Game-related ramblings.

Month: March 2013

Indie Platformer Marathon: Celestial Mechanica

The third platformer on my list is Celestial Mechanica, which is the result of a collaboration between Roger Hicks, known for the game rComplex, and Paul Veer, who animated the excellent Super Crate Box. It originally came out sometime in 2011, I think, but I never got around to picking it up despite being intrigued by the footage I’d seen. Then, not long ago, it was released for free, which finally convinced me to grab it and check it out.

It’s a fitting third entry to the marathon; since I’ve already covered a super-hard platformer and a puzzle platformer, it’s time for another extremely popular subgenre: the exploration platformer.

Indie Platformer Marathon: Thomas Was Alone

After finishing with Dustforce, the next platformer on my list was Thomas Was Alone, which has been getting rave reviews from pretty much everyone. It’s a puzzle platformer, which is a very popular sub-genre these days, especially amongst indie developers. Players take control of Thomas, a small red rectangle, and his quadrilateral friends as they work to escape the strange platforming environments they’ve founds themselves in. Each character, in addition to having a different shape, behaves differently: some can jump quite high while others have special abilities such as being able to float in water. To escape the various levels, players must use each character’s unique abilities to help everyone reach the exit points.

All of this adds up to an interesting little puzzle game, but Thomas Was Alone becomes much more than that due to some top-notch writing. Delivered primarily through excellent narration by Danny Wallace, it imbues those little rectangles with distinct personalities, quirks, motivations, and worries. I found myself caring more for the abstract shapes in Thomas Was Alone than I have for nearly any other game character I could name.

Indie Platformer Marathon: Dustforce

Please remember that you can click on all images for larger versions.

I’ve been writing about a lot of indie games lately, but most have been small, quick games that I messed around with whilst playing through something bigger, like Dishonored. This means I’ve been collecting quite a few medium- to long-length indie games that I haven’t been getting to. Looking through my disturbingly large backlog, I noticed that many of these indie games happen to be platformers. So, I decided I should just sit down and play through a whole bunch of them. How many indie platformers can I stand, before I need to play something else? We’re about to find out. First up is Dustforce, a game I am finally playing more than a year after I purchased it.

Dustforce is a game about kung fu janitors.

Indie Time: Jelly No Puzzle

Do you find that sometimes you must perform boring, repetitive tasks, that don’t really require much thought? Do you need to take an occasional break from such activities to exercise your brain a little? If so, Jelly no Puzzle provides an excellent means.

It has an extremely simple premise: each single-screen level is populated by different color jellies, which can be moved left or right. When jellies of the same color meet, they merge into a larger jelly. The goal is to bring all the jellies of the same color together. That’s it. But don’t think that it’s going to be easy. Jelly no Puzzle is actually one of the toughest puzzle games I’ve played in a long time. My elation at solving a level was followed immediately by disbelief that any human could actually have designed it. Ordinarily, I would have found the game quite frustrating, but a few simple design choices prevented this, and kept me coming back for more.

Indie Time: Footbrawl Quest

The game development competitions over at TIGSource are always a good time. With a specific theme and a strict time limit, entries are usually impressive, amusing, or both, and a few have even gone on to become commercial titles, like Realm of the Mad God and Eversion. There hadn’t been a competition in a while, so I was excited when a new one, the Sports Compo, was hosted back in November (with voting in December). Of course, I was so busy with other games that I didn’t have a chance to look at any of the entries, but I finally got around to trying the winner, Footbrawl Quest.

And seriously, just look at that screenshot. You know you want to play this.

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