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The sweet annihilation of Nuclear Throne

Jan 17 // Nic Rowen
Nuclear Throne is about mutants and freaks obliterating each other in a fucked up biohazard of a world over a supposed seat on a likely meaningless throne. It's about winning the right to lord over a dead world. It's about twitch reflexes, the honing and sharpening of the most mechanical and merciless of gamer reactions. That dead-eye arcade stare that comes from quickly identifying the most pressing threat and eliminating it as quickly as possible with minimal resource usage. It's about repeating that process about a thousand times, trying to get ever so slightly better at it every time you try. It's about dying, quickly and cheaply. It's about a health bar that is so fragile as to be essentially meaningless. Bullets that gouge three pips of health out of a bar of eight and don't even have the decency to make you flicker for a second. One-hit kills from bosses. One-hit kills from mutant sewer rats. One-hit kills from cars accidentally exploding too close, the clumsy use of a plasma cannon, or getting a little too curious about a mysterious crystal. It hardly matters, most games of Nuclear Throne take anywhere between five and fifteen minutes. Another try is just a click away. Nuclear Throne isn't a game about learning from the mistakes of the past, it's about doubling down on them. Fucked up the planet with nuclear hellfire and warfare? Well, guess we better slaughter each other by the dozen to fight over a fancy chair. Get killed by a random grenade? Mash that "retry" button to jump right back in and eat another one. Die immediately trying to figure out how to play as Melty, the incredibly squishy pile of walking goo? Play as him another 20 times in a row until it's late and your eyes sting, and you know you'll hate yourself in the morning. To me, Nuclear Throne is the game I turn to when I'm not in the mood to learn from my mistakes, when I'd rather wallow in them. When I want to pile them on top of each other again and again until I can make myself a comfortable pile of failure to sit on. I've read that Luftrausers, Vlambeer's previous game, was made while the team was angry. That the fury of having one of their other games ripped-off in the Apple marketplace and the long, bitter process of trying to resolve that issue crept its way into Luftrausers and became the black core of its angry heart. That the unrelenting aggression of both the enemies and the player (motivated by a strict score-attack combo system to keep fighting at all costs) was a result of how they felt at the time. It's not hard to extend the logic and imagine how those feeling influenced the rest of the game. The ultra minimalist design, the obsession with cutting out every superfluous element of the game, reveals a design team wasn't just uninterested in niceties, but hostile to them. One of the iconic ship abilities in Luftrausers is a suicide bomb that triggers a skull-shaped nuclear explosion when the player dies, clearing out every enemy left on the screen. It's pure schadenfreude -- they might as well made the nuclear cloud a middle finger. In many ways, Nuclear Throne seems just as angry. It's hyper-aggressive and utterly merciless. The kind of game where you are expected to die. Failure is the default state and winning is the rare, precious exception (and all it does is toss you back into an even harder NG+). The game is hostile to the player, with disorienting screen shake accompanying every explosion, dick-bag cheap shots from off-screen enemies, monsters disguised as ammo boxes -- the kind of tricks you'd expect to see in something like I Wanna Be the Guy. But it's also a whole lot of fun. Nuclear Throne celebrates nihilism. It finds the joy in self-obliteration. Every aspect of the design speaks to a willful disregard for safety, a rejection of self-preservation. While ammo and health are precious commodities, half the weapons you can pick up are more dangerous to you than they are the enemy, and the rest gleefully waste ammunition. Suicidal choices like the disc gun with it's bouncing buzzsaw blades that are 100% guaranteed to ricochet back at you, radiation grenades that leave dense clouds of toxic smoke for you to walk into, blood sledgehammers that gamble health for a more powerful swing -- madness in a game where you're always a hair's breadth from death. There is dumb shit like the triple and quad machine guns, which flood the screen with firepower while evaporating your ammo reserve in the blink of an eye. Great fun for about seven seconds or so. Or Y.V's “Brrrpt” upgrade that lets him fire a weapon four times per trigger pull combined with something like the “precision” crossbow. Completely wasteful, entirely satisfying. Nuclear Throne seems like the kind of game the War Boys from Mad Max would enjoy. Then you have the little details. The loading screen messages that alternate between poignant and asinine, constantly pointing out how pointless and nihilistic the situation is only to laugh at it. The grotesquely cute design of the characters, little monsters you can't help but love. Chicken, an avian-samurai so committed to carnage that she'll keep fighting for a few seconds even after losing her head. Or my personal favorite character, the Robot, who's special ability is that he can devour spare guns to restore health and ammo. He is a being that literally subsists on violence, but that doesn't stop him from being cute as a button. I play a lot of different games for many different reasons. There are some games that I play for the story, or the world, the Fallouts and Dragon Ages of the world. I like fighting games and multiplayer first-person shooters to test my skills against other players, and MOBAs as an excuse to play with friends. But you know what? Sometimes I'm not in the mood to go scavenge around for copper wire or perform fetch quests for peasants. Sometimes the last thing I would want to do is go online and put up with trash talking morons or try to put on a happy face for my friends. Sometimes at the end of the day I'm tired and sad. I don't have the energy to invest in some 80 hour RPG or the focus to deal with online bullshit. I just want to blow everything up. I want to get killed. I want to do it over and over again until I feel like all the bile and frustration of the day has been expunged. That's a valid reason to play games as well. As the industry moves further into huge triple A multiplayer titles and massive open-world adventures, and many indies become increasingly story driven and emotional charged, I feel like that desire for mindless, cathartic, healing obliteration is getting lost in the shuffle. It makes me thankful for Nuclear Throne and its sweet embrace of annihilation.
Nuclear Throne photo
I DEMAND A CROWN
It may not seem like it, but most post-apocalyptic narratives are fundamentally optimistic. They might be set against a godforsaken backdrop of radioactive fallout with roaming packs of cannibalistic thrill-killers, but beyon...

