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EXO is like ecstasy, except it won't damage your spine


Sep 04
// Allistair Pinsof
I don't know what happened but I just saw some pretty things and now my spine hurts real bad. Free experimental art game EXO may have the same effect on you. Yes, I said it: ART GAME! Unlike so many other games that are given...
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Kill some rats in free iOS game Dishonored: Rat Assassin


Aug 31
// Allistair Pinsof
At long last, killing vermin in my rat infested storage unit I sleep in is going to pay off! Rat Assassin is kind of like Fruit Ninja instead you are slicing rats, not fruit -- the story of my life. If the idea nauseates you...
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Plants vs. Zombies creator's new game: Octogeddon


Aug 28
// Dale North
Layoffs are a bummer, but Plants vs. Zombies creator George Fan isn't going to let them bring him down, even if a sequel might be happening without him. This past weekend, Fan entered the 48-hour-long game creating compe...
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Spelunky available on browsers, red nose still adorable


Jul 31
// Jason Cabral
What's better than playing an awesome indie game? How about playing an awesome free indie on the browser of your choosing, whenever you want to! A port of Spelunky has just hit broswers everywhere. Darius Kazemi took the orig...

Review: Abobo's Big Adventure

Mar 11 // Daniel Starkey
Abobo's Big Adventure (PC)Developer: Team BoboPublisher: Team BoboReleased: January 11, 2012 MSRP: FREERig: Intel i7-820QM @3.06 GHz, with 8GB of RAM, GeForce GTX 480M GPU Abobo's Big Adventure is a minimal game, a tribute to the NES generation in which everyone from Donkey Kong to Ryu Hayabusa makes an appearance in some form or another. Focused on punishing difficulty and an assumed proficiency on the part of the player, Abobo is a juxtaposition of the modern and the classic, a tangential parody of the youth and innocence of the NES era that melds grotesque physical comedy (read: poop rockets and bloodsport) and the simple gameplay of times long past. Drawing purely from the comedy of anachronistic allusions, Abobo constructs a caricature of everything about contemporary video game culture and feels like nothing less than a snarky shot at the 21st-century gamer. In my experience, a delicious cocktail of allusion and parody are the highest form of comedy. They necessitate prior experience and knowledge as well as engagement and immediate reflection upon the consumed work. Abobo fits right in that niche, tapping into the collective experience core gamers have with the NES. In much the same way that Greco-Roman art can be said to be the foundation of Western culture as a whole, the monomyth of the gamer would be the marriage of Mario, Mega Man, Metroid, and more. It is an aspect of our culture that we all share to some degree, even if the days of the NES weren't our own. [embed]222925:43027:0[/embed] While never quite reaching the comic brilliance of Portal or Psychonauts, Abobo has more than a few "laugh out loud" moments. More often than not, however, it warrants a mild "heh." Solidly constructed in general, the game still steps into the realm of excessive too often (like the aforementioned poop rockets). It was originally made as a free Flash game for Newgrounds and has that classic Newgrounds toilet humor. It fits the audience well.  Stepping outside the allusions, Abobo doesn't have much depth, though in this instance, that's not necessarily a bad thing. Controls are very simple -- you move with the arrow keys and execute techniques with "A" and "S," effectively using the keyboard like an inverted NES controller. Actions are context-sensitive, as the levels are a wildly varied smorgasbord of 8-bit staples. You can go from fighting down Double Dragon alleyways, questing through a penis-shaped Zelda dungeon, and touching gloves with Punch-Out's Little Mac.  Playing just like their respective sources, from a mechanical perspective alone, the stages are damn near perfect. While often a bit too hard for my tastes, they never veers into the realm of absurd (see I Wanna Be the Guy). The title relies on technical skill, not raw trial and error, so if you die, it is your fault. This, like everything else, feeds into the theme of evoking nostalgia for an adult gaming audience. Then there are the boss battles, glorious indulgences in third-generation gaming that amount to simple tests of skill. The 80's aesthetic is matched with gusto, placing the protagonist side-by-side with engines of unbridled nostalgia. Clocking in at around two hours, Abobo manages to pack a lot of content in a very small space -- each of the eight levels contains several dozen references to the NES. Though I realize that the game is meant to throw the audience into the wayback machine, I also realize just how far games have come since then. Even if you are only playing for challenge, there has been a resurgence of modern games that are better in nearly every way (e.g. Super Meat Boy). This isn't to say that Abobo is bad, but it isn't as good as other, newer-feeling games. Still, the experience as a whole is unique and definitely worth a look, especially if you grew up the late 80's or early 90's. Its referential humor is fun and not something that can be found anywhere else. Abobo's Big Adventure is a competent, very short but sweet throwback to our Golden Age. The referential humor and absurd juxtaposition of modern sensibilities on older mores is great, but it's all been done already and better. The game does nothing wrong, in the strictest sense, but it just doesn't have that "pop," that "wow" that leaves a truly lasting impression. That said, it is free, so if you're a gamer on a budget or someone just looking for a few yucks, it's definitely worth it to follow Abobo on his journey, at least for a little while.
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The NES era was a special time for a lot of us. Many of the staff here at Dtoid will always have a certain attachment to the period, myself included. Abobo's Big Adventure is a tribute to all those who grew up with the gaming gods of old. This free Flash game is quite fun and funny, definitely well worth a trip down memory lane.

