Tuesday, 29 November 2011

Indie Puzzle Game Review - Descend to the Beat

Descend to the Beat by Baygull Studios is a puzzle game that comes across as the love child of Columns and Trip-a-Tron... it's a puzzle game that contains 3 game modes, Arcade, Challenge and Puzzle.  The arcade mode is a constantly changing trip through the challenges; the challenges are individual levels where you have to complete a specific goal, while the puzzles are set scenarios in which you have to find the correct combination of moves to complete.  The basic idea is that blocks fall from the sky onto the game area, and you have to fill the whole area to demolish a level.   Let any one stack build up too high and you lose.


Not an earth-shatteringly original concept admittedly, but it's done very well here, and in full 3D - thankfully there's a 2D representation of the floor level as otherwise it can be quite difficult to keep track of what's going on down there.  Personally I find pretty much all puzzle games get boring after a while, but this one had me playing for quite a bit, and the 3 game modes offer very different challenges.  To me the best mode was Arcade, which gives you not only puzzling to do, but hands it to you at very high speed.  The action comes thick and fast, and the tile sets used for the game constantly change in this mode, so it's a visual smorgasbord as well as offering hectic game play.


With a title like "Descent to the Beat" you would expect a stomping soundtrack to go along with all this, and the game delivers with aplomb.  It feels a bit too repetitive in the Challenge and Puzzle modes, which isn't too much of a problem as they offer shorter individual playing sessions, but in Arcade mode the soundtrack, like the visuals and game itself, is constantly changing.

All in all Descend to the Beat is an extremely polished puzzle game, and if you like Columns-esque puzzlers that end up at frenetic speeds, you're definitely going to enjoy this.  Descend to the Beat is available for PC, Mac, iPad, iPhone and Android devices (PC version reviewed here).  The desktop computer versions are more expensive (and have more features).  See the official website for more details or to buy the game:

http://www.descendthebeat.com/

Monday, 28 November 2011

Planet Madness 1.0.1 for iOS: Space Arcade Game Plays Like Qix and Xonix

Moscow, Russian Federation - DISSEMBILL software today is pleased to introduce Planet Madness 1.0.1 for iOS, their new space arcade Game with Qix/Xonix-style gameplay. A universal app with hi-res graphics, players explore space dragging their spaceship horizontally and vertically. As they move, their ship makes a thick cut in the black rectangle filling the screen. On cutting out any rectangular area, it is considered "explored" and the background behind it is revealed. The goal is to explore 75% or more of the screen without accidentally hitting any of the planets that are in constant motion.

Gameplay becomes very challenging very quickly. At level 1, there is a single Earth-like planet slowly moving inside the black rectangle that fills the screen. It bounces off walls sometimes, but its movement is generally predictable. At level 1, the spaceship is very fast and dragging it horizontally or vertically through the black rectangle quickly cuts off a smaller rectangle. This new rectangle is the area explored, and disappearing, the celestial object behind it becomes visible. Now, the planet's movement is confined to what remains of the black rectangle (unexplored space). The player may cut off many small rectangles or a single large one to reach the goal of having explored 75% or more of the screen.

Off course, the larger the area the player tries to enclose, the greater are the chances that he will hit a moving planet. Level 2 has 2 different planets and level 3 has 3 planets that must be avoided. At higher levels, planets increase in number and move faster, making exploration more difficult. If a planet hits an edge while it is being cut the planet explodes, though after it is cut the planet bounces off. As gameplay progresses winning screens contain many small rectangles, each enclosing one or more planets, small unexplored islands.

Feature Highlights:
* Score points exploring 75% or more of each level
* 100 different levels to explore
* Get one Shield for every 4,000 points or when covering more than 3 cells 10 times in a row without penalty
* Earn Shields when switching to the next level
* Shields protect the ship in case it hits a planet
* Every Planet explosion gives 100 points

"Planet Madness has many surprises built-in to challenge any gamer as they move from level to level," stated Nick Korn of DISSEMBILL software.

Device Requirements:
* iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch
* Requires iOS 4.2 or later (iOS 5 tested)
* Universal app optimized for display on all iOS devices
* 53.4 MB

Pricing and Availability:
Planet Madness 1.0.1 is free and available worldwide exclusively through the App Store in the Games category. iADs may be removed with an in-app purchase of $0.99 (USD).