Nic Rowen picks the best of 2015

Jan 10 // Nic Rowen
Best game of the year: Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater is one of my favorite games of all time. As I've shared before, I've replayed it at least ten times over the years. I didn't keep coming back to it just because it was fun, I kept coming back to it because it was surprising. Every time I played through it I'd find something new. I feel like I haven't even scratched the surface of The Phantom Pain's surprises. Forget replaying the entire game, every time I replay one of  The Phantom Pain's missions I find something new. Every other week someone posts a YouTube video of some outrageous tactic or bizarre mechanic I never even considered before. The other day, I found a new cassette tape despite having plunged more than 70 hours into the game already. Let that sink in, I've played this game for 70 hours and I haven't even uncovered all the easy to find stuff yet. Of course, it's also an amazing game to play. The Phantom Pain is a total leap for the series, a massively needed redesign of Tactical Espionage Action that finally, FINALLY, makes you feel like the super-spy Snake was always trumped up to be. Instead of the hurky-jerk movement of previous entries that saw Snake frequently kneeling in front of a a two-foot high obstacle and then somehow accidentally dropping a flashbang at his feet while searching for the right button, this Snake moves just like how you'd expect of the world's greatest soldier. He effortlessly hurdles barriers, dives into cover, slides down hills, and climbs sheer walls, and you never find yourself reaching for the manual. Combat is fast, fluid, and accurate, the enemies smart and responsive. A never ending supply of gadgets, gear, partners, and chopper support options provide an answer to almost any situation you could get yourself into. The Phantom Pain is one hell of a game. Despite Konami doing everything it can to ruin the game post-release, it still remains the best time I had playing video games this year, and I wouldn't be surprised if I end up coming back to The Phantom Pain just as much as I did with Snake Eater. Best spoooooky: Bloodborne Dark Souls is still my favorite From Software game to date, but Bloodborne certainly gave it a run for its money. While some elements of Bloodborne's design disappointed me (the PvP never felt as well developed and I would have loved a few more sets of clothing and armor to choose from), I was absolutely enamored with the Victorian Gothic look of the world. Yharnam is a scary place, and the population of werewolves, fallen priests, and creepy eye monsters never let me drop my guard for a second.  Best budget anatomy lesson: Mortal Kombat X I like to learn. I've always considered myself an eternal student, but have you seen the cost of post-secondary education these days? One can't afford to just take up a medical class as a hobby anymore! Which is why I was so delighted to see how detailed and painstakingly rendered the bloody viscera of Mortal Kombat X was. If anyone ever needs an emergency whole body bisection via a razor-bladed hat, I'm the man to call. I feel like MKX didn't make a lot of GOTY lists, and that's a shame. For my money, it's the best Mortal Kombat game ever made. Sure, it has balance issues and the PC launch was an absolute travesty, but the core gameplay is best the series has ever offered -- fast, brutal, and mean, the way Mortal Kombat should be. The variation system that gives each character three distinct fighting styles with different strengths and weaknesses is something I'd love to see more fighting games adopt. Best interior design options: Fallout 4: Happy Home Designer I have no idea why I put so much time into the settlement system of Fallout 4, but I did and I loved it. Fallout 4 is a magnificent game (even if it is lacking the role-playing options of New Vegas and the quests work a little too hard to funnel you down certain paths) with an amazing sense of exploration and surprisingly fun gun-play. But it turns out if you put a half-baked doll-house simulator in a game, I'll focus on it nearly exclusively to the abandonment of all else. Maybe I should just start playing The Sims and get it over with. Best descent into nihilism: Nuclear Throne Something about this game brings out the worst in me. It's my “2:00am, I should go to bed but I've been drinking and feeling sad, so why not do another run (or twenty)” game. A blitzkrieg of furious action and pointless violence that I'm more than happy to wallow in at the end of a long frustrating day. If Fallout 4 was my chipper little game about optimism and rebuilding life after a disaster, Nuclear Throne was its dark shadow, a celebration of defeat and chaos. Best dinosaurs: ARK: Survival Evolved Yeah, this is technically a Steam Early Access game, but who cares? It has dinosaurs! Who would have thought watching a mutant caveman getting devoured by a Carnotaurus could be so much fun (even when you are the mutant caveman in question)? I didn't play tons and tons of ARK, but my time wandering around the jungle jabbing my pointy little stick at anything that moved left an impression. I still think of heading back into the wilds every now and then. Best “I should play more of this”: Galak-Z: The Dimensional I love everything about Galak-Z; the way the ship moves, the rogue-lite structure of the missions and power-ups, the retro '80s anime aesthetic, it's all great. I just haven't played a ton of it. I got into the second season of the game (when you get the big robot), died, and never quite got back to it. It isn't that I haven't wanted to, it just seems to keep getting buried under something more pressing (or convenient) to play. I have a feeling if I played a little more, Galak-Z could end up being my next Binding of Isaac. Best argument to buy a Wii U: Super Mario Maker Why the fuck didn't I buy a Wii U!? I'm such a moron. Can I borrow yours? C'mon, just for a week or two? I've been watching all these videos and I have an idea for a level that uses P-switches in a really fucked up way and I'm just dying to try it and... Best way to find out your friends are total monsters: Jack Box Party Pack 2 Everything is all fun and games until someone makes a punchline out of Boko Haram. Best use of fingers: Fingered The stubby digit of justice.
Nic's best of the year photo
I mean, you've seen the rest
It's like the middle of January and you've read about five thousand GOTY lists at this point, so let's get to brass tacks. There were some great games released last year, but which ones were the best? I have no idea. Sorry,...

