Let’s take a look at … – Glorkian Warrior: The Trials of Glork

Glorkian Warrior:The Trials of Glork is a vertical shooter/platformer* hybrid from the team over at Pixel Jam. Originally Kickstarted back in 2010, a rough journey, details of which you can read here, saw the game take 4 years to arrive on IOS. Now, ~1 year later, the game has arrived on Steam. Let’s a take a look.

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Glorkian Warrior is an undeniably charming game. The art was created by Eisner-award-winning cartoonist James Kochalka and gives the game a very warm and friendly feel. It takes you back to those cartoons you’d watch as a child (or as an adult in my case :D), making everything feel incredibly familiar; it’s playful and innocent.

Then we have the soundtrack and sound effects which are a vintage synth/techno blend that compliments the graphics amazingly. The underlying music of the game is sort of synthy and upbeat which enhances the charm of the overall aesthetic. Then we have the games sound effects which are very classic-arcade sounding which brings those memories and associations back to the cartoony world. It creates a really nice familiarity, like your favourite cartoon character has jumped into an old space invaders game.

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You play as The Glorkian Warrior, a recruit of the Glorkian Academy, and it is your job to protect your asteroid from the invading alien forces from above. To do this you fire (autofire) bullets from your trusty talking backpack and move around the level to hit the enemies above in typical vertical shooter style.

At the beginning of the article I put an asterisk after platformer. The game is described as a vertical shooter/platformer hybrid, but I didn’t find any major platforming mechanics! The extent of the platforming, from what I can gather, is the ability to jump. I’ve looked at screenshots online, and the trailer, and haven’t seen any real platforming there either. If this comes later in the game I’ll recant my statement, but if that’s the case it needs to come much earlier.

As you fight off the invaders they will drop power-ups that make your backpack more powerful. Drops such as double laser, triple laser and fireballs give your weapon some variety. These power-ups also stack so you can end up with some really unique combinations that are really fun to play with. The enemies also come in quite a few shapes and sizes, each having different looking attacks, but which ultimately function quite similarly.

After a certain number of waves a boss will appear who has some mechanics not seen in standard enemies and a short boss battle ensues. You repeat these waves and boss fights until you inevitably become overwhelmed, at which point you recount on your spoils of war, unlock any items you may have unlocked and see if your rank in the Gloria Academy has increased. The whole cycle then begins anew.

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I don’t really have anything bad to say about Glorkian Warrior. It is a perfectly pleasant and charming implementation of a well-loved genre. My problem with it is that it feels like it’s in shoes it can’t fill on PC. It feels too small, and the casual gameplay feels it would suite a mobile device better. Something you can pick up, spend 10 minutes in, and then put it down. I did a first impressions of this game (at which point I didn’t know it was available for IOS first) and my conclusion was that it was perfectly suited to IOS. When I’d finished recording I did some more research on the game found indeed that it is originally an IOS game and I feel that’s where it belongs.

Glorkian Warrior is a good game, and I’ll most likely play it in the future. On my iPad. If you’re into your vertical shooters, or enjoyed the game on IOS, then you’ll most likely enjoy the PC version. Especially since it costs only £2.79! There’s nothing wrong with the PC version, it just feels a touch out of place for me.

Rating – 7/10
Closing Summary – Glorkian Warrior is a pleasant and charming vertical shooter, but one which I ultimately feel belongs on a mobile device.
Purchase – Steam, £2.79 (or your regional equivalent)

Let’s talk about … – ‘I Am Bread’ coming to IOS

Good news for all you ‘I Am Bread’ lovers; it’s coming to IOS … soon. Yes, in their latest video update Bossa Studios confirmed that the title would see an IOS release once the PC version is out of early access.

‘I Am Bread’ launched on Steam Early Access late last year and became someone of a viral hit with hit YouTubers like PewDiePie and Boogie2988 playing it on their channels. Bossa clarified that the PC version is still their main point of focus, and only after it leaves Early Access on Steam will a new team be put together to start development.

