July 17, 2012

Steam Summer Sale 2012: Day 6

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: , , , , — Durandal @ 1:47 pm

Alright today isn’t super amazing but alright here we go:

-Grand Theft Auto IV: Eeeeeh. Grab Saints Row 2, or 3. Or anything. Don’t get GTA, it’s a snoozefest. $5

-Call of Duty: Black Ops: NO. And fuck, $20! Fuck you guys.

-Stronghold 3 Gold: Everything I’ve heard says nope, even people who were super excited about it. :(. $14

-Limbo: It’s… kind of… it’s worth $2.50. It’s atmospheric, but I wish the puzzles were more puzzle, less trial and error. But it’s worth giving a shot for that price.

-Company of Heroes: Get the first one, only the first one, if you haven’t tried it. Great single-player RTS, fun multiplayer if anyone is on. $2.50

-Indie Bundle VI: Spacechem is an absolute must in this. If you dig ticket to ride, just get the pack so you can get both for $5 off, but the test is dross, so get Spacechem alone if you’re not into that. $10

-Train Simulator 2012: I’ve heard oddly good things. You buy it, I’m not buying it. $3.50

– Spec Ops: The Line: If you were thinking about Call of Duty, get this instead. At least they tried. $35

-Wargame European Escalation: Horrid name aside, I’ve heard it’s one of the better new RTS games. Poor thing can’t compete with the big names though. $20

Must Have Flash Deals:

Double Fine Pack! Totally worth it for $7.50 if you don’t have any of them, and all worth it alone.

July 16, 2012

Steam Summer Sale 2012: Day 5

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: , , , , — Durandal @ 10:27 pm

Hey! Here is the lowdown on what to purchase, you need it. I trusted you for Day 4 and look where that got us.

– Age of Empires 3: This is a weird one. I mean it isn’t as though it’s bad or anything. I just can’t think of an RTS fan these days who seriously considers Age of Empires as a touchstone. That said, having played around with the demo I enjoyed it. If you don’t dig Starcraft or Supreme Commander, give it a shot! $10

-Rage: I feel like this got pushed to the wayside because it didn’t really do anything new or interesting. But it did do corridor shooting well. So if you have a jonesing for killing waves of enemies that run straight at you… get Serious Sam: BFE. But also this, if you have extra. $10

-Indie Bundle V: I’d get this one. Tiny Bang Story is what happens when describe Katamari to a terminally dumb person, but the rest are critically acclaimed and quite interesting. Greed Corp is also fucking hard, but the good kind. $10

– Iron Front: Liberation 1944: Nah. I mean it’s 33% off an let’s be honest, you’ve never heard of it. Fuck these guys. $20

-Men of War: Vietnam: It’s a tough series to get into, but particularly if you dig the multiplayer it’s this big sprawling war-movie of a war game. It’s worth checking out an earlier cheaper title even if you don’t get this. $9

-Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic: A classic, but one of those classics that only assholes tell you is fun to play at this point. It’s fine, it’s fine. Worth a couple bucks if you’ve never played. But seriously find something new. $2.50

-Assassin’s Creed: Revelations: No, you’ve had enough. Everyone had enough. Do not bother. $13.50

-Dear Esther: If you’re the sort of person who would buy this, at least buy it on sale. $2.50

-Metro 2033: YES! Get it. It isn’t perfect but by god it’s like a linear companion piece to STALKER and it is so worthwhile. It’s just a great fucking game. Do it, make them more successful. $5

Flash Deal You Need:

Amnesia The Dark Descent: Half as scary as people make it out to be, still 15 times more scary than any horror game in the past 10 years. Give the Penumbra games a look too, same people made them. $5.

June 7, 2012

Just buy the Humble Bundle V

Oh my goodness for real just pick this one up. I can say that with confidence having, like a damn fool, already bought all the frigging games in this bundle. It’s amazing. I’ll give you a rundown, though.

LIMBO: Neat, slightly full of itself platformer/puzzle game with a very striking visual style. It’s good, it’s quick, you’ll die a bunch to cheap stuff for a shock but it’s cool.

Superbrothers: Sword and Sworcery EP: Okay I lied I haven’t bought all of them, but I’ve heard good things about this!

Amnesia: The Dark Descent: It’s really good! It’s not quite as pants-crappingly scary as the internet has decided it must have been, but it’s definitely one of the top horror games. Played in the dark with headphones it can get pretty close to as scary as people joke about it being!

