World War Machine, Earth-Rending Preview

wwmlogo   So Square Enix has its own crowd-funding site, called the Square Enix collective.  Being removed from most mainstream news, I was unaware.  World War Machine is a title off that site, which sadly did not meet its fundijng goal of $50k.  Its creators, however, seem unfazed by this, and continue to promote the game accordingly.  It did manage to score $12,382 of its funding goal, though, so cheers to that.  After playing the pre-alpha demo of the game, I am impressed and I hope these guys somehow manage to pull it out of the fire.  Looking at the game on the developer’s site, it is something to be excited about.

World War Machine is a transhuman post-apocalyptic game that takes place after humans have thoroughly fucked up the world.  After a mass extinction event wipes out all organic life from the Earth (which you know happens from time to time if you watch Cosmos) humanity has changed drastically.  We used to be “fleshy meatbags full of sloshing” according to HK-47.  Sensing our impending doom, humans started downloading their consciousness to a computer.  Because, you know, even if our bodies die, it’d be cool to allow something of us to survive, right?  Nothing could go wrong here.  Except that the nodes that house our AI’s are damaged from the cataclysm, fragmented and separated.  Some of us forget who we were and our purpose becoming confused machines roving the decimated landscape.  You play one of those who remembers our past and fight to preserve the memory.  See, the other machines don’t know about the past, but somehow you do. In the demo, I had a level 10 machine.  You are basically a mini gundam ( or Jaeger ) and you fight against the damaged intellects of the other nodes, which house the human intellects.  The fight has been raging for centuries and finally one of the machines remembers.  This seems like you.  Now, the pitch suggests that the team here, Tuque Games, wants players to slip in and out of co-op seamlessly to take on group missions then revert to solo missions.  Missions will have a lasting effect on the world war itself, as well.

Did I mention that the concept art is cool as shit?

Did I mention that the concept art is cool as shit?

That is actually a look at your character in the concept art.  And given some of the differentiation visible between the player concepts on the WWM site, character customization seems to be part of the plan.  Whilst I was in the machine shop menu, I noticed something confusing about the character.  It is a machine, sure, but it looked bizarrely organic.  Now, this is not to say that it has fleshy bits.  It doesn’t.  But there are subtle little features, like wraps around the exposed joints and pieces of wreckage made into a front-plate, that make it look like a cybernetic lifeform evolving on its own in a post-human world.  All of the machines have this look, too, from the mongrels that run and kamikaze on you to the snipers and “reaper” artillery bots.  There is a lot more to this game than you’ll notice at first, for sure.

On the topic of enemies, one of the things I noticed is that they come out of the fucking woodwork.  They squeeze through cracks and doorways in the walls, they pour out of ruined buildings… hell! I was walking along when a chunk of the road imploded and enemies came flooding from the crevasse!  The mission in this demo was simply to get to the other side of the map, but that shit was hard to fucking tell!  Not because there was no explanation.  It clearly said to find the other outpost.  Sure there was no “arrow” but fuck, man, I couldn’t exactly try to go through a mountain of rubble!  What I mean is the level was more vast than I expected from a demo.  Every time I played (and I played several times) it was like I was finding another side path off the one I started on.  Not to mention hidden husks.  You can find shattered robot husks that house materials for crafting.

These stashes were usually hidden, but the nature of the engine lends itself to finding these pretty easily. Breaking things is fun to do.  Simple fucking fact.  This game allows you to destroy nearly fucking EVERYTHING!  If you can shoot it, you can break it.  I found myself demolishing walls, ruined buildings – you can even destroy the rubble!  Fucking seriously!  Too much fun with that, actually.  This is how the game makes it easy to miss stashes, if you aren’t attentive.  You could walk past a destructible terrain and miss out on some cool loot.  And loot in this game ranges from crafting items to weapons and cosmetic items.  I went into the machine shop, which is the crafting screen, and I was able to build some fun things.  You collect a variety of Spec Files from fallen enemies and then find the components to complete the blueprint.  These components are things like plastic and metals and can be found by killing enemies and destroying the props and terrain.  And trust me, one you blow up your first taxi or bus you’ll want to get more of them.  Of course, being a robot, you can tell which terrain pieces have something inside that will be useful.  I just had WAY too much fun destroying things.  I made a cape, which hangs from my character looking badass and tattered.  I also made a few weapons


BOOM! Ha ha ha ha!

Weapons in WWM come in a variety of flavors: MG class, RKT class, SHTG class, MTR class, ATL class, Rail class.  MG class is your standard machine gun.  This fucker spits out bullets and most enemies will have them.  Luckily, you don’t just walk into the bullets like they do.  Not to mention you can widen the spread as you level up.  RKT is your rocket class weaponry, and these were fun.  Above you see the player blasting enemies with the standard locking missiles.  In the demo I got to try out the mouse-guided missiles!  Those were a riot.  SHTG class is a shot gun.  This sprays a wide burst of firepower in front of you.  I attached it to give my secondary a little more punch!  MTR class is the mortar.  This was awesome, but had a lower damage.  The ATL, however, is fucking scary as hell.  This artillery class weapon fires high, so you have to plan your blast pattern, but it is worth the wait.  The rounds are high explosive and wipe out even the toughest bosses in a short (ish) time.  The RAIL class is the only type of weapon I didn’t get to experiment with.  This beast looks awesome, though, as I fought a few snipers that had it.  The thing passes through terrain, enemies and basically everything the magnetic projectile hits.  Thus, this would be my favorite weapon to destroy terrain with!  One of the cool things I discovered is that you can attach multiple weapons to your body at higher levels.  This allows you to fire a shotgun, ATL combination, for example, that will nuke anything close.  And you have three firing modes (for each mouse button) to choose from! So you’re all kitted out with an arsenal of explosives and guns to make a redneck feel uneasy.  But your vortex of vicious projectiles isn’t at its limit.

You also get powers to choose from.  We had access to them all, but among them a few really caught my eye.  First off, there was ultra-velocity, a mega-man super dash that lets you render enemies into tiny bits of scrap.  Another fun power is the EMP.  This will release a massive bust of electro-magnetic power that will stun most enemies.  Makes it a whole lot easier to deal with hordes of mongrels when they can’t even move.  Then there is my personal carnage-wreaking favorite.  Orbital strike.  This is every bit as much fun as you might imagine.  A laser centers on an area then blasts everything in its radius with a fucking cataclysmic death beam turning everyone into a thin vapor with a faint hint of ozone.

"Oo, look! It's shine.."     -Bob 3428's last words

“Oo, look! It’s sparkl..”
Bob 3428’s last words

Now, that is not the end of it.  You can level up, as stated.  I did not see too much of this, as I was level 10 when I got there.  Leveling seems pretty straight forward.  You get points per level and allocate them to your stats per level.  These stats are Weapon System, Operating System, Protection System, Sensor System and Mobility System.  Now, weapon system is pretty self-explanatory.  This is the power and efficiency at which you use your weapon.  Higher weapon system = more dead bad guys.  Then there is the Operating System.  This seems to be the equivalent of intelligance and govern recalculation, knockback and use count.  Use count seems to be the number of times you can use perishable items and knockback looks like it is either how far you knockback enemies or how well you resist the knockback of others.  Then there is recalculation.  Your guess is as good as mine.  Protection systems are fun, and govern your shields.  How well can you take damage?  Well, you want to be able to take a rocket or three, but let’s face it, you won’t be standing long if you take too many shots in the face.  Then there is the sensor system.  Now, this seems weird, but it is how well you can perceive the world around you.  You’ll have your minimap, right and you are constantly emanating this radar “ping”.  Now, when you ping, enemies will show up on your minimap as the ping hits them, got it?  The higher your sensor system, the faster you’ll ping, the further you can see, the longer you’ll see enemies on your minimap before the next ping goes off and the faster the ping will travel.  Granted, at higher levels, I hope the ping isn’t a constant, ear-splitting pain that just hisses in your ears fueling the rage that drives you through hordes of robots.  I am sure they have it under control, though.  Then there is your mobility system.  This governs your movement speed and how much you can carry in your inventory.  Now, the inventory is a perk all of its own, but speed makes sense in this game more than just the obvious.  Some enemies are slow-moving, but come in fucking massive waves that don’t seem to stop.  You will want to literally dance circles around them as you fire into the crowd.  It will keep you alive longer. Alongside the stats is the ability to overclock your character.  You can pick a single stat and each time you hit the button, your character will get a temporary boost to that stat.  Now weaponry makes a lot of sense, but what about a boost to ping?  Maybe you boost your speed to run away from a horde of mongrels?

