Super Axe Boy is a platformer from independent developer Matthias Falk. Featuring a mix of 2D and 3D gameplay, Matt hopes to bring something unique to the genre with Super Axe Boy, and has turned to Kickstarter to make it happen. Looking for €25,000, and with stretch goals extending to €60,000, the campaign has reached 20% of its goal with 22 days left.
Super Axe Boy sees you play as Axe boy, a humble lumberjack. One day however the Earth is invaded by Beaverians … a race of sneaky alien beavers, hell bent on building an intergalactic burger franchise … I appreciate a weird and quirky story as much as the next gamer, I just hope it’s presented in the correct manner and isn’t just there to retroactively add some kind of forced meaning to the platforming.
Speaking of platforming, one of the most unique feature of Super Axe Boy is the mix between 2D and 3D gameplay. The following is taken from the games press page:
“Levels will switch back and forth between 2D sections (emphasis on: precision, timing, fast movement, countdown sections) and 3D sections (emphasis on: sense of freedom / branching-off level paths, exploration, puzzle solving, cinematic sequences).”
The game is also promising a huge variety in gameplay, a retro chiptune soundtrack, and a nice low-poly aesthetic. Check out the games Kickstarter video to see this in action!
Here’s the full feature list from the press page:
Unique mix of 2D and 3D gameplay
Cool indie/chiptune soundtrack
Huge gameplay variety
Fresh axe chopping mechanics
Unique graphical aesthetic
A silly story (but hey, still a story)
There’s not much to view of Super Axe Boy yet, but fans of platformers might want to stick it on your watch list! If you want to support the project then head on over to Kickstarter! If you want to learn more about the game head to its official site here!
We all know the movie industry is rife with reboots, prequels, and sequels. Well, it happens with video games too! Back in 1983 a puzzle platformer called Dino Eggs, created by David H Schroeder, was released for Apple II, Commodore 64, and IBM PC. Years later, the result of an international effort including original author David, a sequel has been released and is awaiting your votes on Steam Greenlight. Let’s take a look at Dino Eggs: Rebirth.
The original Dino Eggs was received to great praise, so for our OG gamers out there seeing the return of the title will undoubtedly bring a flood of nostalgia and familiarity. For those of us who haven’t played the original, Rebirth features an introductory back-story tying the original game to the new bringing us up to speed.
The protagonist in this reboot is the daughter of the original, Time Master Tim, reminding me a little of Tron and Tron Legacy. You play Tamara, and your goals are in line with those of the original: avoid enemies while collecting dino eggs and other items (some of them new to this reboot) to teleport to the future for research.
The game starts by guiding you through a few training levels, teaching you how to perform certain movements and how to collect eggs and baby dinos. Careful platforming and planning is required to uncover and carry items to portals. Only three eggs can be carried at a time, and once you send those to the future, you will show up somewhere else on the map, sometimes directly in harm’s way. If you’re injured, you can heal by standing in front of one of the portals. You have three lives to clear the map, otherwise its game over and you have to start from scratch.
There are several modes of gameplay available. Story mode allows you to unlock different areas as you progress through a fixed game, and multiplayer allows 2 to 8 people to play on the same screen. There’s even an option to play the original 1983 game which is awesome!
Staying true to the original the graphics are colorful and retro-style. Game sounds and music are basic and suit the style, something which I personally find a little cheesy and loud, especially the falling through the portal scream when loading a map. The game itself is definitely an interesting challenge and remains true to its predecessor.
I think the main draw of this game is to bring back memories of those who loved playing the original version 32 years ago. This is a very family-friendly game (especially considering the multiplayer option) that could have two generations of gamers enjoying two generations of a game.
Dino Eggs: Rebirth is currently on Steam Greenlight and could use your love! If you’re a fan of single-screen platformer puzzle games, retro-style games, or played the original Dino Eggs game, keep an eye out for this one and go give it your vote. Also head to the official site for more info on the project.
Tl;dr – Dino Eggs: Rebirth is a reboot of the original 1983 puzzle platformer that will please fans of the original as well as a new generation of gamers. Despite a somewhat annoying cut-scene style, this game features unique mechanics that are challenging and require patience and planning.