Review: Nuclear Throne

Dec 15 // Jordan Devore
Nuclear Throne (Linux, Mac, PlayStation 3, PlayStation 4 [reviewed], PlayStation Vita, Windows)Developer: VlambeerPublisher: VlambeerReleased: December 5, 2015 (Linux, Mac, PS3, PS4, Vita, Windows) / TBA (PS3)MSRP: $11.99 This is a roguelike, and a brutally difficult, bullet hellish one at that. These games have an uncanny ability to push us to the brink of madness only to win us over, in the end, and form an unbreakable bond. I'm no stranger to that process. But with Nuclear Throne, it's far more of a love-hate relationship than I'm used to. A large part of what kept me going despite repeated, soul-crushing failure was the look and sound of the setting and the strange creatures who inhabit it. The overall vision here is superb, with mutants, monsters, robots, and even an inter-dimensional police force collectively forming a believable, lived-in world. You never develop a full picture of this post-apocalyptic wasteland, or what its future might hold, and that's a good thing. Vlambeer provides just enough hints to stoke imaginations without oversharing. As a mutant, your basic goal is to kill everything. And I do mean everything -- that's how you progress to the next level and, with persistence, reach the titular Nuclear Throne. Initially, you will fend off bandits, maggots, and scorpions in a desert area. They're all good fodder for learning the basics before the real scary stuff comes out. Depending on your character, your adventure starts with a basic revolver, but you will soon find more interesting guns with varying rates of fire, bullet spreads, and other quirks. [embed]326751:61527:0[/embed] It's a shame you can only hold two weapons at a time, because I never wanted to part with anything. They're all delightful to use, and once you've grown accustomed to the way combat flows, it's so gratifying. But ammo is finite and the maximum amount you can store of each type (bullets, shells, bolts, explosives, and energy) isn't very high. That's by design. You're meant to continually cycle weapons in and out to match the situation at hand as well as what's left in your ammo stockpile. It's a clever way to encourage adaptability and it also helps the game maintain a sense of excitement over hundreds if not thousands of runs. There are also melee weapons, which are just as enjoyable as guns if not more so. They can be supremely useful in the right situation. Most of them can reflect projectiles back at enemies and, with sufficient reach, even attack through certain walls. There is a major downside to getting up close and personal, though: more than a few enemies explode when they die, and some bosses will even try to bring you down with them. They'll probably succeed, too. Rads (experience points) are the other major piece of Nuclear Throne. They're a type of collectible dropped by slain enemies, and you need to be quick to nab them because they fade after several seconds. Once you've earned enough rads to level up your character, you'll be able to choose a mutation (perk). These grant powerful passive abilities like health or ammo regeneration, slower-moving enemy bullets, and better melee range. But you don't get to pick a mutation until you have successfully obliterated everything and exited the level, and they're presented in a random group of four. Depending on your character's specific strengths and weaknesses, or your personal playstyle, you may not like the choices available. Ammo and health pick-ups also expire shortly after dropping onto the field, which means even if you have carved out a secluded spot that enemies won't wander into, you can't afford to stay put. Nuclear Throne is adept at making you feel unsafe. You're utterly fragile in this game, with or without full health. Everyone and everything packs a tremendous punch, so one wrong move can be the end. Only a select few elements like unlockable characters are persistent across runs. Levels are procedurally generated with variable layouts and enemy placements, but there are consistent themes (desert, sewer, caves, lab, etc.) on the path to the Nuclear Throne. Unless you skip around by entering secret areas -- the underwater oasis is a personal favorite of mine -- the overall structure will be the same on every run. Bosses show up on specific levels, so when you get to level 5-3, you know Lil' Hunter is going to drop in and ruin your day. He's the fucking worst. With practice, you can heighten your skills and know how best to leverage a character's special abilities. You'll be able to rapidly scan and prioritize threats. You'll generally know what lies ahead and which weapons to hold onto. But that's not always enough. Sometimes, Nuclear Throne will just screw you over. And that's where it falls short. There will be times when you spawn into a level surrounded by enemies and explosive objects and immediately die. Sometimes, it's that exact scenario plus a boss in the mix. It can be unfair. Or, at the very least, uneven. I expect that in roguelikes to a certain extent, but it especially stands out as a problem here. Bad spawns aside, there is a weird jump in difficulty in the Frozen City. Every time I managed to clear that particular zone, I went on to beat the next few levels without much trouble and made it to the Nuclear Throne (the point at which you can fight a boss and end your run, or "loop" it). The first time I fought the boss, ten hours in, I brushed up against the thing, causing a game-ending error. It was another two hours before I got another chance and succeeded. I haven't been able to make it back yet to try looping (think new game plus), so I know I'm missing out on some weapons and bosses, and an even greater challenge. If I could do it all over again, I would probably opt for the PC version instead. Mouse and keyboard controls would have been a godsend while I was learning the ropes. On PlayStation 4, there is an aim assist option, thankfully, and you can remap the controls. I suggest playing around with those settings and switching the "change weapon" button to something other than triangle. For folks interested in playing local co-op with a friend, know that the brutal difficulty persists. It's set up in such a way that if one player dies, they need to quickly be revived, and both players lose part of their health. So it's not really any easier. In the end, I have come to love and loathe Nuclear Throne. It's one of the hardest, most rewarding games I've ever played. But as satisfying as it can eventually become, I think it is far too demanding for its own good. With additional polish and balancing, this could be a masterpiece in the genre. It's not quite there yet, but it's close. [This review is based on a retail build of the game provided by the publisher.]
Nuclear Throne review photo
You did not reach the Nuclear Throne
Nuclear Throne is not a game for people who get frustrated easily. My first few hours spent with this top-down shooter from Super Crate Box and Ridiculous Fishing developer Vlambeer didn't go well. I struggled with aiming and...

