Electronic Super Joy, huh? I can’t say that I know Micheal Todd very well, but his game’s name definitely sets some lofty goals: it only has three words in the title, and I’m a fan of each of them. That’s right: I love electronic things, I think ‘super’ is a great adjective, and I’m all about joy. I’m pretty sure that means there’s nothing that can stand in the way of this game and I getting along swimmingly.
Oh, it’s a super-hard pixel-perfect platformer, a genre I am notoriously piss-poor at and ill-tempered by? That… that could still be okay! I liked Super Meat Boy, sorta, kinda. And, you know, just because a lot of games in this genre have a propensity for sending me into a monitor-bound cursing fit every other level doesn’t mean this one will.
(Spoiler levels: Narrative, haha, as if! Mechanical, I’ve pretty much spoiled everything in the opening blurb.)
After the break: So will Electronic Super Joy live up to its name, or its genre?
I briefly spotted Compulsion Games‘ Contrast (‘a game of light and shadow’) at Gamescom this year: as one of the few games I didn’t have to wait in line four hours for in order to see, it definitely made a more solid impression than most of that con’s offerings. Turns out it’s hard for me to get a first impression of anything if most of what I see is other waiting con-goers! One more reason to primarily stick to indie fare, I guess. Between this, Forced and Ghost Hunter, you’ll probably be seeing a few more Gamescom alumni on the stage here in the not too far future.
Anyway, where was I? Oh yeah, Contrast. Played it at Gamescom, thought it looked at least decently interesting, mentally archived it for later, was reminded about it actually launching two weeks ago by a friend. And here we are! Let’s see if my initial impression of interest holds up.
(Spoiler levels: Narrative, high. Mechanical, medium-to-high.)
After the break: My Gamescom experience and my playing experience don’t exactly line up. You could say there’s an odd *contrast* between the two.
Hey, look, it’s another one of those things where I ‘review’ an incredibly well-known game that’s been out for ages! This week’s blast-from-the-recent-past victim/review target is Fez, well-known opus from Polytron and the (in)famous Phil Fish. Fez has been out for about a year and a half on the XBox Marketplace, and since May this year on Steam, but… I guess I just never got around to it? A combination of poor initial PC news and the general atmosphere surrounding Phil Fish made me hesitant, and probably contributed to the bundle-bought Fez lingering on my Steam list for as long as it did.
What probably also contributed a little is the absolute flood of indie games I’ve been deluged with, but that’s neither here nor there.
Regardless: in another earnest attempt to reduce my backlog a little bit, this week you get Fez. I assume this’ll be very useful for the four or so people who haven’t already finished it yet.
(Spoiler levels: Narrative, medium (as far as I understand any of it). Mechanical, fairly high.)
After the break: little did I know that ‘finishing’ Fez isn’t really something you just *do*.
Fairly hot off the heels of a relatively successful Kickstarter campaign, King Art Games‘ Battle Worlds: Kronos saw only about six months between funding and completion. I’d been keeping up to date on demos and the like a little bit, but — being a lazy Kickstarter with an aversion to reading those status emails — I wasn’t aware the game was actually close to completion until the day a sweet package of goodies showed up. Yes, you’re interpreting that right: I backed a game for a rather significant amount of money, then completely ignored any and all news about it until it literally got delivered to my doorstep. You’d be surprised how often I do this, actually.
I was obviously going to review it sooner or later. And let me just assure you that despite the fact that King Art Games sent me some high-quality swag to accompany my game order, my judgment will as always be fair and impartial and wow, I hadn’t really looked at how sweet that card game looks until now. And who even makes paper manuals anymore? Let alone two.
Anyway, fair and impartial.
(Spoiler levels: Narrative, Low. Mechanical, Medium-to-high.)
After the break: a fair and impartial review of Battle Worlds: Kronos. No, really.
If your grasp of the English language is as tenuously amazing as mine, you might be trying to deduce what in the devil Rigonauts are. Are they like astronauts, maybe, or cosmonauts or taikonauts? But that still doesn’t really tell us anything: while you could make a point that cosmonauts travel through the cosmos, and astronauts hurtle through the astral, we’re still not any wiser on what a Rigonaut does. Traverse the Rigo? That puts us right back where we started re: word nonsense.
Or maybe Rigonauts developer Engient is trying to take a page from Greek mythology? Maybe Rigonauts are patterned after the Argonauts, named not after their objective of exploration but the vehicle they use for their adventures? That would make Rigonauts the people who crew a ship called the Rigo. That could work.
And actually, that’s totally what it is! Whew. Language crisis averted. With that out of the way, I feel way more comfortable diving headlong into Rigonauts, our review game for this week and the instigator of this linguistic side-track. Don’t worry, though: I can almost completely promise the rest of the review will be verbal madness-free.
(Spoiler levels: Narrative, low. Mechanical, low-to-medium.)
After the break: Riding on a rickety ship with some rickety goblins. How’s the physics system, you ask?…
Roaming Fortress, by developer Brisk Mobile, is a game wherein you fights hordes of goblinoid monsters from the safety of a medieval fortress, safely nestled on a back of a massive, lumbering dinosaur. Yeah, just let that… just let that sink in for a few moments. Big fortress, fighting monsters, dinosaur.