Earlier this year we covered the title Guns, Gore and Cannoli; an action-packed 2D run ‘n gun featuring a mobster working his way through the zombie apocalypse. You can read that article here. Well, that was on PC, and it’s now released on XBONE and we were lucky enough to get a review code to see if the console version matches that of its PC counterpart. Let’s take a look .. again!
Starting with performance, the game runs great. It’s certainly not a last-minute dash to get to another platform. It’s clear time and effort has gone into making the game run soundly on whatever platform you choose. The game suits a gamepad incredibly well, with tight, self-intuitive controls. In Heather’s article she mentioned she has trouble with the controls, sometimes hitting wrong buttons; I had no such issues!
The quality of the art and other resources is on point also. There’s no scaling or compromise in quality; the game looks and feels just as crisp as the PC version. I did experience some loading times higher than I would have expected. Not huge, but enough for it to catch my attention, but it’s hardly a problem. The content is well worth the extra few seconds loading. Maybe it’s because I’m used to gaming on a PC!
Best of all, the game is priced fairly. The title is currently £6.99 on Steam, so I was expecting a price tag of ~£10 for console, but it’s only £7.99. A really nice pickup price for the XBONE. To be honest, mine has sat unused in the corner for the most of the time I’ve had it as I can’t justify paying 2x more for a game than I would do on Steam. It’s awesome that this isn’t the case with Guns, Gore & Cannoli and it’s given me a reason to keep my XBONE out for a while!
I’d like to just share few thoughts on my own experience with game. A cinematic brings the game to a start, introducing Vinnie, a mobster on a mission to capture someone. Sleeping on a boat he learns that the world has been overrun by zombies. Naturally, been a mobster and all, he’s well kitted out and does not deviate from his macabre task. From here on you work your way through a multitude of environments, collecting new and exciting weapons as you progress, and meeting new enemies to test you.
One thing that I really liked was the difficulty. The game looks great, has a really funny story, and as such I was expecting something much more casual that what it is. The game puts up a fight, and if you don’t stay on your mobster toes it will punish you. Everything Heather said in her original article about the title I can 100% corroborate, and it is well worth the 9.5 we gave it originally. I’m not that far in, and already I’ve fought across a boat, a dockyard, a town, and met a wide range of interesting enemies!
A zombie football player that knocks you on your ass every opportunity he gets. A pinup zombie resembling Marilyn Monroe that likes to jump about, and another female zombie that can’t stop burping out some horrible green gas! I’ve also met a couple of NPC characters, all of which are funny and interesting dialogue with Vinnie. The game is lots of fun, plays great, looks great and sounds great, and it arrives on XBONE as strongly as it hit PC.
Tl:dr – Guns, Gore & Cannoli is now available on a number of game consoles and it’s no shoddy port. It’s clear the Crazy Monkey put time and effort into ensuring quality across the board, and the XBONE version is just as good as its PC counterpart. At £7.99 (or your regional equivalent) there’s no reason why you shouldn’t have this title on your XBOX. Get it downloaded!
De Mambo is a fast-paced single-screen action platformer currently in development by The Dangerous Kitchen. Supporting up to four players, De Mambo is “kinda Smash Bros, sorta Breakout and somewhat nothing like either of these since it has its own swing”. Interested? Yeah. Me too!
The aim of the game is to knock you opponent off the screen with the three attacks available to you. Controls consist of the D-Pad and a single button to perform all three attacks depending on how you use it. Head here for a tutorial on ‘How to De Mambo’. The environment around you is also destructible, so as you smash through your opponents, the level will start crumbling around you!
De Mambo will feature: (The ones in bold are yet to come)
One Button Action – easy to learn, hard to master gameplay designed to use one action button and a D-Pad/keys
Multiplayer – roughhouse up to four of your friends/enemies in Mambo
Loser Rail – the feature designed to give you a second chance, for those of you not good enough to win
Flimsy Architecture – Breakable environment for reactive gameplay
Single-Player – A lone wolf mode that that we like to describe as ‘Zelda 2 meets WarioWare’
Challenge Mode – Replay challenges from single-player with multiplayer functionality and also send custom challenges to friends.
