Showing posts with label platformer. Show all posts
Showing posts with label platformer. Show all posts

Friday, October 19, 2012

AirScape, Attacher, Spacemen vs Monster

weeeeeeee

AirScape


Oh noes! The Earth has been flipped upside down and inside out and all sortsa crazy nonsense by robots! Only one creature can set things right, and that's the lowly dwarf octopus. Strap on a breathing helmet and wriggle through dozens of levels full of fiendish traps, defying gravity at every corner. AirScape is quite fun, though it's not recommended for anyone who gets queasy. I didn't get too far into the second world before I had to stop, my head swirling as much as the game itself.

Attacher


You are what appears to be a sentient box. What is your purpose in life? Where are you going? What will you be when you get there? Attacher asks a lot of kiiiiinda pretentious questions to its player, though more often than not they simultaneously serve a practical purpose in solving the game's many puzzles - and they're coupled with a really neat physics engine that allows you to cling to other boxes and move around. Very unique, very odd, very... well, play it and you'll see.

Spacemen vs Monster


Your fellow spacemen have been captured by monsters! Kill the monsters! Rescue the spacemen! Sounds like something out of a kid's book, and it would be if you weren't popping off aliens with a gun. Spacemen vs Monsters plays a bit like Worms and Scorched Earth in that you need to carefully aim your shots from a (usually) stationary position to hit your targets with a limited array of weapons. A fun puzzler, if a bit cryptic - some of the weapons could use names, as you occasionally forget what they do until you use it.

Weekend! Have fun rousing your browser, or whatever!

Friday, October 5, 2012

Into Space 2, Demon Shift, Super Mario Bros. Crossover 2.0

As Halloween draws steadily closer and the leaves begin to change colour, we play three games that are not at all thematically appropriate. Except maybe Demon Shift. Yeah.

Into Space 2


I played the original Into Space a while ago (though apparently never reviewed it? Go figure), and this new offering isn't much different. Upgrade your battered rocket into a sleek spaceship that can make it all the way to Mars. The game's pretty much the same, though it adds in a lot more upgrades and a bunch of missions to spice up the play. I would probably plow through the whole thing if it didn't slow down so catastrophically much on my computer. Sigh.

Demon Shift


You are demon. Incompetent demon. You try fetch souls for another demon; you fail. Track down souls. Or whatever those jolly green things might be. Demon Shift is a platformer that borders on puzzle: shifting between two planes, one more dangerous than the other, you must collect the green souls from each level until your job is complete. A fun game, overall, and aesthetically pleasing.

Super Mario Bros. Crossover 2.0


I've already reviewed Super Mario Bros. Crossover, but I hadn't realized that it was updated and upgraded. This new version is the same old game, but with new classic characters and more graphical formats. An improvement to an already awesome concept. (Though playing as Bass, above, is WAY too easy.)

Woot! Another week complete. Until next time!

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Lost Villa, Hop Bop, Snake Squad

Today's Browser Rousers is proof that I seldom adhere to themes. These games couldn't be more different from each other if they tried. BEHOLD!

Lost Villa


I usually prefer my exploratory puzzle games to feature original backgrounds over semi-jaggy photographs, but Lost Villa is a decent enough game that I'll overlook that this time. The puzzles are fun and inventive without being too difficult, and it doesn't take a disgustingly long time to play. The music is also catchy, though mine cut out without explanation after a while. Too bad.

Hop Bop



Hop. Jump. Shoot. Collect coins. Kill enemies. Run to the goal. This could describe a billion games already on the market, and, admittedly, Hop Bop isn't that much better than a lot of them. Nevertheless, there's a lot to enjoy in this quick, retro shooter, and I had no trouble playing through it twice. (Especially since you get a significant speed boost the second time 'round.)

Snake Squad


Remember Frantic Frigates? Yeah. Snake Squad is juuuuust like it. That may explain why I've lingered over it for the last forty-five minutes, despite totally getting the gist of the game from the get-go. You are captain of a squad of burly army dudes. Kill everything in sight. In SIGHT, you hear me?! Your guys do all the shooting for you in this bullet hell game; you just have to steer them out of harm's way. Die, then upgrade into something more potent. It's a fun formula, if repetitive.

(I can't get my train of guys above six. Sigh.)