Nuclear Throne photo
Nuclear Throne

Nuclear Throne is finally out of Early Access


Officially launched on PC, PS4, and Vita
Dec 08
// Ben Davis
It feels like Vlambeer's Nuclear Throne has been in Early Access limbo for ages, but the punishing roguelike shooter has finally reached its official release date. You can now purchase the finished version of Nuclear Throne o...

Nuclear Throne teaser photo
Nuclear Throne teaser

Amazing Nuclear Throne teaser inspired by Doom 4


Fish can lol
May 18
// Nic Rowen
Rami Ismail of Vlambeer was inspired by today's super hot, extra informative Doom 4 teaser to whip up a little something for Nuclear Throne. This tantalizing glimpse of the frenetic early access title (that you can play right now) is a conundrum wrapped in a riddle. I know I'll be spending the rest of the day breaking apart this teaser frame by frame and comparing my findings on reddit.
Nuclear Throne photo
Nuclear Throne

Nuclear Throne nets one million in revenue while in Early Access


Y.V. knows what's up
Apr 28
// Ben Davis
Nuclear Throne, the indie game where you run and gun as a colorful cast of mutant creatures in a radioactive wasteland, has reached one million dollars in revenue, Vlambeer's Rami Ismail announced yesterday. That's an impress...
Nuclear Throne photo
Nuclear Throne

Vlambeer is giving away free copies of Nuclear Throne in January


Rami thinks you're awesome, bets your friends are as well
Dec 27
// Rob Morrow
Rami Ismail of Vlambeer has come up with a creative and generous way to effectively double the Nuclear Throne community while at the same time saying thanks to all those who supported the Early Access title during 2014. As o...
Vlambeer photo
Vlambeer

It's now possible to reach Vlambeer's Nuclear Throne


In theory
Jul 01
// Jordan Devore
After months of updates, the in-development Nuclear Throne now has an actual Nuclear Throne, though getting to it -- and surviving the ensuing battle -- won't be easy. "To us, reaching the Nuclear Throne is the most crucial m...
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Cooperative multiplayer mode coming to Nuclear Throne


Vlambeer shoot-em-up to get even shootier
Apr 12
// Conrad Zimmerman
Today at PAX East, Vlambeer's Rami Ismail announced that their latest game, Nuclear Throne, will feature cooperative multiplayer. The mode will allow for up to four players to play simultaneously, either locally or over ...
Luftrausers photo
Luftrausers

Vlambeer apologizes for 'discomfort' from Luftrausers imagery


Rami Ismail responds to beliefs that you play as a Nazi pilot in their game.
Apr 06
// Jonathan Holmes
Vlambeer are no strangers to positive press, having endeared themselves to many through their tenacity in the face of a sometimes malicious marketplace, constant efforts to help others find success, and most importantly, prod...
Impressions: Luftrausers photo
Impressions: Luftrausers

Impressions: Luftrausers makes too much sense on the Vita


Luftrauser? I hardly even know her!
Apr 05
// Steven Hansen
Luftrausers is perfect on the Vita in the same way Vlambeer's Super Crate Box was perfect on the Vita. It's "perfect for the Vita" because it's a great game. While either title, with their minimal arcade sensibilities "make s...

Contest: Win a Steam code for Luftrausers!

