Archive for September, 2013

Image
Genre: 
Action, Adventure, Indie, Platformer
Developer: FreakZone Games
Publisher:
 Screw Attack Entertainment
Release Date:
 September 20, 2013

Rated “F” for Fuckballs, The Angry Video Game Nerd Adventures lives up to its rating. Developed by FreakZone Games and published by Screw Attack Entertainment this game has been a long time coming and many have looked forward to its release for some time. AVGNA is actually really hard, and almost makes me wonder what the Angry Video Game Nerd himself would say. The game fits into the online series perfectly and any Angry Video Game Nerd fan will love everything that they have incorporated into it.

Covered in nostalgia this game stays true to the 16 bit era, and doesn’t stray from the path at all. I could think of a 100 things that would make this game better, but by adding them in it would drastically change how the game is perceived. When I first started, it almost felt like 1991, coming home from the video store after renting a new Nintendo game. The AVGNA logo sits on a black background with 3 choices, Start, Options and Quit, and reminded me a lot of the old 8 bit style games like Dig Dug or Excite Bike. The language in this game reminds me of Farrah Abraham’s porno, a bunch of awkwardly placed swears revolving around the words cock, ass and tits, whereas in this case its actually funny on purpose. Adding to the awesomeness of the game, not only is your main weapon an old school Nintendo Zapper, but you have enemies like Rob E. Robot and a defecating Rudolph the reindeer.

The story starts off with the Nerd and his friends playing a “shitty” game together, when suddenly his friends are zapped into the TV. The Nerd escapes into the basement but an arm comes out of the TV and grabs him but the balls and pulls him inside. The game begins in Gameland, 3AM. From there the game brings you into a small training level to learn the controls and dynamics. After the tutorial, you are brought to a map screen where you have the choice of 8 worlds. Each are individually themed and named accordingly. To name a few, “Assholevania” is reminicient of Castlevania and holds many obstacles similar to the ones you would have encountered playing it, “Beat It & Eat It” has elements of the adult themed Atari game Beat Em & Eat Em. Your ultimate goal throughout the game is to beat the boss at the end of each level and try to get yourself out of GameLand.

At times during gameplay I found myself almost trying to like this game, because upon initial gameplay I was almost taken back by the tremendous difficulty, I feel like this is one of those games where its simplicity makes it almost impossible. Your health is comprised of beer bottles, depending on the difficulty setting you choose you will start with either 3 or 5 beers. Like most platformers the bottles are scattered throughout each level and usually appear after a seemly impossible section to help replenish your life before its so callously taken away. Your main weapon is a Nintendo Zapper and if you can find the upgrade you also have the SNES Super Scope which fires faster and more effectively. Each world has hidden secrets and you can even discover new playable characters with different weapons and abilities. 1UPs are scattered throughout the levels to help replenish the lives lost along the way, as well as a few one time use abilities that have a variety of effects.

I think what it all comes down to with this game is price and how its not reflected in gameplay. I respect the old school retro effect and any of my readers will agree with that, but this game would be amazing and I would love it 10 times more for 4.99. Due to the marketing of the game and the already house hold name of AVGN amongst gamers this game would be understandable at 9.99, but the 14.99 price mark is almost a dig at the fans. What it all boils down to is the game at its base and if its good or not. The graphics are a little more pixelated than I would have expected, and the ratio is a little larger than your normal platformer. The controls are on point and flow well with the game. Overall The Angry Video Game Nerd Adventures is certainly worth checking out, and will leave you just as angry as the Nerd himself.

Graphics: 5/10
Playability: 6/10
Story: 6/10
Challenge: 8/10
Replay Value: 6/10

Advertisements

capsule_616x353

Genre: Action, Adventure, Indie, Platformer
Developer: Crazy Viking Studios
Publisher: Adult Swim Games
Release Date: September 13, 2013

The Gods struck lightning upon the land and from the bolts came Volgarr The Viking. This one from Crazy Viking Studios reminds me of the NES version of Dragons Lair, not so much the gameplay but the almost impossibility of completing the first level. Very unforgiving Volgarr The Viking has one difficulty setting, and thats Ralph Wiggum HARD. This is one of those games where what you see is what you get, and reminds me a lot of a SEGA arcade machine that would cost you 25 cents every run. So trust me, if that were the case with this game, you would lose your entire paycheck trying to beat the first level. BUT, that isn’t exactly a bad thing, and I’ll explain why.

When I initially started this game, the powerful music combined with the 16 bit SEGA graphics kind of takes you back a bit. I like games with unique introductions like this one, where the start screen is the beginning of the game as well. Volgarr the Viking takes elements from games like Castlevania and Contra, and brings them into the new age while making sure not to jeopardize the retro feel. Not only is this game more brutally violent than a relationship with Chris Brown, but brutally hard. My first time playing after 30 minutes and multiple deaths I still hadn’t made it to the first checkpoint. One of my main concerns reading the early reviews of this game revolved around what many called “clunky, unresponsive controls.” Thankfully after buying Volgarr I found this not to be the case. The dynamics and mechanics are perfectly balanced for this game, and are what I would like to describe as “solid.” Meaning each move must follow through before making the next, so if in the time you are swinging the sword you are hit, you won’t be able to react fast enough and will suffer the consequences.