All done! Friday!

Monday, October 1, 2012

Desutori, Wicked Rider, Oppa Gangnam Run

Have I given up on writing proper introductions and extroductions? Entirely possible! (I don't even care if extroduction isn't really a word. It showed up in the Urban Dictionary. Legit enough for me.)

Desutori


A young woman whose village has burned down. A capricious goddess, willing to grant said woman the lives of her friends... at the cost of her own. A trek through horrifying traps to gather crystals. One thousand lives. A whole lotta frustration. Yay Desutori! You need patience to get through this game. Lacking that... don't bother playing.

Wicked Rider


Wicked Rider is a testament to the crazy things good programmers can do with Flash. Just look at those visuals. Then picture 'em in motion... or play the game. Easily as good as an SNES game. The game play gets a little bland after a while, I'll admit, but it's a great play up 'til you get tired of coming in fourth. (Seriously. A bit too hard on the early tracks. You shouldn't HAVE to use nitro to win a race.)

Oppa Gangnam Run


I felt obliged to include this game because it's utter nonsense. PSY running across rooftops - nay, DANCING across rooftops - while chased by Slendy. What in the hell. Really just another Canabalt clone, but it's so silly that I advise giving it at least one play.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Scraps

I'm all for experimental games. I like seeing what programmers can create, even if the ultimate results are short or lacking in much purpose. I'm willing to invest some time in a brief story, so long as it offers some kind of payoff.

Scraps... doesn't have that great a payoff. And the path to getting to that payoff is, frankly, a pain.


Concept

Ever seen the movie WALL-E? If so, you'll get the plot to Scraps. The world has gone to hell: all the humans appear to be dead, victims of their own foolishness... and a whole lotta trash. You, a humble robot, set out in a desolate landscape to find some purpose for yourself.

Yeah. As many people have commented on Newgrounds, Scraps is a darker version of Wall-E, with a robot who more closely resembles Mega Man X in capabilities. The result is a platformer that's DECENT, but, in some respects, quite annoying.


Controls

Your robot controls fairly well in Scraps. Again, it reminds me a little of a Mega Man X game, as you can wall-jump merrily up the sides of canyons if you happen to fall. The controlling isn't quite as good as Mega Man, however, 'cause almost ANY time you hit the slightest vertical, your robot will cling - and, then, you'll probably jump in the wrong direction. Blargh.


Graphics

THIS is where Scraps shines. Visually, it's a great game. The robot could use some sprucin' up, but the environment around him is awesome. The trash is both legion and varied: at various points I'm pretty sure I saw a boat (depicted above), a hippy van, lamps, telephones and ragged quilts. There's a short part inside a cave that's a little boring, but other than that? A visual treat.


Sound

Scraps relies primarily on ambient noises and little sound effects. Nothing spectacular, but I'd rather have no song at all than one that's constantly playing and replaying itself (unless it's a damn good song, anyway).

Challenge Rating

Okay.

Okay.

Scraps is not a hard game. It's quite short, and there are no enemies to muck up your progress. I might even say it's an easy game, save for one thing:

BOTTOMLESS PITS.

I'm used to bottomless pits. They've kind of a staple of platforming games. In Scraps, however, they are both unpredictable - like, you really can't tell if you're about to fall to your doom or not - and merciless. How merciless?

You have to start over at the beginning. Merciless.

One misstep and it's BACK TO THE BEGINNING for you. How difficult could it be to restart at, say, the beginning of the screen you're on? Why force players to go back and witness the same threadbare messages about being lonely again? ARGH.


Conclusion?

I can appreciate the experimental nature of Scraps. It's not meant to be a full-on, totally-polished game. There are some definite problems with this thing, though, and given the so-so nature of the ending, ehhh... I doubt I'll play it again.

PLAY SCRAPS

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Escape from Puppy Death Factory

What can I say. That's... that's one hell of a name.



Concept

Escape From Puppy Death Factory is set in the far-flung future. The remaining puppies of the Earth have been enslaved, and it's up to you, the cannon-slinging corgi K9, to set things right. Relieve the puppies from the burden of captivity!

Yeah, so, it's a retarded plot. It's SUPPOSED to be retarded. Adult Swim games seldom take themselves seriously. Dog fans will get a kick out of the copious numbers of puppies strewn about a hostile landscape...