Planet Madness - YOMEN, Inc.

Based in Moscow, Russian Federation, DISSEMBILL software is indie developer Nick Korn, who focuses on development for iOS devices. 

Mortal Online - new patch released

I've not tried this game myself, but I was sent news recently on an "FPSMMORPG" (!) that's recently been updated.

"Star Vault in Sweden just released a very interesting new patch for their FPSMMORPG, Mortal Online.

It basically introduces a new feature called territory control. It's makes it possible for the large guilds to claim whatever land they want in the world and even take control over the NPC-controlled cities to change their city rules. With this they introduced a website that live-updates with the current world, and who controls what.

It's really cool and very different from you current mainstream MMOs and really deserves more press, even thou it's kinda buggy at points.   They have a free trial too if you to try it out."



Saturday, 26 November 2011

Goo Ball Madness - New Levels

Levels 7 and 8 have just been released for Goo Ball Madness - see gameplay footage below.

Goo Ball Madness is available for PC and Mac from FireHawk Software.




See also: PC INDIE GAME REVIEW - GOO BALL MADNESS

Indie iOS Game Review - "Penny shoel" by Lump Apps

There is a reason why arcade-like games work well on phones. They are simple to learn but tricky to master, they are designed to be addictive and inspire the "one more score point" mentality, and possibly most importantly, they can be played in very short amounts of time.

This game "Penny Shoel" is a game in which you must roll or slide or flick a puck or coin into a number of slots which are each worth a number of points.

Along with accuracy strategy comes into play, as there is a bonus each time you get all of the slots. The pucks can be pushed back out from the slots so soft bs hard flicks are always an important factor in what your final score might be. Strategy and accuracy really come into play when there are many missed puck covering the alley-like board. At this point it becomes like a coin-pusher, trying to get coins into the slots by manipulating the overall group.

The games aesthetic is nice and the graphics quality is good enough to express this, with several unlockable skins/pucks.

The controls are simple and feel  very good, mainly because of the drag you can feel on the puck. This takes a bit of getting used to but it makes the game not only more realistic, but also more fun.

The sound is good, in that you could forget it's there. The sounds of pucks colliding are not too loud to be distracting and are realistic enough to not sound out of place.

Graphics: 65%
Sound: 70%
Control : 80%
Longevity: 80%
Fun: 75%


Penny Shoel HD - Lump apps

Review by:
Joshua "Arro" Paul Merrick,

rustedflame@hotmail.com

Thursday, 24 November 2011

PC Indie Game Review - Goo Ball Madness

IF you’ve ever played Marble Madness or any of the many games that it inspired, you’ll know what to expect with Goo Ball Madness.   You control a marble... sorry, ball of good in this case, and must get to the exit, overcoming various obstacles, solving puzzles and generally avoiding falling into oblivion along the way.  Oh, and you collect goo (of course!).

Goo Ball Madness is in the early stages of development (at time of writing this review) in that, although the game is complete and released, there are only a handful of levels for it.  More are planned this year and then, depending on the popularity of the game, more levels will continue to be added.  You pay a one-time price for the game and all new levels will be yours when they’re released.  Since there are only a few levels so far it’s difficult to comment too much on how much variety there is (will be) in the level design, but the game engine certainly seems set up to deal with a large number of different obstacles and puzzle elements.

The graphics are fine though they lack a little flair; however they more than gets the job done and you can see what’s going on clearly.  The music didn’t quite seem to suit the game, though it wasn’t bad and it could simply be my personal tastes.  Crucially, the physics felt right throughout, and although the game often features long, narrow passages, the collision detection is actually quite forgiving.

Goo Ball Madness seems to be built upon a specific idea, which is to have big levels that take quite a while to complete.  This makes it perhaps slightly less accessible to beginners, but more appealing for fans of this sort of game who like a challenge.  Balancing this is the fact that the levels are built around the principle that if you fall off completely, it’s not game over – you just get put back on the map near when you fell off it.  This avoids quite a bit of frustration.  On the other hand, the huge size of some of the levels can be a bit disorienting.

It’s definitely got a lot of potential.  At only $4.99 it would be decent value for money with 20 levels, which is the minimum planned – however if the number of levels ends up being significantly higher, then it could work out as being excellent value for money if you’re a fan of this genre.  The full game currently consists of 6 levels, with 4 more planned before the end of 2011, and 10 or more planned for release in 2012.

