Thursday, 29 April 2010

Newgrounds Best Games of 2009: Final

Newgrounds 2010 Tank Awards Review: The Games
Part 4

It's here! The big day has come, and the winners of the coveted Newgrounds Tank Awards will be announced within the next 24 hours! And oh shit I've only done 11 out of the 21 nominees! Oh shit oh shit oh shit!! Well if I calm me down, I'll tell me why this happened, and why it's okay and I should being such a girl...

Well the reasons are twofold. Firstly, it's the last month before all my uni work is to be submitted, so I've been busy, busy with that. Secondly, I got a proper real man-with-chest-hair job as a writer on NXTGamer! I've just started, and I'll be writing for them from now on. Whether or not this means I'll have time or willpower left for this blog remains to be fully seen, but I do think that after May I will have enough time to get back with Inside Indies as well as NXTGamer.

Now the reason why we shouldn't panic. I've played the other 10 games! Now granted, this will be an incredibly short review of the games thus far, however none of them really stood out enough to grant a full review when I'm on such a small time-frame. Not to say some weren't good, and awful. So let's get started on this more compact part of this mega review.

by Luis and BoMToons

Based off of the Newgrounds Portal itself, you fight your way through waves on enemies and bosses a-la Streets of Rage (or final Fight, depending on how bad your childhood was). Each character, enemy and boss is based off of Newgrounds personalities and users, which is where my liking for this game ended. It's incredibly, incredibly hard. Harder than "Hippolyta" hard! I couldn't get far enough in this game to enjoy fighting all the well known people from the community I love. I couldn't help but think it'd be much easier to message the people themselves and schedule a live boxing match between you and them. Although the art is great, looking a lot like "Dad & Me" and "Castle Crashers" that Behemoth has come to be recognised. Score: 5/10

by I-smel

Unsurprisingly, RDTSBWTR is pure, undiluted mental. This side-scrolling shooter has you pilot a jetpack-toting dinosaur (either Tyrannosaurus X or Dinomight) to shoot enemies down Gradius style. It's a lot of fun, and I especially enjoy the well enunciated roars as you laser you foes into explosions in the sky! Soundtracked by killer guitar riffs, the whole thing reeks of Power Rangers, Street Sharks, Biker Mice From Mars and any other mid-90's kids shows you can remember! Score: 7/10

by Krinn

Not much to say here; hammy voice acting, poor graphics, awful writing, sub-par turn-based RPG gameplay... Not a hope at winning. I give it a 2 for effort. Score: 2/10

by Bluebaby and FreeAsANerd

Gross at times, cute as hell at others, Spewer is a cleverly programmed platformer with a slime covered heart of gold. The art direction is a great, even with a vomit chomping blob as a main character. The level design is challenging but intuitive when combined with the diverse uses of the spew. The most impressive thing in Spewer though, is the programming. Dynamic fluid and jetpack like physics are near astounding. this game does falter in one series design aspect. Arrow keys to move, mouse to aim and shoot, and yet you use the spacebar to eat! resulting in your hands bouncing back-and-forth between positions for what should be a fairly intuitive process. It's like having the "B" button as melee in Xbox FPS's. How are you expected to multi task when the two functions being performed, in this case move and eat, cannot be done simultaneously without strain. Other than that though...! Score: 6.5/10

by Weasel

It's another Thing-Thing game. Ever the fan-favourite, Thing-Thing has seen a huge popularity on Newgrounds since the rise of the "Madness" series of limbless gunplay.Easy to animate, fun to watch, a great formula for animation. This is the 7th game in this series. And what do you expect? More customisation. Soild games, but overall uninspired sequels of an uninspired knock-off. NEXT! Score: 4/10

by Bluebaby and TheBoob

Another one for Bluebaby, "Time Fcuk" (No I'm not spelling that wrong) has possibly the cleverest narrative in this line-up. It's very difficult to explain, but I do recommend you give this game a try, for the storytelling and dialogue if anything. The game itself works kind of like "Closure" in that you manipulate the surroundings to get past difficult puzzles. It's maddeningly difficult, I warn you this now, but I do think you should give it a shot for the first few levels, just to see how crazy/clever/fun it is. I'd like to have been there during development, I'll give it that. Score: 5/10