There is a lot more to this game than will immediately occur to you, and I am finding new things every time I play. It bothers me that World War Machine did not reach its funding, but I admire the spirit displayed by Tuque Games.  Hopefully they will be able to find a way to make the game.  Perhaps do a pre-release and add content as it progresses?  I don’t know, but I sure do hope to see this title soon.  That is really the one thing about this game that pisses me off the most, too!  I am worried that it will just be another piece of vaporware.  A great demo in my Steam Library that collects electronic dust with my other favorite forgotten titles, like SIN Episodes or the original Thief series.

Want to know more about the game?  Check out their site.

Dear Game Informer: You’re a Fucking Asshole



Game Informer is a major gaming magazine that is apparently written by assholes.  Now, the reason I receive it is because my wife got the Powerup rewards card at Gamestop.  This was when she got our 3DS ‘s and Pokemon X and Y.  I pick it up and peruse it whenever it comes in, and it often shows me some surprisingly good indie games I hadn’t yet heard about.  But this month was different.  This month I got to pages 28-29 of the July 2014 issue and was met with this woven monstrosity called “The Indie Game Flowchart”.  I would tell you that IndieDevs are the sole reason for true ingenuity and without those with the balls to run free in the capitalist wilds, there would never be any innovation or progress in gaming at all.  We would all be playing COD and WOW rip-offs.  This is a rage article of crotchety proportions, so if you don’t like it, fuck off.  Game Informer needs to sit down and shut the fuck up.

This article, written by some mimsy tart named Joe Juba, has this text blurb to start you off:

If you want to make an indie game, you need to be driven by passion.  Maybe you want to tell a personal story, or experiment with a never-before-seen genre.  Realizing this dream might require years of work and your life savings, but it could be worth the struggle.  What is your reward at the end of the journey?  Follow our flowchart to find out.  You might earn instant credibility, vast wealth, or cheap statuettes from an indusrty awards show.

– Joe Jube, Game Informer, Issue July 2014, Page 28

You might think “O, that’s not so bad!  He just gave the indie devs some credit for drive and passion.  Not to mention experimenting with genres and some other things!”  Honestly, sure, he does, but then he cheapens it with a giant flowchart that mocks the entirety of Indie Developers and what the real goal is as an IndieDev.  While the article is a comedy-rag with sarcasm dripping from its pages, one should keep in mind that comedy is a form of philosophy where they cause you to laugh by showing you the truth (in this case Juba’s perception of the truth) and making you see it in an entertaining light.  Just watch Louie C.K. or George Karlin.  Hell, nearly every comic uses elements of real-life in their shows, and that makes them artists in a way.  This is just flat-out mockery of a people who have no real centralized way of responding.

Here is the map of mockery so you can follow along

Here is the map of mockery so you can follow along

At start is says “So you want to be an indie. What is the first priority?”  Move on to the first offense, “Fun, good gameplay“.  The next box after that just says “wrong” and directs you to the other option out of the gate “A cool art style.”  Now stop right there you fucking pricks.  Did you just see that?  With a quick flick of the goddamn wrist, this slimy little fuck says that indie games as a whole do not have fun, good gameplay and rely on art style.  FUCK NO!  I can name plenty of games off the top of my head in varying genres that have great gameplay with great art all the way to shit art and fabulous gameplay.  Minecraft, for instance, has arguably simplistic art.  Most Super Nintendo titles had more advanced textures.  The gameplay is the redeeming part of this game, and spawned several genres.  THAT was the work of one fucking guy in a goddamn basement, NOT the result of the industry’s method-at-large, which is typically “who fucking cares how mindless the gameplay is, just art it up with pretty graphics and fantastic visuals so that no on notices.”  Want another?  Sure.  Hard Reset.  That is a game with some pretty graphics, great ambiance and an artistic method of doing cut-scenes in a comic book style.  The gameplay, however, is a ton of fun, allowing you to blow shit up and use a variety of weapons with the same two “guns” and elminating the question of where you keep that bazooka.  Sure, the story is a little confusing at times, but Half-life 2 had as much story as a mass-murderer does.  Shit, Call of Fucking Duty has less story, but that is punching the retarded kid there.  I don’t know where Joe Juba thinks he gets carte blanche to say what he wants about the indie culture, but he is writing for a major fucking magazine.  That, along side his little opening to this masterpiece of douche-baggery, automatically takes away any credibility he truly has with the indie culture.  But he goes on, so, too, must I.

From that box you also see “it needs…” You can go to “blocks like minecraft” and that takes you to the minecraft clones.  This path ends in the Copy-cat award, success by association.  That is a bit funny, but the devs in those games are getting a little short-changed.  Often, the best way to get to new shades of genres are to take the major genre elements of something successful and apply them to other facets and ideas not explored by the majorly referenced work.  This is done all the time with fantasy, with Lord of the Rings as a start, and brings you to people like George R.R. Martin writing dark fantasy worlds that owe their lives and allegiance to Tolkien.  The next major issue I have with this article of short-selling +9000 is “first-person..” leads to “shooter” which leads to the David and Goliath Award, Call of Duty will destroy you.  STOP RIGHT THERE YOU SHITTY LITTLE FUCKFACE!  So, you’re telling me all first-person shooters are in direct competition with COD?  Your taste in games obviously has a diversity comparable to Iceland’s gene pool.  One massive collection of similar-looking people with a few sharply-contrasted elements floating around to emphasize the main body.  Hard Reset and ZenoClash are two indie FPS’s that are nothing like COD and thank god for it!  These titles add elements of diversity to a stagnant pool of genre degeneracy that is characterized by vastly acclaimed titles like Call of Duty, Modern Warfare, Black Ops, Battlefield…  Seeing some similarities?  And the best part is, the moment that this genre drifts away from the Call of Douchebags FPS standard of “kill da bad guy soljers” it drops in funding, quality and standards.  Don’t believe me?  Thief.  As if I needed to expound further this guy does a way better job at explaining the game’s shortcomings than I could here.  And he tries to defend it with lengthy diatribes of legitimately interesting discussion about how the game could have been better.  Genre diversity is a must, and indie FPS’s offer way more in this respect.

Another off-shoot from that “cool art style” box leads you to “A living painting. Like Braid, but with…” and this section leading to the ‘Too Indie, What about gameplay?’ endpoint that dominates the center of the first page.  This placement is no fucking accident.  This is the way that mainstream gaming stereotypes the indie gaming culture.  I do appreciate their implication that this is the home of the extremist indie games, and thereby not the bulk of them, but this still puts a smear on the community as a whole.  These are apparently the representative items of indie culture that the most people will understand and, thus, it is in a plce that the most people will read, with the bulk of readers giggling a bit here then moving on to their Culla’ Doodie circle jerks.  In this section they include Braid, and a number of weird modifiers.  They also catch these outliers by having First-Person also lead to “Pretentious Interactive Narrative Experience“, which is arguably a way of saying “artistic game experience”.  But another place first-person takes you is were you bought by Valve, in which case you end up at the “Gamer darling Award, Please stop saying the cake is a lie” or elsewhere.  If you say no, it moves on to the next page and “years later”.  This implies that every indie title will take years to complete.  This brings you to “Perfect! You project has the green light! When will it release?”  Two options after: One year, which leads to a delay show at PAX then the second selection, which is two years.  Then another delay show at PAX, and then four years.  This means, fuck you, even if you think that your game will release in a year, after years and not getting bought by Valve, you’ll actually take four years and tons of personal delays to make your game.  That is degraging.  Sure, it may happen to some, but this seems to imply that indie developers cannot adequately structure time schedules.  Because the major industry has ben SOOOOOO fucking good at doing that! Right?  By the way, what was the release date of Half-life 3 again?  Whatever, just play Duke Nukem Forever and you’ll start to get an idea.  In fact, just read this fucking Cracked article.  That should tell you.

But let me skip over to another point of contention.  Following side-scrolling games takes you to the inevitability of “Wait a minute… are you already a major developer?”  One option (No, then keep at it!) takes you to the aforementioned “years later” situation.  The other 2 are “Does Double-Fine count?” and “Yes”.  Yea, you see where I am going with this now.  This gets you to Nice Try, Decades of experience isn’t indie.  FUCK YOU!  You sit there and say that to me?! I wanted to just type a string of random angry characters but quivered with rage for a few moments instead.  Where do you get off saying that indie developers cannot have decades of experience? Do you realize that Sword of the Stars was made by people from Rockstar?  Just because they have been around for a while, doesn’t mean they are not indie.  My understanding is the Double-Fine got to mainstream game dev and backed out because they wanted, I don’t know, some GODDAMN FREEDOM!