Goo Ball Madness is available for PC and Mac from FireHawk Software.


See the post below for game trailers:

Half-Price LUME

Adventure game Lume is currently available with 50% off on Steam.

"Lume: An illuminating puzzle adventure!


With a set built entirely out of paper and cardboard, and sumptuously filmed, Lume is a game with a style unlike any other.


Power to your grandad’s house has failed. What’s more, he’s nowhere to be seen. Immerse yourself in Lume’s photoreal world, solve perplexing paper puzzles to help restore the power, and uncover a deeper mystery behind the blackout.


This game forms Part 1 of a larger, ongoing story."

Trailer for Retro Hero

New trailer for Trytek's upcoming retro platformer, Retro Hero:



The game is going to be released on the Windows 7 Phone first, then Xbox and PC versions will be released.


Official Website

Trytek is a small indie game studio from the Netherlands. Trytek develops games for X-box, PC and Windows Mobile 7 / Mango. Android games will coming soon.

Battle Group - PC version planned of the hit iOS title

Merge Games Sign Deal with Bane Games for digital distribution of PC Battle Group

Merge Games have signed the hugely successful iOs title Battle Group for PC exclusive global distribution. Battle Group thrusts you into modern day naval combat and puts you into the role of fleet commander. Deploy your warships and hunt down the international pirate menace that threatens the vital trade routes of the world.



About Bane Games
Bane Games are a small but experienced team of independent developers based in Brisbane, Australia. With roots in the main stream games industry,  the team has credits on titles including Destroy All HumansTM 2, FuryTM, Battlestar GalacticaTM, and the Need for SpeedTM series. Bane Games hopes to continue the successful production of high quality, fun titles for a variety of gaming platforms.

Alistair Doulin of Bane Games said "We are very excited to be working with Merge Games and we are happy to have 'Battle Group' join the growing range of quality titles from this innovative and professional publisher"

Bane Games Website: http://www.banegames.com/

About Merge Games
Merge Games opened for business in January 2010, and is rapidly establishing itself as an innovative and new breed of publisher of multi-platform games across PC, iPhone, iPad and Facebook Game genres. To date Merge Games have published PC Storm: Frontline Nations, PC Nuclear Dawn, PC Puzzler 2011 series , and forthcoming PC, iPad and iPhone Cooking School: Thai Kitchen.
Managing Director of Merge Games, Luke Keighran said “Merge Games’ look forward to a long term relationship with the talented team over at Bane Games”


Battle Group Screenshots:












Wednesday, 23 November 2011

Special Offer at Grey Alien Games

If you like Match-3 games, you'll find several with 70% off at Grey Alien Games, up until 30th November.  Their games are  for PC and Mac (though one or two titles are PC only).

Launch Date and New Trailer for Oozi: Earth Adventure - Episode 2 (Xbox)

Awesome Games Studio, an independent video game developer, is happy to announce that the second episode of Oozi: Earth Adventure is set to launch on 25th November, 2011 on Xbox Live Indie Games channel. A brand new Launch Trailer is revealed as well:



The video showcases new features including special abilities available to the gamer, new enemy types and various gameplay mechanisms. Oozi: Earth Adventure is an old school platformer with modern gameplay elements, HD visuals and beautiful, hand-drawn art. It focuses on three key special abilities - double jump, stomp and wall jump - that are used by player on his way through four unique worlds. The game includes high variety of enemies and gameplay mechanisms, and is aimed both at casual gamers and hardcore gamers. The second episode is priced at only 80 Microsoft Points. The two remaining episodes are scheduled for release within three months and will be sold at the same price.

Dungeon Overlord - Hardcore strategy MMO for PC and Mac

Dungeon Overlord, a hardcore strategy MMO for Macs and PCs, has just launched. In the game players begin with a tiny lair and a few goblins; but by raiding camps, pillaging enemy players, training minions and researching spells, overlords can expand their territory into an empire as well as try to crown themselves king.


