Saturday, October 16, 2010

Overgrowth: Fighting Like Bunnies

This just in from the overgrowth development log.

This video shows Wolfire demoing their awesome game OVergrowth's new fighting system. Currently; it's a system ported from this game's antecedent Lugaru and partly modified.

Hell if that seems to matter, though! This system is already quite sleek. At about 0:30 you can see a nice combination of a sweeping attack and a roll that just screams emergent move combos (ie: not button presses, but actual combination of actions.)

I for one welcome our new rabbit overlords.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Control Good: Minecraft

Sometimes fantasy games need epic plotlines with heroes, lords, stereotypically self-insufficient damsels in distress, elves, orcs, half-orcs, human-orc-undead-cubolds (and the sick people that love them) and all the other minimum trappings of high fantasy.

And sometimes all you need is a blocky fist, the will to punch trees and lots of space in which to do so. And you get a LOT of space. I am really not joking. You may also need a tangential game reference. Wait... what?

This may not sound like a great deal of promise in an age where games offer hours of brilliant story-driven gameplay, but Minecraft is, in many ways, their opposite. It is underrated by its own appearance, lacking any sort of bulky feature list or any real gameplay direction, but this is what makes it compelling.

Minecraft is a sandbox world that is what you make of it. Want to build a city inside a mountain? Go for it. Want to spend hours exploring caves, each unlike the last due to the game's extensive random generation? Your prerogative to do so. Want to shoot defenseless animals across the map using a bunch of TNT? ...moving on.

Minecraft's draw is in its quiet sophistication and emphasis on inventiveness. Because everything is randomly generated, you're not really guarenteed a specific solution for any area you encounter, but you will at least get your mind blown once or twice, as each landmark or cave you uncover is bound to be unique and thus renders each person's experience of Minecraft very unique.

And that's why, in spite of its very goofy yet charming graphics, Minecraft is completely Control Good!

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Control Good: Starscape

What's it like fighting a guerilla war against an enemy with a logistical base of nigh-infinite, self-replicating reinforcements?

This is a pretty tough question, but one Starscape, by sleeper-hit producing studio Moonpod Games, tries its damndest to answer.

This game's been in my virtual library for a while (I would have 'upgraded' to a CD, a very nice feature that I really wish more small publishers offered, but I'm not sure that they do that anymore.) So, to get familiar with the game, I picked the game up once again for another speedy playthrough.

It hasn't aged a bit. (Also; please pry it from my hard drive. I. Cannot. Put it. DOWN!)

Or; if it has aged, it's done so like fine wine. The game relies on a unique mash of Shoot-Em-Up and 4X (ie: Masters of Orion or Sins of a Solar Empire) mechanics to drive a narrative that grows and evolves over time, even pervading the game's justified tutorial quite nicely. These are all elements that can make a great game, and Starscape runs with all of them until each has achieved runner's high.

This game is built solidly on its SHMUP roots, with great, easy to learn gameplay that grows harder with new enemies at a furious pace. You'll be hunting vital enemy mining barges supplying reinforcements even as you're pursued by said reinforcements. So many, in fact, that the game can't handle them all at once and jumps them in as you destroy their vanguard units in full explodalicious fury.

And the addictive features only get piled on from there. In spite of the game's ruthless pacing, more discriminating players (and those who are less hand-eye-thrill-addicted, you know who you are, guys!) can upgrade their ships and their awesome mobile space station that follows them into battle (metal enough yet?) in order to soften the difficulty curve. Moonpod tends to make a policy of this feature in all of their other games, most notably; Mr. Robot.

Even though I had this game before I started College, I still believe it's worthy of anyone's buy. And if you don't believe me, why not follow the link above and go try the demo? It's not hard to do, and you won't regret it. And if you don't trust me, trust my plad suited cousin over here (just don't let him sell you any used cars.)

Anyway; the reasons above make this timeless sleeper hit very worthy of the (currently dubious) status of Control Good.