Reviews for DLC Quest, Platform Hack and Perkunas’ Dragon: Episode One, along with some news on some upcoming games.
DLC Quest – 80 :MSPoints: – Marketplace – Review by Kyle S.
A game like DLC Quest is one of those games with such a simple, yet ingenious idea the developer builds on. We’ve all had our complaints towards DLC recently, with accusations of overcharging customers, making people pay for an incomplete game, etc, etc. The guys over at Going Loud Studios took that anger we’ve all dealt with, and made a fantastic piece of satire out of it, all while milking all of the virtual coins out of you for game-changing DLC until the end, oh and save the princess from the bad guy.
A large disclaimer will tell you the second you finish downloading the title, and finally start it up that DLC Quest doesn’t actually contain any real DLC, assuring the player all ‘DLC’ is bought with virtual coins collected through the usual process of exploration (plus Microsoft won’t allow XBLIG’s to have DLC in the first place). With that bit of information clear to anyone who might have otherwise thought this game contained real DLC (and to please Going Loud Studios’ lawyers) we can get down to the core of the game, how it plays. For the usual retro-styled platformer seen on the XBLIG marketplace is just as solid as any others seen out there, and the rest of the controls are just as straightforward, with the ‘A’ button dedicated to jumping, and so on. The entire aspect that makes this game not only hilarious, yet fun, is the acquisition of DLC from the moment you begin a new game without any animations, pause menus, or anything besides the ability to walk left from the start bought with all of the coins you can find. While buying the DLC isn’t exactly hard, with a bounty of coins to be found by simply looking around (or in walls), I did find myself laughing pretty hard at a few select pieces such as the ‘Armor for your Horse’ pack which is not taking a stab at any noticeable Bethesda game at all, or the DLC used to cut down grinding time for a sword by 1000x, which I can proudly say I never used. For what it’s worth, gameplay is simple but heavy on hilarious satire which alone easily makes the price of one buck worth the admission.
Besides gameplay this title shares in the glory of titles before it, using a blocky retro-style look and feel that mixes perfectly with the simple, yet effective control style and play of the title itself. Maybe the blocky look isn’t for everyone, but I’m easily swooned by the bright, vivid colors, minimalistic backgrounds, and a throwback to the golden times of gaming. Along with the retro art style, comes a very fitting retro soundtrack comprised from a variety of great tracks by Ozzed completing the ensemble with fantastic chiptunes.
DLC Quest isn’t a long title, or a challenging title, but for one dollars worth of hilarious satire this game is not a title to look over at all. Great, yet simple visuals and gameplay (all done by one Ben Kane) as well as a more than fitting soundtrack makes for a great thirty minutes to an hour. As well as having done DLC Quest, Going Loud Studios also did another title we’ve reviewed in the past (with similar praise) for Lair of The Evildoer, which you should also definitely look into. So have fun, yeah?
Platform Hack – 80 :MSPoints: – Marketplace – Review by Matthieu
Platform Hack is a Platformer/RPG hybrid that seems to be a growing genre in both the casual and hardcore gaming world. However, Daydalus Studios did well to produce a title that can hold its own in the Indie world that is. Illustrated through unique hand-drawn visuals tied with an engaging gameplay mechanics its hard to see some of the minor design flaws this games has. Platform Hack is riddled with plenty of unlockables and upgrades to produce the illusion that the game is longer than the four labyrinth worlds that fill this universe. Who am I to complain though? The bulk of my experience was more than enjoyable.
The story in Platform Hack is bare and unintriguing. The hero has a night to remember with the love of his life Sophie with fireworks and courtshipping. As the night progresses the town is attacked and set ablaze by bandits and the hero finds out from a hooded figure named Sam that his family and friends were murdered. Oh yeah , and that Sophie had been kidnapped. Now it is the hero’s job to traverse the four worlds slaying any baddies that happen to step in his path to rescue his girlfriend (sound familiar) and avenge his family and friends.
