Friday, February 12, 2016

The Friday FREE GAME Feature! Ep53: Mansionvania

Castlevania-inspired platforming action!

Mansionvania is a short platformer heavily inspired by the classic Castlevania games. You're on a mission to retrieve your pet which was stolen by a warlock. Chasing the villain to his mansion, you now must defeat the monsters and obstacles in your way.

If you've ever played the NES-era Castlevania titles, you'll feel right at home here. Enemies are defeated using your trusty whip, though you can obtain other weapons for a limited time. The controls are tight, though you'll probably encounter some frustration when enemies knock you back (which is perfectly in the spirit of the genre). Thankfully, the game provides you with unlimited lives, allowing you to memorize strategies and progress much faster than the titles it was inspired by.

While most of the monsters were standard for a game like this, there were a few interesting additions. The guy that spawns a large slime when you get close was pretty neat, and the boss fights were all enjoyable (which was also the case with another title from the same developer called Yet, I despise him).

If you have some free time to spare and need a quick Castlevania-style fix, be sure to check out Mansionvania!

Monday, February 8, 2016

42Craft - Ep11: Slime XP Vat, Lighthouse, New Pets!

Back at home, I show off a slime-based experience farm, a new storage area and discuss what's next.

I had fun doing the "Hamateur Science" segment, both recording and editing it. I didn't have an actual script for that part, but I had a general idea of what I wanted to talk about and just improvised the majority of dialogue. I think it turned out alright.

Friday, February 5, 2016

The Friday FREE GAME Feature! Ep52: Prisoner

Wrongly imprisoned, you make your escape in this action game reminiscent of classic Legend of Zelda.

Prisoner was developed in the span of one month as an exercise in game design. As it was the developer's first game, I'd say they did a decent job at putting together a functional title.

You awake in a cell, hearing the voice of someone who has supposedly come to your rescue. Grabbing a convenient nearby weapon, you traverse the prison looking for a way out. The game (both in looks and play) feels very much like oldschool action games from the NES-era, such as Legend of Zelda. You can break open crates to find extra health and "coins" that can help toward attaining extra lives. You only have a sword through most of your journey, but towards the end you finally get to pick up a bow. Most of the game involves dodging obstacles and avoiding pitfalls along with timing your attacks against enemies.

The title also seems to include an element of stealth, as enemy aggro looks like it's based off their visibility. Unfortunately, you often have to kill every enemy to get to the next section, making this pseudo-stealth mechanic somewhat less important.

As I mentioned above, Prisoner is functionally sound and a good first attempt at game design. It lacks any real punch though - the gameplay is basic with little variance and the dialogue is pretty bland. After being defeated by what I assume was the final boss, I couldn't find a good reason to jump back in and try again.

Monday, February 1, 2016

42Craft - Ep10: Jetpack Journey & DaVincing Demo

Mad Miner and I chat about upcoming mod updates and other topics as we travel to his place. He gives me a tour of his base and shows off the basics of the DaVincing mod.

Friday, January 29, 2016

The Friday FREE GAME Feature! Ep51: Right Click To Necromance

Raise the dead to fight by your side in this army battler!

Right Click To Necromance was created in 48 hours during a recent Indie Speed Run development competition. The goal of this game is to build an army created by raising your fallen foes. This title follows the K.I.S.S. (Keep It Simple, Stupid) design philosophy by requiring only a mouse to control the game - left click to move your army and... you guessed it, right click to necromance.

While RCTN takes a cue from the immensely-popular title, it features more variety and flavor. Instead of playing as a basic circle, you control a number of independent soldiers and monsters that form an army. There are a handful of different troop types - from a lowly knight to a giant rock monster - each with different strengths and weaknesses. As a fan of tabletop warfare, I vastly prefer the wave of troops over a bland circle. You can't split into smaller groups, but you really wouldn't want to as this game is all about strength in numbers and picking your battles wisely.

Getting into multiple combats can be risky, as you have to eliminate an entire group before you can raise them. In the thick of battle it's not easy to pick out one remaining soldier when there's a wave of identical enemies all mixed in together. You'll often start a fight with one unit only to get flanked by an incoming army you didn't see coming, and at that point you need to decide if you can finish a unit off to raise reinforcements or make a hasty retreat. As you accumulate troops, you'll also find it increasingly difficult to avoid multiple enemies as your army simply occupies so much space. This makes for a great balancing mechanic as larger armies inevitably end up taking on a combination of forces on multiple fronts.

While RCTN is a decent title, it currently lacks long-term potential. There's no scoring system, alternative game modes or even a way to "win". You just keep fighting until you lose or get bored. As the game was created in 48 hours, I certainly don't hold this against the developers (Juicy Beast). I do however hope they decide to add more features to the title later on. I'd love to see any of the following: a multiplayer mode, a scoring system possibly with leaderboards, or even a final fight against a boss and/or opposing army.

Right Click To Necromance is impressive and reasonably polished for having only a 48 hour development period, but it has the potential to be much more.

Monday, January 25, 2016

42Craft - Ep9: Off To See The Wizard!

I check out Cam's jungle base of magic and machinery, and we watch an impressive (and destructive) display. Don't eat the cookies!