There's an event here called Temporada de Patos, big tournament thing with a bunch of different games. They do this event every six months, so I figured I'd browse around the website. And oh shit, what do I find, apparently there's some weird countdown, I wonder what could it mean?:
I've been wanting to change my homepage for some time now. I've been using a clone of the Opera Speed Dial feature for firefox and it's useful, but ugly as hell. That's when I thought about making my own little homepage. I didn't want to add URLs manually, so I made a little interface to make it simple for me to add them. I showed it to a friend and he said "hey, it's nice", so I added users and stuff. Thus, Koala Home was Born after about 4 hours of coding.
What's Koala home? It's nothing really useful actually. It's just a place to keep those websites you visit daily in one place so you can just have that as a homepage and click through them. You just login/register (the login form is the register form) and add links, titles and colors and you're good to go.
It's open for the general public if someone thinks they need something like this, the features are VERY limited though. No error/success reports it either does it or it doesn't... So, I hope you enjoy it if you use it, or at least enjoy the pretty colors.
Valdis story is a pretty 2D platformer very much like Castlevania. 'nuff said.
Valdis story has some of the nicest art I've seen in an Independent game. Everything from the backgroudns to the characters and enemies is done with such beauty, you would imagine the person behind it was a master spriter of the SNES era. (that's when they really shined)
The art has this japanese kind of feel to it combined with a gothic motif. It's quite nice. It also has some nice panning effects when the action gets hawt, some lighting effects for when you do combos and even some particle effects sprinkled here and there.
Even the menu has some nice design to it with a bunch of icons, maybe not perfect but still pretty nice.
This gets a 9.12/10.
The gameplay is fast paced and has a lot of emphasis on combos called "Chains". You see, each time you kill an enemy you get what I like to call "Balls of Experience". The more you hurt an enemy without being hurt, the more your chain counter goes up and you get bigger balls. The bigger the balls, the better the experience of course.
To complement the classic jump dash slash action of 2D action platform games, you have a bunch of angel/devil techniques that can help you do some pretty nice olympic-style choreographies. From the classic double jumps and back slashes to some neat "counter smite" and spirit slashes.
If you don't think that's enough, you still get to summon some demons here and there to help you beat the crap of the unsuspecting enemies.
You get to really dish out some violence and make worth your previously accumulated balls of experience with some really tough and clever bosses. Some fallen demons, fallen angels, fallen generals and pretty much anything fallen.
Still, the game has taken some seriously strange decisions about gameplay. For example, your main keys (parry, summon, attack, etc) are in the ASDF row, but you jump with the space bar and move with the arrow keys. It can be a bit awkward at first. Oh yeah, and the game can be a bit of a bitch with resources, which is not normal in this day and age of portable super computers and Jiggobytes of memory.
The game gets an 8.5/10 because it still needs to polish the moves, choose better buttons and definitely lose some memory weight.
Music (and maybe sound)
Music. What can I say about it. It's your basic goth-jgame midi music: organ, piano and slow strings. It helps with the mood, but the quality isn't getting an award any time soon. They should really work on that because some of the songs sound really nice, if only the synth quality wasn't below poor.
Sounds are nice, you have your typical slashing sound, jump sounds, devil sounds, angel sounds... as you expected. They're also ok. Nothing particularly apalling, but not many games have that, so yeah.
7.432/10 ... If it had better synths it would go all the way to 8.423/10 ... almost a whole point.
You know, with a developer company called "Endless Fluff", you would expect a softer videogame, one with pretty huggable heroes and colorful enemies. What you get is quite the opposite, a dark game about demons and angels that border the demon-like. Lots of blood and gore. (In fact, the items that give you MP seem like little pieces of meat).
Who can say no to a fast paced action game with supernatural stuff going on and violence? Christians, that's who.
Alas, this game is only a demo so it's kind of short and lacking in some areas. It seems like a nice project, but the owner hasn't updated it since mid-last year (you know, 2007). Let's hope it's not because he abandoned this fine piece.
The game gets a 9/10 in the demo scale and an 8.12/10 in the general scale.
Here's a youtube demonstrating the battle system. The chain effect is kind of different than the one in the demo though, I like the one in the demo better.
BLOCKSUM is a very new typed action puzzle game. For everyone who can add numbers to 20.
As you can see from the screen shots, blocksum has a set of hi-tech graphics. Being a puzzle game, their job is not really to be bleeding edge, but to have a practical purpose.
The graphics are good, won't kill your eyes and you won't be able to avert your eyes from the moving blocks, that's as much as I can say about them.
They receive an 9/10 for not being the best graphics ever, but not being near ugly nor obtrusive.
