Saturday, June 28, 2014

Quick Fix: Screenshot Saturday 6/28

This is a new series of articles I plan to do on my blog. For the past six months, four times a month, I've posted in the NeoGAF Indie Threads about games I've discovered on Screenshot Saturday. I thought it would be cool to post here about the games that intrigued me the most. So without further ado...

Seaworthy is a real time strategy pirate captain simulator roguelike-like. Take command of your very own pirate ship! Order your band of brigands around as you face a variety of crazy encounters and navigate through our open world consisting of procedurally generated maps.
More info and images here (Website coming soon)

Developer: FiolaSoft Studio
Go through an adventure inside of a black hole! No physical laws apply in here. Adventure arcade with logic elements, great atmosphere and awesome gameplay.

Developer: Cariboo
Excaliword is a puzzle word game mixed with simple RTS mechanics. Expand your kingdom by making words and attacking your enemy. Excaliword is a multiplayer online game which allows you to compete against one player by killing the enemy king or capturing the sword.

Developer: Overpowered Games
Rethinking the competitive FPS with spidermechs, zero gravity, grapple hooks, and color

Friday, June 27, 2014

PC Spotlight #98: The Sun At Night

Title: The Sun At Night
Developer: Minicore Studios
Platforms: PC, Mac, Linux
Price: $14.99
Many games give you a canine companion. Fallout, Fable, Dead To Rights, even Metal Gear Rising. But it's much rarer to play as the animal itself. In The Sun At Night, you play as a heavily-armed Russian space dog, in a sprawling world filled with dangerous enemies, cool upgrades, and intense combat.
As the intelligent Laika, you're augmented with powerful armor and an array of weaponry as you explore the caverns, jungles, various military camps, laboratory, and other facilities of an alternate Earth ruled by an all-powerful USSR regime. The Sun At Night set across a large interconnected map, and as you explore and discover secrets, your canine warrior becomes a far more formidable fighter, thanks to a wealth of upgrades. From increasing your health and speed, to improving your shields, to granting your weapons new functions with modifiers, you can customize your playstyle in various ways. You'll need all the improvements and enhancements to succeed, as The Sun At Night is a challenging experience. A mix of bullet hell action as you evade enemy fire and fast-paced platforming and shooting as you fight dozens of robots and massive bosses makes The Sun At Night a satisfyingly difficult game. Skill trees and secrets offer a nice amount of replay value and an story told through dialogue, journals, and cutscenes kept me interested throughout the game.
The Sun At Night is a an expansive, action-packed game, with a unique protagonist and intense gameplay. You can purchase the game here, and vote for it on Steam Greenlight.

Thursday, June 26, 2014

IOS Spotlight #74: Monsters Ate My Birthday Cake

Title: Monsters Ate My Birthday Cake
Developer: SleepNinja Games
Platforms: IOS Universal
Price: $4.99
Successfully Kickstarted over a year ago, Monsters Ate My Birthday Cake is a charming new puzzle game, the debut title of SleepNinja Games. While it shares elements with other games in the genre, Monsters stands out due to its colorful cute visuals, a narrative, varied mechanics, and just offering a fun polished puzzle adventure experience.
While many puzzles games are simply a series of challenges, Monsters Ate My Birthday Cake presents its brain-teasers within the framework of an interesting story and design more akin to a RPG than your usual puzzle game. You play as Niko, a young boy who wakes to find his birthday ruined when the nefarious Boogins steal his precious cake. This theft sets him on an adventure across the various areas of Gogapoe Island, where dangers and new friends await. Most puzzle games would be content with a simple string of levels, but Monsters lets you explore Niko's village, take with villagers for side quests, visit shopkeepers along your journey to purchase new items and outfits: a fleshed-out structure that adds purpose to your puzzle solving.
But the meat of the game is obviously the puzzles and in that regard, Monsters Ate My Birthday Cake delivers a polished array of challenges. Niko and the monster friends he meets throughout his journey each have their own unique abilities, useful in their own way: pulling and pushing blocks, an obstacle- and enemy- crushing ramming dash, a shriek that destroys obstacles and stuns enemies, and more. You have to use these abilities in conjunction to open blocked paths, avoid or defeat the varied Boogin enemies, and collect coins, keys, and pieces of cake. The enemies also add their own puzzle element, as one must rush at you when you enter its line of sight, another may patrol an area, or unleash a shriek of its own that disables your special abilities. Figuring how to move through the levels, how you need to work together, timing and syncing your movements makes Monsters Ate My Birthday Cake a fun game, and special objectives such as not using a certain abilities or not killing enemies adds extra challenge and replay value.
Personally I think Monsters Ate My Birthday Cake controls well; you simply draw your character's path and double tap to activate your abilities. The game is easy to play, allowing the visuals and overall polish to shine. From the character bios in your journal and the notes you find along the way, to the charming aesthetic, to the varied puzzles and the game's RPG-esque elements, to the story framework that ties it all together, Monsters Ate My Birthday Cake is a complete wonderfully-crafted package.