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Disabled girl dating sim Katawa Shoujo is out now


Jan 04
// Josh Tolentino
Like the first legless man to compete in a marathon, few expected it to finish, but it has finally happened: Katawa Shoujo, an indie visual novel developed by the former 4channers at Four Leaf Studios, is finally out, after f...

Review: Nitronic Rush

Nov 09 // Allistair Pinsof
[embed]215505:41689[/embed] Nitronic Rush (PC)Developer: Team NitronicPublisher: Team NitronicReleased: November 11, 2011MSRP: Free!One of the most difficult things in game development is having a good sense of quality control. Nitronic Rush has perhaps too good of a sense for this. Its opening seven Story Levels are so well designed that it’s shocking that the game was made by amateurs. Then you unlock five "Old Levels,” that were scrapped because the team didn’t think they were good enough, and discover they are awesome too. Even Nitronic Rush’s scraps are worthwhile!None of this would matter if the controls and general design of the game wasn’t so innovative. Nitronic Rush is as much about survival as it is about racing. That description may make it sound like the Stuntman series, but the game ends up playing more like a mash-up of TrackMania and Burnout. You speed your way down neon-lit, futuristic race tracks, as you survive buzz blades, long chasms, and a track that forces the player to change his center of gravity. Nitronic Rush is made to be played with an Xbox controller. The weight of the cars and physics of the game don’t feel perfect, but anyone who has played a Ridge Racer or similar arcade racer will be able to adjust. Along with a Motorstorm-esque boost that will kill you when overused, your car is equiped with wings that help you glide across gaps, a jump for elevated platforms, and the ability to move to a horizontally- or vertically-positioned surface by moving the right-analog stick in the correct direction.While the Story Mode is a pretty easy introduction to the game’s mechanics, the five levels in Hardcore mode reach Trials HD levels of challenge. Flipping your car to a track above you and then rotating (mid-air) back down is pretty damn difficult. In fact, I wasn’t able to beat the game because one section was so insanely hard that I eventually had to give up. It’s hard to say if it is the game’s fault or mine, until more players get their hands on it and we see what is possible. Though the game has no mulitplayer or traditional race mode, it does have leaderboards and the ability to download ghosts runs of other players to compete against. Along with the normal tracks, there are eight challenge tracks and two maps for tallying up a high score with the trick system. Unfortunately, the trick system is the worst aspect of Nitronic Rush. Since the physics aren’t fully realized, flipping your car and landing it feels awkward. Making a mode where this is all that you do just highlights the game's flaws.The Challenge maps take different obstacles from the main campaign and expand on their difficulty. One called track, called “Car Wash”, challenges the player to drive down a tunnel made of grinders and buzzsaws. Another has you flying your car through an asteroid field. Some of these levels are even harder than Hardcore mode, so you might want to skip these tracks until you've beaten that. These challenges can be beaten fairly quickly, but it’s a nice addition. There are retail games, made my large teams over the course of years, that have have been released this year that can’t compare to the vision and originality of Nitronic Rush. Though the game lacks polish and could greatly benefit from more maps and modes, it’s a thrilling experience while it lasts. The visuals, music, and fast, chaotic gameplay compliment each other well. All these elements come together to make for a refreshing racing game.Every couple years a couple students from a game development school remind us why these places exist. Not since the original Portal has a group of students made such a unique, well-made and fun game. With a Valve and extra revenue behind them, there is no telling what this team can pull off. Nitronic Rush is free. If you like a unique, challenging racing game, there is absolutely no reason you shouldn’t download it. In due time, development studios, publishers, and gamers alike will be keeping an eye on these young gun developers.
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It’s hard not to be wary of something given away for free in the age of Horse Armor DLC. Nitronic Rush is neither Korean nor a free-to-play MMORPG, so I let my guard down this time -- good thing too! Nitronic Rush i...