The Game itself doesn’t have much of a story line. When you first start, the Gods declare “Rise Warrior!” as a bolt of lightning strikes the ground Volgarr appears. From there on you start the game immediately and begin the adventure. Starting off you are given a shield, which will act as your main form of defense against the lizardish bird monsters that you are put up against. When you aren’t attacking you are able to block the simple attack so each of the monsters, but the moment you attack you are leaving yourself vulnerable. The shield acts as a hit point. If you get hit, you lose the shield and you are now exposed to everything making your next hit fatal. You can pick up different forms of armor throughout the game by finding and breaking open chests. After getting the shield and helmet you can upgrade your weapon to a flaming sword which is considerably more powerful than the one you begin with. Each different item you are wearing acts as single hit point, each time you are hit you lose an item.

As for replay factor, that seems to be all that you will be doing when it comes to Volgarr The Viking, or at least that was my experience. I can say that I have played the game for a good 5 hours in preparation for this review, and within that time I’ve learned to love and hate the game all at the same time. It certainly is hard, and seems impossible, but I guess thats what gives it mystery. The way I look at it, Volgarr The Viking is yet another classic from Adult Swim Studios, and no matter what you love or hate about it, thats what makes it so awesome.

Volgarr The Viking stays true to the 16 bit retro feel all the way through. Everything from the controls, graphics, music and mood all remind me of after school gaming sessions with friends, trying to prove who could get further and beat the level. Taking everything into account Volgarr The Viking is a good game, fun to play, and bleeds nostalgia. If you think you have what it takes, go for it, you won’t be disappointed.

Graphics: 7/10
Playability: 6/10
Story: 8/10
Challenge: 10/10
Replay Value: 7/10

header_292x136 (2)

Genre: Indie, Platformer
Publisher: Spooky Squid Games
Release Date: August 29, 2012

If you ever wanted to know what Mario 3 mixed with 300 hits of blotter acid and the necronomicon looked like, this is it. Released by Spooky Squid Games, They Bleed Pixels is a controller destroyer, and may very well leave you with an aneurysm. With that being said, it’s not only one of the hardest games I’ve ever played, but one of the best. This is what pixel art is supposed to look like and sets a standard for its genre. They Bleed Pixels is a gothic styled game with a cryptic feel, and is visual rush from the moment you begin.

Starting this game puts you in a nostalgic state, and is like pressing play on your favorite 90’s B film. At first I wasn’t sure what I was in for, but when the first cut scene of pixel animation began to play I was in awe. The cryptic visuals and dark feel, combined with the pixellated brutality would have been enough for the ESRB to rate this one Mature in 1992, but these days it’s exactly what indie gamers are looking for. The soundtrack goes perfect with gameplay and if you can catch the rhythm it’s an entirely different experience in itself. Morbidly enough before each level, the loading screen features different quotes from H.P. Lovecraft, Edgar Allan Poe and other related people of the occult. All of this together puts They Bleed Pixels in another category of its own with its instant visual appeal and dark, haunting music.

You are a young girl arriving at what you are told is a boarding school, Lafcadio Academy for Troubled Young Ladies. Unprepared for the violent nightmares that plague your dreams and transport you to other worlds, you are sent onto a journey that will take you to hell and back. Worse yet, her dreams are intruding into her waking life, slowly altering her flesh into the demonic form of her night terrors. While in the library she notices a book on the top of one of the book shelf. When she goes closer she notices a drop of blood come down on her hand. Your goal is to destroy the mysterious blood-soaked book that appears to be the root of her troubles, collecting pages throughout the game. Will you be able to make it through, or will her transmutation from girl to clawed horror become complete?

The game consists of chapters and different dreams make up the levels within each of them. Instead of points you collect pints, which after collecting a certain amount filling your power bar allowing you to not only save but replenish your health at the same time. Super Meatboy-esq, your dead corpse is left behind as a reminder of your past failures and attempts to complete each seemingly impossible level. They Bleed Pixels focuses on close up melee, utilizing the monstrous claws given to you in the beginning of the game. Different button sequences make up each strike or move allowing for combo hits awarded by extra “pints.” At the end of each dream you are given a report card, sticking with the boarding school theme. You are ranked based on lives lost, how many pints of blood you have collected, highest combo and how many pages of the spell book you have found.

They Bleed Pixels has an extras section in the main menu that includes bonus levels that are unlocked by completing each dream. You also are given badges with a manifold of different things to accomplish similar to the achievement system on XBox360 or Steam. The extras section also includes an art gallery with several pictures by different artists that you are able to unlock by beating each chapter. And of course, just incase you didn’t get everything you could out of the cut scene when you first saw it, the extras also offers a video section.

Games like They Bleed Pixels are fun no matter what or when you play them. The attack on your senses is endless from the moment you begin to the moment you end. Everything comes together perfectly from the story line to gameplay to the intense soundtrack and pixel art. Possibly one of the hardest games released last year, as well as one of the best, They Bleed Pixels is another essential in any gamers library.

Graphics: 8/10
Playability: 7/10
Story: 7/10
Challenge: 9/10
Replay Value: 7/10