You can purchase Monsters Ate My Birthday Cake for $4.99.

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

The Watchlist: Negspace

Title: Negspace
Developer: Pablo Pencha
Platforms: PC
In development
Negspace is a minimalist 2D physics based hotseat dogfighter, inspired by Lunar Lander, Solar Winds, Descent, 0space and Teleglitch.
Despite still being fairly early in development, Negspace caught my eye while browsing devlogs on TIGForum. As a big fan of Teleglitch, I was intrigued by Negspace's art style and atmosphere, and after reading through the devlog, it looks like the gameplay will be equally engaging.
Set in the corridors of claustrophobic stations and expanses of debris, Negspace tasks you with navigating these hazards as a small ship, against up to four other players in split-screen multiplayer. Mastering movement is key here and learning to control your inertia and momentum will allow you maneuver through minefields, around debris, and deftly evade missiles. However you're not defenseless; missiles of your own, decoys and other counter-measures, and even the ability to take control of bigger more powerful ships offer a wealth of options to utilize while exploring Negspace's levels. Danger awaits around every unexplored corner, from simply running out of fuel to inhospitable radiation.
While the gameplay looks intense and fun, it's the aesthetic that rounds out the package. Developer Pablo Pencha has crafted a visually compelling experience, where empty ships wait to be commandeered and fields of debris float amidst massive suns. Even the menu design adds to the immersion, as it's fully playable rather than a series of screens. The pixel art mixed with realistic physics and interesting ship designs gives Negspace a unique style all its own.
There are also plans for a single player component, but that aspect has yet to be worked on. Negspace doesn't have a release time frame yet; you can follow its development on TIGForum and the developer on Twitter and Facebook.

IOS Spotlight #73: Trigger

Title: Trigger
Developer: Spelkraft
Platforms: IOS Universal
Price: $1.99, currently free till July 20th
On one hand, I love finding hidden gems on the App Store; it's always cool to discover an fantastic game you never heard of. But on the other, it speaks volumes about how hard it can be for IOS developers to find an audience or exposure and attention for their game. I hope Trigger gets the attention it deserves, because it's a fun colorful game and the best same-screen multiplayer game I've played since Wrestle Jump.
Trigger is a simple game to control. Each player has a button in the corner of the screen and controls a small tank. Tapping the button simultaneously rotates your tank 90 degrees to the right and fires a projectile. This simple control scheme makes what could have been mindless arena combat into a hectic game of skill, positioning, timing, close calls, and near misses as you evade enemy shots and plan out your movements. Various power-ups appear through the arenas, granting you abilities such as laying down mines in your wake and bouncing projectiles. Getting hit isn't the end; instead you find yourself on foot, forced to race back to an vacant tank. Besides the fun gameplay, Trigger stands out thanks to its colorful charming art style, as you fight among pencils, erasers, and other everyday items. These objects aren't static; they can move, pencils can break in half, balls roll around if pushed, making the arenas feel dynamic and interesting.
Trigger can be played solo against bots, but the best experience is with friends. I recommend checking Trigger if you're looking for a fun multiplayer game or just something fast and hectic to play when you have a few minutes to spare.