Clearly originally developed for the mobile market, Roaming Fortress’ website still only has sales links to a version on the Google Play Store and two versions on the Apple App Store. And yet, somehow, I have here before me a version that runs on my PC. I… I don’t actually remember how I pulled this off? The executable still reads ‘rf_ios’, but the folder’s called ‘rf_win’… and it has a ‘productsAndroid’ XML document, too. Given the Frankensteinian nature of the whole thing, I’m just going to claim that this particular copy of Roaming Fortress is the result of dark Halloween magics. It probably doesn’t have anything to do with the Indiegale October Bundle, which you could still get for about three more days at the time this review goes up.
(Spoiler levels: Narrative, low. Mechanical, medium.)
After the break: So back to those *dinosaurs*…
The Yawhg. What’s a Yawhg? I have no idea what a Yawhg is, but I assume Emily Carroll and Damian Sommer do. They chose to make a game about it, after all. Or did they? Maybe I’m over-assuming here? Maybe only the Yawhg knows what the Yawhg is.
The Yawhg. The title intrigues. What’s a Yawhg? What I can glean from the website does not bode well. The Yawhg will be here in six weeks, it says. We just keep on living our lives, it says, unaware. And when the Yawhg arrives, it says, the world will be a howling fury. “Chaos. Screaming. The sound of all we knew being pulled in half…”
The Yawhg. As you may have picked up by now from various contextual clues — like this written article appearing on this website, in this Indie Wonderland column — the Yawhg is a videogame I have played. A short one, and fairly experimental. What’s a Yawhg? I’m afraid straight-up telling you that just won’t do. Nor will explaining this game in too much detail. In fact, my gut response after having played the Yawhg is that it’s a game best experienced blank-slate.
But I am a reviewer, and the Yawhg is a videogame. One that carries a not entirely insignificant ten dollar price tag. And I can tell that the Yawhg will not appeal to everyone. Which, once again, leaves me in the possibly difficult-to-envy position of wanting to tell you about why I think about a game what I think, without diminishing the experience of playing that game in the process. I’ve tried it before, three times by now, and it’s never been easy by any stretch. But then there’s only one way to get better at this sort of thing, isn’t there?
The Yawhg. What’s a Yawhg? Let’s see if I can’t make you curious.
After the break: I won’t tell you what a Yawhg is, but I will tell you why I think it’s interesting. And maybe, possibly, why I think it isn’t.
Continuing on with what appears to have become some sort of impromptu Not On Steam Month, this week sees me foray into One Finger Death Punch, a cinematic stick-based brawler by Silver Dollar Games. I was alerted to its existence through an article on Quarter to Three — yes, I do actually get a lot of my gaming news from Quarter to Three, how kind of you to notice — and figured that it looked neat, it seemed pretty interesting gameplay-wise, and it was on sale for less than a dollar. Yeah: sometimes, it is that easy to grab my attention.
(Spoiler levels: Narrative, haha, nope! Mechanical, pretty high.)
After the break: How many fingers do I need to play One Finger Death Punch? The answer *may* surprise you.
Speaking of somewhat lesser-well-known games: have you heard of 99 Spirits? I hadn’t heard of 99 Spirits. A game by Fruitbat Factory, it concerns — and I immediately and without reservation admit that the information that’s about to follow and that information alone was enough to make me grab the Indie Royale bundle it was a part of — the Japanese folklore ghost-type of Tsukumogami, or ‘the spirits of 100-year-old objects that have become self-aware and evil’.
Okay, fine, I was a little wary about buying a game solely on the strength of its hook. So I looked up a gameplay video, and it seemed to show some Japanese woman fighting the Tsukumogami, capturing their spirits and using them in battle. Yes, you read that right: we have a potential Japanese object-spirit Pokémon situation on our hands here.
And that’s the last thing I remember before my credit card was out, the bundle was in my possession, and 99 Spirits was installed and ready for launch on my desktop.
(Spoiler levels: Narrative, low (only the early opening). Mechanical, rather high.)
After the break: is 99 Spirits worth playing? And just *how many* spirits are there in this game? At least one of these questions will actually be answered, sort of!
Don’t some games just live up to their own image? I’d spotted Flippfly‘s Race the Sun when it released a little over a month ago, and even considered reviewing it at that time. But it was just… in and out of my mind’s eye in a blink. A whoosh, a flash, a cloud of kicked-up desert sand — mental desert sand, that is – and I’d moved on to thinking about other games. Not even for any particular reason, mind! It’s just an incredibly overcrowded games landscape. These things happen. I’m sure that in order to fit all the games I’ve ever wanted to play into this weekly column, this website should have been running — without interruption — since about five years before I was born.
Luckily for all parties involved, I happened to run across a Quarter to Three article last week about how Race the Sun is dealing with disappointing sales. Well, I mean, ‘luckily’: it’s obviously a hard sell for Flippfly. In the article, ‘lack of exposure from not being on Steam’ is cited as one of the reasons for Race the Sun not doing well. And that particular phrase struck me a bit, because I’m as guilty as anyone for not looking beyond the obvious Steam channels for getting my next game.
In other words: I’m (mostly) okay with a game not doing well if it’s not fun, but failure through poor exposure sits poorly with me. Hence, and to put my money where my mouth is, Race the Sun is up this week.
(Spoiler levels: Narrative, nonexistent (as far as I can tell). Mechanical, medium.)
And for next week… man, you guys don’t even *know* what I have planned for *next* week.