You have a bunch of blocks with numbers trying to go up, and it's your job to stop them. How do you stop them? well, with addition of course. In classic puzzle tradition, you need to gather blocks of the same type to destroy them, if you have as many (or more) blocks together as the number inside them says, then they're destroyed... something like:
2 or more blocks with a 2 inside = dead
3 or more blocks with a 3 inside = exist no more
4 or more blocks with a 4 inside = pew!
5 or mo...
well, I guess you get the idea.
The more you destroy blocks, the faster it gets and so on and so on for eternity.
Music (and maybe sound)
Music is your basic Techno, quite repetitive but not distracting, it's better than silence.
Though Ginger and Xor sounds like the name of an obscure indie rock band and their official explanation is pretty short, not very descriptive and kind of outdated, they have created one of the best puzzle games out there.
The game mechanics are simple and will be familiar to anyone who ever played puzzle league, the twist is that they make you think a bit more than usual by adding basic addition to the mix. Music is OK, graphics are good.
A fun game overall, and not ugly at all (I've seen many many ugly puzzles).
In Knytt Stories, each level is its own little adventure. One level is included with the game, where you have to stop a machine that draws the life out of the planet. An official expansion pack is also featured at the website with four original levels.
This game doesn't have the best graphics out there, in fact, you could say they're quite simple and minimalistic, but they're not ugly.
The design varies from level to level, while some may be more traditional urban and tech-style, others can be very original (see screenshot below) and this makes every level practically an independent game (except for the fact that the items, controls and main character are the same).
The enemy designs are nice, some are really weird and some are your traditional needle shooting bees.
I wouldn't know what to rate this game in this aspect since it's really not that important in the game, so I will let you decided by looking at the screenshots. That's pretty much it.
This is what the game is all about. The controls are simple and the speed is fast-ish-esque, this is good because some of the levels are huge. You can obtain some classic powerups like double jump or wall crawling and some that are nice and not as often seen like the hologram and umbrella.
The game comes with a level editor that lets you make your own knytt adventure, it can be a puzzle oriented game, challenge, maze, etc. This means that each level is a completely different experience.
Most of the levels have secrets and multiple endings, this is a nice thing for those of you who like getting everything. The clever use of invisible walls and properly timed jumps can lead you to new places.
The replay value is really really high. I got hooked on this game and finished every level I downloaded. The larger levels can be a bit more hard to play all over again for some, but even the small levels can be played multiple times and you'll find something new.
I give it a nice 10/10.
Music (and maybe sound)
The music for this game is exquisite and made by nifflas himself. It's all ambient and relaxed. It gives the game an aura of mystery and discovery and makes you strangely absorbed into the game.
Of course, this is also a matter of personal taste and some people may not like it as much. Still, it's not the kind of music that would annoy you.
About sounds, nothing special, everything proper.
I give it a:
Here's a youtube to see it in action (and hear the game)
It's a simple minimalist game that's not hard to get into with nice relaxing music and varied gameplay. It's very fun to play and replay and it has a lot of secrets built into it, specially the large levels.
The included level editor lets you make your own adventures and you can even work upon already installed levels.
In general, I'd say this game gets a 9/10 and it's a must-play for those who like platform games.
Well, as a side effect of being a mexican, I'm poor. This means that I must get my gaming fix from either pirating software and/or Indie games. And that's pretty much why I'm starting this section called "Indie Game of the Now", where I'll post links to independent video games that I like every now and then. Some are really old (like this one) and some will be bleeding edge new.
Noitu Love by Joakim Sandberg
The year is 2188. The city is protected by an organization called "The Peacekeepers League" and everything is swell except for that it's under attack. By a robot army lead by professor Darnacus Damnation!
This game is an action packed adventure of several long levels (with save feature) and you play as Noitu Love, a young and talented boy, who's purpose it is in life to stop Darnacus and live up to his intercom girl Lori's expectations.
6 levels, 5 difficulties and several unlockables are to be found, and you'll play as four different characters.
Joakim Sandberg's noitu love will be a familiar experience for anyone who has played any old megaman game. As the description in the site says, the game is a fast action packed adventure, with some classic platform elements (like collecting vials of acid to obtain another man... ...). The music is very retro, may annoy some people, but personally I loved it.
One thing that makes this game fun is the personality of the bosses, each boss has a different personality which is sometimes the key to defeat them. Noitu can transform into different things to solve clever puzzles: a monkey for hard-to-reach things, a genius to work with computers or a bird to fly around.
Here's a video of the game in insane mode with some dude narrating:
The game is relatively easy in the beginning but the unlockable difficulty levels are challenging, it's entertaining. To try it, get over here.
As an added bonus, here's a video of the upcoming Noitu Love 2, faster and more action packed.