Moving right along, there is this other endpoint of Indie Foul! That’s not how this works.  Among the things that lead here are third-person roguelikes with crop-farming and carefully crafted dungeons and collectible creatures.  That takes you to “Look, I don’t know what “roguelike” means”  There are also apparently Third-person roguelikes with spaceships and no permadeath, which also leads here.  Fuck you.  Now we need perma-death in spaceship games to be good?  Fuck you.  My angriest path here leads through the thoroughly convoluted “third-person zombie survival games funded by independent modders who have a well-organized business plan”.  This is apparently no one, as this goes to Indie Foul.  fuck you. again.  The option aside a well-organized business plan is apparently “who get massive community support” and this just has to be a joke.  Having these as separate options basically states that crowd-funding is not part of a well-organized business plan.  Honestly, asking the gaming community to fund your project isn’t the most sure-fire way to get it done, but Kickstarter is for gamedevs that have great ideas and none of the money required.  So I also suggest that, yes, crowd-funding can be a good element of a well-organized business plan.  Other ways to indie foul include an old-school RPG inspired by some N64 RPG’s with retro sprites that was considered as an Ouya exclusive.  There is also a mainstream audience that leads to Indie Foul, but that tells me that this guy thinks the main element of “indie” gaming is that only a couple assholes like it.  This is even more heavily implied by the statement that aiming precise challenges at a few dozen masochists will be enough to get your project the green light.  I am not sure which planet this Joe Juba asshole comes from, but it is one where “indie” means “pretentious dicks that think they know better” rather than, you know, independent.  Indie games can be aimed at mainstream audiences.  The retro style that many take on these days are made to appeal to what a lot of us older gamers played as children.  Oh, I am sorry, not every spoiled-rotten little rat bastard was able to buy games when I was a kid.  In fact, when I was your age, playing games made you the socially awkward nerd that got beat on.  On last path that takes you to Indie Foul! is Border Control Simulator.  I would say this is a jab at all those weird simulator like Rock Simulator, Streetsweeper Simulator and Papers, Please, but those games are a new genre that deals with allowing you to literally live different aspects of real-life.

So now your game is finished.  There are now three results for you left, having dodged the sweeping two-page morass outlined by some ass.  The only thing left is the name.  Three options: First, you can go with something slimy and geometric, like “Gooptahedron”.  The next thing is “that’s free to play, isn’t it?“.  The only selection is yes, or hell yes.  This leads you to the Zero Credibility Award, Money (is not equal to) Quality, which is the only place Joe Juba deserves to be classified.  Granted, he starts off with that whole gooptahedron crack, but this is the only location on the indie flowchart that features free-to-play games.  I can think of a couple really good free-to-play games.  Immediately I am reminded of Gear Up, a multi-player tank-shooter.  So, tell me, you relentless shit, are you saying that all F2P indie games have zero credibility as indie games? Fuck you, again, indie is not about money, it is about independence.  The other two options out of game-finishing are a weird sentence fragement and a single vague word.  Your game is then a success.  Either you say Fuck it, I quit, where you earn the Something Fishy Award, Don’t forget to cancel the sequel and the most insulting thing on this shit-sheet: “beg for money on Kickstarter and try again.”  Yup.  BEG for money you worthless little worms!  Then you can go back to start to begin again.  O, and you remember how, apparently, it takes four years after previous years of delaying to get it done?  Yea, that path leads here, too.

Now, if you read all the way to the end of this article, I give you a lot of credit.  This is a long wall-of-rage-text article with few visual stops.  The point I am making is as follows:  This convoluted two-page spread is just an insidious mockery that attempts to rob the indie gaming and indie developer community of its main source of undeniable respect.  Indie Devs want freedom.  Freedom from major developers to develop as they please, without the back-burner rejection that these types of games would receive from mainstream companies entrenched in the FPS standard, or whatever standard they prefer.  Indie means independent, and that scares the mainstream companies and their little turd-sniffing employees, such as Joe Juba.  Not because they think  we want to be like them and want the money that comes with it, but because we want nothing to do with them, we want to do what we want, and accept the money that comes with it.  This is where indie developers get their real power.  Alongside the fact that indie games are the testing ground for new and interesting concepts that push the industry forward and bend the boundaries of virtual experience like minecraft, which spawned crafting games and survival games like Rust.  For this reason, Indie Gaming is the source of true gaming diversity.  We don’t want our options to be between WoW, CoD and Assassin’s Creed without recourse.   We’re not a bunch of pretentious dorks sitting in a corner of a lunchroom wearing goofy glasses and handlebar mustaches making fun of the “cool COD kids”.  We are a collection of like-minded individuals that are tired of the same old horse shit that mainstream gaming presents.  We are tired of graphically fluorescent games with shit story lines or inept game-play.  We are ready to take gaming into our own hands.  And that scares the ever-loving shit out of them.  If I ever needed physical proof that mainstream gaming resents the indie community to the level that you might call it hate, this is it.

Double-Up Discussion: Trippin’ Balls, Freaky Tup



With a working title like “Pong on Drugs” you know this game is going to be out there.  I mean look at that title screen.  Is that a flaming fucking taco?  Trippin’ Balls lives up to its name, and the best way to enjoy this simple game would likely to be with a heavy dose of weed.  Then again the title screen might make you hungry.  Those selections on the title page float around, btw.  It’s actually a bit comical chasing them around to learn how to play.. for about 5 seconds, then the chiptune music makes you want to club a baby seal.  No worries, though.  I’ll explain it to you so you only need to see this screen once.

Move your paddle back and forth.  That is most of the game.  Thanks for playin’!  O, right, the other stuff.  So there are two pick-ups.  They fly in your direction from the middle of the screen and you have to catch them with your paddle while still returning the ball.  The blue pick up doubles the size of your paddle, while the other halves the size of your paddle.  Both explained in-game with a penis joke.  That’s not all there is to this game though.  Play it for a little while.  Really, go ahead.  While you’re batting the ball back and forth, you’ll take notice that the entire game screen flips.  Yep.  It’s fucking cruel.  It flips while the fucking ball is flying, too!  That shit gets frustrating, and after a while I just let it go like Elsa.


Just the still picture makes me feel like vomiting…

One more note for this title.  The chiptune soundtrack is actually kind of fun, and yes, I was one of those kids that listened to midis when the internet was pronounced “A-O-L”.  But I was a kid, my parents wanted to pay for that service, fuck off if you’re judging me.  Anyway, coming from jamming to midis like they were grammy-nominated titles, this one is actually pretty cool.  The graphics in this game, however, will make you want to pull your eyes out of your head.  The playing field is lined with psychedelically pulsing squares and the ball has a shimmering comet tail.  It’s a fun waste of time for only 0.60£ or 1.02$ American on


Freaky Tup is a game with a weird freaking name. I have no fucking idea what a TUP is, nor why it is freaky.  It might be, like, Tee Up, but the game itself has nothing to do with golf in the slightest degree at all.  The idea of the game is that you launch these little pink squiddly guys (similar to the yellow one pictured above) to hit the little angry-face guys.  Honestly, it’s a cute game and if I had kids, this would be on their phones.  Now, these little pink guys squeal with glee or say “yucky” when the enemies explode in a splash of black slime.  Be careful, though!  You have to avoid hitting the friendly (and doofy looking) amoeba blobs.

While you are playing, bad guys and good guys will fly across your screen, and you have to hit the baddies with the pink squids.  Sometimes a glowing golden heart with fly past, too.  Those grant you extra health, whereas hitting the good guys and letting bad guys get through unharmed will make you lose health.  I lost a few times before I got the hang of it, I just got to a point where I had some 4070 points on the first level and lost all patience to get to the next one.  I guess mindless mobile games are just not my fucking genre.  The directions are stupid simple and this can be played by anything with flexing digits.  It can be obtained by the same on the Google Play Store, since it is completely free.


I can’t help but think those dopey-faced guys are hiding some insidious secret…

Between these two games, the one thing that pissed me off the most was pretty expected.  I can’t fucking stand playing mindless games!  Seriously!  I just spent an hour and a half launching little pink squids at angry-faced blackheads!  I almost want there to be a premise for Freaky Tup but that would be pointless in itself! Then there is Tripping Balls!  Holy fuck!  I am so glad we evolved past pong!  There is no way I would want to be trapped in front of a black screen moving white boxes to bounce a white ball for HOURS!  AGH!  Mobile games are just not my thing.


DLC Quest, Laugh Until it Hurts






DLC Quest is fucking hilarious.  Have you ever been frustrated by the fact that every MMO has microtransactions in it?  They no longer use the monthly subscription standard and just try to monetize it the best they can?  Some times they even go too far and make you buy gems or keys to make your game go faster or get you another useless item for your collection of pixel-itmes?  DLC Quest jabs angrily at this frustrating reality and makes you laugh time and again.

