You Are Browsing ' Cthulhu ' Tag

No Gravatar

   

Amongst the myriad of pick-up-and-play games on mobile platforms, it’s hard to stand out these days.  Virtually every genre is utterly swamped with games, especially indie releases.  And no genre is more stuffed to overflowing than the physics-based genre, primarily owing to the success of games like Angry Birds.  In a content-rich environment such as this one, it’s hard to stand out.  But what better way to do so than with Cthulhu?

Lunarsea (ah, the double entendre!) is a free physics based game on iOS and Android where you play as the great lord Cthulhu himself, who decided to steal the moon.  Doing so has angered the puny human population though, so oddly enough, Cthulhu is fleeing their wrath with a hastily muttered “wgah’nagl bug.”  Unfortunately for our poor angry Elder God, the only getaway vehicle he could locate was an ancient wooden sailing vessel, so he tosses the moon in his pocket, hops aboard, and makes good his escape.

Okay, perhaps a little suspension of disbelief might be required.  The story is short and endearingly odd, but how is the gameplay?  Well, it’s very straightforward.  The moon affects ocean levels, and well, you have it, so you can tap the screen to release it anywhere in the air to raise and lower the waves, as well as to block missile attacks from those filthy humans that just won’t leave you alone.  In addition, there are left and right buttons to move your vessel across the screen to prepare for obstacles, which are frequent and appear rapidly.  The lunar gameplay makes Lunarsea unique and interesting, as the combination of waves and gravity make for a remarkably organic combination.  Timing is everything in this game as you are raising and lowering the waves to get over sharp mountains, dodge missiles, and collect coins and health.

Yes, Cthulhu needs money.  That’s probably on a sign being held by a vagrant trying to wash a windshield somewhere, and if it isn’t, it should be.  In this case, coins buy much-needed upgrades to your skills, such as health, boat speed, and invulnerability length.  And you will need them.  The difficulty curve in Lunarsea ramps up fast.  By level  5, you’ll be swearing at your phone and getting frustrated as those pesky humans manage to fire torpedoes, regular missiles, and even laser-guided missiles at your creaky old vessel.

Fortunately, Live In the Game thought ahead on this one.  Frequent deaths don’t lose all the coins you’ve collected.  It would be nice if you saw a running tally of those as you played, but each time you die, and die you will, your updated bankroll appears and you’re able to buy upgrades.  In addition, there are goals as well, such as blowing up ten missiles or traveling a thousand meters.  The completion of each goal earns you additional bonus coins, allowing you to buy even more upgrades so that eventually, even those of us unskilled at physics games can still manage to move forward at an ungainly crawl.  Many of the goals are also cumulative between games just like coins, giving you the chance to complete them, as you are unlikely to in a single game.

 

There are a couple of sticking points in Lunarsea though.  The list of active goals you are trying to achieve scrolls down from the top of the screen every single time you die.  After you raise the goal cap, this actually intrudes on the gameplay itself, distracting you at the beginning of each level and constantly reminding you that you’re failing to complete them.   The challenge of the game itself can be daunting at times as well and may lead to frustration for the more casual player.  And the jaunty nautical music that seemed novel and enjoyable at first (controllable with a slider, thankfully) can become quickly repetitive as there is only the one song that repeats ad nauseam on every level.

As a minimalist game, however, even after an hour, your phone is unlikely to heat up significantly.  Lunarsea is definitely not a resource hog on Android, which is a plus in these days where you can literally watch your battery life drain away like a swirling toilet flush while you game.   There’s also an Endless Mode to just relax and play if the stages are frustrating you.  It’s still hard, but it’s definitely fun too.   The install on Google Play warns of in-app purchases and ads, but neither were to be seen for this review of the current build of the game.  Overall, Live In The Game has created a clever little game that’s fun to play in small doses when you have a few spare moments.  I mean really, how can you go wrong with a free-to-play game that combines H.P. Lovecraft, Baby Driver, Despicable Me, and Pirates of the Caribbean?  You can’t, and don’t try to say that you can!  Go and give it a try if you enjoy physics games and a challenge, or ever wanted to just… steal the moon!

Download Lunarsea free for Android here.

Download Lunarsea free for iOS here.

This review covers the Android version of Lunarsea by Live In The Game.