by Foreverkul and Gonzossm

It's a cannon toss game. You've all played them. This one is one of the better ones I've played, with the implementation of a shop system and very funny art assets (I particularly liked the roaming banana, I won't tell you what it does, just try and hit it to see!). It does get bugged down, I believe, in the overly complicated WASD nudge controls and crosshair nudging. Because of this the game feels very cluttered which prevents it from being superfun, just quite fun. And that makes me sad, for I do enjoy tossing the turtle. Score: 6/10

by regulargabs

PREPARE! FOR MEDIOCRITY! My advice? Buy "Gerbil Physics" on XBL Indie Games. Score: 2/10

by The-EXP

I loved this game. I played this game right to the end and was sad to see it go. It has all the elements that a good game should; the core gameplay is fun, the idea is unique, the design is incredibly infectious. The concept is that you upgrade everything in this game. Everything. The menu, the sound, the game, the assets... even down to the copyright disclaimer! The game itself is fun as hell from start to finish, the upgrading system on the ship is unbelievably infectious and balanced so well. Each item's monetary assignment is just perfect. All this, AND it has a sense of humour. This game felt rare, and dare I say it, near genius. Serious contender for my favourite of the list. Score: 9.5/10

by Kajenx

I won't lie, I was looking forward to this. And where I fell in love with the music and the animation, the game holding it together was just a platformer with no real draw. Disappointed, I didn't play this game long as it gave me no real direction and I had no real desire to explore. The time I spent with it though, was nice. Like a sip of tea before leaving the mug in the kitchen. Score: 3/10

And so, that's all 21 games reviewed. I played them all. So what's my pick? Well I have 4 picks. My favourite, the worst (lovingly titled the "Too Human award"), and 2 possible choices for winner of the award. They are as follows:

"Inside Indies" Favourite Game: Upgrade Complete
Very, very nearly going to "Gretel & Hansel", Upgrade Complete metaphorically won by a nose, because games can't smell. but if they could, this game would smell like meat and sex. I loved this game, and as I said in the review, it embodies everything good design should be right from the core. Clever, funny, enjoyable, "Upgrade Complete" is my top pick of the list.

The "Too Human" Award: Sonny 2
In the review, I didn't put across just how dreadful this game is. The story and dialogue is gut-wrenchingly bad, and the voice acting is truly woeful. On top of that, the UI is teeny tiny and ugly, thus defeating one of the main gameplay aspects of a turn-based rpg that works solely on the menu itself! But my main gripe with this game, and actually why "Totem Destroyer 2" nearly won, is how uninspired it is. It's like an uncomfortable rehash of an already over-saturated genre actually known for how uninspired the games have become! This game is a complete dud, and thus wins the "Too Human" Award!

Winning Choice #1: Epic Battle Fantasy 2
Winning Choice #2: Ching Chong Beautiful

Why did I choose these two?

Well I chose "CCB" for it's sheer level of talent. original, funny, well animated and the gameplay works very solidly. The 4 criteria these games are being judged on are concept and originality, mechanics and controls, replay appeal and accessibility. While this game is quite tough, it soars above most others in each of the other categories. While I have chosen this as a winner, I actually hope this does not win, as it was created by close friend and employee The-Swain, thus eliminating any sense of community, by which Newgrounds is best known for.

And why Epic Battle Fantasy 2? The community. This game is incredibly popular with the Newgrounds fans, and almost represents the entire internet counter-culture in one swoop. All the while, is still a well animated, solidly programmed game that's fun and easy to get into. I do have problems with this game personally, but I am still choosing it to get the award later today.

Wednesday, 14 April 2010

Newgrounds Best Games of 2009: Part 3

Newgrounds 2010 Tank Awards Review: The Games
Part 3

And from a short break, we return to the list of the Newgrounds Tank Awards nominees. Here we go again! (Btw, apologies for the incredibly long review of Epic Battle Fantasy 2, it includes a rant that has been long burning and had nowhere to vent. It's still relevant, however, but I do apologise nonetheless.)