... and more serious players should enjoy the challenge Escape from Puppy Death Factory presents. Honestly, this is a HARD game (without a walkthrough), and is much more challenging than it appears on the surface. And despite the fact that it looks like a space-shooter similar to the Metroid series (awwww, the puppy looks like Samus), it's the puzzles that will keep your mind thoroughly boggled.



Controls

Though it's a puzzler, Escape from Puppy Death Factory is also a platformer, so you need to watch your step. There are lots of enemies and lasers and acid pits and so forth that will send your puppy whizzing back to the last checkpoint. Fortunately, the controls are responsive enough that this won't be a problem.

Your primary puzzle-solving tool is a gun, as you might have guessed. UNLIKE the Metroid series that this game parodies, however, your corgi's gun doesn't kill enemies or blow up blocks. Instead, it swaps K9's position with the object at which it's aimed. This makes for some ingenious methods to get through puzzles, as well as some insidious puzzles in the first place. Again, the controls on the gun are fine...

... with a bit of practice. Expect a lot of trial-and-error.



Graphics

I really enjoy the visuals in this game. They're crafted into a more cutesy version of Super Metroid. There are also a variety of different environments that aid the exploratory elements of the game, another perfect homage to the exploits of Samus. Overall, two thumbs up.

Sound

The music is good. Repetitive, after a while, but there's enough variety that I can forgive and forget. I more enjoyed the synthetic voice that dully sounded whenever I found a puppy.



Challenge Rating

Woof. This game is hard. Even mastering the mechanics isn't necessarily enough to turn Escape from Puppy Death Factory into a breeze. The puzzles are really well done, and though they're often easy with some PRACTICE, getting that far typically requires a lot of head-scratching. Your timing also has to be good, so expect the occasional descent into peril during risky jumps.

Fortunately, you don't have to beat ALL of this game to 'beat' it. Technically you can get an ending just by rescuing a single puppy and returning to your ship. You won't get a greeeeeat ending for doing so, though... and why would you leave any puppies behind? Really, now.



Conclusion?

Good game! No overt or game-killing flaws. Escape from Puppy Death Factory might be a little too hard for casual gamers to appreciate, but those with a nose for puzzles will love the death out of this one. Highly recommended.

PLAY ESCAPE FROM PUPPY DEATH FACTORY

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Tiny Dream

I love dreams. That may be a byproduct of my love of sleep, true, but dreams fascinate me. They're so wonderfully random, yet pointed towards purpose, that I'll take as many dreams as I can get in a lifetime.

Perhaps not if they're like Tiny Dream, however. I really don't wanna face an upside-down reality where I am a blob.


Concept

Yep. You are a blob. You're dropped onto a seemingly alien planet (I'm pretty sure it's supposed to be a dreamscape, but it comes off as other worldly instead) and left to fend for yourself. You can chat with NPCs, hop along platforms, collect items, unlock locks, that sorta thing.

The KICKER is the landscape itself. As you move through Tiny Dream's handful of areas, the screen rotates like so:


The controls don't rotate correspondingly, however, and you're left to puzzle out regular movement in bizarre situations. Not totally original, but nifty.

And that... is... Tiny Dream. In a nutshell. Collect items, solve a puzzle (yeah, it's really just one) and... win? I won't spoil the ending, as it IS kinda neat, but the game's a little threadbare. It was created as part of limited-time Ludum Dare 23 project, so expansiveness shouldn't be expected.

Controls

Tiny Dream is nice and smooth, for a platformer. The controls manage to translate very nicely when you get into different viewpoints of the land. Aside from my own brain flip-flopping about, I had little to no trouble guiding my blob.


Graphics

Tiny Dream is fairly minimalist. There's not a hell of a lot going on here. I didn't mind the graphics at all - the red and blue lights were surprisingly effective, though maybe I'm just a simpleton for coloured lights - but I'm sure more could be done to spruce up the game.

Sound

Tiny Dream's a silent experience, save for one big sound effect at the end (no spoilers) and a dreamy, wistful, melancholy tune that plays throughout. Normally it would get old, but Tiny Dream doesn't last long enough for that to happen.