GAME FEATURES
·         Start Your Kingdom - Build your dungeon and attract an army capable of world domination
·         Expand Your Empire - Construct new dungeons, raid the Overworld and pillage other players
·         Interact with Others - Buy items from the player-driven market, form alliances, enslave your friends, attack and even conquer your enemies
·         Crown Yourself King - Claim the Heart of the Mountain and tax your fellow players
·         Unlock Rewards - Complete epic quests, research new technologies or craft your own equipment to obtain stronger minions, upgrades and rewards

Tuesday, 22 November 2011

Descend to the Beat - a music game for iOS, PC and Mac





Baygull Studios recently released their first original game, Descend the Beat for iPhone, iPad, PC, and Mac.  Descend the Beat is a music-puzzle game that may have classic block falling mechanics, but don’t let that fool you; Baygull are bringing you a fresh experience to dive into. As blocks fall in sequence to the hypnotizing vibe you’ll have to be quick to push, pull, and explode blocks to complete the challenge at hand before the blocks reach the top!

Features:
·         PC / Mac
o   21 Unique themes (Pirates, African Plains, Zombies, 8-bit and more!)
o   35+ minutes of original music to listen and enjoy
o   300+ mind-bending puzzles (15 per theme)
o   Arcade Mode - Enables players to cruise through the game with their senses.
o   Challenge Mode - Players that have mastered Arcade mode can try their hand at Challenge Mode that throws at them more blocks and hard clear scenarios.
o   Blocks fall and appear in-tune with the music
o   Puzzles and block designs are all hand-designed to provide the players with an organic design feel instead of a mathematical algorithmic world.
·         iPhone / iPad
o   7 Original Themes including Pirates, 8-bit, Tron-esque, and more!
o   8 Original new songs!
o   100+ mind-bending puzzles!
o   Arcade Mode, Challenge Mode, and Puzzle Mode!

So get ready to experience the next best music-puzzle game to take this world by storm! Follow your ears as the music guides you to Descend the Beat on Mac, PC, iPhone, and iPad!



iPhone Version:

Descend the Beat - Baygull Studios LLC

iPad Version:

Descend the Beat HD - Baygull Studios LLC

Mac Version:

Descend the Beat - Baygull Studios LLC

Monday, 21 November 2011

Steel Storm 2 alpha funding announced!

Steel Storm 2 is a new game from Kot-in-Action Creative Artel, who brought you the legendary Steel Storm: Burning Retribution arcade shooter.

Unlike the original game, Steel Storm 2 is an old-school FPS in the spirit of Doom® and Quake®. It's a spinoff in the original Steel Storm universe, with a rich story, yet not story driven gameplay. The game is being developed primarily by the founder of Kot-in-Action, Alexander "motorsep" Zubov. Steel Storm 2 will have a much simpler game logic code than the original game. The source code will be distributed with the game as a part of the modding SDK and will allow better modding capabilities.

In the game, you take on the role of Abigail Setareh, a former hovertank pilot who became a natural resource scout in pursuit of adventure. You will begin your journey in a remote corner of the Warbird galaxy, on an uninhabited planet (or so it seemed for a long time). In your journey you will discover many wonderful places, cool weapons, General Nabbatt and his robotic army of the separatist Union, and ancient aliens. Ferocious gun fights and key hunts are guaranteed.


Some of the key features:
   Fast flowing single-player and co-op FPS combat in the best traditions of Doom® and Quake® ;
   Rich background storyline;
   Monsters and enemies with various skills;
   Gibs!
   Key hunt and environmental puzzles;
   Big and scary bosses;
   Modding SDK.

The game will utilize the mighty Darkplaces engine once again and will be available for Linux, Windows and Mac. The game will be following the alpha funding model and everyone who pre-orders the game will get access to the game's very first builds and will ultimately receive the final version without any extra charge. As the development progresses, the price will go up. The starting price is $5 and the final game will cost $20. Steel Storm 2 is a must have game for the fans of the original Steel Storm. Please support the game and help it rise to it's full potential.

http://two.steel-storm.com

TC Games Ltd announces first game - Velisia: A Traitor's Legacy

TC Games, comprising of graduates from the University of Salford, has been set up by  Cheshire-based publisher Merge Games. The company’s base of operations is situated at Manchester’s dynamic new Sharp Project, a technological hub exclusively set up exclusively for companies within the digital sector.  TC Games Ltd first venture is Velisia: A Traitor's Legacy
  

