The level of critical acclaim for what in my eyes is one of the worst games of 2015 so far is puzzling me like nothing in even The Talos Principle ever did. Apotheon is receiving virtually no serious negative press – Steam reviews are at 96% positive, it’s receiving ratings upwards of 7 across the board, and hell, Destructoid has declared it “apotheonestly great”.
Are they being hypnotized by some kind of swinging pendulum hidden in the game’s stylish pottery art design that only affects professional journalists? They must be, just as they are every time an indie with spunk comes bounding down the aisles of the digital store, and explodes all over every shelf in the vicinity.
This game is a hot fucking mess. A sometimes fine, sometimes knee-deep layer of baffling design and broken interactivity has seeped all the way through to the bottom of Apotheon. Next to no facets of the game are spared from the onslaught of unpolished gameplay.
Today, Ouya announced that it had received an investment from China’s Alibaba Group. Along with the investment comes an agreement for Ouya to port their software to Alibaba’s YunOS. These are the potential first steps towards the eventual goal of selling Ouyas in China, perhaps the first plan for console distribution in the country since it recently lifted its ban on video game consoles. This is perhaps the last chance for the Ouya to become as successful as it seemed it would be in its Kickstarter days. If it does, it may cause a major shift in the console market around the world.
I have a fascination with buying some mediocre-looking game just to see what it is, and what happens when a person buys it. Song of the Myrne: What Lies Beneath is something of a weird case, because from the screenshots I could tell immediately that this wasn’t going to be Game of the Year material. But my male intuition told me that this game was probably pretty cool, and after playing a fair bit of it, I think it sort of is…
Song of the Myrne is many things. Flawed, simplistic, and cheaply made to be sure, but it’s also an ambitious, seemingly sprawling RPG with many things people praised Divinity: Original Sin for reminding the world of in back in June.
If you haven’t heard of Drift Stage yet, as I hadn’t this morning, then prepare to have your world enlightened. It’s one of the few efforts I’ve seen to make an arcade racer that looks and feels like one, and besides Distance, it’s definitely the only good one. It’s especially telling that the alpha demo only comes with one track you race over and over… and I played it for a half hour. And I want to play it more, the only reason I stopped was to write this article.
As you can tell by the title, it’s all about drifting in order to manage your speed. Every time you hit a wall, you lose some of your speed meter, and can lose a gear if you lose enough meter.
The actual nuances of performing the drifting were somewhat arcane for a little while. You have to let go of the accelerator and brake, which for a while tripped me up because I didn’t realize that after that, you can let go of the brake and start accelerating again. For a while I kept losing huge amounts of speed, more speed than I would lose if I just kept slamming into walls on the sharp turns.
This might be the first Kickstarter I ever back. It’s already $16,000 beyond its goal, but $15 will get you access to the beta builds here. I think that’s what I’m going to do.
Click to enlarge the images in this review. You’ll need it.
I’ve reviewed a fewindiegames on this site that try to combine roguelike risk-reward gameplay with another genre for maximum indie game appeal. Coin Crypt tried to be an amped-up deck-building game with permadeath, Magicite tried to be an amped-up crafting game with permadeath, but few songs are sung for the indies that try to be a genuinely good roguelike. This is where Dungeonmans comes in.
You may remember a freeware gem from 2011 called Nitronic Rush. If you played it, you certainly do remember it – it’s a fantastic game about a car that can leap and spin in the air. The developers have been hard at work at its delectable spiritual successor “Distance” and as of today it’s available on Steam Early Access for $16.99 until 12/16, when it will bump up to its normal price of $19.99.
This game is guaranteed to pan out, and it’s exceedingly playable at the moment with just about as much content as Nitronic Rush had, right off the bat. The soundtrack is full of hot bangers. I picked it up myself earlier today and can confirm that this is some good shit. Read on for a beta trailer!
Magicite is sort of the embodiment of current indie trends. It’s a survival/crafting game, the environments are randomly generated, it’s a “roguelike”, and there’s pixel art. It’s the all-in-one package, but it suffers from one fatal flaw: the sum of the parts is greater than the whole.
Shovel Knight is not a trailblazer. Shovel Knight isn’t going to be remembered for being the first of its kind in any detail whatsoever, but in 10 years, people will be playing Shovel Knight just because of how damned good it is.
Coin Crypt is the embodiment of a certain tier of indie game. These games are no Bastion or Hotline Miami, that transcend the stigma of the term “indie game” and stand out as some of the best in their genre, but they’re no Lifeguard either. They’re the games that strip a genre to its core elements, coking it up a little and costuming it in a retro art style. In so doing, though, they often cut themselves out of any of the depth and complexity needed to be particularly gripping for more than a session or two. Coin Crypt stands out as the epitome of losers here.
Forming an opinion on Guacamelee has proven to be a difficult task, and criticizing it has proven to be even harder. On one hand, it’s a pleasant-enough platformer that fancies itself among the $15 indie hoi oligoi. On the other hand, it’s just no fun. What do you say about a game like this? Do you focus on praising the solidity of its mechanics, or chastising its unengaging gameplay and flatline pacing?