Apr 05 // Beccy Caine
'Luftrausers' appears to be a portmanteau of the German word for 'air' and a word that doesn't really exist, but that doesn't matter because German is awesome. To get your hands on a code, all you have to do is leave a comment with your favourite German word below. The wackier the better. Don't have a favourite German word? Go find one. Consider it homework. I'll go first: 'Rindfleischetikettierungsüberwachungsaufgabenübertragungsgesetz' was a a 63-letter long title of a law 'for the delegation of monitoring beef labelling'. Your move. Good luck! Don't forget: Our Huge members get automatic entry into all contests.
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pewpewpew
[Update: Contest over! Winners have been PM'd their codes.] Vlambeer's customisable dogfighter Luftrausers released last week to near-universal praise after an agonising wait in certification that may or may not have contri...

Nuclear Throne photo
Nuclear Throne

Vlambeer changing direction of Nuclear Throne


Shift to first-person perspective playable now
Apr 01
// Conrad Zimmerman
I really love Nuclear Throne. The procedurally generated stages and high challenge level have kept me coming back time and again as Vlambeer has continued to tweak and expand the game in Early Access. Today comes perhaps the...
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Behold the awesome might of the URAUSER
After no small amount of effort (and a couple of glitches that I am a bit peeved about), I finally managed to complete all of the challenges in Luftrausers and the reward you get for doing so is totally amazing. 

These are my favorite Luftrausers

Mar 18 // Conrad Zimmerman
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So many choices!
I've been slavishly playing Luftrausers like a madman this past weekend, and I'm shaping up to be a fairly decent player. To help you get a sense of the different Rausers you can pilot, I put together this little video ...

