Wednesday, 27 July 2016

A Bug's Life

Moon Bugs was as short as I expected, but pretty fun. It's actually a mash-up of ideas from a few games, with a few of its own thrown in for good measure. It feels a bit Defender-y with aliens swooping all over the place and nipping down to steal your supplies (fuel, rather than people) then slowly making their way back to the top of the screen, enabling you to shoot them on the way and get your valuable fuel back. However, instead of being in your own starship, here you're fixed to the bottom of the screen - only able to move left and right, more like Space Invaders. The aliens also fire bullets at you, and the odd energy bomb. You also see motherships making their way across the top of the screen at times, which apparently opens up some kind of bonus round, but I was never able to get that far. Instead of waves of enemies that you need to defeat, your goal is to protect the fuel while your home base collects it. So, a pipe will come out of your home base on the left of the screen, pick up the next fuel in line, and drag it back to the base. This means that as you proceed through the level, it takes longer for the pipe to get the fuel and pull it back, so it becomes more frantic to defend each one. It's a nice little mechanic. That's about all there is to it (as far as I saw), but I didn't get very far. It's a fun little game - not world altering, but enjoyable. Onwards!

Another little game, I think, then I really will get back to Inquisitor and TR. Next up on the randometer is...10-Second Ninja! Looks like one of those Super Meat Boy-style single-screen speed runs. I'll give that a go.

Tuesday, 26 July 2016

Kick it to the curb

Hmm...Dive Kick. As an idea and an experiment, it's great. A unique take on the genre that does bring something new and fresh, but once that one idea is exhausted (and it really doesn't take long) it becomes as dull as heck. Dive Kick is a 2-button fighting game, so you can dive (jump) and you can kick. You can only kick while jumping, so the jump button leaps you straight up, and the kick button brings you down at an angle toward your opponent. If you hit first then you win the round, and first to five rounds wins the match. That's pretty much it. There are no movement keys, just jumping and kicking. If you press kick while on the ground then you'll jump backwards (and you can press kick again as usual to then kick down forwards). So the only way to move around the arena is to jump and kick. Characters also have a couple of special moves each, performed by pressing both buttons either in the air or on the ground. They're unique to each character, and aren't much to write home about. The characters themselves are an interesting bunch, with some good variations on the theme...but it's not that much of a theme and they really do milk it for all it's worth. Of course, as with all fighting games, it would be better with two human players - and I did actually try a couple of online matches - but the truth of it is that there isn't that much to it. Sure, you could argue that there is a little bit of skill in knowing when to jump and when to kick...but that's it. You may as well sit two people at a computer and tell them the third person to press a button wins the game. It's fun for a minute - anticipating what your opponent is going to do and trying to quickly counteract when they make their move, but it's not really skill. You can tell how much luck is involved by the way scores can swing so wildly between matches. You might fight one person and lose 5-0, then the next match you'll beat them 5-1. And it's not any harder - the tactics don't change, it's just a grind of jumping and kicking. You get infinite continues in story mode, too, so it really is a case of just knocking your head against a wall until you win. It's one of those games where the Steam achievements actually tell an interesting story. Only 27% of all players have actually finished story mode with one character, and only 0.9% have finished it with all characters. That shows how rapidly the game gets boring. Of course, me being the masochistic saddo that I am, I am now one of that 0.9%. I'm glad it's done, and I don't think there's much chance of me ever picking it up again.

I should really get back to Inquisitor, but I'm not sure I can quite face it yet. So, next up on the randometer is...Moon Bugs! A Space Invaders-style game from 1983. Cool. I'll have a quick blitz of it at lunchtime and move on.

Tuesday, 12 July 2016

Dammit Jammit

Well, that was absolutely and categorically terrible. I can't even see that it would be that good in multiplayer, which is most sports games saving grace in my book. The graphics and animation are shoddy, the controls are shoddy, the slidy jumping is shoddy, the awful digitized speech is showoddy shoddy. Even the 'so-bad-it's-good' factor only lasts about 5 seconds while you laugh at the (three) characters before you again become depressed about how bad it is. That bit would probably be funnier with friends - you might even get 10 seconds of joint mockery - but the actual game itself would still be dire. I can't think of a single good thing to say about. There were better basketball games years before it, heck, sports games like Match Day on the Beeb were much better than this. Ah well, to the bin it goes. Onwards!

Next up on the randometer is...Trial By Magic! Never heard of it. Another '90s game, this time an action RPG. ... And it doesn't work. Some kind of crazy error. Not something I think I can fix. Ah well. Next up is...Divekick! Okay, that's quite a recent fighting game - the twist being you only have two buttons: dive and kick. Be interesting to see what this one's like.


So, a verrrry slow gaming life recently. New job and a lot going on means I haven't touched a game in the last month or so. I haven't started the next Tomb Raider yet, and I'm about a third of the way through the massive game that is Inquisitor, so I wanted something small and quick that I could nibble on. Windosill was the perfect thing. It's a game that can be completed in about 20 minutes. I don't know if it was a Flash game first (I know it was on iPhones, so maybe not), but that's what it feels like - a vector puzzle game with things that do stuff when you click on them. Essentially, you have to get a car through all of the levels, and to do that you need to find the cube key for the door. It's usually a simple case of clicking on everything until the key pops out, but some levels (screens is perhaps a better word) have a little more strategy to them, such as arranging the parts of a machine or distracting a creature so your car can get past. It's all very simple, but also very pleasing. Reminded me a little of the Amanita Designs games, but on a much simpler level.Just what I needed. I might keep nibbling at little games like this whilst I chip away at Inquisitor. Onwards! Next up on the randometer is...SoulTrap! Never heard of it, but it looks like a '90s platformer, so will hopefully be another one I can zip through.

...aaaannndd it's 16-bit Windows only, so no joy for me. I hope this isn't going to be a problem for games I actually want to play! I guess I can try and set up a Virtual Box or something with an image of Win 95? Anyway. this one didn't look that fun on YouTube, so I'm not that bothered about skipping it. Next up on the randometer is...Jammit! Never heard of this one either. Apparently it's a basketball game, so I might just give it a quick go now tonight. A similar kind of mid-90s age, so hopefully we won't hit the same problem.