Multiplayer Stages – a wide variety of new multiplayer stages
New Gameplay Modes – Same core Mambo gameplay, new ways to play
De Mambo has been shown at various events over the last 12 months, and will be taken to EGX and Tokyo Game Show this September. Currently slated for release on: PS3, PS4, PS Vita, PC, Mac, and Linux, The Dangerous Kitchen are currently running a Kickstarter to fund the last stages of development.
With 27 days left of the campaign, they’ve already reached 42% of their £15,000 goal! De Mambo is also on Greenlight, so if make sure to drop a vote over there if you want to see the title on Steam. Last but not least, there’s a free demo available so you can get first-hand experience with De Mambo.
I’ll leave you with the trailer as usual. Mark my words, you’ll be seeing lots more of De Mambo once it approaches release, it’s a perfect party-title to play and have fun with friends!
Last week we covered the news that Xeodrifter, a metro-style platformer from award winning indie devs Regenage Kid, is now available on PS Vita. Well, we’ve since been given a key, and I’ve been playing it! Here’s what I think of Xeodrifter on Vita.
Let me start by clarifying that I’ve not played Xeodrifter on any other platform before, so all comments are in regards to the Vita version only. This also directly contributed to my confusion playing the title.
Let’s start from the beginning. The game opens to a view of a space ship travelling through space. You hit a comet, take damage that wipes out your warp drive, and you find yourself stranded in the middle of a small collection of planets. You’re free to visit any of them, so I head to the top one. I step onto the planet, and get owned. Really owned. Try another planet, and it’s full of water and I can’t swim. Another planet and a big eyed bastard fires a laser at me and fries me instantly. WHAT IS GOING ON!
The first 15 minutes playing Xeodrifter was the most I’ve been confused playing a game in a long time. Everything seemed to just own me, paths were blocked, and the menu looked like something that was found at Roswell. I had no idea what I was doing, but managed to stumble upon my first boss, and decided to run at him shooting … poor decision. Xeodrifter is a hard game. It’s one of these where you don’t just run around and go crazy on a boss, you have to learn the moves, the patterns, and execute your moves carefully in response.
After what seemed like 3 million deaths, I took a deep breath, watched the bosses moves, and I killed him! The problem was I was so frustrated by this point, that I didn’t really saver the victory. Part of this was down to my own inability, but I don’t want to take all the blame. Xeodrifter could do more to tell you what’s going on. You’re given nothing. I only knew there was an upgrade system for your weapon because of Steam comments I’ve read! It’s very much a case of ‘work it out yourself’ but, for me, it’s a bit too much. The smallest of tutorials would have helped immensely in getting into the game, and skipping the whole ‘I want to throw my Vita into the road’ phase.
After killing my first boss I was back to a brick wall, with every path seemingly lead to either a dead-end or an unbeatable enemy. I resorted to a YouTube walkthrough to see what was going on. And then it clicked. The video showed that there are hidden powerups throughout the levels that you really need to collect to continue. That in turn made the menu make sense, and the fact that some paths were blocked now made total sense; I don’t have the correct abilities yet, so need to come back. The YouTube video provided the context and instructions that I think should be there from the start; at-least in some capacity.
Controls are very simple. With the left stick you move, and then you press square you’ll shoot in the direction you’re aiming. That means your limited to only shooting in four absolute directions, but that’s part of the Metroid charm that the game has. Movement feels good for the most part. Sometime when jumping up multiple ledges, the inertia that the character carries felt cumbersome, but for the most part they feel good.
As mentioned, hidden throughout the levels are health and weapon upgrades, and these really are key to moving forward. Your weapon has a number of different categories that can be upgraded that range from increasing fire speed, power and scatter shot etc. Something I really like about this system is you have three weapon setups available, you’re not limited to picking a single setup. You can assign your upgrade points three times, to create three individual setups and change between them at any point.
There are 7 bosses I believe in Xeodrifter, I’m only up to bass 2 myself, and each boss drops a power when defeated. These are entire game mechanics, and are required to continue working through the planets. The first one you receive is the submarine. Finally, now I understand why everywhere was blocked with water! The second upgrade you get is a Phase Shift which allows you to shift between the front and back layer. Again, much more of the planets are now accessible so it’s time to revisit each and find what you missed.
