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!

Friday, January 22, 2016

The Friday FREE GAME Feature! Ep50: Execute & Life vs Life

Another double feature for episode 50!

First up is Execute, a strategy battle game created for Ludum Dare 26. In this game, your job is to defeat all enemies as efficiently as possible. This idea is taken to the extreme, meaning that if you use too many actions, you end up losing the level (as if you had died).

While I appreciate the overall concept, the game could use a bit more polish (now that the time restriction from Ludum Dare is long over). Perhaps a clue as to how many actions are "too many" would've been helpful, as well as better-defined victory conditions for each level. I couldn't seem to find a winning combination for level two, and it felt pretty vague as to what I was doing wrong.

After that is Life vs Life, an interactive point-and-click type of title where you play as a pizza delivery guy in a city. While technically a game, it doesn't seem to have any failure states (including not getting fired for disregarding your job) and is more of an interactive short story. That said, everything you do in the game seems to have a larger influence on the city than you might at first expect. Continually tipping the street musician will eventually have him playing a sold out concert, and excessively feeding the pigeons can result in a huge flock of them taking over one end of town.

This game is broken up into days of the week. At the end of each day, you return to your apartment to fall asleep in front of the television. The decorations of your abode change slightly depending on what you've done. At the end of the week, the game is over with a message talking about how people choose to live their lives. It was interesting to try clicking around everywhere to see what happened, but after several playthroughs you'll probably have seen about everything Life vs Life has to offer.

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

42Craft - Ep8: Nether Fortress!

Time to explore the nearby Nether fortress!

This is the final part of our initial adventures in the Nether. Expect more 42Craft episodes to release Mondays (and maybe Wednesdays)!

Monday, January 18, 2016

42Craft - Ep7: Corpse Run

The struggle is real when the Nether decides to punish us for our intrusion!

Saturday, January 16, 2016

Friday, January 15, 2016

The Friday FREE GAME Feature! Ep49: Into the Underdusk

Retro platforming adventure!

Into the Underdusk is a retro-styled platformer created using the Multimedia Fusion engine. You play as the last remaining person in a world now shrouded in darkness. You're losing your memory and decide to seek out a locket you had long ago.

The game features classic pixel graphics and tight controls. You'll spend most of the time trying to navigate each screen's obstacles, dying until you get it right. Thankfully, there are numerous checkpoints scattered about, giving a "difficult but fair" level of challenge overall.

As you explore, you'll encounter a number of glowing blue collectibles and other power-ups that improve your character (speed increase, double jump, etc.) and allow you to explore previously unreachable locations. 

There are many similarities between Into the Underdusk and You Have To Win The Game, so if you enjoyed one of these titles you should probably check out the other. Both are short but sweet classic-styled platformers with a few (more modern) improvements.

Wednesday, January 13, 2016

42Craft - Ep5: Nether Boat!

Wellxam and I head to the Nether for supplies and adventure. We also get to try out a few specialty arrows from Ropes+. The next few episodes will be focused on the Nether and are packed with action, exploration, (hopefully) a fortress and (probably) death!

Monday, January 11, 2016

42Craft - Ep4: Go West, Young Troll

I visit some neighbors to the west - one blends medieval with high tech and the other harnesses flower power beneath a village!

Friday, January 8, 2016

The Friday FREE GAME Feature! Ep48: Cornerstone, The Song of Tyrim

Legend of Zelda Windwaker meets Dark Souls in this action adventure game!

Cornerstone, The Song of Tyrim is an epic adventure of exploration, combat and crafting. You begin on the docks of a small island with no real idea of what you're supposed to do. The game provides you with some tutorial popups to teach you the necessary controls, and you're left to explore as you wish.

The game makes use of some physics, allowing you to pickup and throw objects, break things into crafting materials, or use them to interact with the environment (such as placing mines or setting things on fire with a torch). You can even use the environment to kill enemies - I shot the ballista on my ship to take out a guard and kited other guards into some laser-shooting flowers! I felt like a number of strategies were available for getting through an area, which was awesome. Additionally, the island is packed with little hidden areas and shortcuts along with a number of puzzle-type obstacles to get from point A to B.

For the most part, the controls were fairly tight for keyboard and mouse. Controller support exists, but you have to map the buttons before launching the game. Being that this is a demo, I can excuse that. It's just nice to see that the game's challenge isn't about fighting with the controls. The art style is cartoony, bright and whimsical, obviously inspired by the LoZ series. I'm not sure if there's really a story in the demo, but I feel that it was intentionally focusing on decent gameplay instead of throwing lore and background in your face (perhaps taking a cue from Dark Souls here as well).

I was a bit skeptical when I saw the claims of Windwaker meets Dark Souls, but having tried the demo I have to say they're going in the right direction. Sure, the demo is unpolished (it crashed a few times and there were a few other glitches) but overall I was impressed. I'll be keeping an eye out for Cornerstone, The Song of Tyrim to see where it goes once it releases on Steam.

Monday, January 4, 2016

42Craft - Ep3: My Closest Neighbor

I show off the most recent changes to my base, then journey over to my friend's place. It's adventure and story time with Wellxam!

Friday, January 1, 2016

The Friday FREE GAME Feature! Ep47: The Old Tree

An atmospheric adventure made in Flash

The Old Tree is a point-and-click adventure puzzler made in Flash. You assume the role of a creature that reminds me somewhat of a wacky wall crawler toy, and your job is to solve puzzles to get the little guy to the next screen.

This game has a great deal of atmosphere, with a dark but relaxing art style and music to match. Unlike many titles of the genre, you don't actually control the main character - instead you clear the way for him to continue his journey. This was kind of a nice change because you could focus more on the environment than where your character was positioned to solve the puzzles.

Sadly, the game lacks a lot of substance. The puzzles aren't terribly difficult and there seemed to be no penalty for failure - you just keep trying things until you sort it out. There's no replay value, unless you want to see the levels again (which admittedly look very nice). There doesn't seem to be a story, save for whatever you make up in your head as you go. It's also an incredibly short title, as you can finish the entire thing in less than 15 minutes.

If you're more about the journey than the destination, perhaps The Old Tree may be worth checking out.