Monday, January 13, 2014

Tilting and Tapping

Casting and firing.

Ridiculous Fishing is a game where you;
throw in a hook,
guide it to the lowest depths you can reach,
hook as many fish you can on the return,
break the surface and fling the fish into the air,
then shoot the fish out of the air,

With said profits you can purchase upgrades to your fishing kit, or your hunting artillery, or various hats and accoutrement to enhance rewards and appearance

That's really about it.
Thing is, explaining it in its simplicity does not adequately explain its addictiveness.
I played this on my android phone so the casting mechanic was tied to the tilting and shooting part was tapping all over the place. Wickedly simple, yet it gets its hooks in. You can drop in for literally 5 minutes of playtime and feels like you've taken steps forward for the upgrade dollars. Alternatively, you can waste a huge amount of time aiming for the depths or trying to collect all the wildlife.

I really appreciate the visual style, and the music was fun and catchy. There is a fun, aberrant humour present in the design and gameplay, which is reinforced by both the item and upgrade descriptions and the comments in "Byrdr" (an in game social media app auto-populated with comments from characters, which can be shared out into the twitterverse)

I acquired Ridiculous Fishing in a Humble Bundle, so the price was lost in the middle somewhere. It retails for around the $3 mark depending on platform and I think it's easily worth that price. It's the perfect mix of pick up/put down gaming with the hidden depth for longevity.

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

And these children shall always be three!

Rogue Legacy is a combat platformer with light elements of RPG style progression set in a castle made of randomly pieced together preset rooms.
The gameplay is punishingly difficult, reminiscent of when arcade games were super challenging for all the extra monies, but continued play is rewarded with an understanding of patterns and style allowing you to make progression with your characters and in the levels.
When you die (and you will indeed die. And die again. And again. And then die some more when you think no dying could be left to do) you are punted back to the start screen. But each time you begin play you select a new toon who is the descendant of the guy or gal you just died with. As such, you inherit the family castle and the coin your dead former self had in their pockets.
This money can be spent in the castle to change things like hitpoints, chance to crit or new classes. Or you can spend coin at the blacksmith for new armour and weapons.
Then you sally forth into the castle to reap riches! And die some more. For the children.
Thusly, unless you run into the first room and straight into a spike pit without thinking there is always some move forward.

Three choices will always greet you at the new character screen, with a random name, a random (from those available) class, a spell, and some traits. This is the first taste of the games' style of humour. These traits run from those which do not affect gameplay such as "the one" making everything look a bit matrix-y, to vertigo which will invert your view and controls which certainly takes some getting used to. Until you die.

Personally I think this game is tops. It's a great blend of traditional skill testing and current tastes in the roguelike roguelite rogue-esque (whatever) genres being thrown around the place. If.. When I die I rarely feel cheated, more either that i wasn't playing attention or that i made a stupid decision, rather than loose controls of a system that is unfair. No. It is actually completely unfair, but it doesn't cheat, which is a horribly important distinction.

I like the cartoony vibe to the artwork, and it really remind me of ghosts and goblins in both visual and game-y reference.

 I was gifted Rogue Legacy by my best mate, so it cost me naught (except years of listening to his crap) but I would 90% recommend this at full price which is $14.99 on Steam as of this writing. A cool tenner would be the perfect buy.

It's actually really easy to pick up and put down, but you won't actually want to put it down. This is both because the gameplay is engaging, and because the rewards of having just failed don't come to you until you try again. This is a powerful motivator.

Unless you died with 20 gold in your pockets. Idiot.

Sunday, January 5, 2014

For studious protagonists

Robot Entertainment has delivered many an hours' worth of fun in the form of Orcs Must Die and its sequel, so i had some very high hopes for this title.

Hero Academy is an asymmetrical turn based strategy game featuring colourful cartoon style sprites battling each other for dominance of the board. You select the team you wish you use, each featuring their own characters, spells and synergies and then off you go. Board is selected randomly as is your opponent, though you can select from your friends list.

Once play commences, each round gives you 5 action points with which to either place a unit, move a unit, attack with a unit, or cast a spell. Units and spells are randomly generated at the beginning of each turn to fill up to a selection of 6 items. Then you submit your turn and await the opponents manoeuvres in return.
You can aim to either wipe the board clear of opponents, or try to take out any crystals the opponent has on the board.
You can run more than one game at once which is great, and the game will notify you when a turn is ready to play your next round. so you can play this as a quick distraction game with two games running and login once a day or so, or you can start 20 games at once if you want a non stop session.

I'm pretty crap at it so far. I quite like it. It's easy to pick up how to play and nothing feels very unfair even given the random nature of the  but i haven't invested the time yet to have developed the skill set to be a worthy opponent. At any rate, I was a bit sold given the pedigree of the developer. I really like their style of art and the animations, they also have a talent for making tight gameplay, apparently across different game types.

So far ive had no major dramas, except the occasional server connection issue. I have an odd codec issue on my box when i play but im pretty certain that's gonna be me and my clunky nerdbox more than a game issue.

I scored Hero Academy in a Humble Bundle so the price was super sweet, it normally retails on Steam for about 5 bucks (with only two teams) which is well worth it. You can also get a two pack at a discount, to bring along a friend.
However, the addon teams are each almost as much as the game itself which actually seems pretty steep. Even though they offer a wholly different experience to each other team, its hard to appreciate the high cost.

Saturday, January 4, 2014

Get to the choppah!

Jack lumber.

i actually quite liked this game, it just runs a little shallow.
you play as the chop happy titular character, avenging his grandmother after a savage tree attack.
you play through each level, a series of rounds as logs (and later, other items) are sprung into the air in front of you. Your job is to drag out a path that will chop each of the necessary items before the timer runs down.

the art style, sounds and characters are fun, with each successful level letting another woodland friend return to your cabin, which in turn unlock various upgrades and powerups to use while playing.

very straightforward, quite fun, a little bit more addictive that i expected.
its very easy to play through just one more round. we all know how tempting it is to go back and 3 star a level if we missed out.

the bulk of my experience was played through steam, because given an option i like all my stuff in one place AND i'm a sucker for cheeves. However, I also played it on my Samsung android tablet and its far superior. Touching and swiping is a much more natural motion than mousing around.

 i got jack lumber as part of a humble bundle, but i'd say its worth a gold coin for admission. just keep in mind the android version feels like the better experience.