Xeodrifter is a tough game, and I’ve played tough games before that make you really work for your score, but I just wasn’t feeling it with Xeodrifter. I’ve been looking for a game like this for my Vita for a while now, and really thought this would be it, but it missed the mark for me. It’s not a bad game by any means, but I just didn’t feel very rewarded after the tough battles and the work needed to progress. It felt very empty.
If I hadn’t had found that YouTube video explaining the game, I would have just put it down after the first 20 minutes. I’m glad I didn’t, I enjoyed my time with it, but I don’t think my play time will get much higher.
Tl:dr – Xeodrifter is a tough and confusing Metroid style platformer. If you stick with it enough to learn how to enjoy it, there is a good experience in there. For those not into their hard-core platformers this will turn into an exercise in self-control. Those into their tough platformers may relish the challenge, but for me it wasn’t substantial enough to justify the work it wanted.
Master Spy is a stealth platformer from TURBOGUN games. Comprised of just two developers, John Coxworth (Art) and Kris Truitt (Dev), TURBOGUN have been working on Master Spy for the past few years, in-between their full time jobs. With pixel-cinematic goodness, and tight and unforgiving platforming, it really impressed us. Let’s take a look.
We have to start with the great pixel-art. Pixel-art is used frequently in indie games, but few get it as right as Master Spy does. The environments are large, and packed with hand-pixelated detail. The characters and obstacles look and feel great. There are also full cutscenes constructed through just pixel art. They are kind of comic book style, with a maybe a frame every few seconds, and they work great.
Working hand-in-hand with the aesthetic is the awesome backing track. The team brought in composer André Allen Anjos (RAC), and I’m very glad we did. His music brings a lot to the game, and ranges from pumped pieces whilst in combat, to slow acoustic numbers in the cutscenes. It’s as diverse as the game environments, and they wont great together.
Master Spy plays just as good as it looks and sounds. Controls or devilishly simply; one button to jump (a quick double tap produces a slightly longer jump), and button to activate your invisibility jacket. The trivial controls in absolutely non-trivial situations makes you work for each level. My only reservation with the controls is that I’d like the main character to move a bit quicker. That’s mainly to make it easier! His slow speed can make jumps a bit more difficult, but I guess that’s the point!
The goal of the levels is to get the key-card, and reach the door . . . If only it was that simple. Whilst doing so you’re also avoiding rabid dogs, guards, lasers, and much more. Each level requires you to take a step back, watch the patterns of your adversaries, and strike when you feel you can make it. You’re probably wrong, you can’t make it, so prepare to die lots.
Gameplay is very fast, as is the respawn time. Ala Meatboy, where when you die you’re running again before you know it. This fast respawn time makes dying not TOO much of a problem. I’ve had some rage-inducing moments where I get stuck on a certain part, but at least there’s no delay to trying again. If you get a certain length through a level, there is usually a checkpoint, so you don’t have to go right back to the start which is good. My controller would be in the neighbour’s yard if I would have had to go to the start of each level after each death!
The line between a successful run and a death is razor thin. Truly, unless you’re the chosen one, the only way to complete the levels is to study your enemies, their patterns in this level, and then going for it. No delaying, you’ll just die, pick a plan and run with it. It feels great when you’ve just ran past a dog, up onto a car, quickly applied your invisibility cloak before the camera could see you, then slowly sneak out the door.
You play as Master Spy, a … master spy who’s been tasked with recovering a tape for Gale-Electro. The game appears to have 5 main missions, each taking place in a new environment, and over a number of different smaller rooms and tasks. I have 40 minutes play-time into the title, and think im roughly half way through mission two. I’m sure however as the game gets tougher my progress will significantly slow down. I’ve seen some gifs of the later levels and they make me shudder!
After each mission you’re given a spy grade for speed, sneakiness, and an overall Spy Grade. After my first run of mission 1 I have 52 deaths, and scored F in speed, F in sneakiness, and a grade of Novice overall. There’s plenty of room to improve, and I plan on doing just that.