Challenge Rating

Tiny Dream requires only a modicum of brain power to solve. The primary puzzle is a liiiiittle bit of a poser, but any player should be able to figure it out within a few minutes. Beyond that, the only challenge lies in wrestling with the controls.

Conclusion?

Tiny Dream is what you'd expect of a game made in a short period of time. It's inventive and has some neat ideas, but it also doesn't stand out a hell of a lot. Don't expect to get a lot of replay outta this sucker.

PLAY TINY DREAM

Friday, May 4, 2012

Johnny Upgrade

Upgrades are a staple of most video games. Makes sense, too - your character should be rewarded with expanded powers as he or she plows through increasingly difficult areas. But what if you could do almost nothing WITHOUT upgrades? What, indeed, if purchasing upgrades was necessary for your hero to perform the most rudimentary tasks?

Welcome to Johnny Upgrade.


Concept

Johnny Upgrade is a superhero. Some evil boss thing has invaded his world, and he needs to drive it, and its fiendish minions, away. Problem is, Johnny Upgrade begins his life UTTERLY INCAPABLE of doing anything. He can't walk, he can't jump, he can't take more than one hit, hell, he can't live longer than roughly three seconds before exploding. Tough life, has Johnny Upgrade.

What's a lad to do in this situation? Duh. Upgrade. The game is based upon the premise that, every time Johnny dies, the player is taken to a shop screen for upgrading Johnny's abilities. Gather enough coins on each play-through and Johnny will ultimately be able to double jump, take five hits worth of damage, dash at incredible speeds and use a blaster to zap his foes.

This, of course, means that you have to die. A lot.


Controls

Johnny steers via the arrow keys or ADW. Eventually the Space bar will allow Johnny to fire his gun. Nice and easy, and Johnny is extremely responsive to player input. You shouldn't have any difficulty with cheap deaths... once you've upgraded Johnny, that is.


Graphics

Immediately after I began playing, Johnny Upgrade reminded me of an old SNES game called Captain Novolin. Upon FURTHER investigation, they don't look the same at all, aside from a slight similarity between the two title characters. I do not think Johnny Upgrade is diabetic, though that could explain his exploding fits.

All that is a ROUNDABOUT WAY OF SAYING that Johnny Upgrade looks like an SNES game. A really good SNES game. The visuals were great. It's a shame they're the same each time you play through, but, oh well.

Sound

Not much to say here. You get a small handful tunes, none of which are terribly memorable. I liked the boss song best, which is best suited to a sinister discotheque. Sound effects beyond the music are the usual range of explosions and hearty grunts.


Challenge Rating

Johnny Upgrade should take anywhere between ten and twenty minutes to complete. There's only one level, and once you've upgraded Johnny to action star status not even the boss is terribly challenging. I would like to see this concept expanded upon in some fashion, because this game seems more like a solid base for something greater than a true stand-alone title.

Conclusion?

Johnny Upgrade is a fun, playable platformer that you'll likely shred and forget within the span of half an hour. Worth playing, but not likely to make a massive impression on anybody.

PLAY JOHNNY UPGRADE

Friday, April 27, 2012

A Super Mario Summary

Video games have come a long way since the original Super Mario Bros. for the NES, yet they always seem to wind up returning to that one, iconic game. (Understandably so - SMB is hella fun.) Nowhere is this more true than with Flash programmers, and, thus, we have yet another SMB-esque game: A Super Mario Summary.


Concept
 
A Super Mario Summary was created as an entry for the Ludum Dare competition. The goal is to make an entire video game in 48 hours. That's a tough prospect for even the strongest programmers, assuming those programmers actually care about playability.

This little entry tackles a rather novel idea: it compresses the levels of SMB into single-screen puzzle platformers, forcing the player to guide Mario to the flagpole on the right side of the level. Each screen is an homage to a level in the original game, so expect to find the same hazards as you would in SMB: goombas, koopas, bullet bills, whirling fireball chains, Bowser... the usual. It's a groovy enough concept, and for a game created in 48 hours A Super Mario Summary is rather impressive...

... but, overall, this isn't the best Flash game in the world.


Controls
 
When he's just walking and jumping, Mario controls well. Smooth controlling allows for precision jumping, and precision jumping is kiiiiinda important for a Mario game. It would be nice to just hit up rather than the Space bar to jump, but that's a minor complaint.

