Archive for the ‘preview’ Category

Space War Commander Preview

March 14, 2009

Space War Commander is a “Real Time Real Strategy” game where you attempt to conquer the galaxy and eradicate the destroyers of mankind. The game was just released at the beginning of 2009. “Real Time Real Strategy” is Dreamspike’s way of emphasizing the strategy elements of the game; honestly it doesn’t make much sense since the game can be paused at any time and played more like a turn-based strategy game.

Space War Commander has retro/16-bit graphics and sound. It definitely looks like it belongs on the Sega Genesis… this is a good thing for nostalgics, but bad for most gamers of 2009. The vacant music and minimalist sound works for this space title, but the graphics and pixel art could be better. It doesn’t help that there is little to no animation in the game. Ships appear as icons in the galaxy and float from planet to planet. Battles consist of red dots flying between ships. The gameplay is definitely only for the strategy enthusiast. I found the menus overly cumbersome, but there’s certainly a lot of stats, ships, planets, etc. to track.

Space War Commander is certainly not for everyone. It’s a heavily stat-tracking and strategy focused game. The controls are simple enough to learn, but the menu system and overall presentation could use a lot of work. I think Space War Commander could be a success with the strategy crowd if a Graphic Designer were to update the visuals and improve the user interface. As it stands, it’s just not refined enough to compete in the commercial space.


Preview: Space Exploration: Serpens Sector

March 8, 2009

Serpen’s Sector is a space sci-fi RPG by Metal Beetle. The game focuses on exploring the long abandoned Serpen’s Sector of space. Encounters and discoveries are randomized and each game is different and relatively short (you are given 200 days to explore as much as you can). The gameplay is very rudimentary and involves simply clicking your choices and navigating the map. The story and your space discoveries are all presented via text and static pictures. The graphics are all static and there is no real animation or action to keep you attention. The basic mechanics of this game are too simplistic and repetitive to warrant anyone getting involved in the story of this game. Luckily, Metal Beetle is planning on releasing the main game for free which is a wise choice. For those who really loved old text-based adventure games, keep a watch out for Serpen’s Sector. Other gamers will probably want to stay away.

Preview: Osmos

March 5, 2009

Osmos, by Hemisphere Games, is nominated for 3 2009 IGF awards including the Seumas McNally Grand Prize Design. The game is an interesting fusion of asteroids and flOw. You control a little amoeba ball called a ‘mote’ that can thrust itself by firing some of its own mass in the opposite direction. Your objective is to absorb other motes…this is only possible if your mote is bigger than the other (a la flOw). The controls and thrust of the world are very similar to asteroids…once you start going one way, you won’t stop till you slow yourself down. The game offers a nice serene ambient soundtrack and dreamlike graphics. All in all it’s a well executed game that I think lacks the variety to take the grand prize. Still, the game is only in alpha and certainly one to watch.

Caster Preview

November 4, 2008

Caster is an upcoming 3rd person shooter action game from developer Mike Smith of Elecorn. The game controls like a first person shooter with the keyboard moving your character and the mouse handling all your aiming and shooting. The basic premise of the game is rid your world of the bug-like Phanx with your magical energy attacks.

The copy we played was a preview build for the Independent Game Festival. While the game’s 3D graphics are low-res, there’s definitely some impressive real time terrain deformation, particle effects, and lighting going on under the hood. The gameplay is also very playable with responsive controls and a good mission structure and upgrade/leveling system. What really impressed me though was the fantastic music that this game already has in place (and the fact that the game was programmed/animated by a 1 person studio).

Caster has the potential to be a very impressive game. The basic structure is in place, but the game needs a significant graphics upgrade. The level textures are horrendously low resolution and the main character needs some more polygons. If Elecorn takes the time to balance the difficulty, and give the graphics an overhaul, Caster could be an amazing indie game. The gameplay, speed, and action packed levels are already fun to play and the music definitely adds a lot to the game. With varied magical attacks, excellent music, great particle/lighting effects, a level-up system, and what looks to be a great game engine, Caster is poised to be a high octane action game. I only hope that a new coat of paint gets slapped on to improve the game’s 3d Graphics (the 2d Graphics are great).