Tl;dr – Master Spy is a brilliant stealth-platformer. With simple controls, and devilish environments paced with dangers, it takes a sharp mind to find the correct path, and even sharper skill to execute. The pixel graphics are great, with the pixelated cutscenes taking that one step further. Throw into that the amazing soundtrack, and you have simply a great game that any platforming fan should play.
Mos Speedrun 2 is a precision platformer recently released by Physmo. Sure, there are plenty of platformers out there, but Mos Speedrun 2 brings some unique game features to the table that makes it stand out. Fans of precision platform should definitely give it a look in, so let’s check it out!
This cute, colorful, pixel-graphics game offers 30 levels of challenge. Guide your little creature through the map, jumping over enemies, picking up coins, capturing way-points, bopping around moving platforms, and avoiding the plentiful environmental hazards.
In typical precisions platformer style, one hit will send you back to the start of the level. The only respite are way-points that can be found at various points throughout the levels. They’re only good for one use though, die twice and you go back to the beginning regardless. Get to the end to unlock the next map! Simple idea, but the play isn’t as easy as it sounds.
You can make getting to the end of the map your goal, but if you want to challenge yourself to be the best, you can beat the level in the lowest time possible, collect all the coins around the map, and also discover the gold skulls hidden in various, dangerous spots. There is definitely a lot of replay value for those who want to improve their previous score and earn badges for completing goals.
Another cute aspect of this game is the costume feature. By finishing levels, you can unlock new items to wear on your adventures, which mix and match. Lastly, one unique option is to have “ghosts” turned on, so you can see your previous runs, best run, and friends’ runs in that map while you play.
I used a controller for this game. Obviously, the major action in platformers is jumping. Moving the joystick up created one type of jump, while hitting a button created another. This took some getting used to, but generally, the controls are intuitive. (Although I’m still trying to get used to wall jumps)
I waste a lot of time trying to get this platforming just right, and often wind up killing myself anyways! It definitely takes a lot of patience and can be very frustrating, but successive runs will help you get better at each level and eventually pass it. Then you start all over on the next one!
Tl;dr – This game is everything a precision platformer needs: basic graphics, tight controls, a learning curve, and plenty replayability. Dive in as deep into mastering this game as you want, it has plenty to offer for any type of platforming player.
Xeodrifter, a metro-style platformer from award winning indie developers Renegade Kid and publishers Gambitious Digital Entertainment is now available for Playstation 4 and Vita. After releasing late last year for PC and 3DS, now PlayStation owners can join the party!
You’re a galaxy-traversing traversing nomad with a damaged ship. Stranded in the dark void of space, your goal is to re-build your ship and go home. The journey will take you through four sprawling planets, unlocking new weapons and abilities, allowing you to grow stronger, ready to face the nasties that await you in the strange woods.
The Steam reviews for Xeodrifter are ‘Mostly Positive’, with common complaints being the lack of content, and it falling short of its Metroid goal. Maybe it will lend itself better to be played on a Vita, where you can pick it up for 15 minutes at a time. We have a key for the Vita on the way, so we’ll check it out ourselves and will let you know what’s what!
Xeodrifter is available on PS4 & Vita for£7.99/$9.99/ €9.99 (Cross buy). If you’re interested in the PC version, you’ll find it on Steam for £6.99/$9.99.
Every so often a game comes along that pushes the boundaries of video game visuals and art direction. Ori and the Blind Forest by Moon Studios is one such game. It transports you to a world full of beauty, danger, exploration, and emotion like no other. It’s a game in its own category.
Within the first 10 minutes I was almost in full tear factory mode. You become invested immediately, and what Ori does to the player within the opening scene is what “UP” by Pixar did in its opening scene. It grabs you so hard you are forced to continue to find out what might come next.
You play as Ori, a small nimble creature (a forest spirit) that traverses a beautiful, naturalistic, and unfamiliar world in which he finds himself thrust to learn more about his origins. The only thing to do is move forward, but it’s not without its perils. To slap the genre of MetroidVania on this title would be fairly accurate, but it’s also heavy on platforming and RPG elements such that you learn new abilities via an experience points system. They can be chosen from 3 different branches depending on what your play style is, and can be maxed out by the end of the game.