What irked me most about the controls was the rebound factor. Take the springboards as an example: you need to hit Space at exactly the right moment to make the damn things work. Like, EXACTLY the right moment. Otherwise, Mario performs a tiny hop and flops to his doom. The same goes for bopping off the heads of enemies to reach new heights, which is ESSENTIAL for beating one of the levels. Grr.

I should also point out that Mario is a little glitchy. He likes to lodge himself in walls every now and then, and occasionally the pint-sized plumber vibrates uncontrollably, as though he's performing a bunch of teensy jumps. Hardly game-killing, but annoying.


Graphics
 
The visuals here are charming. I can't think of a better word to describe the experience. They're better than the original Mario in that they allow for more detail, yet they're rendered with a minimalist eye. I would have liked a bit more animation for some of the enemies, but, meh. No biggie.

Sound
 
Bop, ka-ching, beeooooo. Yep, A Super Mario Summary is all about sound effects. There's no music anywhere. The lack of background music seems to deflate the experience, turning an otherwise decent Mario game into a hollow experience. I hadn't realized how much I relied on the classic Mario tunes to enjoy the game. And, yes, it would be damn difficult to compose all new tunes in 48 hours, but why not just ask for permission to use somebody's remixes? Or, hell, stick the original songs in the game? I know rights are always an issue, but it's not like Nintendo seems to care about Flash programmers using their property. If they did, Super Mario Bros. Crossover surely would not exist.


Challenge Rating
 
Theoretically, A Super Mario Summary should be about as difficult as SMB. And, to an extent, this is true - but only if you try and collect every coin in the game, as well as hit the top of every flagpole. Performing both of these tasks without getting hit is fiendishly tricky. Especially when jumping off enemies is so hard. (I'll be honest, it seemed impossible to collect some of the coins. Maybe I just don't spend enough time puzzling over puzzles...?)

If you just want to see all the levels, however, A Super Mario Summary is pretty dang easy. There are a couple challenging bits, but for the most part it's just a matter of running and jumping to the other side of the screen. In some late levels it's ridiculously easy if you ignore getting the coins up top, 'cause the challenge was clearly balanced just to make the coins hard to collect. A little more balance in the other direction is advisable.


Conclusion?
 
A Super Mario Summary looks better than a game created in 48 hours normally would, and with some tinkering it could easily stand among those titles that took months to program. As it is now, it's more a fun novelty than a super-awesome game. Still worth playing if you enjoy SMB, however.

PLAY A SUPER MARIO SUMMARY

Monday, April 23, 2012

I Saw Her Standing There

NOTE: Reading this review will spoil a funny little fact about the game that's worth discovering for yourself. I recommend at LEAST watching the intro before you read the review, 'cause from here on out, it's spoilers aweigh.

...

...

...

...

All done? Okay. Yeah. Then you should know that this game is, surprisingly, about zombies. And that, piled on top of the puppy love, makes it a weird, sweet, funny little title.


Concept

I Saw Her Standing There is the classic tale of a boy and a girl. Boy loves girl, girl loves boy. Something is separating them, however... and in this case, it's 'cause the girl is a freaking zombie. Bit of an obstacle for a relationship, eh?

Not for the boy. He loves his girl. So much so that he keeps her locked in a cage. And whenever she escapes, he happily lures her back to captivity. It's a rather twisted dynamic, but judging by the little cracking heart over the girl's head whenever her boyfriend dies, she doesn't mind.

That, then, is the point of the game: lure the girl into her cage, using the guy as bait. When necessary, and it's OFTEN necessary, avoid other zombies. Proceed through the story. Aww, how cute.


Controls

For such a simple game, I Saw Her Standing There is surprisingly well-tuned. Your little boyfriend goes exactly where you tell him to go, and his jumping skills are quite amazing. The controls actually make it a little difficult to die, which is... quite a reverse...

Graphics

The boy's love for his girl is simple, and the graphics perfectly reflect his affections. Everything in this game is little more than a symbol. I might bemoan the lack of detail in other titles, but here, nothing else would be suitable. The love story would lose its subtle impact if the girl looked anything more like a zombie.