Literally this game has you start out by watching a bad guy take the Princess MacGuffin.  Yea, so already we can see that this is a classy title.  For those of you who are unaware, the MacGuffin, as detailed by Alfred Hitchcock, is the item central to the conflict of a plotline and everyone is usually looking for it.  Once you witness this, you have to start collecting coins.  These coins will be used later to pay for DLC.  DLC which unlocks functionally indispensable features of the game, such as music, animations and the ability to fucking move left.  After you get your Zoolander Syndrome sorted out, you are off to seek more coins so you can get to the end of the game.  Now, there are two “games” which are in pretty much the same program, so I would consider them all to be part of the same game.  Granted, they are listed as two separate games and plays, but the fact that the game is “released unfinished” with a “better expansion pack that you can get later” is just another jab at major industry methods.

Something amazing is always happening just over those mountains.

Something amazing is always happening just over those mountains.

The first “game” is over really quickly, but the levels can be a bit on the frustrating side.  I didn’t die once, but there is a lot of annoying jump puzzles and the only thing you get to kill personally are sheep.  After your horse saves the day, you then load up the second part of the game.  You adventure for a bit, and you have to discover who is behind disappearing villagers.  Of course, the villagers all live in what equates to a big hill, so there’s that.  You venture forth and discover a shepherd, whom you presumed dead, was behind the deaths this whole time.  His sheep were the ones you so heroically vanquished in the previous “game”.

Some parts of this game aren’t really played so much as watched.  There are a few cut-scene-esque sequences that showcase various types of player frustration as well as legitimate game sequences.  These cut-scenes vary from inability to maintain server connection to boss deaths.  I found myself laughing loudly at many of these as they are really relevant to the player experience.  This is a gamer/indie developer ranting about his experiences with mainstream gaming.

Don’t come at this looking for an excellent game.  DLC Quest’s primary purpose is to jab angrily at things they hate about the games industry and how they treat their players.  The game features themselves come in the form of a basic platformer, and most of the fighting is done for you.  In fact, the only boss you really defeat yourself is the very last boss in the second “game”.  I have no regrets about purchasing the game since it is available for 0.98$ on Steam.  Could you really justify being mad about a game that is less than a dollar, 2.99$ on any other given non-sale day?

Those coming at this game looking for an actual game are just a bunch of fucking assholes.  Sure, this game isn’t really what it makes fun of, but that is not the damn point.  If this game was a F2P mmo that made you buy DLC for everything, possibly still with in-game money, it would go downhill right fucking quick.  Some jack ass on Rock Paper Shotgun suggested this, but I think he needs to get his goddamn head checked.  That idea would never in a million fucking years work right.  At least not done by an Indie Developer.  And if they did it would end up literally being every bit as annoying as the games it is making fun of.  I mean this asshole wishes he could spend money unnecessarily on stupid shit in a game that makes fun of games doing just that.   It would make the satire less poignant and more self-destructive, making fun of itself in the process of bitching about the state of the industry.  To be respected as a satire, which makes it artistic, it should not be adding more shit to the pile of shit.  Sure, art is a powerful word to use for this game, but not every piece of art is fantastical and pretty.  Just look at Jonathan Swift’s A Modest Proposal.  This game does its job well.  Sometimes I wonder where they find these guys.  DLC Quest as it is now is a satire showcasing the ways that gaming has pissed everyone off, and that is a message I can fucking get behind.

One thing that really got my gall up in this title was the goddamn background!  Just look at it up there!  Something fucking AMAZING is happening back there.  I tried many times to get through incomplete sections of the levels or sneak past the coding, but that shit didn’t fucking fly.  I should be able to explore, man!  This is why I hate playing platformers and 2D games in general.  I am only getting an idea of what happens on this lush and interesting environment along a set, linear path!  Is there gold back there?  Is there a sexy, drunken french orgy/rave party?  I want to see that shit!

Pseudo “Game” Art: Proteus



Calling Proteus a game is incorrect.  All you can do is walk around, look and listen.  This game has existed long enough, however, where I do not feel at all bad about telling you everything I experienced in it, because let’s face it, it was fucking weird.

When you load up the game a screen like that above will appear.  You click the island to start and dive in.  Every time you start up Proteus, the island is different and you are offshore a good distance.  After the long swim (which feels like it is supposed to build anticipation) you come to shore and you start to get an idea what you just bought.  Everything is in saturated colors and the visuals make Minecraft look like a graphical powerhouse.  Everything is in these bizarrely basic Atari-level graphics.  But that is not the cool part.  Obviously.  What’s so unique about Proteus is that it is about wandering around and discovering.  The things you discover aren’t cool loot or terrifying enemies, they’re sights and sounds.  Strangely, at a lack of other stimuli, you then start to react to the game emotionally, which makes it a more deep and tactile experience.

I came ashore in Proteus and there were a bunch of pink trees with leaves falling from them, which made a beepy drifting noise as they fell to the ground.  Walking further I found a frog and chased him up a hill where I found the ruined towers.  This tower had a weird chiptune bag-pipe music.  That’s the best fucking way I can put it.  Walking up to the thing I noticed my screen blink black.  When I turned around, I was elsewhere on the island.  I stepped away from the imposing broken-looking structure and found a path, which bordered a forest.  Just inside the forest was a flock of birds that bloop when they peck the ground.  I figured they must be chickens.  If you walk too close to them, they’ll chirrup before skittering off, tinkling the whole way.

I walked along the path and found nothing of particular fucking interest.  By this time it was getting late in game, and my natural gamer instinct kicked in.  “Fuck!  The zombies are going to eat me!” but the game lilts softly as night falls, making comforting and sleepy noises.  Really pretty, and no zombies came out looking for my brains.  I’ll tell you what I did find, though.  Fireflies!  I heard weird little bloops that came and went and looked around only to find little lightning bugs flashing here and there.  I wandered around for a bit and saw some sparkles like falling stars in the distance, spinning and writhing.  I got there and found a mass of spinning sparkles.  As I entered the circle, it condensed and formed a portal.  Already time was flying by around me, so I stepped inside the portal.  I was at the same place, but it was a little different.


Ooo! Sparkly!

Ooo! Sparkly!

So after wandering around more I found a circle of totems, these made a low whirring noise and the stars pulsed wildly like they were exploding then retracting then exploding again.  Eventually this stopped and a storm rolled in.  Nothing in this game seems to follow any kind of logical sense, though.  There are simple effects and things that react to your presence (standing stones that shoot sparks and make a noise as you walk by, animals to chase) but nothing all that interactive.  At one point I went through the portal and came out into a sad autumn land with a graveyard.  Seriously.  I am pretty sure it wasn’t there before, but it had a bunch of sparkles everywhere.  I also noticed that clusters of sparkles would pulse into existence, then disappear.  When I left the graveyard to search for the portal again, I saw ghosts playing peek-a-boo with me behind trees.  Weird.

Finally I entered the portal again and came out into a desolate snowy waste with dead trees and over cast with clouds.  It began to snow a little, which added some sound.  There was very little, and this took away most of the fun of the game at this point.  I went around and there was very little of interest, so I looked for the totems again.  I couldn’t tell if it was night or day, since the sky was blocked out.  I felt claustrophobic too, and wanted to get above the low-hanging clouds.  When I found them, the totems were emanating a weird chanting noise.  Suddenly I began to float upward.  The chanting got louder.  I saw the mountains, a huge fucking tree I found earlier and went to those landmarks, but I kept moving upward.  A couple falling stars whished past me as I drifted up and up toward the moon.  Finally my eyes began to close slowly until the screen was black.  And the title screen slowly loaded up.

I have to assume this game is some kind of weird analogy for life, you start off fresh and new and everything seems to be in a state of springtime.  You step into the portal and time whooshes by and then it is summer.  Summer is full of more weird shit, there are some bees and the sun is pulsating hotly.  Step into the portal again and it is autumn, the world is full of trees dropping leaves and death.  There are spirits and ghosts and I even found a graveyard.  Step in again and the world is dead.  You find the place of passage and you pass through the clouds, out of sight and into the heavens.  Yay, fun.  I wish I had dropped acid or ate some ‘shrooms.  Might have made the game that much more enthralling.  Of course, I would be the fucker to find the only way to fucking die in a game about looking around and listening to everything.  If you want to play this game, it is available on Steam for 3.99$ due to the Steam Summer Sale.

It is hard for me to recommend that anyone else buy this game.  I liked it, it definitely made me feel something different.  But this is not something for standard gamers to buy.  It is weird and experiential.  You will find things in here that are neat and fun.  Everyone will feel something about this game, whether it be hatred or ecstasy, but to say it is a good game would be a vast overstatement.  Art is to be looked at, enjoyed and explored, and with more than just a few key clicks.  Don’t buy this game if you are looking for a fun little game to waste some time with.  This is not that.  It is more like a visual and auditory vacation from everything else that leaves you on one side of a massive wall or the other.  Do not buy this as a game, buy it as a piece of art, for it is to be enjoyed lightly, perhaps over a pipe of some strong weed.

Whooshy comets go whoosh!

Whooshy comets go whoosh!

