Bronies hate them or love them do have quite a lot of talented individuals among them. Their latest creation? A visual novel based off of fan art.
Before you completely dismiss the idea as ridiculous I should tell you of another visual novel called Katawa Shoujo. It was a visual novel sparked by a picture based off posts on 4chan. The link I will post tells the story better than I can. But back to the My Little Pony based game.
The resulting game is Starswirl Academy, where the protagonist is able to attend the prestigious institution his senior year because of his friend Twilight Sparkle. Also the protagonist is a rock named Tom in the original TV show. Before I delve into the plot and what I believe the game’s goal will be based on all the information the demo gives so far I’ll look at the work that went into the visual novel.
Visually, the game’s backgrounds are as beautiful as that of any visual novel that comes out of top notch companies and the background music is nice and simple. The main problem with the game for some might be in the character designs. I like how they don’t make Pinkie’s hair as big and ridiculous as it is in the show, while some might dislike it tremendously. For me it’s Rarity’s hair that looks ridiculous, and I feel if they had drawn it some other way it might have looked much better.
What makes this game truly special is the touches they put here and there. For example the images of the characters always go through appropriate changes in facial expression, the cutie mark icons at the end of finished dialogue for each characters, and the way they zoom in on Pinkie when she’s too close to you.
The demo of the game also tells a lot not only about the quality of the work but pretty much told me what the entire game will probably be about. One of their questions on their FAQ page is about why they chose Tom to be the main character, this is their response: “Because he’s a named show character that doesn’t have much fan work associated with him. He provides a good blank slate in terms of personality, but comes off as a very solid character when you get to know him. It also makes us laugh every time we get to make a geology pun.” This “blank slate” is a very important part of the game. The beginning of the demo talks about Tom’s dilemma of not really knowing who he is and letting people make choices for him. He’s not really sure why he wants to attend Starswirl Academy but is hoping to find the answer to that there. The game adds in something extra to make sure the game is not only about Tom’s growth as a person but his interaction with the other characters. The school has a long held tradition of having students give each other pins they call “flair” that represent either their personality or hobby. The flair is usually given by the upperclassman who’s gotten to know a person best, and they are usually very personal. I get a feeling the game will be extremely based on having Tom develop a very close relationship (more than likely romantic) with one of the girls who will give him his flair (although he doesn’t know it) and aid him reach self actualization.
In the midst of unavoidable moe.
This has a lot of storytelling potential and can make for a very touching story to some. This game was made in hopes to create something special to both fans and non-fans of the series and I think it can deliver on that promise. I will see if my predictions are correct once the full game comes out. In the meantime you too can play the demo.
You’ve made it this far, so have some Derpy.
This game will be released for free by Zap Apple Project. The game is made possible by the volunteer artists, musicians, and many other talented individuals lending their time and effort towards making a game everyone can enjoy.
I am a fan of Humble Bundle, the charitable enterprise that allows you to get a plethora of games for a cheap price that you can split between charities, game developers, and their website. The last weekly Humble Bundle pleasantly surprised me as the indie studio Cipher Prime was debuting their newest game, Intake, on it. Their approach to creating video games is creating a pleasant experience between the auditory and visual, so I was excited to see what this new addition to their collection would bring. They described it as, “the polychromatic love child of Dr. Mario and Ikagura” so I knew I had to get in on the action.
The title screen totally doesn’t remind me of something overhyped and obnoxious.
The first thing I saw was the old “Winners don’t use drugs” screen some 90′s American arcade machines had, I chuckled a bit. Next thing I know the game had completely sucked me in. It’s one of these games with no story line, complex plot, open world, or characters but manage to keep you gaming for hours on end just because it’s FUN.
Intake seems to aim at creating a retro arcade experience for a modern audience. It has simple but addictive gameplay combined with bright graphics and dubstep music to match. Now dubstep is not my cup of tea, but the music of Intake is not bad at all and you can switch from three background tracks.