Sound

I Saw Her Standing There is virtually silent, save for one thing: one acoustical song that plays forever in the background. I LOVE THIS SONG. It carries the pleasant, grassroots theme of the game from beginning to end, completely robbing a zombie apocalypse of its threat. Never has the annihilation of mankind seemed more relaxing.

Challenge Rating

This is not a hard game. It's only fifteen levels long, and most of them can be demolished in a minute or two. Disrupting the pleasant little story with too much difficulty would rob the experience of its charm, however, so I'm fine with that.

And for those of you who might complain that games SHOULD be challenging? Once you beat I Saw Her Standing There, you'll unlock a series of little cheat codes that can make it REALLY hard. Namely, by tossing more zombies into the mix... and allowing them to jump. Yeesh.


In Conclusion?

Quirky, cute, eminently playable. I Saw Her Standing There is a short-lived experience, true, but one you're likely to remember for a while. Enjoy.

PLAY I SAW HER STANDING THERE

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Sichiken

Puzzle games online seem to come in three different flavours:

1.) Mostly original
2.) Not terribly original, but with just enough kick to keep it fun
3.) Blatant ripoff

Sichiken is not number one, and it's not definitely number three. A solid number two is this puzzler, and thus a comfortable play for anyone who wants to kill a couple hours.


Concept

Sichiken has no plot. The overarching point of the game is to collect coins and guide your character to a box. Doing so moves you to the next level. Standard for puzzler.

So what's the catch? Well, let's analyze this level:


Your little dude needs to touch the buttons to make the small red and blue dots turn into crossable blocks. But how can he cross those blocks if he has to keep the buttons depressed? Death is inevitable - and that's the point, really, because dying in Sichiken generates a little ghost which will mirror your previous actions. You need to plan your second set of motions in conjunction with the first, then let both recorded ghost and living character collect all the coins and get to the end of the puzzle.

Like I said, not horrendously original. The Company of Myself, for example, offers a similar mechanic, and includes a story to boot. Sichiken nevertheless tosses in enough curveballs to keep the ghost recording idea fresh, and is more than challenging enough to tantalize puzzle fans.

Controls

Sichiken's success is utterly dependent on accurate controls, and it only partially delivers. The little alien you're controlling is very sensitive to player input. Even a teensy bit too much force in one direction or another is bad. I got killed numerous times because the little dude decided not to stop near a ledge. It's also easy to overshoot jumps, so expect the occasional irritating death.

I should also note that Sichiken is NOT a game to play on a laggy computer. True, Flash games always suffer if their browser lags, but lagging in Sichiken has some weird results. Several times before resetting my computer I found the little guy leaping almost twice as high as is normally possible because he hit a spot of lag. Sometimes handy, usually not.


Graphics

Sichiken is pretty basic. New levels usually offer a slight backdrop change, but other than that - and the occasional addition of different-coloured blocks - the general environment is static. Yet there's some charm in the simplicity, and I'm now rather fond of the tiny bouncing alien dude who puts his life in my hands.

Sound

Sichiken relies on tiny, cutesy sound effects and one song that's reminiscent of Gameboy midis. Don't get me wrong, I like Gameboy midis - hence this song is just fine - but there's too much repetition. Even tossing in one or two more tracks would considerably improve the game's oratorical aesthetics.


Challenge Rating

Sichiken has a lot to offer to casual and hardcore games alike, as it's neither too difficult nor too easy. Even puzzles that seem to be impossible at first glance usually require only a couple minutes of thought to solve, and thus are much more satisfying than the absolute brain-busters found in other games. These solutions can also be derailed by mucking up in movement, so platform players should enjoy Sichiken as much as puzzle fans.

Unfortunately, as mentioned before, this enjoyment is marred a bit by the controls. It's rather too easy to fall into pits. Tightening the keyboard sensitivity would go a long way to addressing this issue.

Conclusion?

Sichiken ain't bad. It could use tweaking, and perhaps a little bit more aesthetic variety, but otherwise...? Solid. Enjoyable. And, since the programmer seems content to expand Sichiken's offerings through new levels, an enduring experience. Give this sucker a shot if you've got some spare time and an itch to flex your brain.

