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3:15 PM on 02.01.2012

A NEW DIGITAL WORLD: Inside a Star-filled Sky

System: PC exclusive. This is a game that has such an amazingly innovative aspect to it that it could only have been birthed on the PC. However, some may say that this game focuses too much on this one aspect, causing the rest of the game to suffer. I bought this on Steam while it was on sale for only two dollars, and I have to say that I got more enjoyment from this than I did from the last soda pop I bought for 2 bucks.

Time Played: Just over an hour and a half. Even now I am only starting to understand the complexity of this game. The game play is confusing; the only way to go forward may be to go backwards. This game is like a labyrinth, nothing makes sense and you have the most fun when youíre lost.

Controls: The controls are as simple as can be. For movement you use the arrow or WASD keys, while you use the mouse to aim your bullets, but unfortunately due to the mechanics of this game your bullets donít always go where you tell them to due to the zonky game play. The only other key that serves a function is the shift button, and it is used to descend into insanity as you spiral out of control.

Game play: There are many different ways to look at this game. You can look at it as a top down shooter, an RPG, or a randomly created puzzle/maze game, and on each of these views youíd be correct. It's very hard to explain this game. The easiest way that I can think of to describe it is to over simplify what the game is about; it is a simple upgrade shooter. You can collect up to three upgrades, each with varying levels of power. They can make your bullets curve, home in on your victims, or stop in mid air. All this can make hitting a target almost impossible in a straight show down but in a narrow corridor these upgrades can be a god send. These three upgrades can be mixed and matched to cause varying effects on your creature. For example you could have increased speed, enlarged health reserves, and a curving bullet. Two upgrades of the same kind can stack, thusly increasing their power. Your enemies in this game are simple creatures. They have three upgrades of varying power inside them and they mix and match the same way yours do. Each upgrade in this game can be obtained with a different power level (the highest I was able to find was 5). Every time you collect an upgrade, which will be scattered around the environment, it replaces the oldest one. This little twist can make a heated fire fight even more deadly, if in your panic you pick up an upgrade that turns out to be more of a downgrade. If you are ever lost in one of these worlds a highlighted path will light up to guide you to the exit. This is good because other than this feature there is no map system to help you navigate throughout the game. This highlighted path will often stop you from having to back tack a million times in the randomly generated dungeons. Being a randomly generated dungeon, the upgrades are also randomly dispersed. It happens every so often that a shit upgrade blocks your path! What are you to do?

The answer is the new innovation of this game; you can jump into that upgrade and turn it into something more useful. You can jump inside of yourself, an upgrade, or an enemy. Using the shift key you will be able to dive into almost anything you come in contact with in the world and mess around with its genetic makeup turning it into something stronger, weaker, or more useful. Creatures work off of the same basic principal as you do. However, upgrades have one difference; upgrades have three upgrade slots within themselves but can only manifest one of them at a time. All of these aforementioned rules allow you to mess around with the buildings blocks of the creatures you meet in order to change your opponents outward self. Now to run you through a scenario(This may take youíre sanity how ever look at the pic. afterwards and you will see);

0. You have an upgrade in front of you. You want it to be a higher level.
1. You jump into said upgrade and see that there are no upgrades inside of it that would benefit you.
2. You jump into one of the upgrades inside of the first upgrade in order to change this new upgrade into something more useful. While inside, you encounter an enemy you cannot kill. This leaves you with two options, you can either jump inside and make ur self more powerful or, or jump into the enemy and make it weaker
3. Say you jump inside the enemy and change what his makeup is, but all his internal upgrades are more powerful than your own, what do you do?
4. Jump into an upgrade to make it weaker. You collect a weaker power up for that upgrade kicking out the strong one. Changing it to it weaker form in the world above. then you backing out (what)
5. Collect the upgrade to weaken your enemy then back out of them.
6. Now you can easily kill it and back out finding the exit portal with its upgrade. (clarify backing out)
7. Collect the upgrade. Now collect two more upgrades making yours more powerful and back out once more.
8. Now go into your original self, collect the upgrade, and make yourself more powerful.
9. Now you simply ascend to the next level and reap your rewards.


The above is a very watered down version of what you will find in this game. I have made dozens of deeper and deeper leaps in order to find just one upgrade that will finally make me powerful enough to complete my ultimate mission. However, keep in mind that as you dive deeper into this labyrinth the enemies become much more formidable. The method Iíve found successful in overcoming this barrier is to start out with a higher level upgrade. In the original over world you will only find enemies with a single first level upgrade. Once you delve deeper you will see upgrades of varying levels and enemies with multiple upgrades of varying levels as well. Often I would see an enemy shooting and say, ďMan that looks cool.Ē I would then dive into it just so that I could ultimately copy its new power.

Art direction: 8 bit. I like to imagine that this game takes place on the home world of the aliens from Space Invaders. Every creature you run across, including yourself, looks like a little unique space invading monster. Flags mark the surface of each level/creature you travel on.