Being a fan of Metroid style games, I was immediately at home with Ori. I would see something in the distance that I knew I couldn’t get, learn a new ability and come back to claim my prize. Thankfully the game allows you to learn abilities that make these items show up on the map, so no guesswork is involved in finding them. It was refreshing to see a developer put the time in to letting the player have more fun and worry less about writing everything down, or trying to remember what locations they would have to return to.
In addition to the painting like scenery, the soundtrack was equally as amazing. Tranquil music would play while exploring the world, and then ramp-up during a scene of particular importance, or when the situation takes a dire turn. It raises the tension well, and then gently calms the player down, allowing them to focus on exploring. It’s beautiful, and adds to your investment in the game and its environment incredibly well.
All in all, Ori and the Blind Forest was everything I could have wanted in a game of this genre. With beautiful music, well thought out move sets, gorgeous visuals, RPG elements, and a world that comes together seamlessly… there isn’t much more you could ask for. It’s truly a remarkable game and experience.
Tl:dr – Some people buy games based on story, art direction, or gameplay. Ori and the Blind Forest offers all 3, and brings them together in majestic harmony to create of the better games by an indie studio that I’ve played in years. It’s full of emotion, visual brilliance, and gameplay that shows the dedication and talent that Moon Studios put into this game. It’s a no brainer that if you like MetroidVania style games, or are just looking for a good platformer/RPG, Ori and the Blind Forest will satisfy your every need and leave you wanting more.
My default favorite game type is RPG rogue-like platformers, so I didn’t hesitate to review Nick Donnelly’s The Dungeoning, which was released in April of last year. Despite the mixed reviews on Steam, I was determined to give this retro-style game a fair shot.
This game is exactly what you’d expect from something of this genre- a procedural dungeon map with ghosts, bats, and other creepy crawlies, with chests and boxes to open, potions, and basic weapons to upgrade. Upgrade your character with the experience you get from kills. This is all very straightforward….and then there’s perma-death. Extremely frustrating, but that’s the reason I love these types of games.
The game tosses you in head-first. There’s very little instruction besides some pop-up tips that occasionally show up in the lower right of the screen. No real storyline. Music was nothing exciting. Graphics are retro and simple, but I liked them immediately. Controls were not as intuitive as I’d liked (I often manage to use potions instead of wielding my sword). Of course, I died almost instantly right off the bat. The few achievements I earned in my following runs didn’t synch with Steam until about two hours of game-play in. For an achievement Nazi like me, that’s a big no-no.
I decided quickly that I hated the game. It was boring and quirky and didn’t have much charm to it. The controls (which I refused to even look into rebinding- I like testing the game as-is) and achievement issues bothered me. There wasn’t anything unique about this particular game that would make it more interesting than some of my other favorite rogue-likes, such as Rogue Legacy with its hilarious traits or Binding of Isaac with its black humor or Ascendant with its unique graphics and weapons.
I then realized something. I kept playing it. I couldn’t stop. Despite the lack of anything unique in this game, I found myself going back to it to try again. I still die often, but quickly made it to level nine after being stuck on level six for too many runs. I learned more about the way to react to baddies and how to upgrade intelligently, and my achievements came rolling in. Oh no, am I addicted? I think I am! Who cares about the music- I muted it and put my own on. Yeah, there isn’t anything unique about this particular game, but it does what it should- gets you hooked and makes you want to do better than your last run.
So, I don’t hate the game. I actually LIKE it. It continues to frustrate me, but for other reasons. Level nine took it from difficult to insane- too many enemies around me to survive. It’s hard to live if you get swarmed and don’t have enough potions and items to heal yourself. I figure this is something else I’ll learn to overcome as I keep trying over and over.
Overall, I don’t think this game really deserves its mixed reviews. I give it a thumbs-up. If you just want a difficult perma-death rogue-like to play, pick this game up. Worried about it being worth it? It’s only £4.99/$6.99, or wait for it to go on sale. I’d definitely add it to your collection. You might find yourself itching to do one more run, one more run, one more run….
TL;dr – The Dungeoning is a very stereotypical RPG rogue-like platformer with perma-death, but don’t be fooled- you’ll be just as addicted as any other game with more bells and whistles.