You can download Trigger here. It's currently free till July 20th (usually $1.99)

Monday, June 23, 2014

The Watchlist: TerraTech

Title: TerraTech
Developer: Payload Studios
Platforms: PC, Mac, Linux
Releasing 2015
Design and build vehicles out of modular blocks. Fight enemies, discover new parts and corporations, and harvest natural resources.
I first learned about TerraTech while browsing through the Screenshot Saturday page a few weeks ago and was instantly intrigued by the hulking vehicles and interesting art style. If you've seen games like Scraps, Kerbal Space Program, or Mobiloid, you know the basics here: a wide variety of parts to use, build any kind of vehicle you want. While Scraps focuses on multiplayer arena combat, TerraTech has a much more ambitious expansive scope. Set in open procedurally-generated environments, you set out from your base, gathering resources, taking control of territories from different factions, create more powerful fleet of vehicles to command and to protect your base, and add to your own vehicle with new parts and weapons. From drills and spikes to lasers and cannons, you'll need a powerful arsenal to defend yourself against enemy vehicles; with the right parts, you can even take the skies and attack from above. This focus on exploration and single player sets TerraTech apart from other vehicle-building games, and even more promising, multiplayer is also planned.
The current demo build offers several challenges and an environment where you can explore, build, and fight, and even at an early stage, TerraTech shows a lot of promise. The vehicles look cool and feel powerful and it's fun to just augment and improve your simple starting creation into a massive, menacing beast of a machine. You can learn more about TerraTech and download the demo here. TerraTech is currently seeking funding on Kickstarter.

No Money, No Problem: Chained

Title: Chained
Developer: Those Guys/DigiPen student team
Platforms: PC, Mac, Linux
Along with the previously mentioned SubRay and Arc, Chained was one of the three games to win top honors in the DigiPen Game Awards. Chained easily deserves such recognition, thanks to its interesting mechanics and wonderful art style.
Chained is a short puzzle platformer, the story of man travesing an otherworldly environment, tethered to an ethereal ball-and-chain. What stands out from the start is Chained's art style, a gloomy world filled with dilapidated structures, in an expansive cavern...where something lurks. The gameplay is equally enjoyable; your heavy weight is a versatile tool, able to smash down obstacles and be used as a grapple hook of sorts to climb up high ledges and swing from special points. Simple controls make traversing the various gaps and buildings easy. The world of Chained is a dangerous one; while there are no enemies, it's a world in ruin, as buildings collapse and plummet with you inside. 
Chained is pretty buggy; more than a few times, my chain got stuck on a different floor or I'd find my guy floating through the level. Luckily, the developers seemed aware of this and added keyboard shortcuts that let you restart the position of your character and his ball. 

You can download Chained here.

Sunday, June 22, 2014

No Money, No Problem: SubRay

Title: SubRay
Developers: Team Atmos
Platforms: PC
If you've been following my blog, you know I have a lot of respect for the talented students over at Digipen. They have, and still do, make some of the most interesting unique indie games around; their pedigree includes the likes of Nitronic Rush and its spiritual successor Distance, Narbacular Drop (the game that inspired Portal), Perspective, The Fourth Wall, and many more. Now we can add SubRay to that list.
At a glance, SubRay might bring to mind the indie title Luminesca, another game set in the dark depths of the ocean, where you're guided by the illumination of your headlight. But while Luminesca leaned more towards puzzles along with exploration, SubRay is all about discovery and navigating the vibrant dangerous world beneath the surface. The game is just a wonderful visual experience filled with colorful life and encroaching darkness, a world that just feels alien and weird. But SubRay isn't just about exploration; you need to survive. As you explore the caverns and passages, you collect parts and pieces that give you new abilities, allowing you to fight off predators or even cloak yourself to avoid larger creatures. 
SubRay is still in development; currently there's no way to save the game (as far as I can tell) and the developers are looking for feedback on the game's current state. You can download SubRay here and learn more about how to contact the team on IndieDB.