Review: Luftrausers

Mar 18 // Conrad Zimmerman
Luftrausers (PC [reviewed], PS3, PS Vita)Developer: VlambeerPublisher: Devolver DigitalRelease: March 18, 2014Price: $9.99 [Disclosure: The author of this review is listed as a "Play Tester" in the credits for this game. Though the credit list consists of a number of journalists and critics, effectively people who have been playing versions in pre-release, we thought it best to mention this to avoid any seeming impropriety. -Ed] Like many arcade-style experiences, the core gameplay of Luftrausers is instantly accessible. Piloting an aircraft called a "Rauser," the player faces a increasingly powerful opposition from all directions in a two-dimensional playing field bordered by the ocean and an atmospheric limit (both of which are damaging to penetrate). The Rauser has two defenses, a weapon and an automatic repair system, with only enough power to use one at a time. Surrounded by enemy planes, ships, submarines, and other war machines, maintaining the balance between offense and defense is central to securing a high score. Just this alone is tremendously fun to play. The Rauser is a nimble, responsive craft that spins and thrusts instantly on command and soars through the sky. Turns can be taken quite sharply (though gravity and momentum play significant factors in precisely how much) and pulling up and out of an oncoming stream of enemy fire is exhilarating. Colliding with enemies deals damage to both the enemy and the Rauser, adding an additional, risky offensive option. And so, the central mechanic of being able to either shoot or heal creates constant, second-to-second decisions regarding when it's better to run or fight and how to best do either. [embed]272105:53022:0[/embed] Luftrausers' simple arcade gameplay is broadened through a challenge-based progression system that offers more to work for than straight score. Each attempt to play comes with up to three mission objectives, which vary from achieving a minimum score, killing a specific number or type of enemy and other similar goals. As these goals are completed, new ways to customize the Rauser become unlocked by way of additional components. A Rauser consists of three parts: a weapon, a body, and an engine. Each unlocked part comes with its own advantages and disadvantages which contribute to the overall craft. Some of these are obvious (the more armored body is heavier, duh) while others have more subtle impacts on the Rauser's abilities that can be enhanced or diminished with complementary components in other slots. While most work pretty well together, it's possible to build some pretty disastrous combinations as well. Experimenting to find one that best suits the player's preferred play style can take time, but results in a Rauser that feels personal and a joy to pilot. Once all of the components are unlocked, five for each part of the craft, the range of Rausers available is considerable. Each component also comes with its own line of mission objectives, thus extending the game's content with further goals. Those driven to accomplish the most difficult challenges offered by Luftrausers will likely find themselves further experimenting within the constraints of using specific equipment just to accomplish objectives. That sense of progression is also necessary to keep difficulty from being overwhelming to the point of discouragement. There is little mercy given by the enemy AI. Air combatants relentlessly hunt the player, while oceanfarers spray ammunition into the sky, usually right into their path. Evasion is often difficult, and there comes with experience some awareness of how not to get oneself into impossible situations, but eventually everyone succumbs. Cold comfort when you've been killed for the thousandth time, but that and the option to try again are all