Epic Battle Fantasy 2
by matt-likes-swords
Play time: 39 minutes (to Game Over)

Oh Jesus, never in my time can I recall being so frustrated at a game. Not your conventional frustration mind, that will forever be held by the likes of Skate 2 and the GTA series. No, frustrating due to conflicting feelings whilst playing this mindfuck. The reason for this is simple; the game is very impressive, but is chock full of internet memes and anime humour. I found myself hating the game for it's stupid, stupid humour, with it's "w00t"s and "GTFO"s. It even includes a Dragonforce "Power Metal" attack for Christ's sake!

Despite this, the game itself is pretty solid. It's a turn-based RPG heavily inspired by the Final Fantasy series, unsurprisingly. The main focus of the game is to defeat waves of enemies, whilst balancing your MP and HP with what are, essentially, maxed-out characters. This creates a problem immediately, however, as even though the player is made to feel powerful from the very beginning there is no real tutorial so the game is left to be discovered. My advice, is play Easy or Normal first time. The art ranges from good to great, sporting chibi characters at it's lowest, but incredibly impressive summons at it's best. The sound is pretty decent too, a great knowledge of the JRPG genre is clearly displayed.

The meme's are unforgivable, however. I would not mind this if it were confined to aiming the humour just to a young, internet-savvy audience, as that would make a lot of sense. My problem is in lines like "Kill it with fire and AIDS". That is unforgivable. There will always be a place for alternative comedy, but considering the audience, and the art style, this is just another case of ignorance that permeates throughout an entire internet culture. Leave the racism, "Faggot" and AIDS jokes to the people that understand how and when they are to be used, and to what effect. Comedy is an art, and those who understand it can make pure comedy, without this understanding, you're left with lines like "Kill it with fire and AIDS".

The story is quite awful too, so the game's only saving grace is the artist's talent and understanding of the genre. The content, however, is debatable.
Score: 5/10

Gretel & Hansel
by makopudding
Play time: 38 minutes

When I first started this and saw the list of the nominees, this was the one I looked forward to playing the most. Artistically it definitely stood out the most. And it did not disappoint! This is by far, my favourite of the bunch I've played. Not only the most charismatic, it also successfully combines a creative plot, clever puzzles and dark humour that is just great. Hansel & Gretel is a point & click, that doesn't exactly take the story from "Hansel & Gretel", instead opting for a similarly dark tone with childish features and simplicity in story-telling.

In the review for "Another Small Favour", I stated that it's lack of in-game deaths was quite a big design failure as it left the game feeling like a list of tasks to be performed. Gretel & Hansel is it's antithesis, as it sports 10 clever deaths, each rewarded both visually and with achievements. Personally, I loved this, it's clever, enjoyable and keeps you on your investigating toes throughout, always looking for not only the tasks to be completed, but for possible ways to interact with the environment. I, love this. Each as dark, surprising and visually pleasing as the last, I particularly liked Gretel's meeting with a local crow.

My only problem with this is the programming, as it's quite bug-heavy, particularly if you want a second playthrough. Of the 10 items to be collected, I only needed to collect 9, approaching the final puzzle only to be cut to the endgame and cutscenes. Besides this, Gretel & Hansel is by far my favourite of the games thus far. And if that's not all, here's a screenshot for the sequel, coming soon.

Score: 9.5/10

Level Up!
by titch007uk
Play time: 1 hour

Not much to say, even with the hour I spent with this game. Level Up! is a platform collectathon with quite a quirky twist and design theory. The premise is that you spend one day at a time collecting gems and levelling skills, and when the day is up you play a battle mini-game. If you lose you are taken to the next day, all your skills are reset to one yet you keep your gems and abilities you purchased i.e. double jump. The idea is that even though your skills are reset and you have to start again, you progress through knowledge of the game. For this, I respect creator Duncan Saunders quite a bit, as only the Skate series comes to mind in successfully creating a format in which the player progresses, rather than the character/avatar. It's a difficult task, and I think Level Up! is quite a clever step towards the idea.

