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7:16 PM on 03.31.2015

Bundling Idiot: Humble Indie Bundle 14

Hello there and welcome to another intense edition of Bundling idiot, the series in which I give some impressions on a new PC game bundle. Apologies for the time between these blogs, but I struggled to find any bundles worth talking about last week. I have a fully written blog saved on my desktop about a really terrible bundle on IndieRoyale, but couldn't imagine anyone caring about the games included!

Today is the big one, Humble Indie Bundle 14! Each Humble Indie Bundle so far has given me hours of fantastic unique games and the 14th is no exception. I'll be focusing in the current beat the average games this time (which are currently at $5.39). Let's begin!

Outlast is a non combat, survival horror game in which you must investigate and escape Mount Massive Asylum. As you may expect the asylum is home to many threats, patient and doctor alike, that are both deadly and terrifying. Fortunately you have one ally in the nightmare that is Outlast: your trusty camcorder! The night vision mode is a lifesaver in the dark abandoned setting and visibility is one of the few ways you can stay ahead of your enemies - as long as you keep stocked up on batteries anyway. My only issue with Outlast is that sometimes finding how to progress through a particularly dangerous section can be frustrating, to the point of losing the fear of the situation. This is a minor complaint of one of my favourite horror games, recommended to all ye brave souls!

Torchlight II is an action RPG in the same vein as Diablo. You pick one of 4 classes and a cute pet to head out into the world with. The game uses the traditional loop of levelling up and acquiring new loot, and does so in a very compelling manner. Meanwhile the action is varied and fast paced enough to keep attention in between these hooks. As someone who has played a lot of Diablo 2 and 3 I found Torchlight II to be as entertaining as both, whilst the vibrant art style sets it apart visually.

La-Mulana is a 2D platform adventure game, with an emphasise on exploration that requires an impressive investment of time and dedication. As an explorer searching for the Secret Treasure of Life, you must explore the dense ruins of La-Mulana. In the ruins you will discover a great deal of lore and hints to solve the games many puzzles on ancient tablets. The platforming is inspired by Castlevania, utilising a stiff jump with limited mid-air movement and even a whip as your primary weapon. La-Mulana is brilliant in so many ways, but the commitment required to write notes for the complex puzzles and draw maps of the ruins (which are both practically required unless you are following a guide) may prove too much of a barrier to people wanting to experience this masterpiece.

As well as these 3 games, all beat the average customers receive the 3 pay what you want games (and more games which will be added next week!). Pixel Piracy is a 2D open world pirate game which many of my friends are big fans of. Unepic is a 2D platformer set in a real world D&D game that I have had lots of fun with in the past. Super Splatters is a physics puzzle game that looks fabulously colourful and boasts incredible challenge.

Even excluding the games still to be added next week, this bundle is an awesome deal that I would not hesitate to recommend. I can't wait to see what is added next week and will post yet another blog on the games included. Thank you so much for reading and feel free to join me in the comments.


6:55 AM on 03.21.2015

Bundling Idiot: Humble Weekly Bundle Roguelikes 2

Salutations and welcome to another exciting instalment of Bundling Idiot, the Cblog in which I discuss a new gaming bundle for all you lovely boys and girls. This blog came a little sooner than expected but when the bundles appear so must I! Today I will be discussing the pay what you want tier of the Humble Weekly Bundle Roguelikes 2.

Vertical Drop Heroes HD is a “Roguelite” platformer in which you must descend to the bottom of 10 stages in search of the holy sanctuary. For each attempt you make to reach the sanctuary you pick between 3 randomly generated heroes each with different weapons, abilities and passive traits. As may seem contrary to the genre, death is not particularly punitive as when you die the gold you have earned is kept, and can be spent to upgrade future character's stats. If this all sounds a lot like Rogue Legacy it's because it is, with the major exception that the combat is awful. The range of the weapons is tiny and to get close enough to an enemy to strike, you will almost always take damage too. Another complaint I have with the game is that when an enemy dies a slow down effect occurs to emphasise the kill, but this happens so often (and is also activated when an ally kills an enemy) that it ruins the flow of the game and caused me to mistime a few jumps. I could not find a good enough reason to play Vertical Drop Heroes HD as opposed to the similar and more polished Rogue Legacy, which is such a shame as I liked a couple of the ideas on display.