Velisia: A Traitor’s Legacy, a strategy- RPG set in the peaceful world of Tarn. Tarn is plagued with the return of an ancient enemy and the noble knights of Velisia must pledge to fend off the onslaught and uphold order by any means necessary. Four recruits embark on their journey to drive back the destructive invaders by utilising their unique skills and strengths. Only a keen strategic mind can force the aggressors back to whence they came and raise the rookie squadron into the elite warriors Tarn needs:


  •  From Zero to Hero: Raise your Velisian Knights from green recruits to battle hardened   veterans throughout the game!
  •  Master your Art: Specialise your knights in an area of your choice.
  • Plan your strategy: The game’s Action Point System allows the player to employ anything from increased manoeuvrability to concentrated offensives!

Bring peace to a warring world: Experience a world like no other and immerse yourself in the blend of cultures and warring factions within the world of Tarn

Merge Games Sign Deal with Bane Games for digital distribution of PC Battle Group

Merge Games have signed the hugely successful iOs title Battle Group for PC exclusive global distribution. Battle Group thrusts you into modern day naval combat and puts you into the role of fleet commander. Deploy your warships and hunt down the international pirate menace that threatens the vital trade routes of the world.
About Bane Games
Bane Games are a small but experienced team of independent developers based in Brisbane, Australia. With roots in the main stream games industry,  the team has credits on titles including Destroy All HumansTM 2, FuryTM, Battlestar GalacticaTM, and the Need for SpeedTM series. Bane Games hopes to continue the successful production of high quality, fun titles for a variety of gaming platforms.
Alistair Doulin of Bane Games said "We are very excited to be working with Merge Games and we are happy to have 'Battle Group' join the growing range of quality titles from this innovative and professional publisher"
Bane Games Website: http://www.banegames.com/
About Merge Games
Merge Games opened for business in January 2010, and is rapidly establishing itself as an innovative and new breed of publisher of multi-platform games across PC, iPhone, iPad and Facebook Game genres. To date Merge Games have published PC Storm: Frontline Nations, PC Nuclear Dawn, PC Puzzler 2011 series , and forthcoming PC, iPad and iPhone Cooking School: Thai Kitchen.
Managing Director of Merge Games, Luke Keighran said “Merge Games’ look forward to a long term relationship with the talented team over at Bane Games”

Dragon Island announced by ZigZaGame Inc.

Dragon Island borrows elements from old favorites like Final Fantasy, Dragon Quest and Pokemon, blends them with brand new gameplay ideas to create a unique iPhone/iPad/iPod touch gaming experience. 

Dragon Island essentially builds on the theme Pokemon introduced - catching cool monsters is awesome.  In Dragon Island, the player's mission is to collect and build an army of monsters to fight with. Like Pokemon, most of the 200 monsters in Dragon Island belong to an evolve chain.  In addition, some monsters in Dragon Island can be combined to create new monsters. 

 
So What Makes This Game Different?

* No Healing: Yes, there are no healing spells in the game. Unlike most RPGs where party members are precious "friends", party members in Dragon Island are expendable units in the player's army.  In fact, party members will die all the time, same way individual units in a war strategy game are expendable.

* Batting Order: To use a baseball analogy, a player must plan a batting order of monsters before leaving for adventure. Only 3 monsters can fight at one time, but once a monster dies it is replaced by the next monster in the batting order as planned by the player. Planning an effective batting order that matches the enemies you expect to meet is extremely important in Dragon Island.

* Strength In Numbers: The measure of an army's strength is its lasting power. Better monster armies will make it farther into a dungeon before having to run back to town. Towns completely heal monsters but also reset all battles. There are many way-points so you can pick up where you last found one.

* 200 Awesome Looking Monsters: Monster Collection games in the past aimed for cute looking monsters, as in Pokemon or Dragon Quest Monsters.  Monsters in Dragon Island, hand drawn by a young Japanese Artist, are not cute by any means - vicious might be the word.  As a monster collection RPG, we made sure the monsters in Dragon Island are awesome.  























Dragon Island is currently about 80% complete, and heavily over budget. In order to raise enough funds to give this game some finishing touches, a KickStarter project with the same name has been launched. 

KickStarter is a social funding platform where anybody can decide to fund a creative project of choice in return for a "reward" - right to name monsters, access to KickStarter exclusive monsters, etc.  For more details and a video demo, please visit the following link.