PC Spotlight #97: Super Splatters

Title: Super Splatters
Developer: SpikySnail
Platforms: PC, Mac, Linux
Price: $9.99
I recently got Super Splatters in the Steam Summer Sale. It hadn't really been on my radar and I didn't have any expectations, but some really positive impressions from friends on NeoGAF convinced me to give the game a chance. That was a good choice on my part, since Super Splatters is such a fun, challenging, unique experience.
If I had to compare Super Splatters to something, I'd say it's Angry Birds meets Tony Hawk. Now that may seem like one weird combination, but it's a pretty apt description. In each stage, you must launch your gooey Splatters across the level, chaining together stylish stunts to build combos and spray onto explosive pods. It sounds simple, but thanks to the array of maneuvers at your disposal and well-designed arenas, Super Splatters takes that relatively simple concept and creates something addictive and fun. Finely tuned physics, and intuitive controls makes chaining together complex stunts easy, letting you focus on which stunts to perform, where and when to do them, the best angles. Getting a good score isn't that difficult, but check out the replays of the best players and you'll see that there's a lot of depth and precise strategy in mastering each level. The art style is colorful, vibrant, and the way your Splatters...splatter on impact never gets old.
Super Splatters offers a wide range of arenas and challenges, all in a colorful vivid style and silly engaging backdrop of a competitive TV show. You can purchase the game from the developer's site and Steam.

Saturday, June 21, 2014

SitRep: Fancy Skulls

Title: Fancy Skulls
Developer: tequibo
Platforms: PC, Mac, Linux
Recently released on Steam Early Access
I covered Fancy Skulls back in October, and since then the game has only been expanded and improved. The same core mechanics and aspects that made the game so enjoyable remain: the abstract visuals, the mix of frantic evasion and precise shooting, the mysterious items and enemies, the diverse weapon mods and abilities. But developer tequibo has made steady progress in the past eight months, and Fancy Skulls today feels more complete and even more fun.
New and enhanced enemies threaten you at each room, from teleporting pods to deadly variations of the projectile-spewing turret...things. The levels feel more diverse, thanks to a more varied color scheme, new textures, and weird twitching flora.  New items and weapon mods offer more ways to alter your playstyle, and the mana system was revamped, changed from a set number of uses to a recharging bar. Completing in-game challenges unlock special starting builds and modifiers, such as random gun, Alchemist, and Thief.
Fancy Skulls is still in beta, and was recently Greenlit and released on Steam Early Access. The development roadmap includes improved visuals; new enemies, weapon mods, and items; a story, and more. You can purchase the game from the developer's site, Steam, and IndieGameStand.

Thursday, June 19, 2014

PC Spotlight #96: VVVVVV

Developer: Terry Cavanagh
Platforms: PC, Mac, Linux, IOS Universal
Price: $4.99, $2.99
So...I'm pretty late to the party here. Actually, given my love for precision platformers, I'm surprised I hadn't played VVVVVV earlier. But now I have, on both PC and IOS, and if I had to use one word to describe the game, it would be "masterful", Cavanagh's best work.
VVVVVV drops you onto a weird alien environment, one of the few survivors of a crash landing that leaves your fellow crew members scattered across the world. In that aspect, VVVVVV already separates itself from most precision platformers: it's non-linear. Actually it's almost in the vein of a Metroidvania; you travel to different areas, find teleporters that let you jump around the map or back to a central hub. Each area offers its own unique challenge, a twist on the core mechanics. At its core, besides the truly challenging gameplay, that diversity is what makes VVVVVV such a fun experience. Mechanically, the game is so simple: move left, move right, and jump (or rather a reversal of gravity that lets you navigate from floor to ceiling) You can control your movement, but can't change your gravity mid-jump, so each switch must be deliberate.
Yet from those simple controls, VVVVVV crafts such a wide range of challenges, hazards to avoid, and interesting scenarios. From the ubiquitous spikes to moving enemies, from barriers that switch your gravity orientation in mid-air, to utilizing screen wrap, VVVVVV takes its precision platfomer roots and not only delivers on that front, but also creates head-scratching puzzles and challenges to overcome
If you know Terry Cavanagh, you know what kind of experience to expect from VVVVVV. Brutally challenging, stylish with a chunky retro aesthetic, a fantastic soundtrack. Regarding the IOS version, I wasn't sure if touch controls could offer the required precision. But my fears were quickly swept aside once I started the game; the touch controls are responsive and precise, much better than I would have anticipated. I was even able to complete the infamous VeniVidiVici section on IOS (after 389 deaths, but I did it!).
If you're like me and somehow haven't played VVVVVV yet, then you're missing out. It's just a fantastic experience. You can purchase the game from its official site, Steam, and the App Store.