The goal is to shoot as many pills as you can to prevent an overdose. As you gain milligrams of medicine you can buy powerups at the drug store that will help as the game gets progressively more and more difficult. To increase the difficulty of shooting a cascade of falling pills the pills have two different colors, and if you want to advance to the next level you have to match the color of your gun accordingly. Thankfully they made it easy by making the color switch either through the space bar or a right click.
Intake is a short but very fun addition to anyone’s gaming collection. It will be available on Steam on November 5th, so get your body ready by remembering winners don’t do drugs!
Note: This game can easily be played by colorblind gamers as it allows them to select colors they can differentiate from.
eXceed 2nd – Vampire is the sequel game to eXceed – Gun Bullet Children which I’ve previously reviewed. Produced by FLAT and later remade by their shooting focused brand Tennen-sozai as eXceed 2nd – Vampire REX, this game is extremely different from its predecessor.
In the previous game you played as one of the Gun Bullet Children and now you’re an enemy of the church, a vampire named Lia Fyle on a mission to help lay a siege on the Holy Land. On the way you encounter characters from the previous game as well as new ones and battle each other.
It’s a fact of life young girls are some of the most powerful entities in Japanese fiction.
The game is still divided into stages that have preliminary enemies attack you until you meet the boss for the stage but the gameplay itself changes entirely by introducing a “polarity” system that allows you to absorb enemy bullets and inflict twice the damage on enemies hit by a different polarity than the one they have. There are two polarities, holy and evil, and you can freely switch between the two to suit your needs. Absorbed bullets raise the bomb charge gauge which when full can be detonated to unleash a blast that will cancel all bullets of the opposite polarity and blast enemies on screen.
Holy Canon Blast!
The game is incredibly fun and requires quick reflexes to not get shot by any wrong bullet. The challenge also lies in trying to get bonus points, and chain bonuses for hitting enemies of reverse polarity gives incentive to start dodging instead of constantly switching polarities to absorb bullets. The game is made unnecessarily harder by having your character larger than the original game and having fatter bullets, hence making the polarity really useful in tight spaces. It’s a minor detail, but takes getting used to.
The dialogue throughout the game presents a simple but interesting look into every character’s personality and yes, the voice acting is superb and the translation simply perfect. Some of the backgrounds in the game are ones from the previous game and some newer ones are present, and although I think familiarity should be part of a series of games such a simple game should make more changes to their scenery to expand upon their flat world. The music is even more kick*** than the previous game and matches the feel of the game pretty well. The graphics feel crisper and almost everything is an improvement from the previous game.
This second installment is a sign of a great series and honestly speaking, has made eXceed one of my favorite indie games.
You can see what the game is all about by downloading the demo here. You can buy it here from a variety of sources including Steam and GameStop, but I highly recommend getting the eXceed Collection which has all three eXceed games for $9.99. And remember how I said the music kicked a**? You can download it right now. With great upbeat techno music, it’s possibly one of the best video game soundtracks in existence.
I will soon review the third and last eXceed game made so far, eXceed 3rd – Jade Penetrate.
You play as a toddler named, Isaac, whose mother heard a voice. While obeying the voice she eventually is drawn to kill her child. While fleeing, he found his way to the basement where he starts out killing monsters that he comes across along the way. Without the use of guns,he kills monsters by shooting his tears. Yes, a toddler killing things by crying. I know it’s kinda weird but oddly enough, it’s what drew me to this game. I love games that are one of a kind, and sometimes bring controversy that isn’t newsworthy, like Halo.
The game has hi content of violence even though it has a hint of nostalgia with the game layout, having a familiar to Zelda fans. A friend of mine once called “Isaac”, “A Zelda game with blood.” The game play is simplified by the “W,A,S,D” keys with either the mouse, or the arrow keys used to shoot, while “Q” is used to take pills and read tarot cards while “E” or “Shift” is used to drop bombs. The number of power ups, and downs, in this game is HUGE. As of the “Wrath of the Lamb” expansion, there’s at least 200 items to help or hinder your way to defeat your mom. That’s not counting the trinkets, and tarot cards you can also pick up along the way. This almost guarentees that with the massive amounts of items, and varients in the floor layouts, you will never play the same game twice. With quite a bit of items being locked during your first, I don’t know, 10 plays through the game, it adds to the charm to figure out how to unlock the items, and see how it affects Issac throughout each time you play.