PLAY SICHIKEN

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Super Pig

As repeat readers of Browser Rousers have probably learned by now, I dislike posting reviews for games I haven't beaten. It's difficult to provide a well-rounded overview of a game when you haven't poked into all the requisite nooks and crannies - and besides, I like the feeling of beating a game.

Super Pig, though? Nope. Ain't happenin', ladies and gents. I didn't even come close to beating this jerkass of a game, and I doubt most of you will, either, unless you have a loooot of time to waste.


Concept

Super Pig is your run-of-the-mill porker. He doesn't want much out of life, aside from saving his girlfriend from, er, a certain period of the month... and he's willing to brave darkened corridors full of dangers to aid her.

And die in the attempt.

Over.

And.

Over.

And.

Over.

Who cares about the story, really. It's a play on periods. Yar har har, fantastic. It's throwaway - though it also PERFECTLY fits the theme of Super Pig, which is to paint invisible obstacles red with Super Pig's blood. That's really the only legitimate way to beat this game: run around invisible corridors until you hit spikes or an enemy, die, note the obstacles that have been unveiled by Super Pig's sprayed blood, then avoid 'em on your next life. Hurrah!

I sound sarcastic, but the concept behind Super Pig actually IS pretty novel. Have you ever played a game before where your death paves the way to survival? Assuming you can't remember where trouble spots are with memory alone? I sure haven't.


Controls

Super Pig is a precision game. Unveiling traps is not enough to ensure survival: you also need to circumvent 'em on your return trip. And, given that this game is billed as REALLY REALLY HARD, you can imagine that the controls are not ideal.

This is half true and half false. Super Pig is actually highly responsive to your commands, and will gleefully sprint at high speeds or leap to heights unknown by the average porcine hero. That said, Super Pig's sensitivity is a detriment to your survival in many cases, as he'll overshoot your intentions and crash into his untimely demise if you're even a little off on your calculations. What a pain.

I will give the programmer one thing, however: he (she? not sure) saw fit to include a few different jumping keys at variable strengths. If you just want a tiny jump, for example, hitting X will cause Super Pig to let loose a tiny hop rather than his normal high jump. Going through entire levels after dying is an ENORMOUS pain, so every little bit of help is appreciated.


Graphics

Super Pig consists of roughly three things: the pig, the pig's girlfriend, and gore-covered environments in-between the two. Nothing spectacular, though again, I like the idea of unveiling platforms and spikes and so forth through the use of spattering blood. I'm sick like that.

Sound

A few goofy voices and ambient sounds aside, most of Super Pig's audio is invested in a) a level select and menu song that reminds me of SNES racing games and b) a constantly-repeating tune, more or less the game's primary theme, that runs whenever you're playing through a level. The music is very retro, which I dig, though listening to that same damn song constantly gets old.


Challenge Rating

Super Pig is, without doubt, one of the hardest games I've ever played. It was MADE with the sole purpose of preventing players from ever getting to the end, and the game more or less admits as much before you start playing. There's a reason the levels have names like 'Ragequit'.

You. Will. Ragequit.

That said, Super Pig is a teensy bit more forgiving than I make it sound. The levels I played ARE all solvable, for starters; you just need a lot of patience. And, to make up for Super Pig's extreme vulnerability, you don't HAVE to touch your girlfriend on each level to proceed. Get close enough and you'll win automatically.

Still, though? Freakishly hard. Even with God Mode activated, which strips away the lives system and lets you splatter yourself all over the place. Once you do that it's less a challenge and more an endurance trial.

Conclusion?

Super Pig... good idea. Fun. Interesting. Innovative, at least to me. But not a game most people will like, because, as the game boldly declares, only a handful of people have ever actually beaten the damn thing:


And I, for one, will not run this gamut long enough to come even REMOTELY close to beating it.

Cheers, Super Pig. I hope you get your girlfriend some day.

PLAY SUPER PIG

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Killbot!

Browser-based games are becoming bolder and bolder with time, and I'd say that Killbot! is a prime example of this trend. Not only does it provide its players with a unique, sometimes-silly story, it possesses ambitious level design, an interesting physics engine and far more secrets than the average browser game. The future is looking bright.


Concept

Picture this. You're a robot. No, more than that - you're a Killbot. You've just been created, but you're not sure if you want to be killing so much, so you decide to break out of your enclosure at U.S. Killbotics and see the world, one job at a time.