The IOS version of the game will feature all new content added to the Steam Early Access version, including the recent major update – an all new garage area. There’s been no mention so far of an Android version, so if you want to play with bread on the go, looks like you’ll be needing an iDevice. *We’ll update this article if that changes!*

For more information on what Bossa have been up, you can check out their latest update video below:

Are you IndieGamers fans of ‘I Am Bread’, and will you picking up the IOS version? Let us know in the comments below!

Till next time, Ciao.

Let’s take a look at … – Splee and Gløb

*Disclaimer – The version this review was based on was a playable prototype; the only release of the game to our knowledge*

“Splee and Gløb” is an action RTS/tower defence game developed by Frame 6. Based on the premise of a multiplayer tower defence game meets action RTS, frame 6 tries its best to engage you in the “lively and colourful” personality of the world and its characters. While undeniably cute, I feel it’s enough to compensate for the lacklustre gameplay.

The game offers both single player and co-op mode with characters Splee and Gløb taking the main stage. I started with the single player campaign in which you can switch between Splee and Gløb to make use of their unique abilities. There is only one playable map as of now as the game is still in development, however I believe even with a variation in setting the gameplay would continue to be underwhelming. It’s a shame because the world and characters are wonderfully unique and charming, but are let down by gameplay which no amount of cute aliens can compensate for.

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As far as variation in gameplay goes, you start with all towers available with no upgrades or changes to their abilities throughout the entire game. This makes the game not only incredibly easy, but also repetitive as every wave is essentially the same. Not once in the whole campaign did I die or fail a section, even when I carelessly ran out into the oncoming waves to shoot them in the face. You just line tight corridors with towers, hide in your base (or walk into the incoming horde) and wait for the round to end.

This style of play did not improve as I reached the co-op mode and ended with my friend and I sighing as the last wave ended without even a glimpse of a challenge.

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Overall the game, in its current state, struck me as poorly-designed and over-ambitious, with some serious flaws in its basic mechanics and gameplay. Add to that no options menu for sound or graphical settings, no variation in gameplay and no interesting core dynamic at work, Splee and Gløb was disappointing after looking so potentially promising.

This game currently scores a measly 4/10.While looking charming, it offers hollow and slow gameplay which needs some real work; I wouldn’t recommend the game in its current state.

Let’s take a look at … – 21 Dice

21 Dice is a mobile game developed by BitStern for both Android and IOS devices. To its credit it’s cute and intelligent but provides the consumer with no more than a slightly above average experience.

Although miles better than most of the drivel available for your mobile device, 21 Dice falls into an unpopular category so you’d be forgiven for having never heard about it. If you liked the insanely popular 2048 you may enjoy this as well as both games are based around the generally thoughtless and repetitive addition of numbers.

The aim of the game is simple; you add dice together to reach the number 21. If you go over that number, that dice it out. You get 3 dice each go and the goal is to reach 21 as many times as possible. The premise is really simple and I feel it could have been made more addictive with greater effort. The repetitive nature means you get bored quickly and even the various other game modes don’t do much to liven the atmosphere.

The interface serves its purpose but could greatly benefit from a rework. Graphics are basic and don’t really help with overall lack of production value. It’s definitely a case of function over form.


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I wasn’t a fan of the soundtrack, I think it sounds cheap and got highly irritating after listening to it for a long period of time. It’s also impossible to play your own music whilst using the app meaning your options are the soundtrack or silence.

Overall this game is solidly OK. It neither fails nor particularly exceeds anywhere. If you’re into this type of game I’m sure it will satisfy your cravings, at least until the next craze is released. I’d say it’s worth a go on the basis that it’s free, but this game as a whole isn’t anything to get too excited about.

As an Indie Gamer must I will rate the game 6/10; a slightly above average experience. For me it loses points for lack of originality and not really holding my interest. Here’re some links to get the game yourself.