The characters you can unlock during the game makes the game’s replayability absurdely worth the value. Each character has a unique item with him (or her) and helps out with the game, which adds to the charm of each.Along with the unlockable characters there’s a huge amounts of unlockable items that you start to unlock from the very first playthrough. The community is one of those that I haven’t seen in quite some time. The BOILeR League (Boilr.org) is a community of speed runners, that compete with the expansion (Wrath of the Lamb) with the set up of the NFL regular season, where they compete for cash prises. The community also plays other games, where viewers
can go and watch new independent and full retail games.
The reason that the community is a focus point in the part of the review, is that it’s the reason why I personally got into the game to begin with, and this review wouldn’t be possible without them.
There’s a high amount of religious overtones to the game. Making deals with the devil and gifts from a faceless angel, Bible, Necronomicon, a coat hanger (From the ever ongoing abortion issue.) and reading tarot cards, might be unsetteling for some people. For me, this was easy to look past as I realize it’s just a game. Even though while talking to my father and brother about it, they quickly shot down the idea of watching me play to grasp the consept of the game due to the religious tones.This could be anything between minor to a major issue, due to one’s ability to look past it to just enjoy the game. This is the only dowside to the game, and I was able to look completely past it, so it wasn’t much of a issue with me.
UPDATE: “The Binding of Isaac: Rebirth” will be the newest update to the game that, for the first time ever, will bring the 2 year old IP to consoles! You can pick it up on Steam or PS3. At the time of this article, it is unknown to me if “Rebirth” will be available on the Xbox360, PS4, or XBoxOne.
In a world full of mobile apps and games it’s hard for a platformer to rise above the rest, but what Lisa Rye and Stirfire Studios have created here manages to do just that. The game they have created, Freedom Fall, is more than just a platformer, it’s a game with a real rich sense of humour and a massive heart.
The game started as a personal project of Lisa’s but was picked up by Stirfire Studios as a commercial release upon her move to the company. Freedom Fall was developed in Perth, Australia, and will debut at this year’s PAX Expo Australia in June. It’s currently in Beta on Desura here and can be upvoted on Steam Greenlight here.
In “Freedom Fall” you play as Marsh, the ‘hero’ of the tale. He find himself imprisoned in a tower where the only way to go is down (and sometimes across!) in order to escape. The premise is fairly simple yet very well executed; move downwards avoiding traps, spikes and even a mechanical shark, but this isn’t what sets the game apart from other platformers, it’s the character and heart of the game the creators have imbued in Freedom Fall.
This character comes mainly in the form of the Princess Emph, the daughter of the king and designer of the many dangers in Freedom Fall. After being locked up herself and finding the tower boring she escapes and decided to redecorate and make it her own. Her character really brings the charm and entertainment to the game in a creepy little girl meets Glados (from Portal) kind of way! She tells her story and interacts with the player through messages written on the walls of the tower, developing the story as you progress through the various stages. What results from this clever storytelling is an experience rarely seen in mobile games – it provides a great deal of humour and emotional investment in such a deceptively simple package.
In terms of gameplay Freedom Fall excels once again. With simple controls and levels varying in direction and challenge and a few pace changes like the mechanical shark it manages to keep the player invested in the game without completely overpowering Emph’s narrative. It also manages to keep this investment without sacrificing any gameplay mechanics. Apart from navigating traps and dangers the player may gather bolts to build several items to help the player traverse the traps such as a parachute and wings to give an extra boost when jumping. These bolts can be found throughout levels and in greater quantities in small side rooms, often giving hints and tips for the next challenge via wall messages. The game also supports two different endings and branching difficulty decisions. As the player moves downward they will reach many crossroads, offering ‘easy’ and ‘hard’ obstacles. The easy choice will of course be less difficult but also will offer less bolts and no side rooms, whereas those who brave the harder traps may find themselves better appeared for the many obstacles ahead. This relatively simple choice gives the player a sense of control and again does something not seen a lot in a mobile package.