A Wizard's Lizard is a “Roguelite” twin stick shooter in the vein of The Binding of Isaac. You play as a lizard trying to rescue his wizard owner by entering different dungeons. Each dungeon beaten is kept track of so if you die on the second dungeon you will not have to repeat the first; you can also collect weapon blueprints and rescue citizens to send back to the hub world, adding another layer of persistence. The gameplay involves you constantly upgrading your character with a huge array of weapons, totems (a turret that operates on a cooldown timer) and armour. The game also has an incredibly interesting system in which, when you die, you come back as a ghost and continue your current run; however enemies upon death also spawn ghosts which can only damage you in your ghost form, making the game harder. A Wizard's Lizard is a compelling and incredibly difficult game which uses its difficulty to make it all the more rewarding when you finally make enough progress to improve future runs, and I think I love it.

The Nightmare Collective is a turn based puzzle Roguelike in which you move each member of your party in the same direction at the same time. The combat is all implemented by bumping into the enemies (the traditional Roguelike way). Each of the characters have different special abilities based on their class, such as healing allies or a ranged attack. When timed correctly these can prevent the party from taking damage. Planning out each turn carefully as your team grows bigger becomes more complex and sacrifices must be made. The downside to this is when a team mate dies there is almost always a replacement you can collect from the next floor making careful management unnecessary. Unfortunately for me, the game seems to be much more based on high score chasing than survival, and in a Roguelike I found this jarring and was not compelled to play for a long period of time. On my second attempt I beat the game and just didn't feel the need to continue playing The Nightmare collective. If this was a tougher game in which survival was important I think I would have found a lot to love here, and if you are more of a leaderboard chaser this could be the game for you.

Compared to the last bundle I wrote about, it is harder to recommend the Humble Weekly Bundle Roguelikes 2. For A Wizard's Lizard alone it could easily be considered worth paying what you want, and if you want to pay more then I've heard nothing but praise for Heavy Bullets. Other than those titles it is a tough sell.

Thank you so much for reading, and as always any questions or comments are welcomed with open arms.

Until the next bundle, I bid you adieu!


9:13 AM on 03.19.2015

Bundling Idiot: Humble PC & Android Bundle 12

Greetings and welcome to Bundling Idiot, the new weekly Cblog in which I talk about a current video game bundle that will get you some bang for your buck! This week the focus is Humble PC & Android Bundle 12. I'll be talking about only the pay what you want tier of games this time for an extreme potential of cheapness for everybody.

Tetrabot and Co is a point and click puzzle game where you, an adorable robot, collect and launch blocks in order to navigate obstacles and collect special gold blocks (3 in each stage). Different blocks have different properties, such as sticking to each other, enabling you to create unique structures to solve interesting and often really tough problems. The concept is simple to grasp but the constant new mechanics keep the game fresh. When finally solving those difficult puzzles in Tetrabot and Co I felt like a gosh darned genius and the beautiful ambient music makes sticking around for those moments less stressful.

Titan Attacks is a Space Invaders style shooter with some great modern adaptations. After each stage you receive money based on enemies killed which you can use to upgrade your tank in a variety of ways allowing you to pick and choose your own style of play, it's not incredibly in-depth but is perfect for the fast arcade action on offer. Also worth mentioning is the aesthetic, the dark backgrounds and aliens are contrasted by bright neon style bullets which not only looks beautiful but also really makes the bullets easy to see amongst the chaos. Titan Attacks is a great way to scratch that arcade itch and feels both classic and modern.

The Inner World is a charming point and click adventure in which you play Robert, a young apprentice who has never left the palace, exploring the weird suffering world of Asposia. The voice acting is great and the dialogue is provocative in a bizarre sort of way. The game features the revealing of hotspots and a robust hint system so if you, like me, are struggling, you are able to access a range of hints ranging from a nudge in the right direction all the way to exact instructions of what to do next, which I really appreciated.

VVVVVV is a difficult “Metroidvania” that I'm pretty sure you have all played before. The central mechanic on display is gravity control, you can vertically shift gravity to avoid obstacles and explore the maze-like environment. To help balance out the intense difficulty checkpoints are plentiful so death never feels like a huge punishment. The very basic retro style graphics manage to give VVVVVV a really unique look and make exploring the world a much more weird and wonderful experience. If you haven't played it before, this is the perfect opportunity.