Play now on IOS

Play now on Android

5 Tips for Ludum Dare Newbies

With Ludum Dare 30 just around the corner I decided I’d use my own experiences to hopefully help some first timers out there.

This coming Ludum Dare will be my 4th, so I’m not exactly a seasoned pro but I know what mistakes newbies are likely to make; we all make them. I’m going to pick 5 pointers that would have helped me during my first LD and hopefully they’ll help you too. I’ll stick them in order of importance, counting down to the most important tip. Let’s get started.

5. Finish no matter what

Usually what happens during LD is the first day’s tweets/posts are very positive and go along the lines of ‘Have an awesome idea for Ludum Dare, let’s go’. Then the next morning’s tweets go something like ‘Lot’s still left to do …’. Then in the hours leading up to the deadline ‘Not enough time; I’m out’. This happens to a lot of people and I suggest to just keep going! Not only will sticking it to the end give you a sense of accomplishment, it’ll allow you to see where you went wrong. If at the end of the 48 hours you have an awesome looking game that doesn’t work you know you went art heavy etc. If you duck out early you may miss this feedback that will help you next time. If you need inspiration at any point you can find it in the video below. It’s magical.

4. Polish art and sound AFTER the game works

Not only do I do this during LD, but in all my work. It’s tempting when ideas are flowing to jump into Photoshop and spend 4 hours creating the best damn character sprite ever …. Problem is there’s no game for that to go in! During LD when time is tight I highly advise using place holder art first, get game mechanics solid then re-visit art and sound. Reason is allowing yourself to mismanage time. If you do your programming and get your game mechanics down first, if you run out of time the game’s still playable. If you do all your art first and run out of time, you’ll have some great assets but nothing anyone can play. Game first, art and sound second.

3. Don’t burn yourself out

Here’s a piece of advice that I need to heed myself; taking a small break can be a good thing. 48 hours isn’t a long time to make a game, but that doesn’t mean glue yourself to the screen for that whole time. I learned this on my second LD. I wasn’t too fond of the theme and the ideas weren’t flowing. Instead of stepping away from an hour to do something else, and maybe find some inspiration, I forced myself to stay at my desk. I ended up just wasting time and that LD’s game sucked big time. If I’d have just stepped away for an hour it might have been very different. Don’t burn yourself out; you can afford an hour or two away

2. Know your chosen tool

Making a game is difficult. Making a game in 48 hours is very difficult so make sure you’re familiar with the tools you are choosing. If you’ve never made a game in Java before, probably not the best idea to choose that. With time so tight you need know you’re able to execute things fast. For example I use GameMaker:Studio. I’ve been using it year, like to think I know it pretty well so it takes me no time at all to whip out game ideas. I highly suggest using tools languages you’re very comfortable with.

1. Don’t overestimate what you can make

Here’s the big one; The most common mistake by far is overestimating what you can achieve. Check the LD home page around a day and a half into it and see how many people are dropping out as they don’t have enough of a game. The theme drops, you get an awesome idea and you run away with it. Setting up complexe level sytems, designing 50 levels etc. You don’t have time for that. Get your idea, identify the core mechanics and ideas and get them working, then build form there. I found a good picture on my twitter feed earlier that sums this up pretty well.

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100% of something is better than 0% of nothing. Those are my top 5 tips for LD newcomers and I’m sure I’ll be resorting to them again this time around. As an extra help I’ve put together a short list of free software that you can use to create art and audio for LD.

  • Gimp
  • Paint.NET
  • FamiTracker
  • SFX Maker
  • Audacity

Best of luck with LD30 and let me know in the comments if you agree/disagree with my points or have tips of your own that you’d like to share. If anyone is interested my past LD games can be found here. Until next time, ciao. Follow me on Twitter: @greeny_games

Let’s take a look at … – Luminesca

Luminesca is a chilled-out underwater exploration game which follows the story of a little creature called Lum. Using the light from your esca, you can explore the dark watery depths, uncover ancient

machinery, and play with a whole ecosystem of strange creatures. Luminesca is a simple game which intends to create a rich, atmospheric experience.