The visual style of the game is quite pleasant, with most of it being hand drawn. The simplistic design and implementation works well on any screen from a laptop or desktop to a much smaller mobile touch screen. The soundtrack for the game works well with the fast paced style of game. Freedom fall runs quite well on both platforms with no problems or bugs encountered in my playthrough.
In summation Freedom Fall is quite a fun and entertaining game, perfect for on the go platforming with added heart, or sitting down to enjoy on a bigger computer screen. Regardless of how you play the game, what Lisa and Stirfire Studios have created is quite clever and unique, totally deserving of any gamers time.
You can check out this game at PAX Australia in June, and it will be available to download and play from the 19th of July!
An epic quest for freedom, happiness, and bananas. This is just a short sum of Disco Pixel’s first upcoming mobile game Jungle Rumble. Disco Pixel is the creation of Trevor Stricker, a video game industry veteran who decided to use his talent to create fun, one of a kind games. Jungle Rumble is still in development and will be released in October, but I was able to have the chance to play a demo of the game before its official release.
The synopsis of the game is as follow. You are a spirit that helps monkeys in the Mofongo tribe and one day the monkeys find that another tribe has arrived in their jungle. The Mofongo tribe relies on the bananas the jungle provides to survive and the other tribe eats those same bananas. Because their carrying capacity will be reduced due to the threat of this new interspecific competition, the Mofongo tribe engages in war against the newcomers for the sake of survival. Your job is to help them beat the enemy tribe.
I love Jungle Rumble because it’s the first game that’s required me to strategize my next move while maintaining focus on my actions in a long time, making it a very intellectually satisfying game. This comes from how the game is played. Jungle Rumble is a rhythm based game that has you match your screen taps to the beat of the background music to move monkeys from one branch to another and have them throw coconuts at the enemy. Once you reach a certain point in the game, you will be able to move multiple monkeys as one unit and have all of them throw coconuts together to knock out enemy packs or move around the tree knocking out every monkey one by one without having to come back to the specific branch with coconuts to collect more. This ability however presents a challenge, to maintain the pack together you have to maintain the beat of the background music without stopping and time your transitions right so the enemy doesn’t go to your branch and knock out your allies or throw coconuts at an empty branch and lose the unit. As the game progresses the beat become tiny bit by tiny bit faster and the layout of every level presents a new challenge.
Combine this unique gameplay with the stellar, colorful graphics seen and you’ve got the mobile game serious gamers have been waiting for. I am looking forward to the game’s release and with this preview of what’s to come, I wonder about what the studio will do to improve upon the game and what later stages may look like. All in all, I think Disco Pixel has the next big hit in mobile gaming.
Gun Bullet Children is a game that bloomed out of Touhou’s instant popularity. Coming from the already established Japanese indie game developer FLAT, it was the beginning of the series of vertical shooters called eXceed.
Gun Bullet Children is a simple game. As a bullet hell game, you’re going to be subjected to just that, an enormous amount of bullets and lazers coming at you from every way you have to dodge while gunning down the enemies yourself. Your main objective is to get to the boss at the last level and defeat him, the hard part is not dying en route. The enemies have a tendency to shoot in patterns and getting the rhythm down is an essential part of beating the game. Killing enemies will make them drop items the player can collect, these items are either red or blue. An essential part of the game is leveling up your character, which will make their standard attacks more powerful. That is achieved by collecting enough red items from enemies. Both red and blue items will increase your score, and when the score reaches a certain point you get an extra “life”.
