Game-related ramblings.

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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 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.

Roguelike Highlights: Caves Of Qud

Readers who are unfamiliar with roguelikes may wish to read my introduction first. Also, please remember that you can click on all images for larger versions.

I first tried Caves of Qud many years ago, but I didn’t really get into it at the time. I saw it mentioned somewhere on the internet recently and decided to give it another go, and this time I really got sucked in. My posts have been late because I’ve been playing it instead. I can safely say it’s the most I’ve enjoyed a roguelike in a long time.

It’s tempting to describe Caves of Qud as a “post-apocalyptic sci-fi survival roguelike”, but that description doesn’t really do it justice. In most post-apocalyptic settings, the cataclysm is a fairly recent event, with survivors eking out an existance in the aftermath. In Caves of Qud, however, a thousand years or so have passed since mankind wielded its ancient, wondrous technological marvels and enjoyed dominion over the Earth. Various societies have risen since, but the jungles of Qud remain wild, inhabited by all manner of strange, mutated flora and fauna, and sheltering ancient treasures in the massive chrome caverns beneath the surface. Apparently drawing inspiration from the pen-and-paper role-playing game Gamma World (which I’d never heard of until now), Caves of Qud casts you as an adventurer seeking fame and fortune by exploring Qud and recovering these ancient relics.

Indie Time: Gravity Bone

There’s been quite a lot of talk amongst game-playing types recently about Thirty Flights of Loving, a very short but allegedly very excellent game that does a lot of interesting stuff with storytelling. But what really caught my attention was the fact that it’s the sequel to Gravity Bone (look for the link at the bottom of that page), a game I’d read about many years ago but never got around to trying. I was also delighted to discover that both titles are brought to us by Blendo Games, a developer I became familiar with when trying out the rather relaxing Flotilla.

Clearly, it was time to correct my earlier negligence and play through Gravity Bone.

Indie Time: Corrypt

Now that I’ve finished playing Dishonored (for now, anyway), I started up another big-budget game. But I won’t be able to post about it. Fortunately, I have a backlog of shorter indie games I’ve been meaning to write about. First up is Corrypt, which was making noises in the indie scene a few weeks ago.

Corrypt is a puzzle game. You move your character around the screen one square at a time, pushing boxes around, like you’ve done in many other such games. This time you will also pull boxes, which might seem like a minor detail but was actually a big enough change to keep me stumped in quite a few puzzles. At these times I appreciated being able to explore other parts of the world and try my hand at a different puzzle for a change. Soon I was making good progress, and enjoying the rather strange visuals and excellent music.

If that was all Corrypt was, it would still be worth a look. But it soon became apparent that Corrypt is much, much more.

Indie Time: Insane Balancing On One Leg In Extremely High Places

Insane Balancing On One Leg In Extremely High Places is a game with a self-explanatory name. It’s indie. It’s free. It has high scores. Do you need any more explaining than that?

Oh, all right.

Indie Time: Endless Forms Most Beautiful

Endless Forms Most Beautiful has an interesting history. It was originally released by Dave Hughes early in 2012 for the ZX Spectrum. Yes, the ZX Spectrum, a machine that first hit the market in 1982. There is still a community developing for the Spectrum over at World of Spectrum, although I imagine many of the games are actually played through emulation these days.

Anyway, Locomalito (known for their retro-styled freeware games like Hydorah and l’Abbaye Des Morts) were looking for a game to remake for PC, and decided that Endless Forms Most Beautiful was an ideal candidate. The port not only updates the graphics with a more recent retro aesthetic, but also apparently lowered the difficulty significantly to make it more accessible to newcomers. Now, you can play this remake of the arcarde-style game for free on your PC.

Indie Time: Megaman Sprite Game

Released on Halloween, Megaman Sprite Game is a game made using real Megaman sprites. If you’re played any Megaman games before, you’ll immediately recognize Megaman’s toothy smile, his basketball-toting brother Zero, and of course, Megaman’s predilection for smacking ghosts.

Wait, what?

Roguelike-like: Red Rogue

Things are about to get violent.

Readers unfamiliar with roguelikes may wish to read my introduction to the genre first.

I first heard about Red Rogue a few years ago, when its author, Aaron Steed, began a development log forum thread on Tigsource. Soon there was a playable build which I had some fun messing around with, but I didn’t stick with it for very long. Flash forward to last week, when out of the blue I saw the news that the game is now complete. So I decided to take another look. And my, it’s a lot more interesting now, enough so that I kept playing it instead of writing this post (apologies for the tardiness) and I imagine I’ll keep playing it for some time.

So what is Red Rogue? It’s a roguelike platformer. If you’re like me, that immediately makes you think of Spelunky, which I’ve written about before (it’s excellent, by the way, and you should definitely go play it). But while Spelunky is a platformer that borrows a bunch of roguelike elements in its design, Red Rogue is more of a roguelike re-imagined as a platformer. While exploring its procedurally-generated levels, you will find, identify and equip weapons and armor, you will walk into enemies to attack them, you will search for traps and secret passages, and you will slowly learn more about the dungeon and the rules that govern it.

Oh, and you’ll die a lot.

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