In a game with music and bizarre visuals where I always had one eye-brow quirked, I still found something to be angry about.  And that is the fucking reviews on Steam.  Seriously!  It is like everyone is taking some fantastic drugs and loading this baby up!  Everyone seems to agree this is a game you come into just to wander around and enjoy being away for a while.  You get sent to a pristine island of singing things and happy-happy times!  Not to mention, this game has better scores than games that work harder and give you more.  But I have another theory!  This game is actually the waiting room that demented gods send their human sacrifices through! Each day in game is how long it takes in the real world for them to send another one through.  And at night you are sent to the next level of this insane purgatory!  Finally at the end, you are so bored out of your mind that you are happy to let the world melt away and drift into the air to be consumed – mind, body, spirit – by your god(s).  Take that, you hippy-ass art-as-experience pricks.

Unbridled Shenanigans in the Dungeons of Dredmor

dredlogoIn anticipation of Steampunk Empires by the same developer as this title, I decided to give another dungeon run, for old-time’s sake.  Dungeons of Dredmor is another game that I wish existed when I was a kid.  In a way, this game did exist when I was a kid, but this is a modern reincarnation of those games it takes after whose places it takes over.  Surely, it couldn’t have existed when I was younger considering many of the elements of what makes this game fun, but that is ok.  We have it now, so let the shenanigans begin!

Take Zork: Grand Inquisitor, Diablo, a dash of Lovecraft, and the combined shenanigans of Ghostbusters, Firefly, Monty Python and you are still only getting started.  Dungeons of Dredmor is a pixelated masterpiece that splices click-to-kill dungeoneering with the humor of a by-gone era.  Then they add in all kinds of fun and exciting features that make this a game you are sure to play for hours on end.  Its pixel graphics and isometric view allow this title to have the complexity of gameplay that make it one of my top “do not uninstall” games.  Its procedural dungeon designs, loot and enemies also make it fun in a way that only slaughtering hordes of monsters in a dark, dank dungeon can deliver.

When you start you make your character, and the options to do so are pretty mind-boggling.  The three standard types of character are there: Mage, Rogue and Warrior.  But every character you create will be a combination of all three, whatever the division of powers.  As you level up, this division will fluctuate between the classes.  There are 45 skills that you have to choose from at the start, after you iron out your difficulty setting.  These range from polearms, shields and wand lore to archaeology, mathemagic and emomancy.  I wish I had time to talk about all them, but I don’t.  My favorite combination so far starts me off as a rogue that drives toward a magician as he levels.  When you select your skills, you have to pick apart the grand list of 45 fucking abilities and whittle it down to your 7 favorite.  At first you might pick all the neat ones, but that will get you killed.  You might avoid crafting, but that will also get you killed.  My favorite combination so far is definitely Staff-fighting, wand lore, fungal arts, alchemy, tinkering, rogue scientist and archaeology.

I like this combo because the abilities cooperate well.  First off, I just like the staves.  They tend to add defense and crushing, so it makes for a fun fight, if they get close.  My main skill is wand lore.  This is a tough one to focus on, though, because you will find yourself out of wand parts (and inventory space) by the 3rd level.  So, you will need something to back yourself up when enemies close in.  Fungal arts and alchemy work together well as alchemy lets you draw resources from various fungi that you cultivate on the bodies of the dead.  This gets you a number of good secondary weapons right at the start.  Tinkering is good, even if only for the bombs you can create.  These fuckers will take out an entire room, and there are mines too, if that is what you’re into.  Rogue scientist is a steampunk mish-mosh of tinkering, wand lore and alchemy that gives you some good hold-out moves and catches the bonuses of those three disciplines and lets you benefit from them.  Archaeology is a good way to get some miscellaneous experience.  Killing monsters is good and well, but I am not looking to be that guy that is grinding his ass off to get to a place where he can fight further down.  To put it into perspective, using Archaeology I have gotten to level 9 and I just started floor 3.  Yea.

These skills extrapolate out to the character’s 28 stats.  Yea, 28.  So, you can see how diverse in abilities you can make your character.  My character is a rogue-based wizard, essentially, and as such has remarkable dodge and counter-strike.  He also critical hits and gets haywire hits (magical crits) on a regular basis.  Of course if he gets hit, he dies fast, but I can make life potions, cultivate healing shrooms and there is also food as a final fall back.  I don’t like to let enemies get close enough to need fight hand-to-hand.  But when I do, I beat them with a big fucking stick.  Literally.  That is what the animation looks like and I love it.  Only thing about that I take issue with is I feel there should be a more face-crunching sound effect, you know?


… will it keep me safe?

Once you get down to the dungeons you will notice that there is a vast variety of enemies from diggles and undead aethernauts to evil vegetables and flying, spell-casting skulls.  It is mind-boggling all the foes you will flay, but it never gets old.  Especially when you hit the zoos.  These are rooms filled wall-to-wall with enemies.  They could be as small as a former monster-collector’s personal burial chamber or as vast as ancient cisterns.  In the end, you will shit yourself when you bust the door down and pray you have some good AoE attacks.  For me I blast them with my acid wands, save up my Odious Puffballs and toss in a couple acid flasks.  Mosolov Cocktails in this game (basically molotov cocktails) also leaving a lingering fireball that other enemies walk through.  Bombs will also help out and kill giant holes in the crowd, but it is seriously just a monster convention in there.  IF you successfully complete the zoo without dying, you will receive a powerful loot item, too.

Each floor has its own theme, too, but you will always see the diggles.  These little rubber-nosed bird-creatures are omnipresent in the dungeons, so Dredmor must’ve personally subsidized them.  Either that or they breed like cockroaches and act like subterranean pigeons, infiltrating every crack and crevice they can find and reproducing like dirty, little, drill-nosed rabbits.  Dredmor, in case I forgot to mention him, is the ultimate boss of the dungeons.  I think I am supposed to kill him at the end, but I haven’t seen that guy yet.  When the game first came out, you had to beat the game before you could load after death. Yep.  So when you died, the game would delete all your save files for a specific character.  It was infuriating, but the rush after getting to the lower floors was unparalleled.  Today I was able to play after dying once, so either the DLC that was released allowed me this feature, or I beat down to a level where I could unlock said feature.

Who ordered the large anchovy pizza?  Was it you Greg? You fucking DICK! We all agreed on pepperoni!

Who ordered the large anchovy pizza? Was it you Greg? You fucking DICK! We all agreed on pepperoni!

This game references almost every facet of popular sub-culture that it will make your head spin.  It has more video-game/movie references than every season of Big Bang Theory and Family Guy combined, past present and future.  There are Zelda and Braid jokes, Dragon Ball Z get one in, Firefly quotes echo through the dungoens, skill trees mimic the life and times of Indiana Jones, stats are named after Pirates of the Carribbean slang and I swear there are Monty Python jokes lingering around each corner.  You spend your days counting Zorkmids and you character’s portrait even decays exactly as in the original Wolfenstein 3d at the same levels of health degredation.  Conan the barbarian, emos, vegans: you name it.  It’s fucking in there.  There are also a number of puns that mostly only the British should get, but they’re obvious enough to be funny to us Yanks, too.  Overall, this game’s treatment of sub-culture and popular culture references are so far-reaching, expansive and awesome that this really is a gamer-culture work of art.  Every time I play, I find more references and jokes, too.  It is truly remarkable.

Then there are the little things that fill in the corners of this piece quite nicely.  Everything else is procedurally generated, why not the side-quests?  You pray at the shrine of Inconsequentia, the Goddess of Side-Quests.  Place your weapons on the Anvil of Krong for nice upgraded loot items.  Gallivant through the hordes of monsters wearing a roadcone and liederhosen.  I can’t say anything comedic.  I don’t need to.  This game is hilarious as hell all on its own.  Play through this title and you will be equal parts amazed, entertained and pissed that you missed so much free time indoors.  Buy Dungeons of Dredmor complete on Steam now for the summer sale!  That shit only runs you 2.93$ for the DLC that isn’t fucking free!  Just go get it.  This is one that you’ll be glad you bought.

Among all the games I have played so far, this one shines on top of the pile like a star, but it still has its rough spots.  What is it this time?  I played this game for FOUR FUCKING HOURS and only got to the 3rd floor.  You have to be ready to commit a good weekend to this game just to get far enough to even fucking smell Dredmor!  I have owned this title for literal goddamn YEARS and I have played it on and off and never ONCE saw the guy.  That fucking perma-death element went a long way toward keeping me away, but now that I can reload after death, I should be able to get that bastard.  Of course now I feel like a piece of shit that can’t hack the lower dungeons without dying once!  And what did I get killed by in my last play on that deep, dark level in an alternate dimension? Hmmm?  A GODDAMNED BUFFED-OUT DIGGLE!  The mickey-mousey comedic enemy of the ENTIRE FUCKING GAME!  You have no idea how hard and loud I raged.  I was in the army at that point and my roommates thought I was giving birth to a fucking watermelon out my ass.  AGH! Whatever, I am killing me some fucking buff-assed diggles this time.  Ain’t nothing gonna stop my fungus-eating, stick wielding, wand-sliging Titus Cezarius!