Psychonauts: Great, charming platformer about a boy in a summer camp for psychics made by Double Fine of Having Tim Schafer fame. It’s more than worth a look, even if the collectibles were rubbish.

Bastion: I’ve written about this! It’s the best fucking game! Seriously just pay your $8 for this, it’s beautiful and moving and has a neat narrative conceit and fun gameplay and man maybe I should replay it. Remember to get this, you need to pay more than the average!

Lone Survivor: Aaaagh I’m a liar! But! I did play the demo. Did a surprisingly good job of wringing horror out of pixels, so check it out! Remember to get this, you need to pay more than the average!

Braid: Not half as clever as it wishes it was, it’s still pretty frigging clever. A puzzle game masquerading as a platformer, it’s all about manipulating time in different manners to progress. Super fun, really worth a playthrough. Reasonably neat meta-story thing too, but mostly just play the puzzles and leave it be. Remember to get this, you need to pay more than the average!

Super Meat Boy: The best platformer the world has ever seen. Tough but fair but SO TOUGH. Really fun times. Remember to get this, you need to pay more than the average!

There you go! Pick it up, you cannot possibly be disappointed by these games.

April 12, 2012

PAX: The Stuff You Should Have Checked Out

First of all, check out PAX if it’s at all feasible. It’s a good convention, makes you feel a little less like every person who likes video games is a weird jerk, an antidote to comments section of any website. Lots of neat stuff was on display.

I am almost certain I wasn’t imagining the fact that the Far Cry 3 booth had a tattoo artist. Which just… I’m not certain who, on the Friday morning of PAX, thinks to themselves “oh yeah, a tattoo. yes gotta get that done today” what the hell. There was also the typical mix of cosplay, from the amazing, like this Doctor Who thing or this incredible Mordin Solus to the weird like anyone dressed as Tingle. Oh, and I think I’m going to say anyone in a utilikilt counts as being in weird, horrible cosplay. Also some of the panels were cool I guess good times on the whole.

But! The important part of PAX is: to what games should you focus your rapt attention? What things will go from unknown to complete must haves right now?

Well… I’m hoping it’s absolutely none of the big names because I only had a Friday ticket and fuck waiting in lines. Seriously, they have to realize waiting in line for a preview trailer is the equivalent of beating your child, right? Like… it’s just… of course I know what it’s going to be like. That’s why I waited in line! I don’t need to wait in line to get PR material!

The Indie people on the other hand are desperate hardscrabble youths willing to put out. They all had extensive demos that I spent way more time with than expected.

The BEST GAMES AT PAX in no particular order:

Spelltower: So, I really dislike the iOS. It’s somewhat irrational, mostly it has to do with Apple being just this side of madly cackling with every product release. They just definitely seem up to something and it makes me uncomfortable to give them money. And the nice bit has been that until recently it didn’t matter. The iPad is either a shitty computer or a giant version of your phone. This game though, so fun. It’s like Scrabble but good. You have, in the “real” Puzzle game mode, a few lines of random letters on the bottom. You need to make words in order to get the tiles to disappear. Every time you make one, the tiles rise another level. So like scrabble crossed with Tetris but more fun than that sounds.

A Valley Without Wind: Okay I will admit I was incredibly wary of this one. I’m an AI War/Tidalis superfan so Arcen has my good will but it seemed like the art for this one was wicked wonky and it went from top-down to 2D platformer overnight for some reason. Really dodgy seeming! BUT then I played it. It’s a randomly generated metroidvania set in a weird post-apocalyptic world and you can shoot lightning at skeleton robots. AND every time you die, “you” stay dead, you pick a new character and can find your old shit and you can build towns over time and it’s just in general really neat. Also, I may have accidentally told the artist that I didn’t like his work at first accidentally. I like it now though, guy! It’s cool!

Lawnmower Challenge: Another tablet/phone thing! This is just a simple, nice puzzle game. Straight up: mow lawn in the fewest steps. Adds complexity like keys and needing to cut down trees and etc etc as you go, apparently the largest level takes something like 800 steps for a perfect, which seems cool!

Antichamber: This just is the bee’s goddamn knees. Alexander Bruce is the only man in games who understands what you can do with games. It’s a puzzle game which fine isn’t that innovative, but it’s in space that cannot exist. It requires you to think weirdly, it rewards you constantly with strange experiences, and it’s beautiful. It’s so much easier to do these weird escher worlds in a game than in any other possible medium and god damn this is a slap to the face of all other games, a slap wearing a glove that reads “try making something interesting booooom”.

