Friday, September 19, 2014

PC Review #108: Super Time Force Ultra

Title: Super Time Force Ultra
Developer: Capybara Games
Platforms: PC
Price: $14.99
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Fans of side-scrolling shooters should be quite pleased as of late. Between Broforce's chaotic action and Mercenary King's massive arsenal to Viktor's teleportation-heavy shooting, there's a nice variety of platforming/shooting experiences out there. Enter Capy's Super Time Force Ultra, a PC version of the lauded Xbox title, and its unique over-the-top take on the genre.
In Super Time Force Ultra, you play as the titular Super Time Force, an time-traveling organization that sends agents through time to stop the reign of Dr. Infinity and save the present. Choose your hero, from the sniper rifle-wielding Aimy to the enemy-shredding Zackasaurus, and face the robotic legions...and then die. You will die, it can't be avoided, either from an enemy's bullet or the ever-present clock reaching zero. In most other games, this would mean a level restart, but Super Time Force's most enjoyable moments and mechanics lies in what happen after you die.
With the tap of a button, you can rewind time to any point and then return to the action with a new character. Your previous playthrough(s) occur simultaneously, opening the door for a surprising amount of tactics and depth through singleplayer co-op.. Lay down a protective shield in one life, and then use your sniper to wipe enemies from behind cover in the next. Combine a massive array of firepower to defeat bosses, distract from one angle and then flank from behind. It doesn't take long for the already hectic action to become a screen-filling spectacle as firepower and special attacks from various lives converge. Super Time Force Ultra is challenging, frenetic, a test of precision, speed, smart use of your heroes.
Between the varied levels that range from the ruined future to prehistoric and medieval era, the charming humor, and diverse characters to choose from, each with their own strengths and weaknesses to mater, the challenge levels, Super Time Force Ultra delivers a complete package, You can purchase the game on Steam, Humble, and GOG.

Sunday, September 14, 2014

No Money, No Problem: Terrance The Flying Eyeball

Title: Terrance The Flying Eyeball
Developer: Aiden Bains
Platforms: Browser
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Terrance The Flying Eyeball is the first indie project from developer Aiden Bains. It's a short fun precision flyer that's worth a try.
You control the titular airborne eye, as it weaves through four stages of varied hazards. Narrow corridors, lasers, turrets, and more combine in devious patterns and configurations to test your timing and skill. The developer's focus was on teaching mechanics organically through level design and color, and to that effect, there are no tutorial or tips; you learn how obstacles and hazards behave through trial and error and simply playing through the stages. I found the controls finicky in some spots, but overall Terrance was an enjoyable experience for the 30-40 minutes it took to complete.
The developer is looking for feedback and impressions so I recommend giving Terrance The Flying Eyeball a try. It doesn't take long to complete and remains challenging throughout. You can play Terrance The Flying Eyeball here.

Quick Fix: Screenshot Saturday 9/13

Magenta Sunset
Developer: Impromptu Games
A currently-mysterious immersive, atmospheric first-person adventure game with a focus on minute interactivity.
Watch the trailer here

One Heart
Developer: 2 Hit Studio
Neon samurai deatchmatch game, Nidhogg meets Bushido Blade
The goal is to KILL! Striking another player's sword will deflect both your weapons momentarily, strike their body to win. The slashes (hi, mid, low) all have different characteristics, use the best attack for the situation and stand atop a pile of your foes!
Local multiplayer, Xbox controllers only
Download the game here

Sign Motion
Developer: Midnart
The story of the kid from the school crossing sign.
For a long, long time they have been bound by rules and assumptions. Trapped within the boundaries of signs. Until one day, the kid from the school crossing sign is thrown out – unleashing a new world – the world of Sign Motion. Where will the kid go now? Will others follow, help or envy?
Learn more here and on Greenlight

Cell Tune
Developer: Niklas Riewald
Cell Tune is a life simulation game. You have to design your own creatures and let them compete in a struggle for survival. The game demonstrates that complex life forms can emerge from only a few, simple elements (five cell types). It’s very fun to watch the evolutionary process in real time!
Learn more here

Sature
Developer: SS64 Games
Sature is an innovative board game of color designed for mobile platforms. Place cards onto the board, mix with your opponent to desaturate their colors, and control the brightest colors at the end of the game. Every game board ends as a unique palette.
Learn more here

Saturday, September 13, 2014

IOS Review #86: Doppler

Title: Doppler
Developer: My Go Studio
Platforms: IOS Universal, Android
Price: $1.99
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Doppler is a multi-touch twitch game for IOS, that stands out by delivering a unique mechanic that's more than the usual dodge left, doge right style of gameplay seen in the genre.
Doppler asks you to place your fingers on the screen. Do so and two gears appear beneath; your goal is to guide them along the undulating line between them for as long as possible. The catch is that you must keep these gears in close proximity to each other without touching the line, so they're linked by crackling energy. Stray too far apart or collide with the line and the energy dissipates. Your playthrough ends once the energy bar runs out. Doppler's multi-touch gameplay requires focus and synchronization, as you must maneuver both fingers carefully to thread the curves. It's more challenging than it sounds, especially once the speed increases. You can test your skills across three modes: Infinite, Extreme, and increasingly fast Time Attack levels.
Doppler offers a different and interesting take on twitch evasion and makes smart use of the touchscreen to create a challenging arcade experience. You can purchase Doppler for $1.99.