I really feel that the games on offer in this bundle are really worth looking at. From what I have played all these games would be enjoyable for either a long session on the PC (how I played them) or a quick burst on the bus on your phone. Not to mention the fact that if you want to pay more there are extra games not discussed here (Costume Quest, Ironclad Tactics, Shadowrun Returns and more to come next Tuesday).

Thanks for reading everybody and let me know in the comments below what you thought if you want! This is a new project of mine and any feedback would be appreciated, even if you just want to tell me I suck.

See you next week!


2:17 PM on 03.07.2012

The ones that got away...Henry Hatsworth in the Puzzling Adventure

Last week I wrote a Blog about a load of awesome DS games that had managed to pile into the dark abyss of the backlog. I also asked the ever loving community of destructoid to pick 3 of the 6 games for me to play and thus “The ones that got away” was born! Today, as you may have already gathered, I will be sharing my opinions on puzzle platformer; Henry Hatsworth in the Puzzling Adventure.

Henry Hatsworth is a treasure hunter by trade, and on an everyday tutorial expedition he discovers a piece of “The Gold Suit”; a magical suit wearable only by the best dressed of men, which of course also gives the wearer super powers. Thus an exciting adventure to obtain all the pieces before arch rival Weaselby ensues. All the games’ voices are heard as a series of grunts and noises (almost identically to N64 classic Banjo Kazooie) which adds a great deal of charm to the story segments, and not once did I feel that it got in the way of the action.

As I mentioned in my last blog, Henry Hatsworth (HH) is a classic 2d platformer and a puzzle game (think Panel de Pon, Tetris attack etc) combined into one bundle of joy. Enemies killed in the platformer on the top screen drop down into the puzzle on the bottom screen, where they become one of several types of block. You must match this block before it reaches the top of the screen or it will pop up and start attacking Henry. The two different games blend together perfectly and it never feels like a chore to have to switch to the puzzle and get rid of a few rising enemies. The transition is swift and seamless,; not to mention there are plenty of helpful powerups (health, extra lives, stopping time) and a nice boost to your special meter to help tempt you down to the bottom screen for quick burst of matching 3, and you’re going to need all the help you can get!

The platforming is classic bread and butter stuff, with tight controls that you will get to grips with instantly. Henry has a few tricks up his sleeve for the bad guys too, with a sabre in one hand and a rifle in the other he is ready for anything! The combat is kept nice and simple with one melee button and one ranged. Mixing these up is really fun and you can really get the combos going for some extra treasure. You may go through plenty of familiar platforming worlds but HH never manages to be boring. Both screens keep fresh with tons of new enemies, tiles and abilities as you go along. These are all introduced at a perfect pace and whenever a new enemy appears the game always allows you to fight it alone, meaning you get no nasty surprises the next time you see them.

Don’t be fooled into thinking that HH is even close to being an easy game, it’s downright cruel at times. The platforming starts out simple enough but by world 3 you will be dodging death spikes, artillery fire and all whilst hopping from one moving platform to another. Oh, and did I mention that most attacks not only damage you, but will also knock you back! It’s not just bottomless pits that will be the cause of all those game over’s though; the enemies are fierce, plentiful and out for British blood! Once or twice a stage you will be limited to one screen of movement and have enemies attack from all directions. These really ramp up in difficulty, and command great concentration and lots of screen swapping in the later levels.

The boss battles make sure there is no break in the action and one wrong move will cost Henry’s life. Every world ends on an epic (and usually pretty humorous) note with these fights, and there are plenty of unforgettable moments which I won’t spoil for you! Plenty of pattern memorising and retrying to be had here and I loved every second of it.

That’s not to say the difficulty is always a good thing. My main gripe with the game is how few and far between checkpoints are on some of the massive levels. It really impedes your progress in a game that otherwise has an almost perfect learning curve. I didn’t play the game for about three days after getting particularly annoyed at having to start a whole 15 minute segment again for the tenth time.

Henry Hatsworth in the Puzzling Adventure is (regardless of checkpoint hiccups) a bloody good game. If you’re not put off by a good challenge and are known to enjoy a good platformer or two then I can’t see why you wouldn’t love this game. In the words of Henry Hatsworth himself, “Good Show!”