The game manages to create variation through two means, the difficulty and their characters. There’s not much to say about difficulty, just your standard, easy, normal, and hard. The variation that completely changes the way you play comes from your three main characters.
The three character differ in their three methods of attack: their standard attack, counter-magic, and bomb. With each character comes a new way to play, and mastering all three will require a lot of practice.
Counter-magic can only be performed if the bar that allows it is completely full and is filled the more attacks are dodged. Bombs are only available through lives, and each life allows for the character to use three bombs, once you lose a life you can’t get the bombs from that life back. Bombs have the ultimate advantage, because while they last you are invincible and can get in the line of fire dealing even more damage to the enemy until the bomb stops.
Tinatu Kagaya is the best character to play with because her standard attack covers a broad area which is great because you can indirectly shoot at enemies while dodging their attacks and her other two attacks obliterate every enemy on the screen at once. Every time she levels up the more bullets she can shoot at once, making her standard attack cover a larger areas and cause more damage to enemies.
Sowel Devosiana has a “doll” that assists her in her attacks. Sowel shoots fire directly in front of her which makes it inconvenient when dodging attacks, but her doll shoots the enemy closest to her and doesn’t cause the player or herself damage if she’s in the line of fire, making her a very valuable asset. Counter-magic makes the doll shoot out lethal fire in 8 directions that kill all the enemies it touches and the bomb makes her grow giant and attack all on screen enemies.
Now Miyabi Housen is the most difficult character to play with. Her standard attack is just a single column of fire directly above her. Her counter-magic is very unique because it doesn’t cover the entire screen like those of her fellow main characters, it makes two fire orbs revolve around her as a form of support fire and is only ideal when dealing with short range attacks, which makes it less than ideal for boss battles.
The coolest thing she can do however is bomb. Her bomb is said to “fire a massive laser cannon” but it looks more like she harvested the power of fire and is turning the area in front of her into a fiery hell.
As simple as the game play is, it’s quite addicting. But as much as I love this game I have complaints. The backgrounds are rather drab and only Tinatu’s bomb seems to last long enough to make the most out of it. Also there’s the issue that the game is an import (in its original Japanese form). To make up for it, Nyu Media has graciously provided a page with a complete translation of the dialogue in the game for those of us that don’t speak Japanese. The game also comes with decent voice acting (Miyabi is super high pitched).
What comes out of a computer without the ability to write in Japanese.
I’m not going to say much but be aware of your enemies, because come the following game you’ll be in for a surprise.
I consider this game a must have, the game play and amazing background music make this game. Getting the game and accessing the background music file will give a great addition to anyone’s video game soundtrack collection.
As a first doujin game, this is excellent and the following games get better and better. You can get eXceed – Gun Bullet Children by itself for $2.99 but I definitely recommend getting the eXceed collection with all 3 games for $9.99, cheaper than getting each game individually. All these beautiful games are completely DRM free and great bullet hell games that rival classics like Touhou. Thanks to the localization team at Nyu Media Ltd.
The review for the second game in the series, 2nd – Vampire REX, is coming soon.
From the makers of World of Goo, ladies and gentlemen here is a game where your main objective is to burn items. It might sound incredibly simplistic but Little Inferno is so much more than just a simplistic fireplace simulator.
When you start up a new game, you begin with a mysterious letter in your inventory from “Sugar PluMPS” and a brief explanation of your controls. Simply drag and drop items from your inventory and into your fireplace and use your mouse to click and drag to start your own fire. Upon setting your first item on fire, you receive coins from the diminishing flames. These coins are used as currency within the game of Little Inferno. So, in a game where your main objective is to set everything on fire; what do you do with currency? Well, you buy more items to burn, of course! Burning items will give you more coins so you can purchase new items to burn. In the world of Little Inferno, all of the items burn in unique ways. Toss in some batteries and they explode, throw in a soda can and watch the can fizz and pop before bursting into huge flames, or add in a camera and notice that before it explodes that it quickly takes a picture. Each time you burn a new item you are able to unlock more new items to burn.
