My attraction to MirrorMoon EP is fairly indicative of how I normally approach most indie games. That is to say I found out about it pretty much the day it came out, looked into it, decided I wanted it bad, then bought it and wondered just what in the hell I’d gotten myself into.
For those of you who don’t know me but are for some reason still interested in reading this, my name is Rob. I’m currently a Senior Writer over at 148Apps, a contributor for Gamezebo, and have recently started doing mobile reviews for IGN. Naturally I freaking love what I do, but getting to this point wasn’t easy. Not by a long shot. So I’ve decided to chronicle my journey from video game loving boy to video game reviewing boy-at-heart, both for the sake of posterity and as a potential reference for anyone else who wants to do the kinds of things I do but isn’t sure where to start. If nothing else, I hope this makes for an interesting read. *Note: I don’t consider myself a massive success or anything, and it’s not my intention to come off as pretentious. I don’t have all the answers, or even most of them. I only want to share my story and possibly help someone else figure out how to start doing what they want to do*
(Developer: Andreil Game)
Being more than a little versed in a good deal of what the App Store has to offer, I’ve seen many a game like Orcs! on iOS. It’s a recognizable formula: enemies advance from the right, you create and send out units from the left. Sometimes it’s one big battlefield and other times it’s split into “lanes,” but it’s the same idea. Resources accumulate in realtime, with stronger units taking longer to save up for, and combination of strategy and quick-thinking are required to not get steam-rolled. But while these games are a dime-a-dozen on the iPhone (or rather, a dollar-a-piece), there haven’t been many of them available on Xbox Live. Until now, anyway.
Orcs! is a simple enough game in which players must simultaneously attack and defend against hordes of nasty green baddies. Each of the three unit types (essentially a fighter, thief and mage) has a unit it’s weak against, which corresponds to a specific face button. Which is to say magic users (red robes) are weak against warriors, and summoning a warrior is done with the B (red) button. Likewise, warriors (yellow armor) are weak against thieves which are conjured using the Y (yellow) button. Enemies will pour in from the right-hand side of the screen in a handful of “lanes,” and being able to get the right trooper moving down the proper path can quickly become a mother of a challenge. Especially in the later stages. Sounds simple, yes? Continue reading
I like to think that there’s a core group of iOS developers I can always count on. Those big-names are great and all, but they’ll often try to capture the “console” feeling or turn one aspect of a major license into a mobile game which can often be hit-or-miss. Usually miss. However it’s the smaller guys who develop entire games and concepts specifically around the platform that always seem to get it right. These are the people I know I can trust with my time and money, and they haven’t disappointed me yet. RocketCat Games is one such developer and their latest game, soon to get its own Roguelike spin-off (*SQUEE!!*), is their best and most awesome yet. Continue reading
(Developer: Magical Time Bean)
It’s been a long time coming, but I’m finally writing this review for one of the most well-produced Xbox Live indie games of the year. Yeah, big surprise as to what the final verdict is going to be, right? Even so, I think it’s important to go over why it’s a great game, not just that it is, in fact, great. So onward!
Escape Goat is all about a purple goat and his mouse companion, both with bizarre powers. For some reason, the poor duo have been tossed into a magical prison and have to work together in order to reacquire their freedom. And they’ll have to survive 50+ rooms full of traps as well as waking up a few sheep along the way. It might be a weird idea, but it’s certainly not cliche.
About six months ago, I played this Xbox Live indie game called Little Kingdom. It was a nifty little surprise of a game that was something akin to a lighter version of Civilization where everyone goes at the same time. Resources are gathered steadily and it’s up to players to decide how they want to spend them in order to best spread their influence across the map. And protect their own borders, naturally. If a tower or refinery (of sorts) belonging to one player suddenly ends up in another’s territory after they’ve spread out, then the ownership changes hands. It’s built on some very simple push-pull mechanics that are simple to learn but offer a lot more strategy than anyone would expect.
In the days before I owned a PlayStation 3, there were more than a few games I found myself pining for. No, not Killzone 2. I could care less about Drab Adventures in Everything-is-Gray-ville. The PS3 exclusives that had my attention were almost entirely “small” games, developed by independent studios or released as downloadables. Even now, a couple of years later, I find myself using (and keeping) my PS3 largely due to games like Pixeljunk Shooter, Siren: Blood Curse, anything made by Telltale Games and, of course, thatgamecompany.
With one of my most highly anticipated games of the season due out soon-ish (Journey – spring, 2012), I figured now is the perfect time to celebrate what remains to be one of my absolute favorite PS3 games. I know, building “suspense” when the name is right up there in the title seems silly, but it’s a force of habit. Shut up.