Awesome Soccer Preview

November 3, 2008

Awesome Soccer by Red27 Studios is a no frills soccer (football) game that focuses on simple and deep gameplay. Awesome Soccer immediately reminds one of the classic Sensible World of Soccer. Awesome soccer has a simplified control system where you move with the keyboard and only have one button to execute all your passing, shooting, slide tackling, etc. There is also an aftertouch system that allows you to put “swerve” on your shots (another similarity to Sensible World of Soccer). Luckily for Awesome Soccer, it’s visuals are not a decade old. Awesome soccer has very fluid player sprites and large soccer photographs that display as menu backdrops. While Awesome Soccer shares its gameplay mechanics heavily with SWOS, it does have a lot more features, league options, strategy elements, management options etc. than the arcade sports game classic. If you were a fan of SWOS, Awesome Soccer will certainly give you a similar gaming experience while offering downloadable tournaments and other team, and league managment options. Don’t be fooled though, Awesome Soccer does not attempt to simulate the sport, but instead replicates classic arcade soccer gameplay. Scoring is much more prevalent, but isn’t that more fun anyways?

Everyday Shooter Preview

October 13, 2008

Everyday Shooter is THE BEST downloadable game I have played on a console. It takes the popular geometry wars formula and adds a chain system and puts it all to music. Playing the game really is like playing through a music album. Each level has a unique music track, mood, feel, and a new chain system to learn. Learning how to chain is crucial to beating the levels and progressing through the game. The game is a little hard, but the incentive is always there to unlock the next level and experience a new song and shmup system. I can’t recommend this title enough. Check it out in the PS3 store.

Preview: World of Goo

October 10, 2008

I recently preordered World of Goo and was lucky enough to sample the first chapter (which I have almost completed….blasted tower of goo level!). Let me start off by saying that I absolutely love the art style. It’s hard to explain exactly what it is, but it definitely has a pop-up book type feel. All in all, it’s shaping up to be a very unique and slick game. Just as dragging and dropping the black goo got tedious, I was introduced to some mind blowing other goos such as inflatable goos and green movable goos. I am really excited to see what other goos make it into the final game. Hopefully, World of Goo will get the notoriety it deserves when it is finally released…I think it could make quite a splash on the Wii. Simple gameplay permeates this game, but you have to be smart with your goos or 2d Boy will cry.

Preview: Band of Bugs

October 9, 2008

Graphics: The Graphics are VERY good for Xbox Live Arcade and very clean. I think they pop a little bit more when the colored team shading is not on, but the convenience of identifying the different teams was not worth leaving off for me. The bugs all move differently and are well animated…Maal walks along, Grasshopper’s hop, etc. The thing that really pops about the graphics and presentation are the large 2D pictures of each bug when they talk in the campaign. It’s fabulous. I love the 2D style in this game.

Gameplay: So far, the campaign story is pretty interesting…it’s amazing that this game is only $10. You can instantly see the time/effort that went into the game and it’s a full-fledged game and not just a flimsy little Arcade title. The gameplay is instantly reminiscent of Tactics Ogre, Final Fantasy Tactics, Fire Emblem, etc. I wish there was some sort of weapon triangle like Fire Emblem (Sword beats Axe beats Spear beats Sword) but if there is, it was not explained in the Tutorial and Training missions. I guess that’s where the casual steps in. I have to admit that I love the back and forth of the rounds instead of entire turns where you move all your characters. It’s very Action/RPG and works really well to keep the game moving. Surely it will be a blessing in Multiplayer (when I get around to playing it).

Sound/Music: Don’t have much to say about this except that the voices/gibberish that each bug speaks in is so great. If you don’t have voicework, this is an absolute must and just livens up the whole story presentation and 1 player campaign. Sound effects are very good, and I like the hop sounds of the Grasshopper as he bounds around. Haven’t really taken a moment to listen to the music, but it fit the theme of the game and didn’t overtly stand out as bad, quirky or weird.

Lasting Appeal: Haven’t been playing it that long, but I can already tell that there is a lot to do in the game. Ultimately if multiplayer delivers this game will have incredible lasting appeal with the level editor and all. I’m a huge fan of multiplayer, but want to learn as much of the rope as possible before I delve in and get my ass whooped. I hope to run into the Ninja Bee in the game very soon and congratulations to Ninjabee the development team on another great game for the Xbox Live Arcade.