Archive for October, 2013

Nuclear Throne

Posted: October 26, 2013 in Game Reviews

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Genre: Action, Indie, RPG
Publisher: Vlambeer
Release Date: October 11, 2013

Yet another addicting roguelike from Vlambeer and friends, Nuclear Throne is the cooler older brother of Super Crate Box. This time around there are more crazy monsters to kill with another massive arsenal and seven new playable characters to do it with. When I first saw previews for the game, I recognized the work immediately as Vlambeer, as I was a huge fan of Super Crate Box. One of the most enjoyable aspects of this game is being able to move freely through an open level, opposed to the single screen of SCB as well as the option to choose from multiple characters with different stats and special abilities.

After a few failed attempts at trying to reach out to Vlambeer via Twitter for a possible copy to review I just decided to buy it. Supporting indie developers like Vlambeer who have provided us gamers with awesome free games like Super Crate Box doesn’t bother me, I just didn’t want to wait till my next payday to be able to play this game, AND coincidentally Nuclear Throne happened to come out on my birthday. Anyway, I digress… Nuclear Throne is more fun than playing Mario 3 christmas morning 1988 and manages to keep you on your toes while you battle through each level where your goal is to clear it of all enemies. Loaded with upgrades, tons of different weapons and ammo, a boat load of monsters that came off a zombie infected Noah’s Ark of doom, and a cast of characters resembling the Garbage Pail Kids, Nuclear Throne is sure to turn you into the next Toxic Avenger.

Nuclear Throne is Vlambeers latest action roguelike-like about mutants fighting their way through a post-apocalyptic world. The radioactive waste in the world allows mutants to get ahead by mutating new limbs on the fly, the abundant availability of powerful weaponry makes the quest to become ruler of the Wasteland one fraught with peril. At this point in development, Nuclear Throne consists of 7 playable characters and has 4 worlds, each containing 3 sub levels that you must complete before moving on to the next. Your ultimate goal is to clear the map, collect ammo, build your arsenal and gather nuclear waste to gain levels.

To gain levels you must collect the nuclear waste capsules that enemies drop after you kill them. After collecting so many of these you gain your next level and given the opportunity to upgrade your character. Some of these upgrades include “Lucky Shot” that when added allows some shots to regenerate ammo. “Blood Lust” gives you the ability where some kills may regenerate your HP, or “Rhino Skin” which gives you an added +4HP. These upgrades are essential to your gameplay, and if you choose wisely you can get further and further every time you play.

The gameplay of Nuclear Throne is genius and compelling, keeping you glued to your computer making every last bullet a battle cry at redemption. Each character has its own special ability and varied stats, for example, “Fish” gets more ammo than most other characters, and his special ability is the doge roll. Whereas “Crystal” gets more HP, and has the crystal shield as a special ability. Right now my favorite character is “Plant.” He moves around faster, and has the ability to throw seeds out and snare enemies making it easier to kill them. This helps greatly when trying to move around enemies that are shooting at you as well, not to mention snaring larger enemies allowing for an easier target to move around.

Weaponry isn’t an issue when it comes to Nuclear Throne. Everything from a screwdriver to a grenade launcher, Vlambeer certainly didn’t leave anything out of this one. The shooting dynamics when using a mouse and keyboard are flawless, and put the power from your current weapon at your finger tips. Extra ammunition is found from killing enemies and dropped randomly, usually when you’re running low. Like many roguelikes, ammo is essential and there usually isn’t that much of it readily available, especially when using the triple machine gun.You can also find ammo and extra weapons from the chests scattered throughout each level, and health is also dropped this way as well.

The music in Nuclear Throne blends perfectly with gameplay and isn’t overly annoying like in most other games. I liked that each level had its own unique and distinct music that was congruent to its surroundings. Graphicly, Nuclear Throne is a step up from Super Crate Box and adds more shading while adding more characteristics to the enemies and playable characters. Overall, Nuclear Throne is an awesome game, tons of fun to play, and leaves you wanting more. Anytime that I find myself thinking about a video game outside of my house I know that its a hit. Needless to say this game is incredible, and even in early development shows promise. I highly suggest this one, its bound to be another classic.

Graphics: 7/10
Playability: 7/10
Story: 3/10
Challenge: 7/10
Replay Value: 7/10

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Genre: Action, Indie
Developer: Test3 Projects
Publisher:
 Paradox Interactive
Release Date:
 July 24, 2013

First off, the only way to describe what was running through my head when I first started playing Teleglitch was “WHAT THE FUCK?!!?” Saying that, this indie roguelike from developer Test3 Projects rabidly eats your half alive corpse and then spits it out leaving you wanting more. Strangely addicting, you find yourself drawn to Planet Medusa 1C left in awe by the pixellated madness that is Teleglitch. So strap up and make every shot count, and I’ll tell you why this is one of my top 5 picks of the year.

Teleglitch is one of those games where watching “Lets Play” with some youtube douche bag in his mothers basement isn’t going to suffice. Best played with a keyboard and mouse,  this top down shooter is reminiscent of GTA but put together with the savage intellect of a guerrilla militia planning its next terrorist move. To be honest, I was standoffish when it came to this game at first, it didn’t catch my eye, and I wasn’t really sure what it was all about. During a sale on Steam I was able to purchase Teleglitch for a good price and give it a chance, and I’m glad I did. After getting the hang of this game I felt like Rick Grimes or Daryl Dixon on a rampage blowing off zombie’s heads and throwing pipe bombs at anything in that got in my path.