By Charles On 24 Apr, 2012 At 04:50 PM | Categorized As Animation, Editorials, Previews, Reviews, Reviews | With 0 Comments

No GravatarI think I might be starting to understand the new trend in anime. Coming from a generation that adored western-influenced, action-oriented shows, some of the more recent fare seems to be a bit less focused on alpha males and fantastical worlds, and a bit more on buxom girls and cute situational comedy. Not that I really mind, but it takes a bit of getting used to.

This newfound appreciation has led me to sample a pair of shows this season that exhibit a good deal of reliance on cute girls, skintight outfits and semi-serious stories. Both feature ordinary boys (and girls in one case) paired up with paranormal entities who guide and prod at them. Both mix humor and seriousness and both are quite entertaining, at least at first glance.

Tasogare Otome X Amnesia (Dusk Maiden of Amnesia) is another entry into the ghost hunting genre that has had a few notable titles over the years. Drawing parallels to series like Ghost Hunt, it follows the exploits of Teiichi Niiya and the Paranormal Investigation Club at  Seikyou Private Academy, a school with both a long history, and its fair share of ghostly encounters. The Paranormal Club, the brainchild of one Yuuko Kanoe and comprised of two other female members, prowls the school after classes, seeking proof of these ghosts or to debunk some of the more outlandish sightings. The twist here is that many of these sightings are actually the result of Yuuko, who it herself a ghost with no memory. She impresses her feelings upon Niiya (in a truly humorous sequence in the pilot) who offers to help her unlock her lost memories, in exchange for assistance of some sort (still working that out myself).

Unlike Ghost Hunt, Dusk Maiden is definitely more lighthearted. The character interactions, in particular those involving young Okonogi, the one student in the Club who cannot see Yuuko, are set up using suspense but end up being comical, a welcome break from the occasional monotony of a ghost hunting show. A good example would be the aforementioned pilot sequence, where Okonogi is pouring over her notes, blissfully oblivious to the supernatural happenings around her at the time, again a result of Yuuko “messing with her,” then fawning over the supposed psychic abilities of Niiya as he converses with the invisible woman. The character design is nothing out of the ordinary, though I did notice that Yuuko bears a slight resemblance to Hitagi Senjougahara from Bakemonogatari in appearance as well as actions. The setting is atmospheric and creepy, especially the lesser used buildings on the grounds, and lends itself very well to the storytelling. All in all, this show has caught my attention and has merited at least a few more episodes of my time.

But Dusk Maiden is downright drama when compared to the second series I’ve chosen to sample this season. Haiyore! Nyarlko-san (The Crawling Darkness Nyarlko), a companion to 2011’s Haiyore! Nyaruani: Remember My Love(Craft), centers around the exploits and amorous intentions of a “Nyarlathotepian” from outer space who comes to Earth to defend young Mahiro Yasaka. Despite being inherently formless, Nyarlko, as she prefers to be called, takes the shape of a silver haired girl and immediately begins thrusting her intentions on the beleaguered boy, while devouring “Earth entertainment, the best in the universe” and doing battle with chaotic hell-spawns that the real HP Lovecraft would have undoubtedly approved. Despite the serious nature of both the source material and (ostensibly) the plot, the show is anything but.

Anyone with even a passing knowledge of Lovecraft’s Cthulhu Mythos will have a field day spotting all the obvious references here. And how they are often completely subverted into puns and jokes. Cola of Cthulhu? R’lyeh Direct Ferry Dagon? A roller coaster called Madness Mountain? There are so many of these, it almost put me off the show. And not just references to Lovecraft, but also to other anime and genres. Kamen Rider? Check- Nyarlko turns into a sentai in episode 2. Pokemon, check- she throws a pokeball containing a cuddly Charizard-like monster in the pilot. Hentai? Check- remove the strategically placed bubble and clouds in the book shop, and it would be overflowing. Haiyore! Nyarlko refuses to take itself seriously, which hit me initially as a turnoff, but slowly became appealing over time. Viewers with an appreciation for sarcasm will find something to love (or groan over), and the show’s pacing is swift enough to hold attention without becoming too much of a drag. I’m just waiting for the introduction of “Chibi-thulu” to make my experience complete.

As it stands currently, I am enjoying both shows, and am looking forward to more. They have enough promise from first impressions, though neither could be mistaken for genre-defining or life-altering. They’re entertainment, plain and simple, but solid entertainment. So far, so good.