Updates from June, 2012 Toggle Comment Threads | Keyboard Shortcuts

  • Pete Davison 11:18 am on June 18, 2012 Permalink |
    Tags: Good Old Games, Martian Dreams, Savage Empire, , Worlds of Ultima   

    Worlds of Ultima 1 and 2 Available for Free on GOG.com 

    GOG.com delivers the goods once again.

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  • Pete Davison 2:29 pm on June 14, 2012 Permalink |
    Tags: Auditorium, bundle, Escape Goat, Iconoclasts, Indie Royale, Noitu Love 2: Devolution, PixelJunk Eden   

    Pay What You Want for PixelJunk Eden, Escape Goat, Noitu Love 2 and Auditorium 

    Four great games (and an alpha preview) for the price of… whatever you want, really.

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    • slapshot82 10:34 pm on June 14, 2012 Permalink

      I’ve actually been toying around with PixelJunk Eden, and I’m really enjoying it. I’ve read so many mixed things about it over the years, but it’s well worth checking out.

      Auditorium has a special place in my heart. It was one of the first review codes I ever obtained. 😀

    • Pete Davison 2:01 pm on June 15, 2012 Permalink

      PixelJunk Eden was once described as a Squaddie as “the game I’d like to wear”. I think that’s pretty apt, given its awesome visual style.

      I tried Auditorium for the first time last night. I’ve been aware of it for a long time but never actually played it. What a fascinating experience! Reminds me, if anything, of Jeff “Yak the Hairy” Minter’s “light synthesiser” experiments in the ’80s and early ’90s — Colourspace and Trip-A-Tron, if anyone remembers those. (I’ll be impressed if you do.)

  • Pete Davison 11:34 pm on June 9, 2012 Permalink |
    Tags: Atooms to Moolecules, BeatBuddy, Blackwell's Asylum, DIVO, Imagine Earth, , Level Up 2011, MilitAnt, Splice, , The White Laboratory, ThunderWheels, Trash TV   

    Level Up Winners Give a Sneak Peek at Upcoming Indies 

    Indie darlings of the future or unworkable nonsense? Pete delves into the 2011 Level Up winners.

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  • Pete Davison 5:33 pm on June 6, 2012 Permalink
    Tags: expansion, Frozenbyte, , , ,   

    Trine 2 Coming to Wii U, Getting Expansion This Holiday 

    Gorgeous indie puzzle-platformer Trine 2 is on its way to Nintendo’s upcoming system with all-new content.

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  • Pete Davison 11:51 am on June 6, 2012 Permalink |
    Tags: GOG.com, , , Space Rangers 2: Dominators, Space Rangers 2: Reboot   

    Get Space Rangers 2: Reboot for Just $3.99 

    E3, schmee3. The big news of today is that you can get one of the strangest, most wonderful space games of all time for about the price of a cup of coffee.

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    • unmanneddrone 12:20 pm on June 6, 2012 Permalink

      Very good! We need to get on the SR2 squad mission at some point. I wrote this a few years ago after falling desperately in love with the craziness.

      Vladivostok conjures stark and lonely thoughts in most people; a frozen port somewhere in the north, a place hemmed with cracking ice and mitted hands. It is, however, the place from which a phenomenal take on non-linear gaming sprang forth. From the frigid windswept edge of Russia’s east comes Space Rangers2: Dominators. While the obviousness of the name has the ability to raise eyebrows, it is one of the deepest and most enthralling space adventures available in this section of the known Universe. More importantly, it fails to be boxed into a specific category. It is multiple games in one.

      Starting out in Space Rangers 2: Dominators drops the player into an open galaxy, with independent economies fluctuating; star bases opening, thriving and going out of business; the five empires rising and falling in influence; all amidst the encroaching threat of the Dominators, a tri-factional horde of self-replicating and self-sufficient robots intent on living up to their name. The player can forge whatever existence they choose to pursue. Working for, against and in between the five great empires, the possibilities are nigh upon endless.

      Traversing between planets, solar systems and space bases is done via a top-down view, with gorgeous celestial backdrops overlayed with the player’s ship and hundred of space phenomenon and NPCs. Movement and combat on this screen is by a simultaneous turn-based system; everything happens during the player’s turn, the game then pauses to allow new commands to be assigned, then once triggered the game continues. There is no waiting for NPCs or enemies to have their turn, which keeps the game flowing nicely. Space itself is populated by traders, pirates, military vessels and a swathe of other assorted civil craft of all shapes and sizes; each able to be contacted at any time to trade, form alliances with as well as ascertain news and gossip from. This dynamic playground is brought to life by the sheer number of non-player characters and events that populate SR2. But this part of the title is simply the beginning, as what can be accomplished reaches far beyond pointing and clicking on a rich 2D plane.