I have never felt more satisfied in this game than the first time I saw this screen, shaking and drenched with the blood of my enemies.

I have never felt more satisfied in this game than the first time I saw this screen, shaking and drenched with the blood of my enemies.



Gear Up for Comedic Carnage

gulogoOf all the things I love in the world, I love free games the most!  Now, it does bother me a bit when an indie game is free because it means, to me, that a developer is making little to no money on their title.  This article is going to assume you’re poor like me.  Granted, the Steam Summer Sale has made it so players can buy all tank parts and upgrades for only 8.99$, but the Steam Summer sale has sapped what petty funds I have, thus I am doing the old-fashioned way: guts and glory, motherfuckers! Starting from nothing, you will suck for a good fucking period of time.  The base gear isn’t terrible, but relative to some of the one-shot-kill weapons that lie at the higher end of the damage spectrum, you will be using spit-balls.  Each kill in the game gets you 30 xp, and for a while I thought the number of upgrades I could purchase was dictated by my level and xp.  Fuck no!  That shit is totally inconsequential.  At some point I noticed a number next to a G symbol at the end of matches.  For the sake of conversation, we shall refer to them as Gear Coins (GC).  GC accrual seems to be dictated by your standing in number of kills versus the other players in a match.  Each player gets an amount of GC relative to placement with highest being 4 GC.  These coins let you buy propulsion units, turret chassis, hulls, decorations, support modules and, of course, the weapons. When you start off, your tactics will be those of a mouse with a toothpick attempting to stab a lion to death.  You will wait until stronger players duke it out, and swoop in to make a kill or two before you are spotted and greased.

Of course, when you get the cash, you might want to invest in a new hull.  Hulls cost 5 GC each, and they are the main body of the tank.  The stats for hulls are Mass and Armor.  Mass is important as too much will make you a slow, easy target.  High mass will also give you fierce momentum, and could result in tipping your tank on sharp turns.  Armor is fucking armor.  More armor results in a tougher tank.  usually it makes you less maneuverable, but after duking it out with these mass-monsters I can tell you this: the easiest way to defeat those players is with speed and maneuverability.  A slugfest with one of them usually leaves you respawning.


Spider-tank, spider-tank! It can do anything a spider-tank does! Shoot some guys, stick to walls, hope to Jesus you do not fall, look out! Here comes the spider-tank!

Soon after you get a little tougher or a little lighter, you should really look into propulsion systems.  Obviously, these systems are how your tank will be getting around the board, but use some imagination.  Some systems use the standard treads, which make your character maneuverable and speedy.  At times, they can be a little frustrating to  operate, but you start with a pair of these and you acclimate to them quickly.  Then there are the legs.  As you can see above, these fuckers are fun.  legs are considerably slower than other propulsion systems, but they enable you to get into positions that are hard to detect, and even harder to adapt to quickly.  Finally, there are the hover systems.  The one I took were the hover pads, and they look cool as shit!  Unfortunately, you have all the limitations you would expect from hovering systems.  It is tougher to stop yourself, you make wide turns, and generally have less armor.  Granted this also makes you speedy and allows you to hover over water, which can be extremely helpful in maps with bodies of water.  Everyone else sinks and drowns in water.  You hover over water like canon-mounted Jesus.  This makes unconventional strikes much more possible, which can bail out your teammates should you find yourself in a team match.  These systems will affect your armor, mass and max velocity and cost 5GC.

Turrets are interesting.  They can look crazy, with one basically being a fish.  Yea, really.  The main stat featured on this weapon-mounting part is the rotation speed.  I bought a turret with good armor without consulting the turn radius.  This left me with a turret that turns a bit slower than I like, but some extra armor.  Since I use a minguns a lot, this can cause some issues with my accuracy, leaving my turret to catch up with my own mouse speed.  Luckily, I can use the momentum of my tank to turn my body and level my weapon quicker, due to my hover pads.  Support parts will also find their home here on either side of the main weapon, and sometimes above.  Did I mention the ability to have multiple weapons?  My new turret also let me attach a secondary weapon, but you don’t fire simultaneously.  You have to select the fire mode.  Turrets also affect mass and armor and are currently 4GC.

I came in playing deathmatch which is free for all, so not killing everything is sight took a little getting used too..  Even when they were the same color, and screaing at me to stop...

I came in playing deathmatch which is free for all, so not killing everything is sight took a little getting used too.. Even when they were the same color, and screaming at me to stop…

Support modules have a wide range of uses that let you customize how you will fight with your tank.  You can get wings for a smoother landing, anti-gravity for a little speed-boost, lawnmower fans for that hover effect; if you have an urge or proclivity, the support modules will be able to serve it.  These babies attach to your turret and add a little something extra to the style and design of your tank.  None of them add anything extra to your tank (that I could find) but that doesn’t mean they won’t later.  Also, you can get training wheels, for, you know, if your tank flips alot.  Support Modules tend to cost about 5GC each. Flags and decorations are another extra little piece of the game that fall into the “shits and giggles” category.  You know those little red flags that the “special” kid down the street had on his bike as a kid?  Were you that kid?  Now you can laugh in your enemies faces as you blast them apart with your little red flag on the back.  You can also add a wind-up key to the back of your tank, for some kicks or add an ice-cream cone to the top to lure in the unsuspecting.  Bwah ha ha ha!  That’s not an ice cream cone!  It’s a 50 calibur anti-infantry round!  These items vary in costs.  Samurai flag? 100GC, some items are only 1 or 2 GC, though.

The minigun's connected to the weapon chasis, the weapon chasis's connected to the tank hull...

The rocket-launcher’s connected to the weapon chasis, the weapon chasis’s connected to the tank hull…

Finally, we come to my favorite part of the game: your weaponry.  I after some experimentation, I have found that I am deadly with the miniguns.  When I installed my hoverpads, though, it made it tougher to aim with my guns and I had to change over to something explosive with higher damage.  But the hoverpads made it easier to compensate for the lower rotation speed of my turret by fishtailing out of sharp turns.  Of course, the turn speed on my turret was still a bit inhibiting, but I could mount a secondary weapon that could let me vary my attack strategy on the fly.  Maybe get a shotgun attachment to supplement my minigun for when I close in on enemies?  I never got a really good chance to experiment with a lot of the other parts, but I was only playing for about 3 hours.  In that time I got enough GC to buy 1 new propulsion system, 2 new guns and 1 new turret.

Gear Up is a great title, but the graphics themselves warrant a moment to mention.  They look really nice.  Sometimes the bloom is a little bright, but everything looks really good.  Its look has a sort of plastic feel that gives you the idea of playing with tanks in your sandbox as a kid.  The fact that your tank can sport little wind-up keys and other fun things only further evoke this playful atmosphere while you blast foes apart.  You won’t always win (in fact you won’t win much to start at all) but that’s ok, because the game itself just feels like a fun romp.  It reminds me of Scorched Earth, the stationary tank-game that the Worms franchise was loosely related to.  It is really just a fun way to waste some time with friends.  This is sure to be a LAN party favorite.  This game might be another pre-release title made possible by Steam Greenlight, but it’s worth every penny of.. O, yea!  It’s fucking FREE!  Yea, I would pay a couple bucks for this game, it is that much fun.  Get more updates direct from Doctor Entertainment AB on their blog!  I know I will be!  I mean they were good enough to add a ticket to explain that the red rocket pickup increases your damage 50% and the blue armor pickup halves the damage you take when hit.  This is clearly a group of Devs who care about their game and what their players think.

So with all the fun to be had here, what about the game pisses me off?  I’ll fucking tell you!  The power-ups!  I am pretty fucking sure that some of them do absolutely fucking nothing.  There is the ammo pick-up and the health pick-up.  Those are obvious.  I have also noticed it is a bit tougher to kill guys after they get the Shield power-up.  But what they FUCK is with that red bullet?  I mean, I don’t feel much more powerful after grabbing it, and it sure as shit doesn’t give me red tracers, so its nebulous effects are as indistinct as fly fart at a Dragonforce concert.  And then there are the colors!  O, boy I cannot tell you how many times I have gotten my ass nuked when I went after an ammo pickup rather than the health!  O FUCK ME!  I am a MAN!  I tend toward COLOR-BLINDNESS!  When I am speeding around the map trying to dodge the incoming rain of hellfire missiles, I don’t want to have to stop and contemplate which of the faint, holographic colors I am searching for in the MASSIVE BLINDING FOG OF  BLOOM!  Fo’ serious!  O, well.  Maybe they will make a sunglasses support module later on and that will help me see what the fuck is going on.