The game itself is reasonably good, solid more than anything. The code works very well, credited to the multiple testers on the team. Well done folks, you actually tested, you'll be surprised at the amount of devs that forget this when it's a smaller scale project. The music loop gets annoying, but the animation has clearly a lot of love in it, the idle animation particularly. The writing, however, is horrid. The dialogue with possibly the most "Mary Sue" character since the cast of Questionable Content (Sorry Mr Jacques, but every character seems to have a PHD in everything. EVERYTHING!), "Girl" is as flat and uninspired as an anime fanfiction, with humour to match. I swear, each line is repeated at least three times each, which I assume is an attempt at a humorous back-and-forth. It's pixel art, but I think that if you could zoom in on their faces, you would see their one raised eyebrow and "Ctrl+Alt+Delete" postures. It's just the right amount of faux-cynical and know-it-all arsery that'll just catapult the player/reader/watcher into realms of generic and forgettable that they'll skip/scroll/forward past. Oh, and amnesia. I could talk for hours about amnesia.

Just. Stop. It.

I'm looking at you Namco.
Score: 6.5/10

Miami Shark
by Wiesi
Play time: Just a few minutes, 3 playthroughs

Holy shit. It's a goddamn shark causing havoc in Miami! He's pulling the goddamn planes out of the sky!! He's jumping on top of yachts and causing chain explosions!! HE'S EATING THE FUCKING DUCKS!!!

So you play as a shark, jumping and chomping a higher score in a frantic dash to the finish line at the end of the harbour. Not a lot to say other than this game is fucking mad, and fucking fun! the most fun game on the list so far, Miami shark comes shooting up past Crush the Castle and Ching Chong Beautiful, and it's going to take one hell of a fun game to knock it off.

Not a real contender, but Miami Shark has devoured my heart and left me screaming in a pool of my own fun.
Score: 7/10

11 down, 10 left. Although looking at what's left, I'm looking forward to it. "Spewer" looks odd and the thumbnail for "William & Sly" is intriguing the hell out of me...! Well, See you soon!

SpewerWilliam & Sly

Sunday, 11 April 2010

Turns Out, University Requires Attention!

So apologies for the break in regularity, in the usually regular irregularity of my sporadic and mostly consistent yet inconsistent updates. I realise it has been an odd while since my last update, made increasingly odd by the fact that I am (note lack of "was") embroiled in the rather lengthy review of the Newgrounds Tank Awards nominees.

This continues. It has merely been pushed into more murky areas of my previously gleaming schedule of decisiveness and organisation. I also realise that this may be believed to be a near inevitable decrease in interest in what was a new and exciting project. This is as untrue as the fact that the prefix "Shetland" onto any animal name immediately dictates a stunted, pigmy version of said animal, no matter how much I want it to be true...

Yes, so, I continue forward, it is merely taking me and my machete of progression to hack my way through university work and deadlines. Like gorillas to Diane Fossey, the Indies are currently in the mist. And I persevere through this metaphorical foggy jungle with my metaphorical blade, which, by the way, serves no protection to real life bears, Shetland Bears or no.

Monday, 5 April 2010

Newgrounds Best Games of 2009: Part 2

Newgrounds 2010 Tank Awards Review: The Games
Part 2

by Glaiel-Gamer and Starogre
Play time: 15 minutes

More like the token underground artist in the Mercury Music nominations, "Closure." is a dark descent into a complex puzzle platformer. It stands no chance in actually winning this award, I reckon, but it is technically astounding and philosophically sound. Sporting a black & white papercraft art-style, the game uses a complex light-based series of puzzles in which you carry light sources to reach the door at the end of each level. The trick to this, and the most impressive piece of coding, is in your ability to walk through land without light upon it. Walls in your path turn into gaps you have to clear with a simple jiggery of the light sources.