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

The Watchlist: Twin Souls

Title: Twin Souls: The Path of Shadows
Developer: Lince Works
Platforms: PC, Mac, Linux
Releasing 2015
Twin Souls combines the essence of stealth classics like Tenchu with the modern approach of recent gems like Mark of the Ninja and Dishonored.
In November, I wrote about the freeware student project Path of Shadows. It was a third person stealth game, set in a cel-shaded landscape, granting you mastery over the shadows as a mystical assassin. It was a short experience, but fun, unique, and very promising. Thankfully that promise won't be squandered, as the team at Lince Works has taken what worked in the original prototype and expanded it into a full-length spiritual successor, Twin Souls: The Path of Shadows.
Much remains the same. You're still an assassin with the mystical ability to control shadows, allowing you to teleport between patches of darkness, use the shadows to swallow corpses, and strike from impossible angles.Twin Souls promises to expand on and evolve what made the prototype so fun: large multi-tiered environments; a larger array of shadow powers that let you traverse rooftops, create decoys, and more; more varied enemies such as archers and other mystical foes. The stylish cel-shaded aesthetic returns as well. While many current stealth games focus on making you more powerful and well-equipped, a silent predator stalking his prey, Twin Souls finds inspiration in games such as Tenchu and Splinter Cell; you're outnumbered, easily overpowered in direct combat, and you have the option to remain an unseen ghost or take down your foes one-by-one.
Twin Souls: The Path of Shadows is currently planned to release in 2015. You can support the game on Kickstarter; it has already been Greenlit.

IOS Spotlight #72: The Day of The Totems

Title: The Day of the Totems
Developer: Cesar Varela
Platforms: IOS Universal
Price: $0.99
The Day of the Totems is a puzzle platformer. Now there are a lot of puzzle platformers on IOS, but Day of the Totems stands out due to its cute style and interesting gameplay.
Your goal is to reassemble your scattered totem and reach the exit platform. Each level contains four totem pieces, and while the early levels are straight forward, easing you into the mechanics, soon the game becomes quite tricky. With each piece you collect, your character becomes taller, preventing you from passing through openings that you could jump through before. Figuring out where you need to move the totem pieces and which order you need to collect them so that you can gather all four pieces and still reach the exit can be challenging, especially once mechanics such as portals, pressure switches, and movable blocks are introduced. At one point, actually in the first few levels, I was stumped on how to collect all four pieces, until I had a great "aha!" moment, which allowed me to see new solutions I hadn't considered before. Moments like that is what makes a puzzle game surpass others in my opinion, and The Day of the Totems has no shortage of those.
Cute colorful visuals, a nice amount of levels, solid controls, and a fun puzzle mechanics makes The Day of the Totems a puzzle platformer worth checking out.

You can purchase The Day of the Totems for $0.99.

Sunday, June 15, 2014

No Money, No Problem: The World Beneath

Title: The World Beneath
Developer: Clement Duquesne
Platforms: PC, Browser
Developed for Ludum Dare 29, The World Beneath is a first person exploration game set in a network of subterranean caverns. It's a short experience, but well worth playing. The abstract environments are wonderful to discover, the light from your limited torches illuminating the depths with vivid colors. There's a sense of urgency and tension as well, as your torches fade away and darkness closes in. A new cave system is generated when you restart so there's always something new to explore.
The World Beneath is simple and short, but it's also a wonderfully artistic experience thanks to its abstract angular style and lighting effects. You can play or download the game here.