Guacamelee: So this is a pretty solid action/platformer that did not light my world on fire but also was just … happy. It was a happy time with a friend in co-op. Everything is designed so that whichever of you sucks never holds the good one back, you just sort of pop happily along suplexing skeletons and shifting dimensions. Playing around with switching between fire and water in the Temple of Fire/Water was pretty cute. Also! You can turn into a chicken if you want. And it’s even surprisingly funny.

Super T.I.M.E Force: So I didn’t get to play too much with this but! It’s a game where you fight left to right, as tradition dictates, but when you die and restart, you fight along your past self. And you can save yourself in the past to grant an extra life in the present! It’s… super cool.

Monaco: Holy shiiiiiiiiiit. It’s beautiful. It’s so cool. It’s like an action arcade robbery game. It’s a massively underused setting, that of robbing shit as a gang of gentlemen thieves, and it does it so fucking well. The map on screen is a blue-print, until you enter a room, and everything in your line of sight becomes “real”. I know that’s not the most important part of the game but making it look that cool says something about how much thought it’s had put into it.

Skulls of the Shogun: So basically 4-player ghost-skeleton chess, but the movement rules seem more like Warhammer? Like, you get units at the start, you move them about in a certain circle radius, you fight other units, first to kill the general wins. After that there are tons of other minor and major tactical considerations, but the most important part is that it’s a super nifty board game essentially, with up to 4 players on one screen. Good times with good friends killing undead samurai.

Miegakure: The only game Antichamber didn’t slap. It’s a reasonably simple platform/puzzler with the twist that you can move in 3 dimensions, but swap out one dimension with a 4th spatial dimension. So basically, you can travel through time/walls by moving through a dimension we don’t normally see. Like if you were a 2D person, the fact that a 3D person can’t be stopped by a circle would be weird. In Miegakure you get to experience what it feels like to look at 3 dimensional beings trapped in a cube and go “haha dicks just step around the walls”. Super cool.

Kairo: A game about exploring massive, strange spaces and solving massive strange puzzles. It’s… I don’t know. If you’re like me you’re at half-mast just from the description. It’s all well and good to shit on Myst and everything, but I just have a real love of exploring strange spaces. STALKER, for instance, was less about shooting shit for me and more about finding weird old soviet structures warped by strange radiation. Same with Fallout. Looking at something in the distance and finding out why it’s there is just super cool. Like archaeology but with the boring edited out.

Retro/grade: A shooter played backwards, and on the guitar. You move through “space lanes” by using the frets, you strum to pick back up the shots you fired, and you dodge the enemy shots that you’re backing into. It’s really neat. And surprisingly pretty! A fun rhythm … not shooter, catcher?

Snapshot: Puzzle platforming again, but you can take pictures of things and drop them in the level to progress. It’s not like, crazy, you basically get a good way of teleporting small devices around to help you solve a puzzle, but it was solid fun stuff.

Not Without You: I didn’t get to play it! But, it was a game about moving two little creatures in unison in order to get them into two escape hatches at the same time so they can escape a place! It’s cute, and insanely hard.

Girls Like Robots: Simple fun slide-puzzle game. It’s really just a game about placing things in the right spot via a combination of trial and error and clever thinking. It’s hard to make it sound fun but I basically played until strong hints were dropped that I should stop playing because seriously stop taking up the booth jerk. Engaging, is the word.

Nexuiz: Unreal Tournament. But… slightly different. Mutators that you can choose to activate, that’s fun. But basically jumping shooting fun times.

Dragon Fantasy: A game starring the creator’s recently deceased father, that he obviously put a crazy amount of love into. Fun old-school RPG with a strange and affecting protagonist, a chubby ex-hero learning to hero again. He’s already developing the 16-bit sequel that looks cool as well!

And that is literally every game there. Because if you had a booth larger than my apartment with a single screen playing your preview trailer your game wasn’t really there, ass.

August 1, 2011

Starfarer: Faring Pretty Well

Filed under: Game News — Tags: , , , , — Durandal @ 5:50 pm

Lasers lasers laaaasers

So indie games all seem to have this sell the alpha for funding thing going on. I guess they saw Notch get massively wealthy and think hey you know what that would be a nice thing to be. Thing is, it’s a tricky bargain selling the alpha. Minecraft was unusual in that the basic mechanic, much less gameplay, was compelling. People will play with blocks and have fun, that’s a given. Other indie games are usually competing within a more established niche against similar games with gameplay that requires some interest in said genre to appreciate. So I think while funding yourself with alpha sales is a nice way of rewarding true die-hard genre fans that are interested in scoping out new entries into the FPS/RPG/TBS/whatever field, I don’t think any of them are going to wind up giving people the triple-sized shot of Moneyspresso that Notch got.