In a cold, dark future dominated by mega-corporations, a place 30 light years away from Earth, Planet Medusa 1C is on the edge of habitable space and the site of a shadowy research facility specializing in necrotic tissue reactivation. You are a scientist who has suddenly awoken to the realization that you are the lone survivor. The rest of the facilities personnel have all been killed, micro-chipped and reactivated as combatants by the facilities central processing AI. An in-depth storyline keeps you constantly informed of your surroundings and almost adds a sense of excitement through your adventure. The story of Teleglitch continues throughout each level and grows deeper and more involved as you progress on your quest.

This game is hard and involves a lot of tactical thinking on the fly. An advanced crafting system helps you build explosives among other various weaponry based on the materials you collect throughout each level. You are also able to craft other tactical items like the Detector which helps you locate enemies on the map in close quarters where you would otherwise be ambushed.  Combining health kits or different materials can result in health upgrades or even steroids. These crafted items are a key element of Teleglitch making later gameplay almost impossible without them. The map is another vital piece of gameplay and by using it as a constant reference I found that it not only allowed me to keep my bearings but also helped keep track of any missed rooms I may have passed on the way. You will also encounter databases that hold crucial information regarding your mission, or maybe some tactical advice regarding secret locations which also make up a large part of the game.

The “Die More Edition” of this game alters gameplay slightly making each of the enemy creatures slightly more powerful to increase difficulty, as well as offering more weapons and items to craft with. Weaponry is a large part of the game, but in a small way. On Medusa 1C there is a lack of ammunition so every bullet counts and depending on what you are wielding you may not put down what is attacking you in one shot.  Without the “Guns & Tunes” DLC you start off with the standard 9mm pistol, then with continued play you are able to find more ammo and other weapons or explosives. Something that sets Teleglitch aside from other roguelikes of its kind is the unique crafting system I had mentioned earlier, and with this you are also able to build upgrades to your guns, which gives them more power or a special ability.

Some might think the pixel graphics in Teleglitch belong in 1981 but I look at them and see a visual masterpiece. Nostalgic, with flawless gameplay that keeps you on the edge of your seat Teleglitch is an amazing example of a simple pixel game that took it to the next level. Seemingly so basic, Teleglitch is a breath of fresh air to the retro movement and another essential in the library of any indie game. Like many roguelikes the map and environment change with every new game. Thousands of zombies and mutants deliver hours of gameplay making this game another instant classic and comes highly suggested to any gamer.

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

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Genre: Casual, Indie, RPG, Turn Based
Developer: David Williamson
Publisher:
 David Williamson
Release Date:
 April 5, 2012

Another instantly addicting game, Hack, Slash, Loot by developer David Williamson is a work of turn based martial art. Roguelike, you have to take every chance, try every door and kill every creature in your path. Incredibly fun to play, you don’t know who or what is in the next room, leaving you on the edge of your seat making Hack, Slash, Loot a go to game.

First starting the game you are given the option of a Human, Wizard or Archer, with continued gameplay you are able to unlock another 29 over time. Throughout the game you will encounter hordes of monsters, demons, zombies, and a manifold of other creatures to battle. Being turn based, you have to wait your turn, so be prepared to click frantically until your turn comes only to miss and do it again. With that being said its not all clicking, there is a deeper level of gameplay involved in Hack, Slash, Loot. This game involves a tactical insight and understanding beyond pointing and clicking. Each different quests embodies another set of skills and approach at the game. The possibilities are endless, mixing and matching of accessories and armor make every run different and add a new level of excitement and draw to the game.

There are dark places in the world inhabited by evil denizens. Places filled with danger and foreboding where no ordinary man would dare to journey. However, there are a few who are willing to risk death in the name of good, in the name of justice, in the name of… valuable loot! Depending on what quest you choose you are given a backstory to give you a sense of what your goal is in your adventure. Within each of the different quests you encounter various creatures and characters that have roles in the story, or provide dialog pertaining to whats at hand. While some quests are easier than others, each are sure to keep you on your toes.

Play for a few minutes or get more serious and sit down for a few hours, the more you play Hack, Slash, Loot the deeper you become involved. The retro appeal of this game really sells it the most, imagine Realm of the Mad God meets MS-DOS Dungeons and Dragons, imagine Final Fantasy Tactics meets Hammerwatch, imagine playing while watching the animated Lord Of The Rings, because thats what I did and now I love this game. You have a control panel in front of you while navigating your hero throughout each quest. To the left you have the status of your character displaying armor and stats. In the middle, a mini map that lights up as you explore each room, this also serves as a quick point and click to get you across the level faster. On the right, the description and status of each tile, chest, monster or whatever you hover the mouse over.

With only the life you are given to start you must find chests or overturn dead bodies in order to find scrolls or potions to boost your health as well as other stats at the same time. These scrolls and potions are critical to gameplay and make Hack, Slash, Loot almost impossible to play without them. With 32 different classes to choose from, 6 unique quests, and an endless mixture of armor, weaponry and gear makes Hack, Slash, Loot an instant classic and a must have for any indie gamer.

Graphics: 6/10
Playability: 7/10
Story: 9/10
Challenge: 8/10
Replay Value: 7/10

http://www.hackslashloot.com/dload/hackslashdemowin.zip (6.5mb)