I did play the game for the first dozen levels and there didn't seem to be any change in the
game's puzzles or assets, so not a lot of interest after the first fifteen minutes. However, still a great, sound game.
Score: 8.5/10

Crush the Castle
by Joeybetz and Con-Artists
Play time: 1 hour 1 minute

"Defend the Castle Siege Tower Defence Attack Crush" by Armour Games. Yup, it's another one, and this time, you fling rocks at towers to bring them down. Always fun, but not exactly inspiring. Feels more corporate than the other entries, so I'm not even going to bother including it in possible list of winners.
Score: 5/10

by Sakupen
Play time: 19 minutes

I actually gave up pretty quickly on this one, after dying on the second boss multiple times. This is a tough game, this, is Dadgame. Based on the popular Newgrounds milestone, "Dad's Home", Sakupen returns with a game of the chaotic insanity that is Dad. In Dadgame, you play as Dad (unsurprisingly), and wreak havoc throughout the story(?) leading off of Dad's Home 2. You are rewarded for destruction, as you action-platform, punch, stab and rock (yes, rock) the environment and your enemies to fine dust. It's fun, but as with many other games recently, it's unreasonably difficult. The more difficult your game, the less the player will see of your hard work (unless they're the small percentage of people who can play your ridiculously hard game). Coincidentally, I just read a very good article on Gamasutra relating to this problem (, and an analysis of possible solutions.

Overall, I'm not a fan of the art style, and I didn't really get involved in the combat. It felt very flimsy, with no real feedback for your hard work. Enemies are drawn to you like a powerful magnet, and your character floats around like a fairy half the time while you hammer on the Z key. There are possible combos and advanced moves, but I found no room for them in my busy schedule of Z Z Z jump Z Z Z Z Z Z jump.
Score: 3/10

Epic Battle Fantasy 2
by matt-likes-swords
Play time: Unknown (for now)

...I've just loaded up Epic Battle Fantasy 2. I was about to fire into a quick game, get it played and review it so I'll be done for the day. But as the main menu opens, the music rises and the logo fades into the foreground, I realise this game is based off of Final Fantasy. I should have noticed by the name. I'm immediately filled with the fear of a long, loooong game experience, as the FF series is known well for. I'm going to leave this one for today, and split the list of 21 down further.

1 third of the way done now! So far, Back to the Cubeture 1 is my pick. Let's see what happens as I've still got another 14 to go! Hoorah!! See you soon...

Sunday, 4 April 2010

Newgrounds Best Games of 2009: Part 1

Newgrounds 2010 Tank Awards Review: The Games
Part 1

Okay so an slightly unorthodox review today, making up for a few days off (as I visit home for the Easter weekend). So it's this time again!, the best portal for flash animations, games and one of the best communities it's been my pleasure to follow for many years. And now, four months into 2010, the nominees for the "Tank Awards" have been announced and I must say, I'm kind of ashamed at myself for not knowing many of the games in the list. My time at university has seen a definite decrease in my visits to the site, so now I hope to redeem myself by playing each and every nominee in this prestigious list.

I'll be recording my thoughts, the time I play it for and my overall score for the game. As I do this, I'm going to do a short write-up upon completion of each game as I go, so each "review" is fresh. So here we go... I have to say... I'm nervous. I have no idea how long this will take, only how long it could be... Wish me luck! Here's the list of the 21 nominees:
P.S. My vote for the best animation award is for "Saturday Morning Watchmen". Classic.
P.S.S. I just realised, I'm going to get an ass-load of NG achievements for this... Nice! Silver lining! :D

Another Small Favor
by Zeebarf and Riftmaster
Play time: 42 minutes

Using the classic point-and-click formula, "Another Small Favor" is the sequel to politically-driven comedy "A Small Favor". Neither of which spell "favour" correctly. I'm pretty sure only Brits read this. Anyway, Another Small Favour stays pretty true to the many Grade A titles that inspired it. Several times during the playthrough I was reminded of puzzles from Full Throttle, and the humour of Day of the Tentacle (or Manic Mansion, if you prefer). The key aspect I wish was taken however, is the ability to die. Games like Simon the Sorcerer and Another World always had an air of fear about them, as a world full of unexpected characters and animals always lead to unexpected events, thus fear. This always helped flesh out the world, immersing you further and just improving the experience nearly two-fold. Without this, Another Small Favour seems to just feel like a series of tasks to fulfil. Creative tasks, but just a check list still.