Yep. That's Killbot!

Killbot! actually boasts a fairly expansive story that's consistently present via a series of messages left behind for Killbot in the environment. Consequently, you start to feel for the little guy after a while, as you get the sense that he's starving for something other than the life of a death-dealing machine.

The game play underneath this story is a little different from what you'd expect of a game called Killbot!, however. This title is a puzzler, requiring its players to run and jump their way through six levels, using their programmed telekinesis to manipulate movable objects while looking for an exit. It's a big puzzle with heavy elements of item collecting, in short, and a damn fun one at that.


Controls

I wish I could push this part of the review closer to the end, but I have to follow format. The control scheme of Killbot! is, by far, the game's most troublesome aspect.

In theory, moving Killbot and manipulating the environment is simple. A and D move him about, W makes him jump, and the mouse allows you to pick up objects and carry them around. Hit SPACE while an item's in the air and it will freeze in place. (Remember this last bit of info, it's crucial to simplifying your life.)

In practice, this control scheme is unwieldy and problematic. Everything WORKS, yes, but... not as well as you'll want. Killbot has an extremely irritating tendency to slide when he moves around, which isn't a problem unless you're trying to jump. Which happens often. Try to land on something small and you'll almost always overshoot it or slide right off the first couple of times. Aggravating, this is.

I had similar problems with carrying items. Depending on the object, movement can range from simple (say, a tiny box) to VERY ANNOYING (a length of pipe - in my experience, the longer an item, the more difficult it is to maneuver). The primary problem is that things like to spin a lot, meaning they'll get jammed in tight corridors and force you to reevaluate your strategy.

All that said, I really did enjoy steering Killbot around. Playing with his weird telekinetic powers is great in open areas, and allows for some innovative puzzle-solving opportunities when used in conjunction with the freezing ability. Just don't expect to be universally floored by the experience.


Graphics

I can see some people hating the way Killbot! looks. I, however, thought it was great. Everything resembles a doodle on lined paper, albeit one that's in motion on the page. The aesthetic perfectly encapsulates a journey such as Killbot's, particularly given that there are messages scrawled on the walls everywhere he goes. The environments are also rich with detail, including a lot of objects that are present simply to fill out the levels - objects that you can have fun chucking around.

Special mention should be given to the game's reliance on outfits. Every now and then you'll run across barriers that require Killbot to dress up as a human to get by, forcing the pink wanderer to don hairstyles, hats, glasses, clothes and other such articles in weird combinations. It's a neat mechanic, and it underscores Killbot's desire to be more than just a killer. I can appreciate a dress-up system that's deeper than mere appearance.

Sound

Killbot! barely has any ambient sounds, so I'll focus on the soundtrack. The expansive, impressive, incredibly fleshed-out soundtrack.

Most browser games scrape by with three or four songs at most. Killbot!, by contrast, has a ton of unlockable tracks, the majority of which I quite enjoyed. (My personal favourite was 'Winter is Coming'.) No two tunes sound alike, either, and you can switch between them at will, a touch I very much enjoyed, as constant repetition of one song during a level can drive me batty.

And the best part? You can find new songs in each level by completing certain side tasks. I would venture to say that half the purpose of playing Killbot! is finding all the music in the game... and then, y'know, buying said music on iTunes.


Challenge Rating

Killbot! isn't a terribly difficult game, but it IS long. It took me about an hour to complete the base game, and that was without collecting all of the extras. (That comes after I'm done with this review.) It's a beefy experience, and more than fun enough to justify the extra exploration, as you seldom have to go TOO far out of your way to gather the extras.

As mentioned earlier, the real challenge in Killbot! is struggling with the controls. The puzzles aren't too hard: it's wrestling the elements need to solve those puzzles that's difficult. I wouldn't be at all surprised to hear that players have been forced to restart levels because of objects stuck on the game's geography, though I, fortunately, didn't run into that trouble.


Conclusion?

Despite its shortcomings, Killbot! is a worthy browser game, and should be played by anyone with a keyboard and mouse. The story is great, the game play a lot of fun and the presentation fantastic. (I was listening to the music the whole time I wrote this review. Can't say that's been true of any other game.) If you like a good head scratcher, Killbot!'s the game to play.

PLAY KILLBOT!