Starfarer by developer Fractal Softworks, though, I’m totally giving money to. Why? Well. First off: Space. Fucking space. I can’t even tell you how awesome I find space. I want to make sweet delirious love to space and wake up in the morning to find space stroking my hair and telling me how fantastic I am. I want to marry space in whatever state it’s legal. Not even a joke: I learned the word “ship” as shorthand for “spaceship” before I knew it usually referred to boats. So by that token alone, a game about being a spaceship captain and tooling around shooting people with laser beams and rockets is just fucking aces. I mean we all talk about how oh haha everyone’s a space marine, but when was the last game you played that allowed you to be a space Captain? I mean jeez we all jerked off to Captain Picard in our formative years, right? You’d think there would be a market for this sort of thing. There’s more to it than an oddly underused setting though.

Starfarer appears to be for all intents and purposes a sequel to the games that absorbed at least two of my formative years: Escape Velocity/Escape Velocity Nova. In those games, you played a ship captain who through trade, combat, and diplomacy bought bigger and better vessels and got more important until finally you played a part in any one of a half-dozen galaxy-spanning storylines. I always ended up picking the people who had living ships, because they were boss. The linear campaigns interspersed with nonlinear trading missions along with the vast number of options for ships and components made for an extremely unique gameplay experience. I had more fun calculating fuel costs in order to get my jumps set up for maximum trade profit in that game than was at all sensible.

Starfarer has ambitions that go much further than anything Escape Velocity ever did, and that excites me. But what excites me more is that they appear to be doing everything they can to demonstrate their ability to actually deliver on their promises. The game is being built solid from the ground up. What they have now, rather than being a “vertical slice”, is a sort-of complete “space battle” game. They plan to make this portion of gameplay merely one feature on the list, but the fact that they’re figuring out how to get it feeling right instead of slapping everything together as fast as they can and then telling me they’ll bug-fix as they go makes me want to pay them my money. Hell, they’ve already even got some pretty fully-featured mods on display, so the community can apparently kick in its own work reasonably easily as it grows.

Sweet sweet order-giving. Sexy.

Right now, for $10, you get the standard alpha-buying deal of all the updates plus the final game. If you wait for the final release version, it’ll cost you $20. Now, in a smart move what you get to play immediately looks like actual fun times. Taking the on the role of the Captain of a Flagship, you lead your AI-controlled fleet into battle. Now, obviously everyone hates AI-controlled anything. But the general idea seems to be that the AI on your side be so competent that with the proper load-out they will pretty much just kick ass where you tell them to. You assign priorities and targets going into the mission, and you have a certain number of chances (plus a panic “Full Retreat!” button) to alter orders while underway. Basically like an RTS with little to no micromanagement. So you get to feel all like an admiral ordering around your Captains which aaagh just makes me actually vibrate with joy. There are plans to tweak settings in how well the AI dodges/targets/etc based on how experienced and what the mental state is of whatever captain you have assigned to a given ship.

Also look at this, from their FAQ:

Aren’t you worried about piracy?

Oh yeah, big time.  That’s why we put actual piracy in the game as a mechanic – to ward of the evil, real world software piracy.  That dark voodoo will definitely work better than any other DRM scheme. That, and chicken sacrifices.  Note: we do not condone chicken sacrifices.

I really enjoy indie developers sometimes.

Here, I’ll leave you with a few movies of it in action.

The most recent, a full mission in action:

And just some space ships going pew pew:

July 27, 2011

Humble Indie Bundle 3! Get It While It’s $Whateveryoufrigginwant

So hey everyone, the newest Humble Indie Bundle is here!

You realize how bone-dumb you are if you haven’t gotten the previous ones, right? I mean look the average price paid is…  $4.73. So, just under 10% of the price that you would pay if you were buying the games individually.

And you know what’s awesome? That’s still a hell of a lot of money for the developers. Because let’s be honest, you were in no way planning on buying any of these games. The Indie Bundle has really been an amazingly positive thing for both the developers involved and the charitable organizations with which they’ve partnered. Hell, Amnesia: The Dark Descent developers Frictional Games have said that the first Indie Bundle essentially saved the studio.