      A player can make their fortune simply by keeping an ear to the ground in terms of what is going on within the solar system they find themselves in. The ebbing and flowing of economies, as well as natural and civil disasters, mean that if something is in need, a crafty trade-run can bring untold riches to those who make the best of a bad situation. Governments rise and fall, and profit is there to be made in times of upheaval. What makes SR2 stand out from the crowd is the fact that such instability ripples through the 60+ star systems and 250+ planets, causing trade routes to change and diplomatic and military missions to occur.

      As the player progresses through this non-linear experience, the surrounding worlds and people – granted they don’t succumb to the ever-present threat of the Dominators or civil or system war – make technological breakthroughs that allow for much better equipment and cargo to be purchased or plundered. Nanotechnologies, disease serums, weapons and more become headily advanced after a while, and highlight the changing nature of the universe on show. Ships themselves come in eight different material types, as do fuel tanks, force-fields, boosters and others. Skill and material points can be assigned after experience gathering, making for sheer RPG mechanics on a grand scale. It does feature much more microscale tweaking than most 4X space-trade/empire games, but then, it seems content not to put itself too far into that category. Especially when it comes to planetary battles.

      Sword of the Stars featured a great galactic empire-building infrastructure with good RTS moments for ship-to-ship engagements and planetary sieges. SR2 defines itself as becoming a totally 3D RTS game on the ground; the player commanding platoons of custom-made robots across varied terrain in order to capture planets from Dominator incursions. While the RTS elements won’t beat Supreme Commander or any recent RTS heavyweight, breaking up the pace of the 2D space elements is somewhat enjoyable. What’s more, the player can turn the RTS experience into a third-person shooter affair by taking direct control of any of the created units and aiding the allied troops in capturing resource points and other bases, ultimately resulting in a planetary-wide victory. SR2 simply refuses to be put in a single genre.

      While the trade and RTS elements play a big part in the experience, SR2 keeps giving in the most unorthodox of ways. There are planetary quests to take part in by the aforementioned mechanics, but upon entering a black hole, as one does, the player is subjected to an arcade battle of sorts; an old school top down shooter in the vein of Galaxian or Solar Striker. It is this audacious jump from genre to genre that makes each playthrough different and exciting. The arcade games are set in hyperspace and winning means rare and precious items, as well as being the domain of the Dominator leader…if he can be found to combat, or if the player actually chooses to do so.

      Another feature of this audacity is the large chunk of text-based adventures available to the player. The title is known for throwing the dichotomy of trading in space to managing a ski resort via a choose-your-own-adventure structure. These stories range from leisurely to insanely difficult, but each incredibly rewarding to finish.

      SR2 is a deep game, but one that does not have a serious bone in its body. It is wonderfully light-hearted and features some chuckle-worthy tongue-in-cheek dialogue and writing. However, it straddles such a balance so that while the player might find the lack of seriousness makes for a more relaxed gameplay experience, the actions of the player have ramifications system-wide. While other massive space-trading games feel the need to implore a furrowed brow-state of play, SR2 begets smiles. The graphics, while not groundbreaking, are lovingly crafted. Everything from the introduction menu screen to the ship load-out and customisation menus are beautifully rendered and deserve to be poured over. The sound design is fantastic, too. Trawling through space is accompanied by blissful music that aptly suits the endeavour.

      SR2 is an easy recommendation for anyone interested in jumping into a sprawling universe crawling with independent NPCs and factions, while not feeling overwhelmed. The player can aid particular groups and become enemies of others at the same time, yet the non-linear nature of the game doesn’t shoehorn players into canned confrontation. With SR2, there are ways around everything and nothing is certain.

      Space Rangers 2: Dominators is one of the finest examples of what makes games that refuse to be genre-specific special. It’s not perfect by any means, but it has a solid core of pure gold gameplay on many levels.

      Incredible game. And we’re getting an HD retooling this year, too! Widescreen and all that jazz.

    • Pete Davison 1:56 pm on June 6, 2012 Permalink

      There most certainly should be a Squad mission on this at some point — perhaps in time for the HD rerelease whenever that is. Consider it on the Pile.

  • Pete Davison 10:33 am on June 2, 2012 Permalink |
    Tags: Among the Sleep, Krillbite, ,   

    Through the Eyes of a Child with Among the Sleep 

    Here’s one sure to tickle the Squad’s fancy: a first-person horror adventure in which the player takes on the role of a two year old child.

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    • wrdsmth 1:06 pm on June 11, 2012 Permalink

      Mother of mercy does this look fun.

    • Pete Davison 9:48 pm on June 11, 2012 Permalink

      Looks great, doesn’t it? I love the idea of games told from unusual perspectives. There’s a great interactive fiction/text adventure title called Child’s Play where you play a toddler, and it’s very cleverly done.

  • Pete Davison 9:13 pm on June 1, 2012 Permalink |
    Tags: Android, Carmageddon, Game Center, , , mobile, Stainless Games   

    Carmageddon Goes Mobile 

    The classic crash-and-splat racer is headed to iOS and Android this summer.

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