Replay: I could not find an end to this game. I believe it just goes on and on and on. This game is playable as long as you can find a way to amuse yourself.

After thoughts: This game is very interesting, however so are year old leftovers you find in the back of the fridge. To fully understand why this game has some character to it you just have to look at the creator, Jason Rohrer. His games are made for the individual and the unique. Could he personally reinvent the industry, bringing it into a new golden age? No. But maybe his ideas will be picked up. Imagine a more fleshed out RPG where you could dive into an enemies mind and change how he feels and acts. This idea could breathe some new life into the gun oriented game industry of today. Or it could just be a cheap way point while youíre waiting to gather enough green backs to buy up a AAA title.   read

7:54 AM on 12.02.2011

A New Digital World: Realm of the Mad God

System: PC. I stumbled upon this game on Kongregate, one of my favorite flash game sites, where they offer a wide range of high quality games. This site has a user log in function which lets you view the games you have played before so you donít mistakenly backtrack, and they even have achievements. Achievements, just got to get them all.

Time Played: After 1 hour of game play I unlocked one character, one more hour in and I unlocked two more.

Controls: You can control your warrior with any keys that you want. One amazing option in this game is the ability to bind keys; this is crazy because as a man who plays a lot of flash games I know that this is rarely an option. This is kind of like when you get the last slice of pizza guilt free because youíre the only one who wants it, itís extremely rare and incredibly enjoyable. The controls are like that of a normal MMO, the numbers keys activate items and you fire your projectile using you your left mouse button. Now I know what youíre thinking, ďI have to constantly press a button, this sucks.Ē Well in response to that thought the designer of this game is thinking, "fuck you, you lazy wiener," because they added an auto fire button in case this is really that much of a deterrent for you. This makes me very happy; holding down the mouse button makes this game much more enjoyable seeing as how it eliminates the need for a lot of clicking. These are just a few things that make this game playable.

Game play: In this game you are not alone, you are one of many. You play as either a projectile firing horde, or as a lone warrior fighting against unbelievable odds with powerful weapons and spells. These are the two experiences this game has to offer. Most of the time you just run around by yourself and exp. grind. However, once in a blue moon a large group of people will stick together like some sort of massive algae bloom. This algae bloom is the red tide of this game. It roves the land killing boss creatures and bosses in the mere blink of an eye. Itís easy to find one of these groups in a land, but of course you canít see them if they donít exist in that world. On your mini map there are green dots that represent everyone in that level. Another nice feature of this game is that you can teleport instantly to any green dot you see by simply clicking on it. The other up side of the murdering horde is that if you are on the screen when a monster dies you gain exp. , but alas, so does everyone else. If you are a communist you will love this part, all of your bothers in arms are fighting against the bourgeoisie monster horde. Who do they think they are, these big bad boss monsters controlling the means of leveling and power ups for themselves? You must take what is yours from the greed driven beasts. Oh but what about item drops? Guess what, it can only go to one person, and being in the marauding death cloud of pixels means that it is nearly impossible pick one up. FUCK THAT. I like to strike out on my own because this red tide takes away the skill of lining up your shot and the joy of blasting off a few of your power spells while using the terrain to your advantage to take down those bad bosses.

Art direction: 8bit and lovely. Also the terrain that you are traveling in can impact how you play; run on a road and you go faster, hit some sand and you crawl to a snail's pace. Trees can block shots and provide a great source of cover from enemy fire; however they can also protect your enemies from sniper fire and force you into close quarter brawls. Hop in a river and only your head will be above water, making you a much smaller target for enemies, but of course your enemies may also take advantage of the same.

Replay: This game is clearly meant to be played over and over again so as to unlock everything. Killing boss monsters, which appear on the corner of your screen once in range, will net you good exp. and fame. Gather enough fame and you will unlock new classes, with their own loot and special moves.

After thoughts: It's all right if you want to shut your brain off and live grid for a while. The small details like the different terrain and the loot system were the only reason I even gave this game the time of day. Like the occasional weird porn its fun to watch for a while, but most people will turn it off. Those odd people out there will really get off to this. So have a good wank.   read

7:26 AM on 11.15.2011

A New Digital World: The Binding of Isaac

System: I downloaded the Binding of Isaac from Steam. The game is only a PCs exclusive and after playing it, itís quite evident why that is. The subject matter may prove to be too controversial for The Binding of Isaac to cross over to consoles with mainstream success; you play as a small naked boy that is trying to fight his way to freedom using the only things he has at his disposal, tears and even occasionally pee. Not to mention that your mother hears the voice of God telling her to kill you in order to exercise your evil soul form the Earth.