Thursday, June 12, 2014

PC Spotlight #95: Crimsonland

Title: Crimsonland
Developer: 10tonLtd
Platforms: PC
Price: $13.99
I never played the original Crimsonland. Well actually that's not true; I tried the demo once and the game didn't really seem like anything special. After reading some great impressions from a friend, I decided to check out this new and improved Crimsonland and I'm very glad I did. It's addictive, bloody, intense, and just one hell of a fun satisfying shooter.
In terms of story and gameplay, Crimsonland is as simple as can be. You and hordes of hundreds and hundreds of creatures on the battlefield, kill them all. But while the actual mechanis are not complex, Crimsonland adds a layer of strategy underneath the run and gun gameplay, turning a game that might seem shallow from the screenshots into a compelling thrilling experience. Every moment consists of countless decision. Which gun is best for the current situation? Should I rush for that power-up but risk having to run through a horde to reach it? Which order should I use power-ups? Which perks should I choose?
I think the most interesting aspect is how the varied enemies require you to totally change your tactics and influences the weapons and perks you'd want to use. It's not like some shooters where you can just get the most powerful weapon and kill everything. If you're facing fast spiders that replicate when they die, then you're going to want a weapon that's accurate and precise but that fires and reloads fast enough that they won't close the gap, and power-ups that focus on crowd control and defense. Hordes of zombies? You'll want to go for the spray and pray type weapons or explosives and all-out offensive power-ups. Thankfully your arsenal is just as varied as the enemies you face. Weapons range from a simple pistol and shotgun to all manner of flamethrowers, plasma cannons, automatic weapons, and even more exotic weapons. Power-ups slow time, shield you from damage, restore health, imbue your weapon with devastating plasma energy. The RPG-esque perk system offers diverse ways to customize your playstyle. Sacrifice health for damage, be faster, have more ammo, poison enemies, gain a melee attack, and many more perks make each survival attempt feel fresh and exciting
Crimsonland is a must play for top-down shooters. Besides the 60-mission campaign (and three difficulty levels), you can test your skills across severall survival modes, all of which adds its own twist of the core gameplay. The visuals and effects are stylish, the gameplay is deeper than you'd might expect, and seeing the screen literally turn red with blood and gore as you mow down hundreds of creatures is very satisfying. You can purchase Crimsonland on Steam.

IOS Spotlight #71: Ion Bond

Title: Ion Bond
Developer: Smiling Bag
Platforms: IOS Universal
Price: $0.99
Ion Bond is the newest game from developer Stewart Hogarth. You may know him thanks to his indie I Am Level, which mixed platforming, pinball, and retro visuals to craft a fun hidden gem. Ion Bound is neither a platformer, a pinball game, or retro; instead it's a slick, stylish puzzle game, one that constantly new mechanics and offers challenging scenarios that test both your mind and skill.
Rather than ions and particles, it's easier to think of the game as about magnets in zero gravity. Same-charged nodes repel each other, differently-charged nodes attract. By linking nodes, you can manuever them around the screen, to both collide like-colored nodes and to collect the three pick-ups in each level. It's all about figuring out how to use the bonds and different node charges to your advantage and when to break bonds and conserving momentum. The chapters start out simple enough, and each adds a new mechanic, from particle-destroying dark matter surfaces, neutral white nodes, static unmoving modes, undecided nodes whose charge can be changed, and that's only the four out of the six chapters. The mechanics are simple but when combined, allow for a variety of challenging puzzles. Ion Bond may sound complex, but in fact it's easy to control, only requiring you to drag between nodes to link them together and tap on these links to separate nodes.
You can purchase Ion Bond for $0.99.