So what do you get this time?

-VVVVVV: A truly spectacular little platformer/puzzler. You don’t jump in this game, you simply switch gravity either Up or Down. It’s a simple, intuitive, fun way to solve puzzles. There’s a lot to explore and the game just recently received a new update!

-And Yet It Moves: Another interesting little platformer/puzzler! It’s as though indie people love this format so much they want to marry it. Anyway, again playing with gravity, only in all 4 directions. Also instead of being about exploration, it’s linear.

-Hammerfight: I have no friggin clue. A fighting game? Okay it looks like yes it’s a fighting game where you fight as a little flying machine that flings around a bladed or blunt weapon to whack other flying machines. It’s played with just the mouse and has a neat little physics simulation thing going on so getting your mallet to whomp with the right force should be interesting. But most importantly the tag line is “Above all, the high art of fight”. God, I love Eastern Europe.

-Cogs: An interesting little twist on the traditional sliding-block puzzle. It starts with the standard 3×3 and moves on to 3D polygons covered in gears and valves and such that you need to reposition to create a mechanism. Seems fun!

-Crayon Physics Deluxe: A game where you create crayon drawings that move. It’s mostly an exercise in going “Ooooh haha check it out the dick I drew is totally pushing that cart”. Fun times.

So that’s that. Contribute to this laudable effort, make developers happy, help fund the EFF and Child’s Play, and make yourself happy with 5 frigging games at once for (you’d better pay at least) like $5. Buy things now!

April 5, 2011

The Iconoclasts: Awesome Sort-of-Demo Indie Platformer from Konjak

Filed under: Game News — Tags: , , , , , , — Durandal @ 12:00 pm

If you like games that involving making a little person jump on stuff and explore boy do I have news for you!

Konjak, developer of sometimes-finished but always beautiful games has created a completely free Metroidvania for your enjoyment and it’s amazing! Now I have bad news: it’s basically like 5% finished, and he’s just releasing it freeware and moving on. You can donate to him in an effort to convince the fool to finish this masterpiece, or you could even buy his rather fun beat-em-up “Noitu Love 2” for $10.

It sucks that it’s basically just a tease, but man it is a fun one.

The map design is a bit more straightforward than most games of this sort, but the mechanics pile up on themselves like it’s a race. Charge shots, ledge-jumps, hook-jumps, upgrades, armored foes, boss fights, two-person-control, it’s really kind of excellent. It also looks incredible and plays with a really nice solid-feeling control that I love. Never a missed jump if you know what you’re doing.

So pick it up! You can download a copy here. It takes like an hour or so to play and it’s totally worth it. It ends at a thing that messes up and then you can’t move any further so that’s sad but otherwise man it was just peachy keen. Great music too!

 

Also check out the equally short, but complete, Legend of Princess fan-game. It’s a fun little sort of riff on what a cooler side-scrolling Zelda would look like.

March 23, 2011

PAX East: Slam Bolt Scrappers

Filed under: Game News — Tags: , , , , , — Durandal @ 11:54 am

I have a friend who bought a PS3 exclusively for Metal Gear Solid 4. That friend is a stone-cold moron.

Slam Bolt Scrappers, a PSN exclusive, is enough to make me envy him.

It’s… it’s a very weird game.

It's more complciated than it looks.

Okay so, imagine you are playing Tetris. This is easy so far. Alright now instead of trying to keep the tower from growing, you’re trying to build the tower. Also, you get to choose what shape the blocks will be in. Also! You have to kill demons by controlling a little flying man in order to get those pieces. And if you feel like it you can take the fight directly to the other team (I played a game with two teams of two) and beat them up with your avatar. And as you build the tower, different color blocks create different mechanisms. For instance, Red blocks will form rocket launchers if you slot enough of them together, which then shoot at the other team’s tower and if they manage to totally kill it you win.

I think that explanation may have fallen apart at some point.

Basically though, the important thing about playing Slam Bolt Scrappers is that it’s great fun to be confused by it, but at the same time it really rewarded figuring out the mechanics. I’ll come clean: my team totally lost the round I played at PAX. But it was mostly because while we were flailing, the other team had figured out that because our tower had so few offensive emplacements, they could completely ignore defense, and go straight for as many red blocks in as many clever designs as they could manage. Our towers remained the same size for a bit, but their lasers and rockets dropped bits off of ours and knocked our little avatars out of the sky more than was necessarily called for, causing us to go even more on the defensive. The few times we blew bits off their tower, the blocks fell into some new and exciting deadly configuration.