The gameplay is somewhat interesting and reminiscent of the popular indie title Cave Story. You have the standard red health bar and blue for special abilities like enhanced jumping and shields. Both bars regenerate when the hero is not using his abilities or getting attacked. The leveling system which is signified by a red bar under the power bar, is an integral component in Platform Hack as it allows you to handle enemies in later levels as well as complete the levels with ease. For example, upgrading your jump to double jump or wall jump may allow you reach a certain chest you couldn’t reach before or even aid you in boss battles that fire projectiles annoyingly. Upgrades like pistols or beams make the latter levels less frustrating than they otherwise would be.
The level design is quite frankly unappealing with a dash of frustration sprinkled in. Platform Hack feels a lot like a maze game where I had to find the cheese at the end like lab rat. Each level tasks you with getting from one to the other and maybe explore if you feel like it. What makes the experience frustrating are the enemy spawns. Many times I found myself wondering how I was going to get past the twenty enemies bouncing at me that seemed fused together or the ten enemies scrolling back and forth in one spot. While pretty frustrating for me, it may be a welcoming challenge for many hardcore platforming or even shmup fans.
For a Developer taking a step into a hybrid genre , Daydalus Studios have done a pretty decent job. Despite its boring story which it could have gone without and had maybe a quest system. For its current price I would have picked it up if I didn’t have a copy already. I can certainly say that I look forward to their next release.
Perkunas’ Dragon: Episode One – 240 :MSPoints: – Marketplace – Review by Matthieu
Out of the workshop to the indie game marketplace comes Purkunas’ Dragon: Episode One a Shmup/RPG/puzzler title from Middle Land Studio that I believe could of stayed in the workshop for a little bit longer. Usually when the words dragon and RPG are mixed together it foreshadows that an interesting RPG concept could be on the way. But instead we have a title that feels like every idea that was discussed from the developer standpoint ended up half done.
The story in Purkunas’ Dragon while not something truly engaging or enticing in the slightest it does well to allow a solitary incentive for why you are playing the first place. It even has a voiced narrator which isn’t something commonly seen in indie games. But, it doesn’t make up for the gameplay the game throws you into situations with no explanation to follow. Through the people of the land worshiped the gods because they could not grasp the laws of nature. however a strange disease began to ravage the lands during the rule of Duke Radbod. When Radbod prayed to the gods for help , the gods sent a dragon instead.
Hand drawn visuals if done right are some of the most appealing aspects of indie games. It shows to not only to consumers/gamers but also developers that creativity is more important than the recycling of concepts from a previous game(s). Purkunas’ Dragon’s art style fits perfectly to the type of setting the game presents. Which is a vast magical land with magical creatures , horses, shamans, etc. But, I feel like the developers didn’t want anything to do with drawing the UI, models, and effects. Instead they let little children do it for them. I feel they were lazily drawn to push out the game as quickly as possible. Music is less than stellar as most of the composed music noticeably on loop. It was obviously the musician had no enthusiasm or feel for the game.
Gameplay is Purkunas’ Dragon’s highest point and that really isn’t saying much. As the player you control a red dragon sent by the gods. With magical abilities and fireballs destroying flying creatures/ birds with really no reason why these particular enemies are attacking.Hints and tips are scarce in this intense hybrid shmup and it is a really terrible move by the developers as each level throws you in and says kill all the enemies with a fireball attack that feels more like flaming tennis balls shooting out of the dragon’s mouth. Instructions for abilities already in the player’s possession are offered later rather than in the early levels which I founds odd. I would of preferred unlocking abilities progressively rather than havimg them from the start and not knowing how to use them.
All in all, once I grasped the idea and the instructions I needed to play the game correctly I had an enjoyable experience with Purkunas’ Dragon: Episode One. While I think 240 :MSPoints: is pretty steep for the price, I do hope that the money made can be used to work on improving their next game episode two or next title in general.
A new development video has been released by Magiko Gaming showing some of the features in their game Platformines. The video shows some of the inventory, energy usage and some of the enemies you may encounter in the game. Check out the video below and visit their homepage at magikogaming.wordpress.com/.
Smudged Cat Games announced their new game Gateways which launches soon. Gateways might seem like an everyday platformer,… until you discover the gateway guns. The gateway guns allow you to place two gateways on the walls, floors and ceilings of the lab so that when you pass through one you emerge out of the other. Visit the homepage at smudgedcat.com/gateways.html for more details.
Positron – VFX Preview Trailer0