You’re Stephen, your ship is wrecked, and you’re stuck on an island filled with giant sausages. The only thing left to do is to use your massive skewer to push those sausages onto grills embedded in the ground and eat them. This is Stephen’s Sausage Roll and it’s a puzzle game which is as clever as it is weird. (more…)
This little game starring a Triangle Rotating In Space was created for Game Boy Jam 5, the same game jam which gave us Derelict. You can’t jump, all you can do is rotate from one tile to the next and let gravity take its course as you make your way to the ship at the end of each level while collecting water drops along the way. The quiet, minimalistic music works well alongside the muted red and green color scheme to give the game an otherworldly atmosphere while the louder sound effects help to put the focus on the action. Though there are only ten short levels, space is used extremely well with crumbling blocks, crushers, spikes, turrets, and spinning blades every step of the way with a few small safe areas for checkpoints.
The gameplay gets changed up somewhat on the fourth level where gravity is reversed and you must make your way to the top of the level, but a far more significant change is introduced soon after that. From the fifth level onward you gain the ability to flip in a straight line from the floor to the ceiling or vice versa. This new mechanic becomes an integral part of the platforming in T.R.I.S. as it is used for maneuvers such as dodging between turret bullets or flipping from a crumbling tile to a solid one while waiting for the timing on a crusher and then flipping back to the crumbling block after it respawns and rushing under the crusher. The difficulty level becomes fairly demanding later on, but frequent and well-placed checkpoints ward away any sense of frustration.
The fact that this game was created within a limited amount of time for a game jam becomes a bit apparent when it comes to the camera. Namely, the camera doesn’t move with you unless you’re on solid ground so flipping your orientation can result in a death if you fling yourself off the edge of the screen and this is fine on its own, but the camera is somewhat inconsistent. There were a few times when I would fly to a ledge near the edge of the screen and the camera would barely move, if at all, and at other times the camera would move a great deal. This usually isn’t a problem, but it can get in the way a bit if you’re trying to backtrack to a checkpoint or a water drop which has disappeared outside of the play area since you won’t know if the camera will actually let you backtrack until you get near the edge. Other than the minor camera issue, T.R.I.S. has consistently solid level design, the movement mechanics make the platforming interesting, and it effectively combines its various hazards together to make for an entertaining game which I only wish was longer.
I rarely enjoy top-down arena shooters, but THOTH is a rather unusual game for this genre to say the least. With no scoring system, no text or instructions, and 64 handcrafted levels plus quite a bit of post-game content, this is a game which seeks to constantly surprise players as it continuously changes up and expands upon its mechanics. (more…)
Retro sidescrolling adventure RPG’s and minigames are two things which don’t seem like they should go together, yet Creepy Castle, for the most part, makes this odd combination work. With a combat system based on performing various WarioWare-style minigames, around 15-20 hours of gameplay spread across five scenarios, a surprisingly engaging story, and plenty of secrets to find along the way, Creepy Castle makes for a particularly memorable experience. There are a few points at which it begins to overstay its welcome and I am not particularly fond of the third scenario for reasons which I will cover later, but when the formula works, and it does work for the vast majority of the game, it works exceptionally well. (more…)
With a description stating that this game “draws inspiration from the works of Junji Ito and games like Silent Hill” and that it contains “mild jumpscares” I was prepared to either fall in love with From Next Door or be horribly disappointed – I was not disappointed. Even though it’s only about an hour in length, this game’s pace is an extremely slow burn, slow enough that after a few minutes you might start to wonder if those ‘jumpscares’ are just going to be fake-outs without anything legitimately frightening ever happening. Yet this slow pace is what makes the game work so well because the sense of tension continually builds even when nothing is happening. A neighboring house with no windows, a mysterious locked room, and a growing sense of unease are all it takes to make you expect an unknown horror to at last abruptly reveal itself every time you turn on the lights at night. (more…)