you'll get out of Luftrausers. The most frustrating enemy is the battleship, which drifts across the ocean firing its twin cannons into the sky at regular intervals. These are large and heavily armored, second only to the blimp -- the game's "final boss" enemy -- in terms of the beating they can take, and getting caught in their line of fire can very easily get a Rauser killed. Their targeting can be exploited and destroying them is more tedious than difficult with practice, so the issue isn't really with their design which is, at worst, annoying. Where the battleships become a problem for the game lies in the way Luftrausers spawns its enemy groups. Too often, there will develop a concentration of as many as six of these monstrosities with nothing else to fight, forcing a dragged out battle to take down even one of the things. It absolutely kills the frenetic pace of play whenever this happens, the slow creep of the battleships feeling out of place as the sole enemy combatants, and there hardly seems any way to avoid it, as sinking them takes more effort than nearly every other foe by a considerable margin. It only gets harder the further you play, and culminates in the absurdly challenging "SMFT" mode. This version of the game is completely uncompromising, with no gradual ramp up in difficulty whatsoever andmore aggressive enemies with new behavior patterns and increased firepower. Players will die immediately upon starting the mode, which leads the game's background music with a blaring air raid siren that rings out long after most will have died -- a mere 13 seconds. It's ways can be learned as well through grit and determination, "SMFT" allows no room for error and no pity in its onslaught. Luftrausers' visuals are brilliant in their cohesion with the gameplay. What appears basic on the surface enjoys a greater level of complexity hidden beneath as smoke trails from damaged ships and sparks fly from the Rauser, giving visual indication of its state. It's rather amazing what has been accomplished with just a six color palette, though the design does sometimes work against the player when silhouettes of multiple enemies cover one another and make it difficult to accurately assess risk. Fast fun and devilishly hard, Luftrausers shows once again that Vlambeer understands how to make classic arcade mechanics feel fresh and exciting. It's great in short bursts, the speed of each round often terribly brief, but lends itself to hour-long sessions of hammering on the controller to start a new game. While the pacing occasionally runs into a few issues, this is still a phenomenally fun shoot-em-up that will challenge players to meet its demanding difficulty.
Luftrausers review photo
Initiate wing attack plan 'R'
Vlambeer's air combat game, Luftrausers, has finally been cleared for take-off, following a wait that seemed far longer than anybody expected it would. It's been worth holding out for, and fans of high speed, challenging shoot-em-ups have something pretty special on their hands.

Luftrausers photo
Luftrausers

Luftrausers is coming to PC, PS3, and Vita on March 18


Pre-orders are up now
Mar 03
// Chris Carter
We already knew developer Vlambeer's Lufrausers was headed to the PC, PS3 and Vita platforms, but now we have a concrete release date -- March 18th. Publisher Devolver Digital has also confirmed today that it will b...
Vlambeer photo
Vlambeer

Luftrausers releasing on PSN, PC, Mac simultaneously


'Hope to have a date soon'
Feb 10
// Jordan Devore
Vlambeer's arcade shooter Luftrausers will see a simultaneous release across Windows, Mac, Linux, PlayStation 3, and PlayStation Vita this year, publisher Devolver Digital has announced. It's been taking a while but for ...
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Videogame Clubhouse: Climbing atop the Nuclear Throne!