I could find very little to dislike about the game, frankly. I will say that it took slightly too long to play in my opinion. A round was about 8-10 minutes I think, which was still quite fun but dragged a bit (particularly for my useless hangers on who were relegated to watching). It’s also a bit of a mish-mash, and it’s sort of confusing. But then again, part of the fun was flailing about until you figured out the clever little rules that came into play during different situations.
So basically: super fun game for all of you who bought a PS3 that you should definitely buy.

February 23, 2011

Interstellar Marines

Filed under: Game News — Tags: , , , , — Durandal @ 12:50 pm

So I noticed the post Geo made about Infinity, and it reminded me of another interesting “AAA Indie” project with some fancy looking technology behind it.

Interstellar Marines, besides attempting to win “Most no-shit title of ever”, is a pretty well-crafted shooter without much fluff. The gun is nice, the shooting involves pointing, clicking, and seeing things blow up. The part that’s interesting about it is that it’s surprisingly nice looking, and is being published via a reasonably interesting system. Rather than take pre-orders and give access to a beta when the full game is in a more final form, the developers are giving out free “content slices” that show off some small part of the gameplay if you sign up for their website. They get some numbers on how many people are interested, and you get to try out the game. Oh! Also impressive: the content slices work in your browser. And it works really well! The graphics manage to be pretty impressive while operating in what I imagine is the most constrained format possible.

The future plans for the game sound pretty interesting:

RPG Mechanics

In the game the characters will enter the solar system as rookies, but during the progression of the game all gradually become more and more experienced as the story unfolds. With experience comes new skills and abilities as well as access to new and better weaponry, and it is now all up to each player how they want to build and equip their Marine.

Create a stealthy medic with hacking skills, a heavy armored sniper with explosives or maybe an officer with excellent strategic abilities and a minigun?

It is all up to the player to decide.

When the hunter becomes the hunted ...

Just like the character is growing and taking shape by gaining skills during the course of the game, so are the weapons of the marine. In a somewhat similar way to traditional RPG character progression we also wanted the players to be able to “personalize” their weaponry and equipment.

As an Interstellar Marine moves up in rank, he gets to choose more and more weapons and weapon utilities from the vast armory of the IM corps and is now able to freely customize his guns and items. If you pick an assault rifle you could choose to improve it with the shotgun extension and hollow point bullets or perhaps a silencer, piercing rounds and a scope?

Co-Op

In Interstellar Marines you will have the option of teaming up with up to three of your friends and play through the game in co-operative mode (co-op). From the very beginning of designing this game, we knew we wanted co-op to be a core element and because of that we have shaped all of the other features to enhance the co-operative game play.

To the machine thingy!!!!111

The skill system will give players a vast number of options for all kinds of team play and all of the levels of IM has been designed with the clear focus of supporting co-op game play. Even the story line is written with multiple protagonists in focus so that all players in a group will have their unique place and doing in the upcoming epic saga.

Of course there is always the option of playing on your own, but should you choose to invite some friends to a game (or find some new ones on-line) a whole new challenge awaits you and your band of elite soldiers.

Open-Ended Levels

we constructed the game in such a way that there are always several ways to achieve the main objectives/complete the levels and players will have the option of using brute force, stealth tactics and/or make use of the various skills as a mean to successfully clear a mission.However not only should players be able to explore the areas of the game freely, we also wished for the levels to be as dynamic as possible, so that the game would stay fresh and exciting even when you came back for the fifth or sixth time. The cool thing about a dynamic environment is that it allows for tactical choices, and the player should consider the effects of shutting down the lights, turning on the sprinklers and how the enemy AI will react to such changes in the environment.

To add to the re-playability all levels are non-scripted and the various “inhabitants” of a location will have a life of their own (guards patrolling, scientists working, crew personnel cleaning, etc) until the players intervene one way or the other, so there are no monsters jumping out of the closet when players step on that exact trigger on the floor.

For right now, you can sign up for the content slices and try a little viewing gallery (yes, there are land-sharks), a shooting range with little pop-up targets, and a series of gun battles against simulator robots. If you really like those slices, you can pay a bit of cash to get the trilogy later, and some perks now.

You should go and give it a try! It seems like it might shape up to be something interesting, and I’m always a fan of rewarding ambitious indie developers.

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