An interesting aspect that Little Inferno has in it’s game play is the ability to “combine” burning items to perform a combination. In your upper right hand corner of your game there is a menu that will always be available. Some of these combinations will be unlocked but you will need to discover what items need to be burned together to make the combination. The combinations get pretty creative and after awhile I started feeling pretty proud of myself for figuring out the clever play on words. To unlock more categories of items, you will have to perform a certain amount of combinations so it’s not always mindless burning in Little Inferno. Use your wits to figure out what items you need to burn together to move on to the next part of the game.
There isn’t really much to the story of Little Inferno in the beginning. As you progress in the game and unlock more categories of items, you begin to receive more mysterious letters from “Sugar PluMPS” but also from other strangers. The story itself will not start unfolding until after you play for awhile so keep on discovering combos and keep on burning!
There is so much more to this game that meets the eye so if you are looking for something a little bit different then check this game out. It is currently available on the Humble Bundle so get it while it lasts!
Today we are diving into an artistic dream world, in a fast paced arcade puzzle adventure! Echoes is playable on PS3, PSP and Vita. These are called Minis, simple yet very entertaining. The game is created by Indie game developer Halfbrick. Echoes is an old version of you, every time you collect a crystal in the game, you create an Echo that traces your path back and forth. The point of the game is to collect the selected amount of Crystals every round.
The game presents you with a more and more difficult challenge as you progress. Echoes also features different powers that help you thought the game, such as hourglasses that stop time. The game starts you with 3 life’s, although you may lose a few life’s hitting your own Echoes, you eventually do get life’s in some of the stages.
The game also comes with different modes to keep the game fresh. The game includes Arcade mode, Jackpot mode, Survival mode and clock work. These are modes are unlocked the further you progress in the game. Jackpot mode gives you about a minute to grab as many crystals as possible while avoiding your own Echoes. Survival mode, starts you off with 10 seconds,you then set off pulses ( crystals that eliminate echoes). The point in this mode is to get the highest score possible. Clockwork allows to move your Echoes forward and back with the trigger buttons.
The game is really fun, especially for the price. At last check it was going for $2.99 and remember it is a PS Mini, meaning that this game be played on most of you Playstation handheld devices. Great game, HalfBrick did a great job to make such a simple artistic looking game very entertaining.
Bejeweled 2 can easily be called a game that most hardcore or casual gamers have at least tried before. The game is widely available and has seen its share of different looks and style. The game has been available on almost every platform imaginable including mobile cell phones. This can easily called one of Popcaps “Jewel” games.
The Bejeweled gameplay concept is very simple, match 3 in a row of the same color to clear those specific Jewels off. Better yet, if you where to match more the 3 special items are created. Matching 4 provides a bomb that clears out a small cluster of Jewels. 5 Provides an item when combined with a jewel, destroys every other jewel of the same color off the board. Finally 6 created an electrical jewel that shoots an electrical current in 4 directions destroying everything in its path.
The point of the game varies on the mode you are playing the game in. In Classic mode, players must complete a progress bar. The higher the clearing combo, the faster the progress bar fills. Each time the progress bar is filled, players advance to the next stage. Careful though, if your combos arent pulled carefully you might end up in a bind with no possible moves, at that point its game over and have to start over from stage one.
The other modes in the game include Action, Puzzle and endless mode. Action mode allows you to enter your top scores, this in turn allows you to compete with others to get the highest score possible. In Puzzle mode you are presented with… well…. puzzles. Boards are presented to players and players must complete the board with a certain amount of moves allowed. Endless is… well… endless…. play until you cant play no more!
Overall Popcap does a great job with their games, they know exactly how to reach out to gamers of all sorts. They are fully aware of what they are doing when it comes down to a specific group of people to target. Bejeweled is a game series that will be here for the long run. They have so much room to apply different aspect to always make the game seem refreshed. I wouldnt doubt seeing new ways to play in the near future along with new items and power ups.