We're the Wasteland Kings!
Jan 09
// Spencer Hayes
Forget that year of Luigi nonsense, the real thing you should be celebrating is Indie Month on the Videogame Clubhouse. We're keeping the hype train a-rollin' with the fantastic Nuclear Throne. If you're not all up in this bu...
Vlambeer photo
Vlambeer

Nuclear Throne sells 10K, Ridiculous Fishing goes Android


Here's what's up with the flame bear
Nov 17
// Jonathan Holmes
It's been a little while since we've heard anything from Vlambeer about their upcoming projects Luftrausers and Nuclear Throne. Looks like we'll have to wait a little longer for news on the former. The game is still without a...
Make money money photo
Make money money

Vlambeer wants YouTubers to get filthy rich off its games


A breath of fresh air
Nov 04
// Brett Makedonski
While some of the larger videogame companies have made a habit out of asserting copyright claims against YouTubers that broadcast videos of their titles, Vlambeer is taking the exact opposite approach. The Dutch indie develop...
Nuclear Throne photo
Nuclear Throne

Nuclear Throne Steam Early Access comes at premium price


Shrewd move, Vlambeer
Oct 11
// Conrad Zimmerman
The latest title from Dutch indies Vlambeer, Nuclear Throne, has appeared on Steam today in Early Access. In an interesting development, purchasing early will come at a higher price than the game's final release.  Vlambe...
Wasteland Kings renamed photo
Wasteland Kings renamed

Vlambeer is the vlambest: Wasteland Kings amiably renamed


Unfortunately, not to 'GUN GODZ: Legend of Yung Venuz: Originz'
Sep 30
// Steven Hansen
Vlambeer (Super Crate Box, Ridiculous Fishing) is the vlambest. On its website, the indie studio announced its upcoming PS4, Vita, and PC "roguelike-like" Wasteland Kings would be renamed Nuclear Throne. An employee of InExil...
 photo

Ridiculous Fishing brings in nearly $1M since launch


300,000 copies sold at $3
Aug 21
// Hamza CTZ Aziz
Vlambeer founders Jan Nijman and Rami Ismail revealed at their GDC Europe presentation that Ridiculous Fishing has sold 300,000 copies, according to Joystiq. At $3 a copy, that's $900,000 in total sales. So close to $1 millio...
Vambleer photo
Vambleer

Wasteland Kings debuting exclusively on Sony Platforms


Vlambeer's 'roguelike-like' to PlayStation 4, Vita
Aug 20
// Tim Sheehy
During today's conference, it was announced that Wasteland Kings would be making its console debut exclusively on Sony's PlayStation Vita and PlayStation 4, once again adding their growing line-up of indie titles.  Unvei...
Vlambeer photo
Vlambeer

Vlambeer's 'roguelike-like' Wasteland Kings revealed


These guys don't sleep
Aug 15
// Jordan Devore
Super Crate Box, LUFTRAUSERS, and Ridiculous Fishing developer Vlambeer's next game Wasteland Kings is another minimal, arcade-style project, one that builds on its prior titles and "feels like Vlambeer." If you've tried any ...
Paul Veer photo
Get to know the people that make great videogames
Last week on Sup Holmes (now on iTunes) we welcomed passionate pixel pusher Paul Veer to the program. Paul loves videogames, so naturally, the art and design of the Kirby, Pokemon, and Sonic franchises were irresistible subj...

Sup Holmes veers into danger with Paul Veer

Jul 28 // Jonathan Holmes
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Sup Holmes photo
Get to know the people that make great videogames
Today on Sup Holmes we welcome young buck art stud Paul Veer to the program. You may not know Paul's name, but if you are among the millions that have played The Hunger Games: Girl on Fire or Super Crate Box, or are one...

Vlambeer photo
Vlambeer

Ridiculous Fishing update: Custom music option, new items


Restart a run using the knife
Jul 25
// Jordan Devore
Vlambeer has rolled out a new version of Ridiculous Fishing for iPhone and iPad, and I think you're going to love one of the changes in particular: the newly-introduced knife lets you cut your line, meaning you can restart an...
Ridiculous Fishing iOS photo
Ridiculous Fishing iOS

Free updates are in the works for Ridiculous Fishing iOS


Are more famous fish on the way?
Jun 26
// Chris Carter
As soon as I sat down with Ridiculous Fishing, I was hooked (ha!). Vlambeer had created something so simple, yet truly addictive and fun, and it was incredibly hard to put down. Fans now have a lot to look forward to, as Vla...

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