Posts Tagged ‘platformer’

Video: Yoku’s Island Express is a bit Metroid, a bit pinball and a bit good

yoku island express

The pinball platformer is an idea developers like to feed quarters into every so often. If a character is round (Pac-Man, Kirby) or can bunch up into a ball (Sonic, Samus, enslaved Pokémon), then they’ve probably been bashed about by flippers at some point. But these games tend to be reskins of traditional pinball; few reflect their source material. Yoku’s Island Express doesn’t have a known mascot to trade on, but it does have bigger vision for bumper-boosted platforming.

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Why Celeste’s dash feels great

This is The Mechanic, where Alex Wiltshire invites developers to discuss the difficult journeys they underwent to make the best bits of their games. This time, mountain-climbing platformer Celeste and the importance of timing in its movements and kindness in its code.

Early last month, the makers of Celeste released the source code behind the game’s star, Madeline. Across 5472 lines and in variables like JumpGraceTime, DashHJumpThruNudge and DuckFriction, the code precisely defines her ability to run, climb, jump and dash, bringing her to life in your hands.

If you’re not a programmer, it’s difficult to figure out what the code really means, so I asked Noel Berry to explain how it coalesces into a character who feels so good to control. Focusing on her dash, the mechanic around which Celeste revolves, it turns out that a lot of it’s down to the game making her do what you expected her to do, and not necessarily what you actually did. Read the rest of this entry »

Wot I Think: Two-button metroidvania Necrosphere

I am completely and totally in love with platformer Necrosphere [official site]. I have also shouted at it so much that I now genuinely have a sore throat. I cannot remember a time when I’ve improved so, so much at a game in a relatively short space of time, to the point where completing certain sections has had me begin to imagine statues built in my honour. And then I come crashing down to Earth as I struggle with the very next moment. It’s a complete joy, a full 2D Metroidvania, and yet the whole game is controlled with only two buttons. Read the rest of this entry »

Wot I Think: INSIDE

I can’t deny that I’ve heard some of the fuss being made about INSIDE‘s [official site] console release last week. I haven’t read any reviews, knowing I was going to be reviewing this myself once PC code came in, but I couldn’t help picking up that people were excited. So I was excited. I rather loved Limbo. I’ve been anticipating this. You can hear the but coming, can’t you? Yeah, but, I don’t love INSIDE. In fact, I’m not sure what there is about it for anyone to love. It feels like an empty, procedural, albeit often beautiful platform game with not a single original idea in its belt. Here’s wot I think:

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Impressions: Life Goes On: Done To Death

I think I’ve become a little wary of puzzle platformers. Too much block pushing busywork, not enough intriguing dilemmas (great cars, I hear) to solve. So I looked at Life Goes On’s [official site] expanded re-release with a sceptical eye (the other eye was watching a passing bee). And then immediately fell for it. Coo, this is a rather splendid little game, where death is very much your aim.

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In The Shadows Wants To Drive Out The Darkness

Sometimes an idea is simply cute, and that’s fine. But when an idea is cute and smart, then you’ve got something. In The Shadows [official site] appears to fall into the latter category – a very lovely-looking pixel puzzle platformer, with surprisingly complex lighting, about a little kid who’s scared of the dark.

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Mable & The Wood Lets You Avoid The Boss Fights

It has finally happened! I have used my powers successfully, and can hang up my cape. Whether for good or for evil is for you to decide, but forthcoming pixel action-exploration game Mable & The Wood [official site] (just about to ding its Kickstarter goal in the final 48 hours) is going to let you choose between battling boss monsters, or working out how to avoid them entirely. And apparently this is in response to my excellent Guacamelee review! It’s also, we’re told, driving backers to poetry. Is this a force that can be stopped?

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What A Pretty Dolly! This Puzzle-Platformer Is Gorgeous

The beautiful Dolly is an imperfect blessing. Visually, this free puzzle-platformer is nothing short of stunning. The minimalist palette, the dream-like art direction, the strangeness of its universe — it all comes together in a perfect storm of colors. In terms of being an actual game, Dolly is… okay. The controls feel accurate enough. But collision is iffy. Sometimes, you hit spikes. sometimes, you don’t. Sometimes, you bump against thin air and shatter into a thousand pixels. That’s how the cookie crumbles.

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Ink Lets You Paint With All The Colors Of The RGB Palette

HOW HIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIGH DOES THE SYCAMORE GROOOOOOOOOOOOOW

Zack Bell’s Ink [official site] isn’t very complicated. It’s a two-dimensional platformer that has you controlling an agile square, who can swoop about and bounce around. Similarly, your goal in this virtual life isn’t very complicated: you just have to reach the exit. Putting the inherent challenges of your average platformer, Ink presents another concern: an invisible world. In order to proceed, you’re going to have to paint it black — er, rainbow colors, actually.
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Rain World Keeps Getting Prettier And Prettier

It’s easy to dismiss the ideas of slug cats. I mean, who in the right minds would cram something so fluffy together with something so goshdarned slimey? The people behind Rain World [official site], that’s who. And strangely, as this new alpha footage proves, it actually all works really honkin’ well.

