Monthly Archive: November 2016

Fraxy – Pressure by matteste

Boss Download
Music: Boiling Point by ectogemia of OverClocked Remix

Size: 360 x 480
Mode: Fixed

As a small, glowing red box with rapidly spinning ‘arms’, erratic movements, and fast attacks which force players to keep moving, Pressure has certainly earned its name in both aesthetics and attack design. Pressure has three distinct phases and in turn every phase consists of three attacks which it will cycle through. Though it is fast, most of this boss’s attack patterns fall into one of two types. The first, and most common, type of attack pattern present here is an arcing fan of several rows of bullets which may sometimes have a slight slant, but which otherwise allow for plenty of room while dodging. The second attack type consists of tracking attacks, such as in the form of a homing bullet barrage or a tracking laser and these patterns pose far more danger than the bullet waves. The main source of difficulty in this fight comes from trying to actually hit the boss in the first place as it is a small target and its movements become wider and more erratic with each phase to the point that it constantly bobs in and out of the arena in the final phase. Otherwise, this is a somewhat challenging yet surprisingly manageable fight which remains at about the same level of difficulty from start to finish, though the third phase is the easiest overall due to the lack of homing attacks while an attack pattern during the second phase where two streams of bullets create a double helix shape is by far the most dangerous part of the fight.

Fraxy – Sky Leopard 42k by Metarex Master

Boss Download
Music: Aerobotics by Just Coffee of OverClocked Remix

Size: 360 x 480
Mode: Fixed

Starting off the fight with a deadly rush across the screen, this boss provides a consistently fun and fast-paced challenge. One of the first things players are bound to notice is the addition of two twining frontal turrets for the player’s own ship, which serves as a an early sign of the flashy aesthetics at play here. While most small, fixed arena fights have fairly static bosses, the Sky Leopard 42k is rather dynamic, launching attacks from the top, middle, and bottom of the screen, which adds to both the challenge and the aesthetic appeal of the fight. Most of this boss’s attack patterns consist of either bombarding the player with aimed shots or using lasers and lines of bullets to limit mobility, though it is generally easy to find safe spots. This boss doesn’t have an excessive amount of health and, between the additional turrets and the fact that damage is dealt to the boss regardless of which piece of its body is hit, this fight definitely doesn’t overstay its welcome, but the first phase does last a bit too long and the boss doesn’t really gain any new attacks until it is down to about a third of its initial health bar.

Defeating the ship leads to a second, humanoid form which moves around frequently while staying near the top of the screen. This second form has the opposite issue of the first phase as it goes down so quickly that it may not get a chance to use all of its attacks, but it otherwise feels like a nice continuation of the first part of the fight with aesthetically-pleasing attacks which are challenging without being quite as dangerous as they may initially appear to be. Overall, this fight feels like it falls into a sweet spot in terms of balance, offering up a good challenge with plenty of visual flair and nothing in the way of frustration or tedium.


Game Jolt

Sometimes all it takes for a platformer to be great is a solid sense of pacing and some smooth controls. Kruunu is one such game and the ascent up its impossibly tall, broken tower is thoroughly enjoyable. The protagonist’s movement speed feels just right, wall jumping and sliding is utterly painless, and the horizontally looping screen allows for clever visual puzzles and even more freeform platforming. The game also gets quite a bit of mileage out of its bee and worm enemies, both of which simply move horizontally and turn around when they hit a wall. Checkpoints are spread out fairly well with a few which feel a bit too far apart, though the fast pace of the platforming means even the larger segments don’t actually take all that long at all. Finishing the game is actually where the true challenge is revealed in the form of a literal Hell tower. This second tower is a massive jump up in difficulty from the first one, with pixel-perfect jumps, swarms of enemies, and hundreds of spikes. The difference between the two towers is such that I think the game could have benefited from a third, more moderately difficult tower between the two, but as it stands I am glad to see a game which offers both an easy, flowing platforming experience and a brutally hard one alongside top-tier platforming controls.


Steam Page || Official Site

Games get labeled as various types of ‘pure experiences’ far too often, but Refunct really is about as close as a game can probably get to providing a pure platforming experience. With no enemies, hazards, nor any other source of danger, Refunct allows players to run, slide, swim, and crawl through its single play area at whichever pace they choose. Stepping on platforms transforms them from dull grey pillars into vibrant columns of grass and dirt and collectible cubes are scattered about, but the columns and cubes are entirely optional objectives. The only concrete goal within the game is to step on the large red buttons, marked by vertical lines of light, which leads to making the next set of platforms rise up from below the water’s surface. There is a great sense of smoothness to the platforming, which is created in no small part by a very generous wall jumping system and the ability to automatically slide up onto a platform when near its top. Pipes, jump pads, and elevators add some variety to the platforming, though players also have a good amount of freedom in picking out their own paths. Refunct is a short game which is fully focused on the relaxing, somewhat hypnotic, and seamlessly smooth experience of navigating an environment and I only wish there were more games like it.

Knytt Stories – The Cursed House by Ania

Level Archive

Ah, now here’s a level which is short and sweet. Foregoing much in the way of a plot beyond entering and then attempting to escape from the titular cursed house, this game gets straight to the point. The the entire inside of the house is impressively fit into a single screen which serves as the main hub area. No exits are immediately apparent beyond a path which requires all four keys to access, but exploring the rooms reveals hints as to how to access other areas. All of the branching areas are short and never go beyond five screens in length, yet the ability to access nearly any given area from the start creates a pleasant sense of exploration. Each area also needs to be visited multiple times, so there is very much a puzzle element involved in deducing just which portion of which area each new ability makes available. There is at least one overlooked ‘void’ screen which can be reached, but it’s a minor oversight which requires a bit of effort to reach in the first place. Even with its lack of a plot and a low level of difficulty, The Cursed House remains a fun little puzzle platformer level which certainly doesn’t overstay its welcome.