How to Survive, MacGyver vs. zombies



By this time everyone is getting tired of killing zombies.  From pixelation to paradise, we’ve all smashed more brains and likewise been ripped apart more times than should really be socially acceptable.  Why is this? Well, zombies are safe enemies.  They are person-like enough to be fun to kill, but are clearly monsters, so the deranged soccer-moms of America can’t really blame zombie-slaying for the downfall of western civilization.  More safe than zapping aliens, as that would just be xenophobia and in some cases their belief systems are just echoes of our own xenophobic issues…<cough> Halo </cough>  Yes, zombies are our little squishy rage receptacles, and H2S takes the love of zombie-slaying to isometric levels.

Among the first things that I noticed when starting this game up is its insistence upon issues controls at me like I am holding an xbox controller.  Also, it’s an isometric action RPG.  Like Legend of Zelda with less magic, more zombies and gallons of blood.  Your character of choice washes up on the shore of some island with a random asshole nearby coughing and gasping for air.  Me, I would have just taken the stick he gave me and bashed his brains out with it.  One less zombie to fight later, but it seems this game is more merciful than I am.  You leave the guy to his fate.  Christ.  I would have taken the stick to the head option.

Also, after getting that guy some pain-killing plants to munch on, he gives you a stick.  He even says you won’t survive without it!  Lovely.  Now the only thing keeping me from the precipice of doom is a flimsy piece of wood.  You’ll use it initially to bash in zombie brains, then later you use sticks for crafting.  Alongside some other detritus and pickups, you will find these floating books left behind by a mystical russian sage in a welder’s mask named Kovac.  It is pretty clear that Kovac is a few screws short as he had so perfected the art of survival that he now writes manuals chapter by chapter and leaves them across the various islands you’ll explore.  All this is done for the benefit of anyone else that might end up on his zombie-infested archipelago.  O, yea, this takes place on some tropical islands, but don’t worry, there are no luxury hotels or rap-singers.  Just a russian guy and some zombies. O, and the odd survivor or two.


She looks royally fucked. I met a couple gameover screens putting my back against a wall.

Probably the best element of this game is the crafting system.  Your character runs around grabbing items pieces of useless junk, such as harpoon grips and air tanks, and uses them to build shotguns and pistols which fire screws, nuts and bolts.  Hence why I reference the 80’s tv show MacGyver: the original “guy who could go into the woods with a q-tip and build a shopping mall”.  My personal favorite was the boomerang made of two sharpened bones you tied together.  That just screams terrible, messy death.  Especially when you meet some of the bosses in this game.  Shit, man!  I was playing solo, but you can easily play a local game (on your fucking computer) and run around with another player blasting zombies.  At some points you’ll be glad to have that other player.  Numerous times alone at night I have had to flip around while fighting off a horde of zombies with just a bow to shine my flashlight at the night zombies, which hate the light.  That stalls them long enough to kill a couple more enemies attacking your front.  Such frantic gameplay, however, is easily avoided by bringing a buddy.  Sure, there are other survivors in this game, but most of them are either content hiding on their personal island and writing manuals for everyone else or they die terribly.  There is also the off chance they are just disabled, but yea, not helpful.  One NPC that follows you around just seems to be the guy that knows where everything is.  That’s Ramon, and he is obviously someone’s latino grandfather.  A little on the stereotypical side, he calls you papa at some points and uses other spanish terms.  It gets uncomfortable after a while.

Your character progresses to meet the challenges presented by leveling up.  Each kills, direct or otherwise, gets you exp and those points get you skills, like making crossbows or better aim.  There are skills oriented toward survival, too.  Mostly oriented toward the necessity mechanics of the game.  There are three things you need to do in this game: eat, drink and sleep.  Neglecting any of them results in your demise.  You can hunt wild animals, but carrying bloody predictably makes you a zed-magnet and you have to cook it before consumption.  There are wild fruits, which replenish thirst and hunger but also give you diarrhea if you eat too many.  Then there are the roots.  You can find things like cassavas everywhere, but these are gross and replenish only hunger, but they keep you from dying and you can eat all of them with no negative effects.  For water the game places freshwater wells throughout the game and allows you to fill empty bottles with the water, for drinking on the go.

Then there is sleep.  Your character can only sleep at designated locations throughout the game.  Little safehouses built by Kovac and out fitted with beds, a savepoint and a blaring loud siren.  O, yea, this fucker goes off and attracts EVERYTHING in the vicinity.  Not to mention the safehouse starts spitting out zombies at you, too!  So you have to run around in circles zapping gut-munchers and praying you can survive.  The third safehouse you come to was truly fucking irritating, too.  I only have my little homemade pistol and a bow.  I must have missed some goodies, though so I am heading back a bit to see if I can make a shotgun at least.

If that doesn’t sound frustrating enough, some of the fucking zombies have ARMOR on.  Seriously!  You can shoot them all you want with your pistol, but that shit ain’t getting through!  For those guys you need to get out your bow, focus, woo sah woo sah and release.  Meanwhile, a ton of little brainbugs or regular zombies (which get progressively harder to kill) are munching on your spleen.  At some points the game feels more like a test of your ability to cycle through you inventory, but going into your inventory quickly became my method of choice as it pauses the game.  I use this time to address issues of near-death, hunger or thirst.  There are also zombies that explode, giant fucking run-for-your-life-and-hide-like-a-bitch zombies that take forever to die.

"You say 'woo sah' to me one more time, jack, and I shoot you in the dick."

“You say ‘woo sah’ to me one more time, Jack, and I shoot you in the dick.”

Did I mention the natural problems you might run into while living in the middle of nowhere?  You might get charged down by a wild animal defending the watering hole.  Or perhaps you take a swim in a piranha infested swamp?  Yep, the longer you stay, the more you realize this island was set up by a secret government organization to vet the pool of 80’s action hero hopefuls.  There are all kinds of neat elements, though.  You can pick plants and use them to make power potions, craft poultices for injuries and other neat shit.  I would say get this game, but only if survival amongst zombies while building flamethrowers and crossbows intrigues you.  As of this article, Steam has this game on sale for 3.74$.  The DLC’s aren’t on sale, but altogether they cost only 8.94$, so this is definitely worth your money.  The sale is only good until June 29th, 2014, though, so get on that shit!

The game itself tells you how many days you’ve survived, which is neat and all, but I cannot help but feel like this game was supposed to go in another direction.  I have been right about this sort of thing before, too.  It seems like this game was supposed to throw you into a nasty, rough environment and force you to survive on your own.  No storytime, no Kovac and no one to help you but your own gut instinct.  I also feel like they might have allowed you to build your own base at some point, but the game never gets there.  Instead you just sort of run around picking up Kovac’s breadcrumbs and helping your mexican grandfather accomplish his dream of flying a plane.

There is one thing that pisses me off about this title, too.  That being the zombie tropes.  Every game that has zombies wants the game to get tougher than just making you fight the same bland living dead all the time.  Sure, they could just make them tougher to kill, but without an external reason making them tougher to kill (ie armor or helmets) it is a little cheesy.  Thus, since Left 4 Dead every fucking zombie killing game has had the same stupid fucking exploding zombies!  Just change the fucking skin texture and hope no one notices.  Then there is this large, pain-in-the-ass-to-kill tank zombie that charges you down. Seriously, people, if someone can’t get a little more original, I might just stop buying anything with fucking zombies in it.

Smallworld, Better Than Pit-Fighting Midgets!



Originally a board game, Smallworld 2 is really just a board game on your computer.  If you have played the board game, just imagine playing that game on your computer.  That is this game.  Go ahead.  Just exit the webpage.  Yup….  Ok, is he gone? Good.  Now that it is just those of you who have never played the board game, let me tell you about this weid ass board game I found!

Essentially, it is 8 turns of mayhem during which you have to use several races to get you as much money as possible.  Apparently all the creatures and peoples of this mythical land worship the same god: The God of Gold.  I mean, you control numerous people across the ages and collect coins at the end of each turn.  The winner has the most coins by the end.  So, yes, ultimately it is a game about collecting more coins than two italian plumbers before the timer runs out.

First turn you pick a race, and each race comes with a little prefix.  These can be things like hill, mountain, seafaring, imperial, diplomatic, etc. And each of these prefixes adds a special feature to the race to which it is affixed.  Each race naturally has a special ability, so adding the two together can either seriously enhance or considerably weaken the clout of each race combo.  This is honestly the biggest source of laughs and chuckles this game has to offer.  When you get combos like beserk leprechauns or dragon-riding pygmies, you know there is something wrong with the world in that demented hilarity kind of way.  Like sucking someone’s brains out with a swirly straw.