Luminesca was developed primarily by Matt Glanville; and is currently developing chapter two of the Luminesca story after the success and welcome of Luminesca’s first chapter.

I had the chance to meet Matt at Rezzed this year and I was able to try out the alpha of the chapters and I found the game to be highly interesting and immersive. The art style is new and exciting. As your character reveals the map to the player by emitting a glow.

I also enjoyed the feeling of there being no direct story to initially follow, and the game lends itself to your imagination and persistence to explore the game world and uncover the hidden sections, which hold characters and events.

As I walked around Rezzed I noticed Luminesca was constantly busy with large amounts of gamer enthusiasm and I had to literally fight my way to a seat. When I asked Matt about this he commented saying he was very happy with the reception his title had received and was welcoming the constructive comments with open arms.

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Stay up to date with the developments of Luminesca by following Matt on Twitter @Luminesca , and keep up to date wih the development via the site www.luminesca.com.

Preview By Luke

 

Let’s talk about … – Ouya vs Gamestick

One of the notable trends in gaming in general this year have been the flood of handheld gaming devices centered around Android. In this issues, we will take a quick look at two of the big frontrunners,

the Ouya and Gamestick and their effort to capture the casual gaming market with Android-based games and, more specifically, indie games that are currently available through that service. However, one of the biggest hurdles these devices must conquer is whether gamers will feel this is worth buying when tablets and phones already offer the same games. That aside, more options are always better and this might give indie developers even more ways to spread their games around and to create some great, quality content.

The first gaming handheld device we will shine the spotlight on is the Gamestick. Developed by Playjam, this console is the size of a USB flash drive which can connect via an HDMI port in the back of your television and comes with its very own Bluetooth controller. As mentioned before, it runs on the Android operating system, like the Ouya, and in keeping with the theme of casual gaming it will offer an affordable price point of $79. Also similar to the Ouya, the Gamestick was funded by Kickstarter. One of the hassles that might exist for indie developers concerning the Gamestick is that it will not support the Google Play store directly, so they will have to port those games for specific use on the Gamestick store. Some of the highlights of the Gamestick are that it offers 1 GB DDR3 RAM and 8 GB of flash memory. The operating system, Android Jelly Bean 4.2, can also connect through a wireless dock if you choose to not plug it into an HDMI port which can provide convenience. For those wondering, it does offer streaming of Netflix through the television, but that is not exactly a new phenomenon these days. A few low points, according to industry insiders who have been able to get their hands on the Gamestick, is that the controller feels clunky and will tire out your hands if you choose to go on gaming binges. The Gamestick is hoping that the low price point of the device will allow users to overlook the fact that you may have to repurchase games directly for the Gamestick since it doesn’t use Google Play.

As promised, the other gaming console we will examine is the Ouya which is debuting with a starting price of $99.99. Unlike the hassles associated with the Gamestick and having to port games over, the Ouya will feature its own store for applications and game specifically designed for the platform. It will house the Android 4.1 Jelly Bean operating system and the developers will allow rooting of their console without even voiding the warranty. This has us excited at TIR as gamers and developers alike that we will be allowed to produce indie content and it could make emulators and other ideas a possibility. Compared to the Gamestick, the controller this time around looks more comfortable and resembles a sleeker version of a hybrid Xbox360-PS3 controller. If you are the kind of gamer who is into sampling, then you are in luck as they have announced that every title is free to demo before you making your decision to buy any content. Because of the open nature of the hardware and the allowance of rooting it might be a hindrance to larger publishers and that could stifle the growth of the Ouya. Another point to note is that the Tegra 3, the on board system chip, is relatively weak when compared to another competitor like the NVidia Shield. Time will tell if this will have a notable impact on apps and gaming.

Article by Forbes