Review: Proun

Jul 08 // Allistair Pinsof
Proun (PC)Developer: Joost van DongenPublisher: Joost van DongenReleased: June 25, 2011MSRP: Pay-what-you-want Proun is not a simulation racing game nor is it an arcade racer. It’s something I can only label a binary racer. It’s a game with Zen-like simplicity that makes 1982’s Pole Position look like rocket science by comparison. Once you peel away Proun’s outstanding presentation, you are left with a shallow game lacking ambition in every department beyond visuals and audio.In Proun, you control a ball that is locked to a large, looping cord. The game is similar to Boost for iOS (Speed X 3D on Android), albeit without the accelerometer and less track space. Rather than drifting around corners or throwing red shells at an opponent, you simply rotate your ball around the cable, dodging obstacles that force you to find a safe, narrow route on the cylindrical track.Each track has boost gateways that launch you forward, but you can also acquire boosts by avoiding contact with obstacles for a set amount of time. A progress bar lets you know how close you are, adding to the pressure. Although, you’ll rarely be able to successfully pull off a collision-free boost until you thoroughly memorize a track -- therein lies the main problem with Proun.Playing through the game’s three main tracks for the first time is a worthy experience. The fantastic visuals, soundtrack and sound design overwhelm with a sense of scope and immediate danger. The subtle lighting and depth-of-field effects transform the game’s bare world into an artful, curated landscape. Dodging imposing shapes and navigating through a tight pathway, while the game’s calming jazz soundtrack plays makes for an uplifting experience. Even when you hit something, coming to a dead stop, it’s hard to get frustrated -- but then, you play it again.   [embed]205557:39804[/embed] After your first blush with the game, you realize that you are not only limited to a very small collection of tracks (five if you pay, four if you don’t) -- you are limited in the way you navigate each track. For a game that is abound with imagination in its sound and visual design, it’s a shame that its creator and sole designer Joost van Dongen doesn’t offer the player the same amount of creative freedom.Even Pole Position presents enough variables to keep players returning for faster lap times, but there is so little to “driving” in Proun that it's hard to see any point to it. You dodge, boost and stay still (in order to reach maximum velocity). Since the speed and obstacles are set, a player could literally play the game blind-folded once a course is memorized. It would be an impressive task, but one I’m sure is possible. You can’t say the same for most other racers, where reaching a max speed and navigating a track offers a persistent challenge due to opponents (Proun's are merely ghosts to chase).The game is thoughtful enough to include four-player split-screen and leaderboards, but these additions don’t improve the core of the game. Without an endless supply of hallucinogens, you will have a hard time keeping your friends interested for long. As for the leaderboards, they are full of crazy people who have memorized each track and play it like a machine. Unlike other racing games, there is an obvious path to getting the fastest time but only the most dedicated masochists will get there. They are probably methheads with God-like twitch-reflexes.Fans have already posted two user tracks, which show off their prowess at rendering 3D environments. “Archipelgo,” posted in the game’s forum (by user JohnArr), is especially pretty. I can imagine the game being a great platform for 3D artists to show of their work, but I don’t think many aspiring game designers will take part. Dodging incoming shapes and preparing for the further away, out-of-focus ones makes for a fun way to explore the game’s 3D Studio Max landscapes. It’s like art appreciation for the hyperactive generation. Strap a jetpack to your dick and flying toward a life-size Mona Lisa! The fact remains though, the role of the player is secondary to the importance of the world, in Proun. Creator Joost seems to be aware of this.“Design choices in Proun were not made to make it the best game for the player, or to make as much money as possible. Proun was made because I love the experimental art from the early 20th century.”That’s all well and good, but this train of thought has resulted in a game that feels unfinished and bare. I love experimental art from the early 20th century as well, but I’m not going to write this review in pictograms. Mainly because that would be WAY harder to do, but it also would be a waste of your time, dear reader. You want to read words about games, and I want to play them.Regardless of Joost’s ambitions, “pay-what-you-want” system and the game’s six years of development, Proun is neither a gem nor a waste of your time. In fact, I’d recommend it to anyone curious. Partly because you don’t have to pay, and partly because the initial run through the game’s Championship mode is thrilling.If I sound bitter toward the game and its creator, it’s only because there is a lot of untapped potential that Joost has disregarded, in favor of serving his own art school ambitions. I deeply wish Proun was more of a game. One with more track space, competitive interaction between drivers and a Championship mode that doesn’t recycle the same three maps.  I want a racing game that is less Flower, more Uniracers. Or, hell, more of a game at all! Proun deserves its place in a museum. It's a work of art you stop and stare in awe at for five minutes, but then you quickly move on to the next painting -- that's assuming you give a shit about art to begin with.
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Just look at those balls! Those beautiful, magnificent balls, zipping through those abstract planes of color and geometric shapes!  Proun is a beautiful and clever visual feast that deserves to be displayed in a museum -...

