Ergo Me Smart's Blog - Jul to Sep 11 (50 followers)
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Sep
01
Permalink8 Minute IGSU: Chester
Developer: Brilliant Blue G
Website: http://bbg-games.com/
Platform: XBLIG
Price: 240MSP ($3)
Size: 66MB

The Indie Game Summer Uprising train steams on to it's 9th day, and I should of totally thought of that opening yesterday.

Welcome to the world of Chester, where you jump along, collecting stamps and killing things in 5 worlds with 10 different characters as you journey through the 20 levels the game offers.

The graphics are hard to describe in this game. The default background graphics (hand drawn, colourful) looked good, but were a little too messy for my liking. However, moving on to the sketchbook background (which you can unlock in the first 8 minutes) I found the game to be much better looking and much easier on the eye. The character design also shines more here, with them much clearer to pick up on. I swear one of them was a Mario clone...

The gameplay is very enjoyable in this game, and felt very much like a traditional platformer, which seems to be getting surprisingly rare nowadays, even if it does have some elements that remind me of Super Meat Boy. The jump feels natural (if a little floaty at times) and the game itself seems mostly solid, with a good sense of humour thrown in for good measure.

However, it has it's faults. The creatures, for example, sometimes seem too difficult to actually kill, thus ending in 'you has been killed'. And when you die, it's back to the beginning of the level with you. No checkpoints it seems, from the 8 minutes I played. Booo. (Post-note: I did end up buying the game and it appears the game does indeed have a checkpoint system which is removed from the trial. So, actually, yay checkpoints!)

The game as a whole is an enjoyable experience and should at least be worth a go on the trial. Is it worth buying when looking at all the other IGSU games? Hm.... Ask me again on Saturday, and I'll tell you.

Post-note: I did end up buying the game and it appears the game does indeed have a checkpoint system which is removed from the trial.

Tomorrow's Game: Redd: The Lost Temple

These reviews can now be found on IndieTheory.com. Indie Theory; Just when you though you had gaming figured out...

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Posted by Ergo Me Smart on 01 September 11 at 17:18 | There are no comments on this blog - Please log in to comment on this blog.
Aug
31
Permalink8 Minute IGSU: Train Frontier Express
Developer: Team Train Frontier
Website: http://trainfrontier.com
Platform: XBLIG
Price: 240MSP ($3)
Size: 26MB

And on the 8th day, a frontier was created, which trains were then placed on. And this was good.

The thing about Train Frontier Express is this; it's big. VERY big. You can create trains, plant props, affect terrain and then ride the trains as you crash on purpose into a barn along the countryside. There's even a badge and levelling up system! The best way I can describe it is... Minecraft on rails, literally?

And that's all I can say really. The graphics are nice and the controls are a bit fiddly, with a wide-ranging gameplay that is sure to interest a certain niche of people. Hell, even I was enjoying it by the end of the trial once I'd worked everything out. It even has a multiplayer mode to share the tracks you've made online. Like I said, Minecraft on rails.

This is why I try to avoid games like these. Minecraft clones, open world sandboxes and RPGs are bloody hard to sum up after 8 minutes. In the end, give it a trial. You never know, you may actually like it. I know I did, which surprised me.

Tomorrow's Game: Chester

These reviews can now be found on IndieTheory.com. Indie Theory; Just when you thought you had gaming figured out...

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Posted by Ergo Me Smart on 31 August 11 at 17:09 | There are no comments on this blog - Please log in to comment on this blog.
Aug
30
Permalink8 Minute IGSU: Speedrunner HD
Developer: Double Dutch Games
Website: http://www.doubledutchgames.com/
Platform: XBLIG
Price: 240MSP ($3)
Size: 330MB

The release of 'Take Arms', the planned 6th release, was delayed. As such it will be reviewed upon it's eventual release, which is now planned for next Monday.

So, onwards to the second week of the Indie Game Summer Uprising, all be it a day later than expected, and we begin with Speedrunner HD. How will it do in a speed-run of a review?

You are Speedrunner, the only person fast enough to get to bombs being planted around the city in time to disarm them in this against-the-clock platformer.

Graphically, the game is sound as most indie games, reminding me very much of 'Canabalt' on the iOS platform, except more colourful and less... bleak. While the black platforms stand out greatly against the backdrops, your character, however, does tend to blend in too easily, being missed among the platforms at times. I can only think this is not as much of a problem in multiplayer, where the characters are coloured instead of the single player game's black.

The soundtrack is also quite disappointingly average, being mostly a mix of guitar and techno that is just... there. It could have been better, but then again, it could have been much, MUCH worse as well.

Finally, there is the gameplay itself. Easy to pick up, difficult to master seems to be the order of the day here, with the controls quite simple to get used to, with the grapple being a nice element to mix up the game. However, you will find yourself restarting levels again and again due to one small mistake, and after a while this became annoying. At least the fast loading didn't make this the painful experience it could have been.

Local leaderboards and multiplayer are also a nice addition, but the fact that the multiplayer is only local is a slight shame. Online, this game could have been amazing.

Really, that sums this game up. It COULD have been amazing, but alas there's something missing for me, something I can't put my finger on. It's a nice game, don't get my wrong, and it is worth at least a trial from anyone reading. But, for me, it didn't sell me the full game.

Tomorrow's Game: Train Frontier Express

These reviews can now be found on IndieTheory.com. Indie Theory; Just when you thought you had gaming figured out...