As I write this extensive paragraph, I realise I have another 20 games to go... Jesus. Music is awful, and on a tiny, tiny loop. The game itself is tight, but lacking. Environment art is great, but character art is ugly, except the snail farmer, he's great... as are his hairy green snails.
Score: 6/10

Back to the Cubeture 1
by EdibleCastle and BasV
Play time: 33 minutes

Based on the fantastic Cuboy animated series, and written & animated by the phenominal Edible Castle (Will Arbuckle), "Back to the Cubeture 1" is the first in a series of hilarious adventure games. Again, Back to the Cubeture is also a point and click, however this one includes mini-games! Hoorah! It's main draw is the pure, undiluted charisma of the whole thing. The art design is as fun as it is square, and with the usual "Edible Castle" style of recording all the sound effects with vocals you better have your sound up and your ears primed, or you'll miss a squeek or a grunt or a hum.

A solid little preview for the future series; the comedy is consistent, the voice work is tip-top, it's a great beginning! My only gripe would be that it's a little tough. The Horse Race minigame was a pain in the ass, to say the least.
Score: 8/10

by AdamAtomic
Play time: 11 minutes

To be honest, I was more grateful for this game than I was impressed. Grateful at how short the damn thing is, as I just spent a ridiculous amount of time playing two bloody point-and-click adventures. Not much to say about Canabalt, it was made in 5 days, and it shows. It's a very simple game, minimalist graphics etc. Run and jump. Run and jump. Run is automatic. Jump is a simple concept. Run. Jump. It seems odd that this game is included in this list of the best games of the year on Newgrounds. The talent is evident, first seen in the white birds that take flight upon your escape on the rooftops. The second is at the acknowledgement of the background area, which is incredibly atmospheric considering the colour choices. Talented artist, however I don't believe Canabalt to be anything of a contender, and honestly, not worthy of inclusion.

Still happy it's fucking short though. I'm getting tired. ...19 left...
Score: 3/10

Ching Chong Beautiful
by The-Swain
Play time: 1 hour

One of the more impressive entries at last years April Fools Day joke when Newgrounds went China Approved, "Ching Chong Beautiful" is only casually racist. It satirises gameshows like Takeshi's Castle and Ninja Warrior (both popular on Western Television), whilst simultaneously being a very well programmed flash game in it's own right. Headed by three of the main faces of Newgrounds itself; Swain, JohnnyUtah and Stamper, they each bring their usual high level of talent and knowledge as Ching Chong Beautiful is both a masterclass in flash game storytelling, and movement animation and programming.

The game is a platformer, in which you control a character through a huge series of difficult obstacle courses to reach the goal at the end, eventually leading to your kidnapped brother at the end of the game (I assume, I never actually got to the end). The movement is the high point of this game, the animation responds directly with your feedback, and every part of the body feels organic as you smack your face on low awnings or trip up from badly-aimed jumps. The game is infuriatingly hard, but as with these guys' other work, is just amazing. However. However. These guys are part of the company, so even if this turns out to, technically, be the best game in the list, I will not give this my vote. It doesn't seem right, kind of like giving your own country your 12 points in the Eurovision Song Contest. P.S. I miss Terry Wogan.
Score: 9/10

That's part 1, expect the next few parts over the next few days. ^^

Wednesday, 31 March 2010

International Exports

I bring to you a game from the Netherlands, and 1 from Japan. One of which is dreadful. Find out which!

.exe, Optional fullscreen

Maru is a 2D platformer based very closely off of creator Jesse Venbrux's previous game "Frozzd", and now ported to a similar game "They Need To Be Fed" as an entry to YoYoGames' "Design a Handheld Game" competition. Taking the ever-popular circular platforming seen in quite a few flash games over the past few years, and more obviously the 3D Sphere-a-thon in Super Mario Galaxy, Maru is a quick, painless, atmospheric little download to enjoy in just a few minutes.

