Friday, April 24, 2015

The Friday FREE GAME Feature! Ep14: Unnamed

An abstract, experimental game about playing games.

I found a couple of bits kind of funny, but it felt like Unnamed really didn't go far enough to drive home the points it was trying to make. One could argue that the game's length accentuates part of what it was getting at, but it seemed more to me like the developer was either rushed for time or ran out of ideas.

While I agree that there are a lot of boring and unoriginal games out there, pointing it out in yet another boring, unoriginal game only makes the pile larger. Yes, this game is unoriginal - it's pretty much a knockoff of The Stanley Parable, only much shorter and not as well thought out. Perhaps it's intentionally mocking TSP, but that's probably giving Unnamed too much credit. It would've been better written if that were the case.

I guess the best thing I have to say about Unnamed is that it's short, which is at least preferable when it comes to enduring a disappointing experience.

Friday, April 17, 2015

The Friday FREE GAME Feature! Ep13: Voices from the Sea

This week we take a look at Voices from the Sea. It's an anime-styled, soothing, emotional, supernatural visual novel about a teenage boy that never smiles and the girl that's determined to cheer him up. Part two is below and (obviously) contains spoilers.

Friday, April 10, 2015

Friday, April 3, 2015

The Friday FREE GAME Feature! Ep11: 2x0ng

Atari 2600 inspired, procedurally generated action!

2x0ng takes inspiration from several Atari 2600 classics to create a game that is unique, yet feels familiar. The player has one special ability - the squareball - that can be used to break blocks, open gates and damage enemies. Considering the Atari 2600 had only one button on the controller (not counting the directional joystick), the squareball fits the theme perfectly. Once you throw the squareball, you either have to wait for it to return to you or get far enough away that it basically despawns and reappears in your hands. This can be a problem if you let yourself get surrounded, encouraging you to keep the enemies from getting out of control.

Progress through the game is fairly straightforward - locate and step on the EXIT for the level. To gain access to the exit, you'll have to bring down the various gates surrounding it. To open a gate, the squareball must match the gate's color and simply make contact with it. When the squareball contacts a solid rectangle, it breaks some blocks and becomes the color of that rectangle. It's an easy to understand mechanic that can be used to form a sort of puzzle element throughout a level. Using the squareball to break blocks and gates adds that Breakout feel to the game, which was an iconic title for the 2600.

Speaking of which, one of the enemies is a moving rectangle that looks and acts much like the "paddle" from that classic game. Many of the enemies in 2x0ng are inspired directly from other Atari 2600 baddies. That said, 2x0ng is more than a mashup of old games - procedural generation was unheard of on the 2600 (due to its limitations), so there's one big change already. If you're feeling nostalgic for classic Atari but would like to try something new, 2x0ng might fit the bill.