My next blog will hopefully be up a little quicker than this one was, and will be my impressions of Castlevania: Order of Ecclesia. Watch this space!   read

1:51 PM on 02.26.2012

The ones that got away...DS games

Have you ever just not got round to playing the latest big release? Maybe the game is sat right in front of you in the dreaded backlog and everyone is talking about it except you. I know that feeling all too well, and it stops now!

I'm going back through it; not every game just the ones that I know are well loved, and I want you to join me. Not just to join me but to help; the power is in your hands! I'm taking on all my consoles, from N64 to PS3, and going back to finally beat some of the classics.

I'm thinking 3 for each console each in it's own category. One ridiculously popular (so probably pretty good), one that I really really want to play and one that's so hard that I'll cry tears of blood...and that's just on stage one. I'm gonna give you a choice of 2 in each category and play the one with the most votes. Right explanation time is over, it's game on...with DS games!

A popular choice

Option 1: Rune Factory: A Fantasy Harvest Moon

I'm a bit worried I just don't "get" Harvest Moon games. Farming doesn't really grab my attention in game form. I'm hoping the mix up of the series into RPG territory will finally get me ploughing the fields like there's no tomorrow.

I've had this game ages but have never played it for very long, always getting distracted by other games that I just had to play. I know I'm a little late to the party with loads of sequels out already so maybe I'd better get a move on.

Option 2: Castlevania: Order of Ecclesia

The third Castlevania game for the DS had a lot to live up to after the fantastic Dawn of Sorrow and Portrait of Ruin. It delivered, snatching up numerous awards and positive reviews. 2d platforming and exploring at its finest. You know what to expect from the franchise by now: big hard bosses, lots of level ups and cool new powers.

For some reason I never managed to get very far into this Castlevania and am yet to progress any further than the giant crab. Dawn of Sorrow is my favourite DS game of all time so I don't know what's stopping me from enjoying Order of Ecclesia. Maybe I just need a push in the right direction.

Your the one that I want

Option 1: Henry Hatsworth in the Puzzling Adventure

I have an obligation to play this being an upstanding British gentleman much like Henry Hatsworth himself. It's a puzzle platformer in the simplest sense of the term, meaning that the top screen is platforming action and the bottom is tile sliding. An enemy killed on the top becomes a tile on the bottom and must be matched quickly to avoid them coming back to life.

I got this really cheap recently but just haven't been sucked into it's world of tea and crumpets just yet. I love a good bit of platforming and this could scratch the itch perfectly.

Option 2: Knights in the Nightmare

How can I hope to explain a game I really don't understand...lets see. It's sort of an SRPG with bullet hell segments for dodging attacks. Well known for having a ridiculously steep learning curve and huge tutorials. You play the soul of a king trying to reclaim his kingdom and body in what promises to be an epic adventure.

I really want to start playing this one! I just need the motivation to begin the learning experience. I've heard great things about Knights in the Nightmare and reckon I could really get stuck into this mash-up of genres.


Option 1: Contra 4

The prospect of having to try and beat this game terrifies me. I have never beaten a Contra game (although I'm hardly the only one!) and don't know if I'll actually manage it. In 2007 Konami decided it was finally time to bring back the series that strikes fear into the hearts of gamers. The classic run and gun gameplay was back, as was the extreme difficulty. Fans lapped it up and Contra was reborn.

I imported Contra 4 a few years back, as it never made it to Europe, but have never made it further than the third stage. I feel I owe it to myself to try and truly experience Contra all the way through...but do I have the skill?

Option 2: The Dark Spire

This is hardly the easy way out from having to play Contra 4. The Dark Spire is balls to the wall hard, at least for someone who never played Wizardry. The Dark Spire is a throwback to the dungeon crawlers of yesteryear with reliance on a little luck and a lot of patience. Probably the least well received game on this list, but those who got into the game really loved it back in 2008.

Another imported game (does Europe just not get the hard DS games?) that I have spent woefully little time playing and most of that was spent dying. I find it hard to imagine me seeing the end credits for this game but maybe I will surprise myself.

So what will it be? Will I be slaying vampires or planting turnips? Will I be drinking tea in my English manor house or reclaiming my kingdom without a body? Will I be crying on stage 2 of Contra 4 or sobbing on floor 2 of the Dark Spire? Comment below if there's a game you'd prefer to hear my musings on, or even if you just want to tell me you don't like the idea!   read

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