Maybe you played NEKOGAMES‘ Parameters today, the Flash game that boils down the RPG genre into a single screen of level-grinding, boss-dueling spreadsheet “action”. Maybe you did it real fast and posted your top time to Twitter. Me? I hit 99:99:99 on the counter before I managed to get halfway through but I stubbornly stuck with it to 100% completion. Above (and if you click through) you can see my final stats and all blocks uncovered. I guess that’s technically a spoiler but I’ll let it slide since you can practically see all of the game as soon as you start and the surprises aren’t really visible here.
Speaking of punishing old school gameplay refried like a batch of beans and made all the more potent, I recently played the demo of current Indie darling, VVVVVV. Its got pixels, single-screen rooms, requires absurd timing and just as much twitchy reflex as puzzle-solving gray matter. Where it gets the modern trimmings is with its hook — you don’t jump, you have one button that instantly changes gravity — and its checkpoint system.
So you can’t get too upset because while you’re punching your keyboard and your brain is melting out of your left nostril the most you’re typically set back is one screen’s width. No life counter to worry about. No continues. It’s only Game Over when you give up. That said, I had my fill from the demo when a series of moving platforms over a spike pit (and spike ceiling) proved just as daunting with gravity pulling in one direction as the other. I love what the game does and especially how it looks but I have no desire to punish my brain any further.
I did, however, buy the soundtrack by SoulEye, PPPPPP. It’s just as retro as you might expect from looking at the game and is as diverse in mood and atmosphere as it is loud and chiptuned. Like Shatter’s soundtrack it’s just as important as the visuals for setting the mood. You can check out both the game (here) and the music (here) for nothing but a few minutes of your time.
What do you think of VVVVVV and PPPPPP? Is it totally your thing or, like me, did it squash your cognitive logic like a microwaved M&M?
I just happened upon Archive Games by way of their newly-released “first person action/puzzle platformer” Grappling Hook and while it looks fiendishly clever in the same way as Portal, it’s Tower of Heaven that has me contemplating my next PC game. Evil in the same vein as I Wanna Be the Guy, Tower of Heaven has a little more going for it in my book. For starters there’s a peculiar story that unfolds as you attempt to reach the top of the tower. As you clear each screen and ascend another floor an angry God starts changing the rules. Suddenly it deems that “Thou shalt not touch walls or blocks from the side” and then “Thou shalt not touch yellow blocks”. At one point in this video it declares that walking Left is a sin! Walking Left!
The other thing Tower of Heaven has is a great Game Boy presentation and a catchy chiptune soundtrack by Flashygoodness. I’d like to think that these trappings could envelope me, sharpening my feeble skills to take on that angry God’s challenges…. but I don’t honestly think I’m quite ready for it just yet. Fortunately, Tower of Heaven is one of Archive Games free offerings so after you grab their desktop client you can download and play it for free! Let this post serve as a reminder for me to one day get a controller hooked up to my PC so I can tempt the platforming fates to smite me yet again.
Almost exactly a year ago I was in love with Dino Run for its simple concept (umm, run!), loads of replayability and, most of all, its gorgeous pixel art. This year I should be crazy over Canabalt, a game which has only one button (jump!) and simply requires you to keep up with the increasingly fast and shaky side-scrolling action as you try to escape a city’s destruction. It looks and sounds as stylish as Dino Run but I just can’t keep up with the action after about 2,000 meters. The rooftops and obstacles are randomly generated so there’s no way to memorize your way through it but for about five minutes (or as long as your patience holds out) it provides a fun and lovingly pixelated run. Thanks to Super Punch for the link.
Remember those days? When everything was DOOM but… It’s like DOOM but with space sharks. It’s like DOOM but with laser guns. It’s like DOOM but with basketballs! Now you can relive both the 16-bit era and DOOM clones by playing DOOM, in 2D. It’s a great effort by Jens Winterstein who’s taken the art, sounds and music from the original game and remixed them into a 2D platformer complete with clever secrets and a rocket launcher by stage three! Why? Why not! It worked for Half-Life right?