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Impressions Of Adventures Of Pip

And in the game, etc etc.

I’ve been playing Adventures of Pip [official site]. When I say that I mean Adventures of Pip, the 2D action platformer which wants you to rescue a princess and which is out on Steam today, rather than the adventures of Pip, my day-to-day life*.

I’ve finished the first world, plus a few other levels and what I’ve encountered so far has been competently produced but hasn’t caused any particular pangs of excitement, which is a shame.

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Freeware Garden: Fork Parker’s Holiday Profit Hike

Fork Parker’s Holiday Profit Hike may just be one of the best known freeware games recently released, being a little something by indie mega label Devolver. It’s also, yes, a holiday-themed game, but that’s okay – I’m pretty certain there’s a blizzard waiting to happen somewhere in the coming months. It’s too good to ignore, anyway.

Fork Parker’s platformer is built around Devolver’s balding CFO mascot’s attempts to climb a snowy and rather festive mountain of money in a cunning bid to help raise his company’s revenue. Among the lovely pixelated graphics, happy enemies and spiky spikes, Mr. Parker will try to collect wads of cash and avoid any falls that might lead to ludicrous medical bills.

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Impressions: Oscura – Lost Light

Every now and then, like for instance whenever we communicate, Kieron Gillen and I disagree about things. One of the things we both think the other is most wrong about is Limbo. Kieron wrongly thinks it’s an unfair game, echoing the failings of Rick Dangerous and its ilk by forcing you to fail. I rightly think it was a statement, an expression through these enforced failures, that crafts a uniquely interesting experience. Oscura [Steam link], despite trying to be a lot like Limbo, is not doing that. It’s doing Kieron’s thing.

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Freeware Garden: Synclox

It may have something to do with my upbringing, but blue and white always makes me think of the Aegean. It’s such a profoundly blue and white place I can’t help it, just as I can’t help imagining Synclox taking place in a strange and pixelated version of this particular part of the Mediterranean.

You play through a version of said Sea complete with floating islands, appropriately Doric architecture and a lovely and rather unique type of pixel art, that lets you explore it in the idiosyncratic way that both Ugh! and Space Taxi favoured. Fly around in your pedal-powered helicopter, take in the sights and try to understand what you are supposed to be doing.

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Freeware Garden: Mibibli’s Quest

Coming from Ryan Melmoth, the person responsible for Peen Peen and Delirious Bird and who makes Games for Weird People, it shouldn’t come as a surprise that the brilliant Mibibli’s Quest is the only platformer I know of to combine run-and-gun action with the rhythm mechanics of Guitar Hero, the puzzles of VVVVVV and even bits from King of Fighters.

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Freeware Garden: Game Jam

An honest look at game development.

Everybody loves a game jam. It is after all “probably the most healthy scene of videogame creativity,” as Locomalito, brilliant creator of some of the best freeware games, put it before releasing the aptly named Game Jam mini-game. It is a cute take on games about making games ever conceived and executed.

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Freeware Garden: Tokyo 1923

The Great Kantō earthquake of 1923 brought about an almost biblical kind of destruction. It devastated Tokyo, Yokohama and their surrounding areas, killed over 100,000 people and paved the way to fascism and ethnic cleansing.

Tokyo 1923 is a game about said earthquake.

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Freeware Garden: MonoDi

A gun that only shoots in one direction might be physically improbable, but it can also turn any platformer that involves shooting into a puzzle game. That’s what’s happened to MonoDi, in which you puzzle, shoot and jump your way through 25 unexpectedly varied single-screen levels, each sporting functional if cute graphics, lots of alien eggs to destroy, and bits of badly spelled plot to read through.

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Freeware Garden: Riser

Notice how wisely I spent all the money Riser had given me...

Getting really good at tough action games is something that rarely happens to me. To be brutally honest, it has only happened once during my childhood with Manic Miner, many years later with VVVVVV and a few days ago with Riser. Now, I am not certain as to why this simple, procedural platformer really got to me, nor why I really got it, but I know there’s the very real danger of me mainly loving it due to it being kind to me. Do please keep this in mind.

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Freeware Garden: Until I Have You

Pulling this off is way more complicated than it looks. Honest.

So you seem to have been cast as the grim hero who’ll save the distressed damsel once again, but please, worry not. Until I Have You, despite lacking in the plot department, is different in other ways. In this case it’s through the mechanics that the game differentiates itself, as it’s a platformer in which you move the mouse pointer to accelerate towards the direction of your choice, click one mouse button to shoot and the other to jump, and click on the scroll button to cycle through your weapons.

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