Friday, June 6, 2014

The Watchlist: A Song For Viggo

Title: A Song For Viggo
Developer: Simon Karlsson
Platforms: PC
2015, In development
A point and click-game made of real paper, about a parent who accidentally kills his son Viggo. This game is about the aftermath.
I've always considered video games to be the most versatile form of entertainment, able to immerse and engross the player in a story and atmosphere in ways not possible with books, TV, or film. A Song For Viggo's subject matter is heavy, bleak, an exploration of depression and loss and grief. It's not the kind of premise you'd expect in a game, or even a movie for that matter. It drops you into a life shattered by the death of a child, and the roller coaster of emotions that follow. Keep your broken family together, while also struggling with the aftermath of this tragedy, making decisions and choices both big and small.
But the powerful narrative isn't the only reason A Song For Viggo deserves your attention. From the haunting piano score to the meticulously-handcrafted paper art style, the game is truly unique in terms of aesthetic and visual atmosphere.
A Song For Viggo is still in alpha, with a tentative release set for mid-2015. You can support the game on Kickstarter.

IOS Spotlight #70: OTTTD

Title: OTTTD
Developer: SMG Studio
Platforms: IOS Universal
Price: $2.99
The tower defense. By now, we all know what to expect from one of those. Lanes, enemies, tower placement, upgrading and repairing. OTTTD takes the TD framework and offers a unique take on the genre with RTS and RPG elements, humor, and copious gore.
It should be noted that OTTTD stands over Over The Top Tower Defense and that name couldn't be more accurate. Across the three worlds, you face diverse enemies, such as flying armored shark, killer eyeballs, and chopper-riding squids,...and leave them littered across the battlefield in pieces. You have four towers at your disposal - rocket, plasma, gatling, and shock, and while that may seem limiting, you unlock two upgrades for each tower, so rocket tower can become an anti-air battery or you shock tower can become a shield generator.
So far, OTTTD sounds like any other tower defense game, but what makes it stand out is the heroes. While Kingdom Rush has a similar system, OTTTD injects an RPG-style leveling system, complete with skill trees, special skills, and weapons to equip. The game offers seven hero classes, from the long range Recon to the rocket-wielding Rocketeer, the clone-crafting Scientist, and others; you can only bring three onto a map, allowing you to customize your playstyle. Like an RTS, you can move your heroes around the map and use their abilities to turn the tides of battle; those mechanics makes OTTTD feel more hands-on and involved than other TD games I've played. You're not waiting for enemies to reach your turrets; you're moving your Heavy into position, using the Engineer's tower boost skill to take out an incoming boss, while you call in a missile strike with your Rockeeter.
Besides the involved gameplay and hero mechanics, OTTTD rounds out its action-packed package with vibrant visuals and a silly humorous tone. You can purchase the gamr for $2.99. The developers plan to update the game with another set of levels and other content in the future and a PC version is also in development.

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

PC Spotlight #94: Capsule

Title: Capsule
Developer: Adam Saltsman, Robin Arnott
Platforms: PC, Mac
Price: $4.99
Mechanically and artistically, Capsule is very minimal. The only controls are for thrust and sending out a pulse that identifies objects in range. The only visual is your lo-fi radar screen.
But Capsule isn't about complex mechanics or stunning graphics. It excels on another level and that is immersion and tension. Many of the other reviews out there have said that as well and it's absolutely true. From the start, you're immersed in the limited claustrophobic view, the smudged flickering screen your only connection with the environment. You feel as if at any moment the screen's going to go dark, your vessel barely hanging on by a thread.

But the audio brings everything together. Playing Capsule in the dark and with headphones is a must. Your labored gasping breaths. The scrambled radio signals fading in and out across the expanse (of space? the ocean depths?). The muted rumbling when you collide with debris. In terms of crafting a tangible tense atmosphere through audio and sound alone, Capsule is masterful.
Gameplay-wise, Capsule is simple yet tense and not easy. It's a balancing act between exploration and desperation. Fuel and oxygen are your two resources and you need both to explore further and reach each new destination. As the distance between locations increase and new dangers emerge, managing that balance becomes increasingly challenging. Failure isn't a game over screen; it's being dead in the water, gasping your final breaths as your screen dims and fogs up.

An enigmatic story unfolds as you traverse the lonely expanse. Told through logs, messages, and emails, each new destination reveals more of the narrative, also acting as checkpoints and refilling your fuel and oxygen.
Capsule is a minimalist experience that absolutely delivers and I'd recommend the game for its tense gameplay, fantastic atmosphere, and immersive soundscape