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Posted by Ergo Me Smart on 30 August 11 at 16:54 | There are no comments on this blog - Please log in to comment on this blog.
Aug
28
Permalink8 Minute IGSU: Doom & Destiny (Guest Written by Tsunamishadow)
Developer: HeartBit Interactive
Platform: XBLIG
Price: 240MSP ($3)
Size: 140MB

Click Here To Download Trial

Doom & Destiny initially strikes as one of those top-down classic style jayarepeegees. And…well it is. Except it’s seems to try and be an RPG to take the piss at all RPG’s and as many other games as possible.

The opening cinematic for the game gives a nice prologue into the story. Actually “story” is a bit of a strong word for this. Maybe “sketch” would fit better. There is a crisis (as always) in the world of…wherever and an unlikely hero has to be summoned from somewhere to defeat the crisis and evil and save this world. Unfortunately this world has run out of heroes, so the leaders of the world have to summon one at random. And it just so happens to be the four geeks that you control.
The trial starts off with the geeks going into a castle that is supposed to contain their friend, but instead is invaded by space and a DEMOn (pronounce: de-mo-hn). It is here you are introduced to the game’s battle system, not a tutorial, a standard battle.

It’s turn based. You can choose a physical or magical attack, although Magical attacks take up MP (I’ll just call it mana from now on). But it’s not strictly turn based, it works on a speed-queue system. While you can take your time and choose what you want to do with each of the four characters the bar at the top shows the queue of who goes what and when, once their turn is taken up they’ll get pushed back down the queue depending on their innate speed state and the move they use.

Use a move that’s powerful and you’ll wait longer before they eventually get to go again. It’s quite clever, it seems to be worth actually building a speed stat (compare to Pokémon). The DEMOn is defeated easily after using the “Buy This Game” attack twice and you get to level up. When you get levelled up you gain Power points which are used to spend on the four skills each character has, Might, Charisma, Grit and Dexterity. I couldn’t be bothered figuring out what all this means, I only have a few minutes.

At the end of this fight you get to go on a quest “where the king put his daughter in the hands of some evil guy on purpose so you can run along to the quest and become heroes”, I have a feeling that this sort of cliché-killer humour would happen for the entire game. Exploring is easy, you move where you want to go (not diagonally) and you may occasionally run into wild beasts and enemies in the main world map. By the time my trial had ended, I had just managed to run past “an Irish looking guy with pointy ears claiming that that was the wrong princess to save”.

It’s not hard to see why the game is so visually well-made, clear and easily controllable. It’s made using a premade engine called RPG Maker VX, essentially a program that anybody can buy for the measly price of $60 and make their very own RPG, that can work almost exactly like this game.

What it gains in humour and cliché-beating is lacked in gameplay originality. But if you want to spend $3 on another RPG then this might be enjoyable for you. On the other hand do you really want to spend $3 on just another RPG?

Want to do a guest '8 Minute Trial'? PM me your review and I'll try to put it in as soon as possible!
Posted by Ergo Me Smart on 28 August 11 at 15:31 | There are no comments on this blog - Please log in to comment on this blog.
Aug
25
Permalink8 Minute IGSU: T.E.C. 3001
Developer: Phoenix Games
Website: http://www.phoenixgs.net/
Platform: XBLIG
Price: 240MSP ($3)
Size: 70MB
Click Here To Download Trial

So, the 4th game of the IGSU has been released into the wild, and many of you will possibly be thinking nothing could beat yesterday's game, 'Cute Things Dying Violently'. Well, I hate to disagree, but...

The aim of the game is simple; You, the T.E.C. 3001, must run through 21 levels, jumping, sliding and breaking glass, while collecting the right amount of batteries for reasons unknown. I reckon he was just bored, personally.

The graphics are... wow. Now I've know I've said the other 3 games had good graphics, but they simply can't compare to this. This is a 3D platformer, and to say they are rare on this service is an understatement. The last one I played wasn't very good, and had juggle physics, so... yeah.

The colour scheme is very vivid, and the feature of colour-changing gates in the game also keeps the game easy on the eye. The game also has an amazing sense of depth, and is so polished that it could easily get into the XBLA marketplace, and no-one would give it a second look. The soundtrack, meanwhile, continues the run of quality in the IGSU, with the techno soundtrack suiting the virtual environment to a tee.

The gameplay, meanwhile, is very much a mixed bag. The game itself is quite simple, with only a couple of buttons needed to jump and slide, as well of course moving left and right. The gameplay is also quite enjoyable, or at least it was in the 8 minutes I played.

However, the difficulty curve is quite steep. I managed to get past the first 3 levels in one go, but the 4th level clearly decided that it didn't like me, killing me on every attempt. From what I've seen, the difficulty curve just gets steeper from that point, requiring you to memorise the levels in order to pass them. The low number of levels (21) and lack of multiplayer also seem to be major downsides.

Overall, I have to say that the game is worth at least a trial. Although it does appear to have some major faults, the graphics alone should make it worth the $3 to some.

Tomorrow's Game: Doom & Destiny

These reviews can now be found on IndieTheory.com. Indie Theory; Just when you thought you had gaming figured out...

If you liked this review, please follow, comment or suggest!
Posted by Ergo Me Smart on 25 August 11 at 19:53 | There are no comments on this blog - Please log in to comment on this blog.