The warp mechanic in Zangeki Warp revolutionizes horizontal shmups to a degree on par with what Ikaruga‘s color shifting did for vertical bullet hells. On the surface this game looks much like other horizontal shmups and the R-Type influences in particular ring loud and clear, yet the ability to warp your ship around changes everything. The warp isn’t just there to save you from close calls, the entire game is build around it.
Aside from warping away to dodge bullets, you’ll constantly be asked to use it to circumvent solid obstacles and to obliterate enemies via the warp trail which your ship’s gun can’t reach. By the end of the game I felt like I was relying on this technique more than my bullets in combat and the final stages become very demanding indeed, even on Normal! Beyond the main feature itself, Zangeki Warp earns plenty of praise with significantly varied difficulty settings, a rather nice upgrade system, and exceptional enemy designs which gradually shift from standard robots and ships to creepy body horror-style monsters which would even make Abadox proud. (more…)
Mega Man Maker recently received its first major content patch, adding in new bosses, enemies, abilities, and a general upgrade to just about everything. Even the name has been upgraded from the original Mega Maker! So, I thought now would be a great time to take a look at the levels people are making with all this cool new stuff.
IceMan’s Return makes use of many new tools, but it’s also just a good level all-around. You’re going to have a bad time if you try to make it through this level with just the buster. slippery ice, disappearing yoku blocks, spikes, and plenty of enemies placed in just the right locations to snipe you while you’re trying to reach a new platform all come together in what might initially seem like disastrous level design. Thankfully, IceMan’s Return provides players with a set of four new weapons perfectly designed for overcoming its many hazards.
Aside from the Mega Buster, your arsenal consists of Time Slow, Ice Slasher, Hyper Bomb, and Ring Boomerang. Ring Boomerang is the least important of the lot, though it’s still good for collecting items from flying enemies and those placed on the other side of walls. On the other hand, Time Slow is crucial for dodging enemy projectiles and helps a whole lot with the disappearing blocks, especially the ones near spikes.
Ice Slasher certainly fits the cold theme of this level and its freezing powers come in handy against some of the tougher robots this level throws at you At one point you need to use Ice Slasher to freeze a row of flames to create a bridge, which is a neat gimmick I wish the level played with a bit more, though the lack of any way to gain weapon energy or backtrack in this room is a minor issue.
As for the Hyper Bombs, their high damage and vertical range can come in handy on occasion within the level, but they really shine in the boss fight against Ice Man himself. Ice Man is immune to the Mega Buster, though he takes damage from everything else and you get plenty of weapon energy refills in the corridor leading up to his room. Hyper Bombs are Ice Man’s weakness and, on top of the extra damage, their vertical explosion serves as a counter to his movement pattern.
Overall, this level is really polished. Time Man’s theme matches the icy aesthetic surprisingly well and the ice blocks themselves are broken up with more metallic ones on occasion to prevent the level from looking monotonous. Every enemy feels like it has been placed with care in just the right spot to make the most out of its attack pattern, yet careful weapon usage allows players to overcome any obstacle. Disappearing blocks are likewise common, but always in small groups so players are faced with a variety of small challenges from them rather than a single, frustrating chain. As to length, this level is slightly longer than average, but it maintains consistent mechanical themes while changing things up with plenty of both horizontal and vertical platforming and the checkpoint placement is excellent.
IceMan’s Return is truly a fantastic level to return to after such a big update.
It’s an all-out war between the robotic residents of Earth and the endless spawn of a moon-sized glob of flesh in the sky called the Megabeast! I was skeptical of a Metroidvania roguelike because I generally prefer it when games with procedural generation only last about 30 minutes per run. However, while a successful run of A Robot Named Fight does indeed take about an hour, the game does a fantastic job of keeping things fresh by changing up the obstacles you encounter based on the powers you obtain. Sometimes this just amounts to adding in doors which require a certain type of weapon to open, but it also means things like adding in dark rooms if you get a light source and high barriers if you get a jump upgrade. It’s delightfully gross, surprisingly varied, and an all-around awesome game about becoming fight enough to take on cosmic abominations. (more…)
This is a great little vertical slice alpha demo! If you’re unfamiliar with the term, a vertical slice demo is designed to show off various gameplay elements rather than showing off an area from the game. The demo for Flynn: Son of Crimson can be finished in under ten minutes, but it crams a whole lot of content into those few minutes. With four weapons, a utility item, standard action platforming, two enemy gauntlets, a stealth section, an auto-run section, and even a little bit of NPC interaction, not a single moment goes by without a new mechanic or technique being introduced. (more…)
Before anything else, I want to share a personal story about The Music Machine in October of 2016 I began to play through this wonderfully atmospheric first-person horror game for the sake of writing an article about it. Unfortunately, I accidentally overwrote my save data and lost some progress, but this isn’t a particularly long game so that wasn’t really much of an issue. Except, then my entire hard drive died and with it went my save file until I found a replacement. Then my computer died, taking my third save with it. Once everything was back in order the Halloween season was long over and plans to write about The Music Machine fell through the cracks.
With Halloween once again on the horizon, this week seems like the perfect time to at last delve into this story about a girl, the ghost possessing her, and the mysteries surrounding a very creepy and exceedingly orange island. (more…)