Firstly, I advise you play this game with over-ear headphones. The music and ambience of this game, created by
Jake Almond, is incredibly atmospheric. It gives the entire game an air of individuality and professionalism, which immensely adds to what could have been a rather underwhelming game. Overall, I would say that the short 10 minute experience of this game is a saving grace as it doesn't really give the player much to do or think about. It veers dangerously close to bland, hoisting itself back into creativity with its quirky "HUD" and downright cute character design. I say "HUD", as the lives gathered in Maru are follow your little character around, floating above his head ready to resurrect the fallen guy or even in use with puzzles. Clever and endearing, I reckon.

Oh, and another gripe I had was the introduction to the "Life" puzzle. I actually had no idea how to get passed a certain section as I did so in an entire run without dying. There was no indication at how to continue. A big no-no! Always give the player some inidcation on how to progress or even play your game.

A short little game, I would hope that the new, improved version of Maru in "They Need to Be Fed" separates itself from the slew of similar coded games of late. One thing I definitely recommend though is the music director Jake Almond. I'm checking out his stuff right after I'm done writing this!
Download here:

.exe file, Tiny tiny window...

I'm just going to quick with this one, as I wouldn't recommend it at all to be honest. Teleportower is a puzzle game in which you can teleport between two sides of the split-screen to solve puzzles and pass obstacles. A clever idea wrapped in dreadful music, an uninspired art-style and anti-fun.

The first thing to be addressed here is the music. and 8-bit monstrosity, the tunes in this game sound like the soundtrack to a (bad) 90's romance anime fed through a NES. Needless to say, it's sickeningly sweet jauntiness was muted shortly after my starting this game. The art style in Teleportower is blue on black 8-bit graphics with no attempt at individuality or character. The character himself looking like a quickly rejected Ness concept. And finally, the gameplay, on a screen this tiny, split further into two, the movement and jumping feels like navigating a one-winged fly... with teleportation powers.

I did not enjoy Teleportower. At all. Here's the link (In Japanese);

Sunday, 28 March 2010

Please, (Do) Feed The Dragon

After a few days out; partying, D&Ding, scaring myself shitless with Project Zero... I'm back for another Inside Indies. I have a huge list of Indies to play and review, so until I get through them here's another great flash game I've been loving!

(Don't) Save the Princess
Flash, no Newgrounds achievements

Titled like a Radiohead B-side, (Don't) Save the Princess is the first time I've laughed out loud at a flash game in a long time! Oodles of fun, DStP takes a twist on an age old formulae for storytelling. There's no happy ending for this brave knight and his budding Rapunzel, no Peaches for Mario, instead, Bowser gets his chomp on and devours the little meddler, with your help. A hilarious little puzzle game, which I would describe as "The Anti-Lemmings", you have to launch the knight into the waiting mouth of the dragon that protects the princess. To get the Dragon's om nom on, you have to essentially "steer" the knight around obstacles using arrow blocks to fire him at high-speeds around the map.

The reason this game is so damn good, besides the addicting puzzle element, is that it has bags of character. Selectively placing the magical launching tiles on the map feels rewarding at completion of each level, because the result is always guaranteed to make you smile. The tiny armour-clad victim is cannon-fired at pleasing speeds, soaring purposefully around the entire map to his doom. That. Is. Just. Funny. The game itself is challenging enough also that it's a real brainteaser, good news for all you puzzler fans out there! The art style is very fun, using a mix of hand-drawn flash assets and 8-bit, the sound effects also lending from the popular bit style. the only gripe I would have is the Retry/Complete screens. The fireworks sound effect is incredibly annoying, having me quickly clicking on the nearest "Not This Screen" button I could find. Also, the screen itself, bizarrely, has two different font types and a different art style to the rest of the UI and game. This of course isn't a huge gripe, or even a medium gripe, but it is a small one, that can cheapen the overall feel of the product/piece and should always be given the attention it's due.

Overall, I love (Don't) Save the Princess, and with a Daily 4th Place on this week, I would say lot's of other people are too. Fun, charismatic, challenging, I definitely recommend this for a good use of 40 minutes, unless you wan't to dive into the Level Editor, in which case, a day or four.

Play Here:

PS, for added laughs, imagine the soaring knight is a guard from Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion. "STOP RIGHT There, criminal scum........."