Time played: I have played Binding of Isaac for about 5 hours now and have yet to beat it. I am admittedly not a great gamer, I consider myself to be slightly better than average, so the lengthy game play unbeaten may be about 50% my own fault. The rest of the blame lies on the fact that this game is a randomly generated one. Everything, from the dungeons to the enemies and even the loot you pick up along the way, is randomly generated. The inherent problem with randomly generated games is that you may at times find yourself trying to do the impossible. It often happens in this game that the upgrades and coins available to you will not sufficiently prepare you. You may walk through a dungeon door and fight the enemy on the other side over whelming. There were many times when, upon entering a room, I found myself stuck in a lane of death with nowhere to run and not even enough time to figure out how to save myself. However, Iím always confident that with enough game time the video game gods will be kind and give everything you need, and more, to beat the game.

Controls: You move Isaac with the W, A, S, and D keys, and you fire your projectiles using the mouse or the arrow keys. Special items are used by hitting the space bar, bombs are placed using shift, and pickups are used with the Q key. The reason that I'm using the WASD key formation for character movement is that unfortunately this game does not allow key binding. This is especially a bummer, because like I said before, this game is only for the PC. I would expect this from a console port, but not a PC only game. However, this can be forgiven since the game controls are so simple that remapping them would improve your skills by only a small fraction.

Game play: You start the game as a naked crying child you may finish a bombs headed, coat hook impaled, devil horned pissing machine. Every up grade that you receive throughout the game can either increase or decrease your power, and in a wonderfully stylized twist it also changes your characterís physical appearance. Almost everything changes how you look, and when you stack a bunch of upgrades together you literally become a powerful grotesque crying machine. However, not all upgrades are the same. Some upgrade suck, like the doctor, which increase the effect of your pills. Pills produce a wide variety of different results and there is no way for you to tell what those results will be until you take them. If you think about it, this may be the most disturbing part of the game a small child just popping pills to see what they do. you have no idea what each pill will do and each game the effects will jump. You have a few options to choose from when killing your enemies. You can drop bombs, which explode after a second or two, tear, shoot, or use one of a variety of other specialty attacks. These specialty attacks range from the ability to launch a missile, to pissing yourself and thusly creating a damaging toxic pool. All of these different methods of destruction help to add variety to the game and keep it interesting.

Art direction: This game would be quite disturbing if the graphics werenít done in such a cute as hell sort of way. Each enemy has two forms, a rather bland normal form, and a special form reserved for power-ups. The colors of the monster correspond to their powers Red increase damage, green posing touch, black explodes on death. There was nothing scarier than when I ran into a walking vagina whose who after trying to kill me with its blood laser beam attack, exploded to finish me off.

Replay: This game is designed to be played over and over again. With how everything is randomly generated this gameís longevity in your game rotation will only be determined by whether or not you found a new game. I canít be sure, but it seems like there are characters that are unlocked once you beat the game; thatís always fun and it always helps to increase the time that a game remains enjoyable. Since I have not unlocked them yet Iím not sure if they are simply skins, or if they actually change the game play around.

After thoughts: This game is not for everyone. It's like jumping rope with a turtle shoes on. Some people would just not give a shit to do something like that. Well other myself included would find that to be a very pleasurable and interesting experience.   read

7:48 PM on 10.19.2011

A New Digital World Edited

I am a man of the modern age. I have a 1080p flat screen television, a PC gaming rig, an Xbox, and of course, a high speed internet connection. Life, in short, is good. I could not imagine living in a world in which everything was not instantly at my finger tips. Music, movies, books, and all of the sweetest video games are waiting for me on the information and entertainment super highway that we call the World Wide Web.

Unfortunately I cannot say that I have been heavily entrenched in the world of video games my whole life. In the past Iíve had a Sega (long live Booger Man), a Nintendo 64 (Super Smash Brothers / Golden Eye ), and a PS2 (Ratchet and Clank all the way). However, it wasnít until my time in college that I discovered what gaming could really be; it was then that I was first introduced into serious gaming culture with the creation of my own PC rig. I was lucky, my entrance into the gaming world coincided with the creation and success of steam, xbla, GOG and psn; the advent of which, allowed gamers to instantly satisfy their cravings. Gone were the days of having to lug your ass to the store and shell out semolina's for new games. Gone were the fruitless searches through bargain bins for year old games that would fit your budget.
I now live in the modern age, everything I own, I do not own. Itís all nothing but ones and zeros floating in an invisible world. The modern advent of the down loaded game brought another fantastically awesome side effect, the indie studio. Now, with the shackles of physical media and the previous necessity of oppressive distribution chains obliterated, nearly anyone can create a videogame with the hopes of its mass consumption. A great burden has been lifted off of the videogame community.
I will quote a great man,

"I will eat a 100 bad Reubens if thatís what it takes to find that 1!!! That I was looking for."

This sort of relates to how I feel about indie games; I play a lot of independent games with the hopes of finding at least one gem, or one Reuben, amongst the vast unsatisfying majority.
I will mostly be reviewing indie games and flash games on my PC/Mac Book. However, there will be Xbox and Pantech crossover running Droid OS. I also plan on reviewing a spackling of major games, though these games may admittedly be on the solder side due to the fact that Iím a cheap bastard.   read

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