Saturday 29 March 2014

New Indie Action Platformer - Action Mogura - beta available

Action Mogura, or Action Mole if translated from its native Japanese, is a new action platformer with Metroidvania elements from developer, Kro Bon Station. Currently in the unfinished beta stage of development, this action packed uber-Japanese game has bags of potential. Featuring a chubby brown mole who is capable of hurling large Hadouken style fireballs at his robotic adversaries, it is clear that this is a game that doesn't take itself too seriously - though it can often to be hard to tell with Japanese games. 

Wednesday 26 March 2014

Retro Review - Jackal (Arcade / NES)

4 Wheel Shmup Action

Jackal (or Top Gunner as it was known in North America) is a classic Konami arcade shoot-em-up that often gets unfairly overlooked. Not only does it feature the developer's wonderful, and instantly recognisable, style of visuals and sound of the time, but it also offers some great blasting action and some original ideas in a genre usually swamped in predictability. Essentially a vertical scrolling shmup, Jackal has one significant difference that separates it from your standard Fireshark, 1943, or Raiden affairs - the ability to explore the stage at your own pace. After being dropped via parachute onto a beach, your two man team set off in their military jeep and, as you move vertically upwards, the screen scrolls with you. You can stop and move around at your leisure, with the screen following you to the left and right for a short distance should you move off the central path, and even backtrack a little way.

Sunday 23 March 2014

Wizard Wizard - a free indie platformer with hints of Super Meat Boy

Wizard Wizard is a short, but sweet, 2D platform game that apes the masochistic twitch-jumping antics of games like Super Meat Boy. The princess has been kidnapped (surprise, surprise) and it's up to you, the titular Wizard, to rescue her. Each of the single screen stages presents a locked exit door and a key, located somewhere hard to reach. Between you and said key are the usual assortment of saw blades and rotating spikey death things one would expect. Using only the power of jumping and double jumping, you must perform pixel perfect movements in order to nab the key and reach the exit. It's simplistic and very short, yet Wizard Wizard is still worth a playthrough thanks to the not-too-taxing difficulty level, basic yet charming pixel art and music, and the fact that it doesn't take itself at all seriously - owls will make comments such as "Give me $10" or the more stating-the-obvious, "I'm an owl".

Thursday 20 March 2014

Review - TxK (PS Vita)

Tunnel Vision

TxK is another entry in a long running series of psychedelic shooters from British developer, Jeff Minter. Ever since the days of the Commodore 64, when he unleashed his Mutant Camels onto the world, Jeff has had a borderline obsession with LSD-infused visual madness and farmyard animals - sheep, yaks, camels, llamas, you name it (though I guess it has to be a fairly exotic farmyard to host all of those animals). His most famous creation thus far has to be Tempest 2000, a reboot of Atari's classic 1981 arcade shoot-em-up created for their Jaguar console. It is widely considered to be the best game on the system, and deservedly so, despite there being little in the way of competition. It stuck closely to the formula set by the arcade original, only this time with Minter's unhinged acid-trip take on proceedings. Cue, fireworks, explosions of neon light, wobbling nonsensical text, speak-and-spell speech, sheep noises and a fantastic rave soundtrack. 

Saturday 15 March 2014

Retro Review - The Goonies (NES)

Goonies Never Say Die

Everyone has a favourite childhood movie. For me it was the 1985 Spielberg flick, The Goonies, a kids adventure that saw a group of friends search for a pirate's gold after discovering an old map in their parent's attic. Cue the rounding up of a bunch of oddballs - some far less keen to go on said quest than others - a group of comical yet cruel bad guys on the hunt for the same treasure, and an underground cave system fraught with peril. It was perfect escapism for the younger me, and I still enjoy it to this day. On paper, the premise of The Goonies sounds like perfect videogame material, and obviously Konami thought so too, producing an NES adaptation of the movie a year later. 

Friday 14 March 2014

The Ultimate Guide To Indie Games - Essential Reading For PC Gamers

The Ultimate Guide To Indie Games

For those of you with an interest in indie gaming on the PC - most of you, I would assume - there is an excellent bookazine available that covers the games we hold so dear. I am a little late to the party on this one, but after having been bought a copy yesterday by my lovely partner, I felt I needed to bring it to your attention in case it had slipped you by as well. Coming out in January of 2013 from long-running PC gaming magazine PC Gamer, The Ultimate Guide To Indie Games features reviews and previews of a shed load of indie gems, as well as useful Top 50 / Top 100 articles showcasing the best indie games and mods available online completely free. It brought to my attention a multitude of interesting titles that I was not familiar with beforehand, some of which I intend to cover on this website soon.

Thursday 6 March 2014

Review - Nom Nation (PSP Minis / PS Vita)

Playing with your food

The word 'Edutainment' is usually enough to send gamers running for the nearest exit. Whether it's the unnecessary addion of arithmatic or spelling in games such as Donkey Kong Math or Word Rescue, tedious historical searchings in Carmen Sandiego, or the downright laughable (for all the wrong reasons), diabetes related shenanigans in the appalling Captain Novalin, throwing learning into the mix is usually a recipe for boredom. Even Nintendo superstar Mario isn't infalable, with his shoddy educational exploits, Mario Is Missing and Mario's Time Machine proving that the classroom has no place in gaming.