Thursday, September 11, 2014

PC Review #107: Velocibox

Title: Velocibox
Developer:Shawn Beck
Platforms: PC, Mac
Price: $4.99
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When you break down twitch games to their base elements, they tend to revolve around the same basic concepts: fast gameplay, and dodging things at high speeds. Some excel in their simplicity, like the classic flash game Vector Runner or the more recent Super Hexagon, while others add more complexity, such as Pivvot, Wave Wave, and Duet. Point is, that since the core elements are generally similar, it takes something more, something exceptional for games in the genre to stand out. Velocibox is one of those games, and it's perhaps the most addictive twitch game I've played since Super Hexagon.
Expanded and improved from an entry for the current "Connected Worlds" Ludum Dare, Velocibox is unforgiving. In fact there aren't any checkpoints, when you fail (and you will), you start over from the first stage. Initially, I disliked this lack of checkpoints, but once I played more, I came to appreciate how the game was set up. Success relies on practice, learning the quirks and obstacles of each stage and surmounting them. It's more than twitch reflex but also adaption and gradual improvement, not just "one more go" but "I know these obstacles. I can do better". It's incredibly satisfying to race through stages that had defeated you countless times before.
But what makes Velocibox exceptional, because that's a pretty strong word? Well, it's more that all the game's aspects merge into a excellent whole rather than any individual element. It's the sense of speed, the feeling of racing forward at some extreme velocity, blasting off from stage one without a moment to catch your breath. It's the gravity-defying gameplay, as you flip between floor and ceiling and ride the walls. It's how the gravity flip mechanic opens the door for a wide variety of obstacles that wouldn't be possible in other twitch games, forcing you to deftly maneuver around and across all sides of these corridors. It's the vibrant visuals and effects, the great music, the no-frills presentation that lets you jump into the action in seconds.
I've only reached stage four out of nine, and beating the initial nine stages unlocks an even more insane Super Velocibox mode, so there's a hefty amount of content here. Velocibox is an easy recommendation for fans of the genre. You can purchase the game on Steam.

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

The Watchlist: Human Extinction Simulator

Title: Human Extinction Simulator
Developer: Machine 22
Platforms: PC
Releasing late 2014
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Human Extinction Simulator is a turn-based tactical space combat game designed as a "training program" against the inevitable alien invasion we all know is coming. The game focuses on tactical decisions made on the battlefield and each move can make the difference between victory or defeat.
Mankind has made contact with extraterrestrial life, and the odds aren't looking very good for us. Thankfully we have the ultimate tool at our disposal, allowing us to simulate the coming invasion and encounters and prepare fleets for battle. Human Extinction Simulator is a turn based tactical strategy game, set across hexagonal maps as you command your ships against attacking aliens. There really isn't any guessing here. You always know which hexes will put you in harm's way, where enemies can move, what you can accomplish from any possible maneuver. This knowledge places the focus on positioning and movement, as you stay out of your enemy's range while maneuvering into the best positions to attack. The variety of vessels to deploy, from heavy slow cruisers to fast but weaker fighters, offer a wide array of strategies against the alien threat. Playing the beta, I enjoyed the slower pace and methodical, Chess-like gameplay, and definitely want to see the developers expand on and improve Human Extinction Simulator in the coming months.
You can try Human Extinction Simulator for yourself; the beta is available here. Machine 22 plan to release HES later this year; you can learn more about the game on its official site and vote for Human Extinction Simulator on Steam Greenlight.

Monday, September 8, 2014

SitRep: Starship Corporation

Title: Starship Corporation
Developer: Ratakari
Platforms: PC
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I last posted about the upcoming shipbuilding sim Starship Corporation in March. In this intriguing game, you build a variety of different space-faring vessels and test their effectiveness in diverse simulated scenarios, as well as maintaining your corporation on a macro level through contracts and business connections. Since then the developer has been working on and implementing a plethora of mission types and additions, including everything from alien infestations and mutinies to infiltration by special forces and navigating minefields. Here's a collection of some of the videos showcasing these missions, along with commentary from the developer; the full list of updates can be found here.

Mutiny

Minefield

Special Forces Attack

Infestation

Galaxy Map Teaser

Starship Corporation is still in development; you can learn more about the project and preorder the game on its official site.