Wednesday, 13 September 2017

Pixel Assassin

...feeling a somewhat worrying sense of accomplishment in Pixel Assassin

You may recall that I already reviewed Pixel Assassin, an Android game about, well assassinating people, in its early development (take a peek) and, much like a washing machine stuck in an endless spin cycle, I've decided to don my hood and gloves to have a go at the final release.

Oh Good...

Perhaps it says something about the difficulty of today's assassination-based games (ed - steady on, grandad), but Pixel Assassin really makes you feel good about managing to land that backstab on an unsuspecting guard without dying for the 50th time. If you haven't already guessed, it's still a bloody hard game. Getting too close to a guard, or managing to walk headfirst into a speeding arrow, results in instant death and respawn at the checkpoint - which, I am happy to report, actually works now, yippee!

Yep, spinning traps make things even trickier...

Possibly the somewhat floaty jumping animation doesn't help in this regard, as it's hard to time your landing behind a fellow before he turns around when you're slowly sinking to the ground like a deflating balloon. I can't quite decide whether this is something that should have been 'fixed' before full release, or if the developer has deliberately left it in. I'm hoping the latter...

...because I enjoy pretending to be a mildly incompetent assassin! How's that for a smooth segue? Ahem. You see, there is something almost comedic about the strange floating jumps my character does, or the little stabs of the dagger that almost suggests a certain shyness. Indeed, I like to imagine my assassin has become one by accident, wildly flailing at passing soldiers with a knife until one of them falls over. Jumping over that bloomin' Crimson Knight boss over and over again to avoid his massive sword is rather frustrating, but also a bit awkward and amusing, like we're both engaged in a dance but neither of us can figure out the moves.

Caught mid-assassination, or awesome rockstar pose?

Quite why I'm imagining it like this is beyond reasoning, but there is an important point here: Pixel Assassin is perhaps even more rewarding because it is so hard to do any assassinations without completely cocking it up. And I completely welcome this, if only to lower my own sense of smug self -satisfaction I get from playing most AAA games.

In other words, play Pixel Assassin and prepare to feel totally awesome when you finally succeed.

*flies dreamily away*

Monday, 2 January 2017

Indie Games Roundup

A look backwards, and forwards, at the indie games featured in this blog...

As the new year stretches ahead of us, it seems like a good time to write one of those terrible blog posts in which I take a butcher's at the cool indie games I've written about. Is this just a rubbish ploy to avoid writing quality content? Probably.

Age of Gladiators
Developer: Creative Storm Entertainment
You just can't beat a good management sim, especially if said sim includes loads of rock-hard gladiators; seriously, I wouldn't stand a chance. Age of Gladiators is a refreshing take on games like Football Manager, where you manage a small group of gladiators as they climb to the dizzying heights of Roman stardom. Of course, if you know anything about Ancient Rome, or indeed have watched the film Gladiator, then you know that often your fighters end their days as food for an irascible lion.

Abstract Arena
Developer: Credici

Abstract Arena gameplay

Abstract Arena is an interesting little top down multiplayer arena shooter, featuring a wonderfully simple 2D aesthetic and all the things you could possibly want in such a game: various ships to pilot, deadly powerups, dynamic maps, punishing AI, local multiplayer, you name it. It's still in early access, but it's just released an update which adds 13 new maps, with online multiplayer on the way. Definitely one to watch out for.

Developer: Fumiko Game Studio

Fumiko! gameplay

Possibly the most surreal game featured here, yet also one of the most brilliant, Fumiko! has you controlling an AI as it navigates around a virtual world in a stylish 3D platformer. It probably sounds more fun when I say you can jump across really, really large distances and bound up the sides of colossal cuboids before plummeting to your doom. The low-poly aesthetics are beautiful too. Seriously, play this,

I'm also happy to say that Fumiko! has been greenlit on Steam, which is, as I'm sure many indie developers are aware, is a massive achievement and of course is completely deserved - so well done (Check out the page here)!

Children of Apollo
Developer: Cargo Cult Gaming

Children of Apollo gameplay

Children of Apollo is an intriguing 2D shooter/exploration game where you wander around a hostile planet blowing up hostile alien life forms. Admittedly that description doesn't sound too exciting, but in actuality the clever aesthetic effects, such as the screen flickering in the guise of an old TV monitor, really display how cool this game is. It's still in an early build at the moment, but it looks like Cargo Cult Gaming are still working on it regularly. 

Developer: Kuupu
Wesbite: Steam page

Exdemon gameplay

If anyone has ever played Bungie's Marathon series from the 90s, then they'll absolutely love Exodemon. An old school, low-poly first person shooter where you have weird purple demon hands that can shoot all manner of projectiles at strange monsters, this was definitely fun to write about. Exodemon is an absolute must play if you want an old fashioned romp around spaceship corridors. So to speak.

Pixel Assassin

Pixel Assassin gameplay

The only Android game that's been featured so far on this blog, Pixel Assassin is a groovy 2D assassin-y game about, well, assassinating people. Set in ye olde medieval times, it's actually bloody hard to succeed as you battle your way through swordsmen and archers to kill the poor bastard at the end of the level. It may have received a slightly critical early build review on this site (in a nice way!) , but the developers are updating it fairly regularly with new levels and cool stuff. Definitely worth looking at if you fancy something different.

Guns N Boxes
Developer: Light Arrow Games

Guns N Boxes gameplay

Guns N Boxes already has a rather large following, as well as an Early Access release on Steam, and so it should; this top-down multiplayer arena shooter is a shedload of fun. Manically shooting boxes in the hope of acquiring an even badass-er to explode your friends is, in my humble opinion, the best way to start any local multiplayer match in a game. Pick this up if you want to annoy your mates by firing exploding bananas at them, although you should probably expect to be fried by a fire breathing lizard in return.

Phew. That's 2016 over in a nutshell. If you've got any suggestions for Indie games to look at in 2017, let me know somehow.