Wednesday, 27 April 2016
Rather than a specific cyberpunk theme, the theming in Cyber Dodge is a random mishmash of various sci-fi and fantasy archetypes. There's the protagonist team for single player mode, who are generic guys in futuristic american football armour, and their opponents include teams of gladiators, skeletons, aliens (sadly not Giger knock-offs, despite what their team logo would have you believe), robots, ninja, and long-bearded levitating wizards. Each team also has its own themed arena, and each arena has its own themed ball! For example, the skeleton team plays in a museum full of dinosaur bones, where they throw a skull around, while the ninja team makes its home in one of those Japanese gardens with the big rocks and meticulously raked sand, with a moss-covered spherical rock as their ball. It's a nice little touch.
Thursday, 21 April 2016
The Simple 2000 Series Vol. 39: The Shouboutai: you move around with the d-pad or face buttons (depending on your dominant hand, of course), and you turn and aim by dragging the stylus around a box on the touch screen. The touch screen also has buttons for looking down your crosshairs, changing or dropping weapons, reloading, and situational commands, like planting bombs or crouching behind sandbag walls. The shoulder buttons are both used to shoot.
Thursday, 14 April 2016
A fairly minimalist shooting game that has you controlling a swivelling cannon at the bottom of the screen. Satellites fall from above, and if three hit the bottom of the screen, it's game over. The challenge mainly comes from the fact that your cannon is very slow-firing, so you have to time your shots well to hit the falling satellites. Furthermore, holding the fire button charges your shots, and if hit with enough force, satellites can smash into each other, saving you a bit of work.
Jagot (Unknown Creator, 1998)
Jagot has two modes: classic and fishy. Classic mode is a fairly generic, no-frills Tetris clone, albeit one with an absurdly wide playing field and awkward controls (everything is done with the d-pad, with up rotating pieces, and down instantly setting them into place at the bottom of the pit). Fishy mode is more original, though unfortunately, significantly less fun to play.
It's the same "wide Tetris" as classic mode, except that you no longer have direct control over the falling pieces. Instead, you move a fish around, and try to nudge the pieces into place. It's novel, but not fun. Also, there's a glitch whereby the pieces sometimes sink through the bottom of the pit and reappear at the top, causing an instant game over when the next piece spawns.
Magical Millie (KBO, 1997)
A cute little single-screen platformer in which you play as the eponymous Millie, a witch dressed in red. It's pretty basic stuff, really: collect the key and get to the door while killing enemies and avoiding their attacks. It's nothing groundbreaking, but it is fun to play. I assume the game's unfinished, as there's no music or sound effects, and the presentation is somewhat rough around the edges, but Magical Millie is still a game that's worth a bit of your time.
Sunday, 10 April 2016
Wednesday, 6 April 2016
Chieri no Doki Doki Yukemuri Burari Tabi's crown at the top of XBLIG shooting games, but it's worth the 69p it costs to buy it. It's listed with its title in Japanese, so to save you the bother of trying to find it yourself, here's the link.
Friday, 1 April 2016
If it was released today, Tomba (or Tombi in Europe) would be called a metrovania (or metroidvania for people who like words with awkward stops in the middle of them). It's a platform game with RPG elements and a big explorable world in place of seperate linear stages. Obviously, the genre existed before either Metroid or Castlevania: Symphony of the Night existed, but those were the two that made it popular, blah blah et cetera.
Though it wasn't anywhere near as popular as either of those two games, Tomba was fairly popular in its day, and it's remembered fondly by everyone who played it. If it was more popular, or if design traits were more of a factor in coming up with these names, Tomba would have part of its name in that awkward portmanteau alongside the works of Nintendo and Konami. The reason I say this is because the three games represent three different styles of RPG being turned sideways and played all platform-like.
Metroid represents a simple, Zelda-esque style of RPG, with the player character getting stronger and opening new areas being based on the finding of certain items, and in which each item has a specific intended use. Symphony of the Night represents a more typical Japanese RPG, with lots of stats and experience points and all kinds of different weapons and armour and other equipment. So what does Tomba represent? Western-style RPGs, series like The Elder Scrolls and Fallout.
This might sound ridiculous, but it's true! The crux of this lies in Tomba's mission system. Like in a large, open-world western RPG, Tomba picks up missions and side-missions and so on as he wanders the world looking for the Koma Pigs and hid Grandfather's bracelet. Also like those games, new missions can be triggered in a variety of different ways: talking to characters, finding items, entering new areas, and so on.
Also like those games, some missions will be over almost as soon as they begin (or, in some cases, a particularly thorough player can finish a mission before they've triggered the start of it), and some missions can be started near the start of the game and not come fully into fruition much later in the game.
So yeah, that's an aspect of this game that I've never seen anyone else acknowledge, and I think it's a shame that it's one that hasn't really found a place in the greater DNA of the metrovania species.