Posts Tagged ‘Platformers’

I’m purchasing an Xbox Live Indie Game every day, seeking out the quality titles that got lost in the shuffle and no longer appear in the top 50 downloads. Today is day #25, and today’s game is “Zoomaroom”.

This is one Indie title that possibly put some people off with the presentation. That’s a shame, because it’s one of the best platformers, and one of the best physics puzzle games, I’ve ever bought. The fact that it’s both those things in one is really this game’s selling point.

The cartoonish presentation, complete with a character that exclaims “Whippee!” repeatedly may not be what people who enjoy physics-based challenges are expecting, but look underneath that and you find a game with smart level design and a tremendous number of equippable items. Wait, equippable items, you sure we’re talking about a cartoony platformer here, you ask? Yes, absolutely. Everything from a jetpack to a grappling hook are among the 15 equippable items, and you can equip up to two simultaneously.

Each of the 65 levels challenges you to (more…)

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I’m purchasing an Xbox Live Indie Game every day, seeking out the quality titles that got lost in the shuffle and no longer appear in the top 50 downloads. Today is day #17, and today’s game is “CarneyVale Showtime”.

Like yesterday’s game, “Bloc”, CarneyVale Showtime is a game from late 2008 when Indie Games were still called Xbox Live Community Games. And like Bloc, it likely doesn’t feel like a game you’ve played before.

CarneyVale Showtime is actually a relatively high profile game at the moment, having been released for Windows PCs, and having also just come out as a launch title for the new Windows Phone 7 platform. However, it actually began its life two years ago as an indie game on Xbox Live, and is still available there for a mere 240 Microsoft Points. Best of all, it looks Gambit Game Lab got it right the first time: the changes in the PC and WinPhone7 versions appear to be largely user interface related, making it a choice of which device you want to play it on rather than which version is “best”. In fact, it looks like features (such as the map editor) that were added when the PC version came out were later added in an update to the Indie Games version, so it’s nice to see the title continuing to be supported.

In the game you play as a rag doll that dreams of being the world’s greatest acrobat. In broad terms, that means the game plays out as a hybrid of puzzle solving and platforming: (more…)

Being - a classic non-violent platformer

I’m purchasing an Xbox Live Indie Game every day, seeking out the quality titles that got lost in the shuffle and no longer appear in the top 50 downloads. Today is day #8, and today’s game is “Being”.

First an admission. My first game console was the Mattel Intellivision, and it wasn’t exactly platform game heaven (beyond Burgertime, there really wasn’t much at all representing this genre). Perhaps as a consequence of that, I’ve never been the world’s biggest platform game fan. Like most of us, I played a bit of Super Mario Bros. in the ’80s, Sonic in the ’90s, and Rayman and Sonic Adventure around the turn of the century. Somewhere in there I played McDonald Land for the Amiga. But most of the time in-between was action, puzzle, and strategy, not platforming. I was more likely to play Risk on my Commodore 64 than I was Ice Climbers on the NES. However, I nonetheless have a pretty broad view of how platformers have evolved over the years.

Being is definitely a throwback to the days when platformers were strictly 2D. The levels don’t even have parallax scroll in the background. But for those of us who played 8-bit platformers growing up, seeing it again is actually kind of refreshing. Another way that Being is retro in that the game is a pure platformer, with the obligatory exploration and puzzle solving elements for those who want to find all the collectibles hidden in the game. In a throwback to classics like Pitfall!, there are no weapons or special attacks, not even the ability to jump on enemies ala Super Mario Bros. In that way it’s a (more…)

I’m purchasing an Xbox Live Indie Game every day, seeking out the quality titles that got lost in the shuffle and no longer appear in the top 50 downloads. Today is day #4, and today’s game is Machiavelli’s Ascent.

Some games talk about simple to learn and hard to master, but few games characterise that as perfectly as Machiavelli’s Ascent. The game has you taking on the role of a jellyfish as you strive to get to the surface. To do so you need to grab air bubbles as you keep propelling yourself up. Movement is done entirely with the two trigger buttons, simply moving you left or right. The presentation is very attractive, trying (and generally succeeding) at looking like a pastel painting in motion.

I almost didn’t like this game, though. My first impression was that I would find it frustrating: when you run out of air you drop back down to the ocean floor and must start over from scratch. But as you get the hang of it, the game begins to take on a hypnotic feel. You slide into “the zone” and before you know it you’re swerving left and right before you even become conscious of where the precious air bubbles lie. That hypnotic feel is enhanced by (more…)