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I bet you want to give free indie game The Wager a try


May 05
// Maurice Tan
Indie dev Surprised Man created its game The Wager as part of the 72-hour Ludum Dare game jam in December, and has since been expanding on it for an official release. It's an exploration game in which you explore islands in t...
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Free App of the Day: Super Blast


Jan 11
// Jim Sterling
Super Blast 2 is out on iTunes, but if you want a slightly different version for free, then get the original. Super Blast costs nothing today, and you might like it! Judging the game based on Super Blast 2, these titles are s...
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Fishing Master now available for iPhone, totally free


Dec 17
// Conrad Zimmerman
Laugh if you must, but I love Fishing Master. Lord knows I have taken abuse for it before. But its charm and gameplay are worth more than anybody who would mock me for enjoying them. And now it'll be even easier for me to tak...
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Cave Story WiiWare dev - 'I want to make more Cave Story'


Sep 21
// Jonathan Holmes
Near the end of my TGS time in Tokyo, I was lucky enough to meet up with Tyrone Rodriguez of Nicalis, Inc. You know Tyrone. He's the guy who helped bring Cave Story to WiiWare, and thank the Lord, it sounds like he's still w...
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pOnd is like flOw and flOwer but much more awesOme


Jul 12
// Jonathan Holmes
Do you miss Reverend Anthony? I sure do. Like with .Tiff, what he provided for Destructoid could never be replaced. I still read his Twitter though, which might be as close as I'm going to get to seeing him write for Dtoid ag...
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E3 10: Browser-based Fantasy Football with Quickhits


Jun 17
// Ben Perlee
Quickhit Football was a weird game for me to play. As someone who doesn't really pay much attention to football, a game that acts as a fusion between fantasy football and and RPG is great for fans, but not quite for me. Howev...
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Mega Man 8 fan-made demake free for the playing


Apr 20
// Jonathan Holmes
Every once and a while, people take a crack at Mega Man 9 and Mega Man 10 by saying they look like "fan-made projects". Thing is, that's not the most effective insult. Technically speaking, Cave Story is a "fan-made project",...
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Can't talk now, playing Infectonator: World Dominator


Feb 28
// Anthony Burch
Wave goodbye to the rest of your weekend. Infectonator: World Dominator is a game about destroying the world with a zombie apocalypse. It's less of a thinky-thinky kind of apocalypse, though, and more of a clicky-clicky one: ...
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The less you know before playing Cream Wolf, the better