My first race combo was Spirit Humans.  Humans just get you one extra gold for each farmland they end the turn holding.  The spirit prefix makes it so that they add one race to the number you have in decline.  What is decline?  Well, I am glad you asked!  You know how every absurdly arrogant prick you know has the same book about the rise and fall of the roman empire on his bookshelf?  Well, this is the only game that gives that guy a semi-reasonable segue to bring up that book.  As an empire rises, so, too, must it fall.  When your empire goes into decline, the army tokens flip over and extras are removed from the board.  Going into decline is useful and necessary.  In an average session of Smallworld 2 you will have 3 – 4 empires.  You will still receive 1 coin for each region held by a race in decline and you can have only 1 race in decline at a time.  Unless you had a spirit race.  Then you can have 2.  That makes it a pretty useful little prefix to keep an eye out for.

Damned imperial pixies with their Death Star!  There is no way to beat that shit!

Damned imperial pixies with their Death Star! There is no way to beat that shit!

You may have noticed that each prefix and race has a number on it.  Totaled together, those numbers indicate how many armies your race will start with at the beginning of its turn.  Each turn your race will start from an edge and battle its way inland until it is no longer an effective way of doing business.  At the beginning of each turn, generally speaking, you will get additional forces in the number of regions you possess with a given race.  So, right off the bat, playing a race for more than 2 turns is a bad idea, unless it really isn’t.

On the topic of beserk leprechauns, that was my second race.  They cut a bloody swath through the territories of the battle dwarfs and skirted around my former spirit humans.  Leprechauns also have the added benefit of getting a pot ‘o’ gold on each region they own and, upon entering decline, each pot ‘o’ gold counts as 1 coin.  Unless some asshole cuts a fucking path through your territory with his stupid ass hill vampires.  Lame as fuck.  He got 1 coin for each pot ‘o’ gold he captured.  Same with the underground amazons.  Bitches…

Flying Dwarfs.  Isn't the idea the same if you exchange 'dwarves' for 'lead'?  Nevermind.  Lead is less stinky.

Flying Dwarfs. Isn’t the idea the same if you exchange ‘dwarves’ for ‘lead’? Nevermind. Lead is less stinky, less hairy and less alcoholic.

Fun to kill some time.  And BOY do you have options on that note.  I mean, you can watch the bots take their turns.  I did once or twice.  Then I found the ‘FUCK IT I HAVE A LIFE’ skip button.  Then again, if you find yourself on your computer playing a board game by yourself you have the special kind of issues.  Of course, this game has DLC’s which do exactly what an expansion pack for a board game would do: add more pieces to a game with way too fucking many pieces already.  Luckily this is a virtual board game, which leads me to speculate this was the reason for making it a video game.  You can find this title on Steam for 14.99$, the DLC’s total up at 10.97$ altogether.  My special thanks to The Dead Sparticus for cluing me in!  I guess I get so steamed up that I occasionally forget to mention where to get the fucking game!

Among the things that fucking anger me the most in this game nothing.. NOTHING angers me more than the fact that they have to put MOUNTAIN TILES on the MOUNTAIN REGIONS!  They did this in the fucking board game too!  Seriously!  Like, it is a picture of mountains with a mountain tile made specially to display it is a mountain.  And does this mean that no one can traverse this ever so superfluous terrain additive? NO! It just takes MORE FUCKING PEOPLE to take that shit!  It is almost like those assholes over at Days of Wonder are trying to make trees a thing of the past or laminated cardboard into a new currency standard. GAH! I’m just going to leave this here..




Double-Up Discussion: AoM, Machinations

AoMlogoToday’s post is about two mobile games: AoM and Machinations.  Not as a comparison, but because there are a lot of these types of games piling up and both are free.  Both have strong points and appeal to certain audiences, and both are vastly different from one another in genre and concept.

AoM first.  I understand that a lot of work goes into every game, and with that in mind I will try to be gentle.  AoM, in my mind, must stand for Arena of Migraines because I cannot see anyone deriving pleasure from this experience.  I also have no idea what the title stands for as I don’t remember that being explained in the game.  In AoM you play a robin hood-esque character clad in green with a bow.  You proceed through the level, often against your own will, by dragging your finger left and right across the screen while the green archer jumps up and down like Mario with fire ants in his overalls.  You then have to avoid enemies and collect coins.  I played the first level about 20 times before declaring loudly to the gods that I would be deleting the game from my phone.  Although my exact words were more along the lines of  “AaAaAURGH! Fuck this shit! I QUIT!”. AoM makes you feel a little better about games that make you unable to jump by making it impossible to stop.

On top of that, the game makes what should be a fun little adventure into a frantic race to the top using my least favorite of all game mechanics: the timer.  This is a game where you compare your frantic jumping scores with everyone else’s frantic jumping scores to see who can navigate the levels fastest with the most points from collecting coins and killing monsters.  How do you kill monsters when you can’t stop moving during a jump-expressed epileptic fit?  With the single most frustrating weapon to use mid-motion.  A goddamn BOW and fucking ARROWS!  Yes!  You just have to tap and the looney leaping pscyho ranger rather slowly launches a poorly aimed arrow.  Granted, if I was forced to jump constantly, I would also be taking a sec to get the shot right.  But look at that little bastard in the logo!  That is him!  No, not the one with the axes.  The cross-eyed bastard pointing his bow at the sky while a giant goblin with companion boar charges him down.  He looks like he can’t even comprehend the concept of steady aim on stable ground.  This makes me think his whole strategy is actually intricately designed by him to get his aim perfect.  Whatever.  I still fucking missed like it was my job.

I was fucking stuck here for ONE WHOLE FOREVER!

I was fucking stuck here for ONE WHOLE FOREVER!

But perhaps I am just not this game’s audience.  I could see a society of people out there somewhere who enjoy games with mechanics design to be as infuriating as popping pimples on your own back with much the same satisfaction.  When it is over, you can lay back down and relax with only the slight pain of having finished and knowing how much time it took to achieve this goal.  Yes, asia, that means you.  Honestly, the only people I could see enjoying this game are asians.  Not because I’m racist or anything, but because I have played a few asian games and I just didn’t ‘get it’.  I have to imagine that AoM comes from the same place.  On the bright side, this leaping journey through platformed levels can be yours on google marketplace for fucking free, so yea.  It’s a free game.  And the art is also pretty good.  Take it for what it is worth: hours of pointless and mindless amusement.  It’s worth it to play once.  I mean it’s free.  You can get it on the Google Play Store or if iOS is your thing, it’s on the iTunes App Store too.


  Machinations is a pretty good play.  You are the commander of an empire of space robots whose only means of attack is to suicidally slam into their enemies’ bases until the enemy feels bad and concedes control of their bases.  Yes, I think at some point you can actually attach weapons.. maybe?  But as far as I got, there was some discussion about using lasers instead, which your main advisor/robot general just kind of ignored comically.  At the start of each level you control a node, which generates ships.  These ships can be launched to attack enemy and neutral nodes.  Some nodes level up to house shipyards (which generate ships quickly) or lasers (which zap anyone that gets close). In the story (loosely defined as generalized motivations) you had some kind of space empire, which has collapsed.  You are tasked with reestablishing your empire.  Now, that is irritating.  Now I feel like an intergalactic janitor/asshole going along killing the rebels and subjugating their people.  I guess it is a consolation that everyone is a fucking robot and it really doesn’t matter all that much.  But that brings the game down to the level of depressing as fuck, since it doesn’t really matter anyway.  Ultimately, nothing in this game matters though, so you can just put it down whenever you feel like.  Which ultimately, in a Nietszche kinda way, since the meaningless of it all is liberating in an absurd way. Machinations is a strategy game that plays similarly to Eufloria, but less trippy and bizarre.  Both still fun, but I would pay for Eufloria.  Machinations?  Well, glad it’s free.  I stopped playing when this game incorporated the most annoying of all challenge features of a game: the fucking time limit.  If you want to try the game out for yourself on Google Play, I would fully support the notion.  Want to see gameplay footage in action before you play it?  I guess everyone has their demands.  It’s certainly a game worthy of more time, I just get frustrated by timers easily.

Here, it seems, kamikaze is less a last ditch effort and more a first choice.

Here, it seems, kamikaze is less a last ditch effort and more a first choice strategy.

What pisses me off, then?  If you can’t fucking guess by now, I hate you.  I fucking hate TIME LIMITS, TIMERS and any other time-based game elements.  I hate racing games for this, and before you say that there is no time limit, yes there is.  The speeds of the other cars are the hardware by which the timing of the matches are determined, and you have to beat their times to get first place.  Any game that uses a time LIMIT in the game is basically adding a challenge and LIMITING the way in which you play games by timing you.  Some games do this well, and I don’t mind it when it is done well (see also Majora’s Mask).  But in a stupid little mobile game?  Jesus.  Feels more like the time limit was thrown in because they just couldn’t think of how to make it more challenging or even more worthwhile to play.  Either way, both games are free.  So cut your fucking whining.