GAME REVIEW: Platformines

Platformines is a platform-jumper shooter that takes place in a mine (who would have guessed?) It was released by Magiko Games in March 2014.

The basic premise is that you are a member of a crew that mans an underground excavation vehicle called the Robodig. It has broken mid-dig and scattered the nine block cannons that could be used to repair it. The mines are filled with hostile monsters of various shapes as well as hostile weapon-toting humans. At any given time the location of the next block cannon is marked on your map as well as providing a directional arrow and distance on the main play screen. So you have to navigate through the maze-like mines fighting hostiles all the while to get to each cannon until you’ve collected all nine.

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GAME REVIEW: VVVVVV

VVVVVV is a platformer game released by Terry Cavanagh in 2010, based around a single simple idea–what if, instead of jumping, you could reverse gravity? The plot of the game is that a crew of five people has some kind of accident that leaves it stuck, and with the screw scattered across the area when there’s a transporter problem. You are the captain and it’s your responsibility to find your crew members and return them to the ship so you can leave again. You can flip gravity–the reason for this is not explained, but none of the other crew members seem to be able to do it, some captain’s privilege I guess. The one restriction is that to flip it , you have to have your feet on a solid surface–you can’t flip back and forth in mid-air, you have to wait until you land.

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GAME REVIEW: One Finger Death Punch

One Finger Death Punch is a Kung Fu fighting game released by Silver Dollar Games in March 2014 with an extremely simple control scheme. So simple that it only uses two buttons–one to attack left, and one to attack right. If you attack when there’s no enemy within range, then you miss and leave yourself vulnerable to attack. And for the most part that’s all you need to know. The game punishes button-mashing (randomly and rapidly pressing buttons) because missing an attack is the last thing you want to do.

Of course, there are some complications. Enemies sometimes drop weapons. Some give you unlimited range one-kill hits like bow and arrows, throwing knifes and bombs. Others just give you extended range for a limited period of time like swords, clubs, and some sillier ones like fish.
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Tiny and Big: Grandpa’s leftovers is a 3-D platform “jump and slice” game released by Black Pants Studio in 2012 . Tiny is the main character, a scrawny inventor whose best friend is his AI car radio. Tiny’s grandfather gave him a pair of very special underpants as his inheritance, but Big (Tiny’s nemesis) has stolen them and fled into the desert.

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GAME REVIEW: Machinarium

Machinarium is a point-and-click puzzle game published by Amanita Design in 2009. In the game you are a robot who has been dismantled and dumped from the robot city into the endless junkyard beyond. You had lived happily with your friends until a gang of thugs came and split you up, using each of you for your own devices. Now you need to find your way back into the city, rescue your friends, and keep the gang from doing anything like that again.
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GAME REVIEW: Limbo


Limbo is a sidescroller puzzle game published by Playdead in 2010 with a very sharp visual style. Your character is a silhouette of a boy interacting with silhouettes of environmental objects with a grayscale background, trying to safely traverse a dangerous environment to… well, the game never really explains that. You wake in a field of grass and then you get the controls, no explanation, text, dialog, anything to give you a story other than the events of what you see on the screen.

So, you make the most of things and start wandering, and soon you discover that this is a very dangerous place when you get chopped in half by a bear trap, fall onto spike pits, and get speared by the leg of a giant spider.

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I don’t usually have a lot of time for gaming, but when I saw a link to an early access version of Hack ‘n’ Slash by Double Fine Productions on Steam, I impulse-bought it.

At a glance, it looks a lot like a SNES-era Legend of Zelda game. Green-tuniced, sword-wielding adventurer wandering around and fighting wizards and etc. The similarities are big enough that it has to be an intentional tribute — boomerangs and bombs, a little flying companion who gives you advice, and lost woods. That’s fine, I don’t mind a tribute to Zelda.

But what really makes the game interesting is the twist added to it. Instead of a good old-fashioned sharp-edged sword, you have a hacking sword that looks rather like a USB thumb drive that you can use to alter the internal variables of creatures and objects in the world. You can change an enemy to be friendly or to move in a different pattern when idle. You can unlock a door, or change how far a rock will move when you push it.

Programming and adventure game combined–count me interested!

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