Feb 19
// Anthony Burch
Roughly 90% of Cream Wolf's charm comes from discovering what the game is actually about, so I'll leave you to it. For the sake of making this news post more than a single sentence, though, I'll point out that it was made by PixelJam and messhof. Those guys are good at making games. Now, go play Cream Wolf.
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Lewis Carroll + Gorillaz + Warioware = Record Tripping


Feb 18
// Anthony Burch
Cool. As much as I'm a fan of straining weird analogies, there isn't a single one to be found in this post's title: Record Tripping is quite literally (A) made up of minigames, (B) set to a simultaneous soundtrack of Gorillaz...
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The Spirit Engine 2 now available for free


Feb 18
// Anthony Burch
If you're into story-based RPGs, listen well: The Spirit Engine 2, formerly $10 (and before that, formerly $18) is now free. Even as someone who doesn't really dig dialogue-heavy RPGs, there's some interesting stuff here. You...
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Command and Conquer Classics gives you C&C for free


Feb 14
// Matthew Razak
While it's hard to believe that the "conclusion" of a franchise as storied and long running as Command & Conquer is not the biggest RTS release of the year, it's still kind of a big deal. To celebrate this big deal EA has...
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Play the winners of TIGSource's Assemblee compo


Feb 08
// Anthony Burch
Another TIGSource.com competition is complete, and now the rest of us have at least ten new indie games to waste a few hours with. We've reported on the Assemblee Competition before (short version: artists created sprites wit...
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Interstellar Marines is both innovative and unoriginal


Jan 24
// Anthony Burch
I'm torn. On the one hand, indie title Interstellar Marines has one of the coolest development structures I've yet seen. Leading up to an eventual release of a full game, the team is releasing small, free, playable previews t...
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Only super-cool dudes can beat Flood the Chamber


Jan 23
// Anthony Burch
About twenty minutes ago, the headline to this post would have been something along the lines of, "whomever made Flood the Chamber can go f*ck himself and die because he's a bad person and he caused me emotional pain," but I'...
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Indie game Every Day the Same Dream is drudge-tastic


Dec 24
// Anthony Burch
This post is about Every Day the Same Dream, an indie game about the monotony of cubicle life and one man's attempt to escape it. Or not escape it. Or something. Now, I know what you're thinking. You're thinking, great -- ano...
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Captain Forever released, you'll be better at it than me


Nov 23
// Anthony Burch
I previously talked about Captain Forever during its pre-launch phase, when you had to pay $20 to access it. The game is now available for free, here. And I'm still horrendous at it. Captain Forever is what you might get if y...
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Strange Adventures in Infinite Space is finally free!


Sep 30
// Anthony Burch
Download this, right now. Strange Adventures in Infinite Space used to be the most surprisingly expensive indie game on the PC market -- $20, despite being almost a decade old -- but now it's free. Beautifully, wonderfully fr...
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Addictive one-button platformer of the week: Canabalt


Sep 08
// Anthony Burch
I'm not entirely sure why, but I've been replaying Canabalt, a free, browser-based platformer, at least once every two days since it came out.Perhaps I long to luxuriate in the luscious pixel art. Perhaps I'm desperate to bea...
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SCUMM and Star Wars together at last


Aug 29
// Matthew Razak
One of the greatest travesties mankind has ever committed on itself is having let adventure gaming's prime run its course without a LucasArts Star Wars adventure game using the SCUMM engine being created. It just doesn't make...
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Go down, Moses: for the love of God, play Tower of Heaven


Aug 14
// Joseph Leray
If you're in college (or a particularly rambunctious teen) you've probably played a drinking game called King's Cup. Well, substitute the Shlitz for a three-color platformer with an absolutely killer soundtrack and you might ...
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Play 6-player Tetris over at Tetris Friends Online


Jun 22
// Ben Perlee
When I sat down to discuss Tetris with Alexey Pajitnov and Henk Rogers, the creator and CEOs of The Tetris Company this past E3, one of the more interesting topics was Tetris' status as a sport. Both of these men are working ...

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