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.

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