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Parameters

Again one from Terry's amazing blog. This one's an RPG in one screen - no animations, no sound, just managing the stats!

A few tips to get the interested started (or, if you're feeling adventurous dive right in, it's fun figuring stuff out without help!): The screen is divided into parallelograms which may be locked, unlocked, have an "enemy" or be blank (or be unavailable). At first your stats are really low and you have no key, so you want to "attack" the unlocked "enemy-less" boxes. When you do, some numbers start jumping around - roll over the mouse to collect them. Green is experience points, yellow are money and there are yellow and gray keys, which you can use to unlock other boxes. As you gain experience, you level up so you can upgrade your character so it can "attack" "enemies".

And that's probably all you need to know to get started. Never again have I been stuck staring at a minimal screen with numbers for so long :)

Play

And then there were none

I'll admit I haven't read Agatha Christie's novel with the same title, but I'm willing to bet that the title is the only thing this game will have common with the book :).

It's a platformer in which you play a character that starts in a snowy terrain (or is that noise? Or both?). Immediately some voice on the radio starts instructing him what to do and where to go.

The game features within its one level some variation in gameplay; in the 2nd checkpoint you must retrieve a few items but you must remain close to a certain point in the map, otherwise you lose. Then you gain the ability to convert some of the terrain into walkable tiles for a short while. Soon it becomes a quite challenging game which is really worth playing. (SPOILER FOLLOWING READ THE REST OF THE PARAGRAPH AT YOUR OWN RISK!) I must mention that the game has a couple of red herrings that leave you searching the level for a long time and retrying the same thing lots of times, especially in checkpoint 4. This makes the game unnecessarily long, and since the progress isn't saved, you have to play it in one go, which makes the experience frustrating.

All in all though, quite enjoyable!

Keylugger

From the author's description:

[...]you must transport a heavy key to a keyhole by jumping and throwing it. Your character can jump four blocks in height when unburdened, but only two blocks while holding the key. When the key is thrown, it soars horizontally until it hits an obstacle. Lasers and cannons will not harm the player but will cause the key to return to its starting position. And, there are some shutters which open or close depending on the player's proximity to them.

The above pretty summed up the game mechanics. They would be nothing without the brilliant levels the game has, each one very varied, different than the rest. There are no tutorial levels per se, so you have to think what to do on your own, which I appreciated - modern games tend to take you by the hand and explain the difficult stuff for you instead of making you find out on your own. Anyway, the gfx are functional, the game plays brilliantly (although the character did stick around at a few points without reason), I can't comment on the sound because I had it off.

All in all, a real fun way to waste a couple of hours!

Fixation

A flip-screen platformer with levels that require quite a bit of thinking to solve. Loved the smoke mechanics throughout the game, and that different supporting characters did have a logic of their own throughout the game. Being a prequel of "the company of myself" (which is one of the first games I mentioned here) made me want to go back and play it again!

Axon

Your sphere of influence is declining if you stay in one place, quick, keep clicking on neighboring dots to expand and increase the influence! Quick reflexes required for this one!

Hexagon

Sadistically hard, like someone forces you to play SFDX level 4 without any warm up! Just try to rotate the small triangle through the partial hexagons closing in towards the centre. I like the way you can restart the game in milliseconds after you lose. I (sortof) like the music (which is actually one tune that starts at random points each time). I like the way the vectors bounce with the drum beat. I also like the synchronised palette changes. I like when I get to navigate out of a tough loop. I like the game's concept. I like Terry's games.

Now go and get slaughtered :)

P.S. Terry, has started a blog about indie games, and so far he's been posting some pretty awesome stuff! I might borrow some of his picks in the future, but in any case, have a look at it, it's worth it :)

Castle of pixel skulls

Awwwww those sprites are soooo cuuuuute ^_^.

Ahem. Anyway, a fun but very hard platformer with tiny sprites (nicely animated, admittedly :)). Only jumping on this one, and the agony of lives counter is replaced with a time counter, which is nice. However, I didn't like the controls all too much; the character's inertia and jump curve make him a bit uncontrollable, and since the levels require good precision jumps it's unnecessary hard. Plus, if you run out of time you have to play everything again from start, which is a real downer.

Still, cute sprites and all :D

Sota

You have a limited amount of antennas, and you have to make almost every pixel in the level have antenna coverage. So, strategic placement of the antennas is the key. Loved it before I even started playing :).

Stealth Bastard

"Tactical episionage arsehole" says the text below the title, dunno why but I like that :).

From the team that did the wonderful Fluidity on the Wii comes this cool free PC game. TBH I'm totally hooked, this is a platform game done right. The movement and mechanics of the character are completely spot on. The levels are not static affairs, the lighting (and especially shadows) bring it to life. Different lights and texts fade in and out depending on where you are. The action is frantic and the learning curve feels just right.

I have very little to complain about this title. Very high quality game released for free. Don't brush it off because of that though - this is a really excellent title that has me hooked :).

Focus

Avoid'em'up platformer with a teleportation mechanism (and some time manipulation thrown in there just for fun!). Very addictive. Don't be fooled by its slow start, it gets very frantic real soon! One of those games that makes you give it one more go!

Play online (also available for download)

One and one story

A little 10 minute game, a simple platform in which the rules change almost per screen. Nice touches all around the gfx and narrative that was woven into the game's design rather than forced in. I liked it a lot!

Keep running

An operation wolf like game, there are some pauses in between waves to explain what lies ahead (and lay out a bit of the scenario). Nothing much to add, just give it a try if you will.

P.S. I never mentioned it, but some of the games for ludum dare provide binaries for other OSes than windows. If you want them, just search for the games at the ludum dare site.

Amke's Revenge II

Here's an entry by the author of Game Maker himself (and contributor to Atari ST user back in the day :)), Mark Overmars. It certainly doesn't win any originality contest. Instead it concentrates in how much (good) level design one can cram in 48 hours. And, well, it turns out you can cram a lot of it :)

Hotel Escape

Ok, so, this is going to contain some spoilers, so you might want to play the game beforehand, otherwise read on if you don't care...

This game starts off innocently as a run'n'jump platformer, until you come across a totally impossible jump. Then you decide to quit in frustration. Then, instead of quitting, the game deliberately screws up its gfx and music and transfers you to the main game, which is the same, but with lots of deliberate glitches.

I am quite torn about this game. I guess I only mention it here because of this idea, but the game itself is mediocre, the player responds slowly to the controls and you can easily kill him. Also, it's nothing original; The Electra demo, Mel Gibson's Safari 3, ROM check fail and Redder already did this.

Oh, and when you get to about level 12 you get the original impossible level again, just fall in one of the pits and you should be fine (that really annoyed me, and consider it bad level design). There you go, enough spoilers? :P

Stratus

This is a first person affair, you wake up injured on a flying vehicle and you must figure out how to save the day because apparently you're under attack. Being injured is being conveyed from the game to you by the controls being jerky (I suppose you could also say that because the ship's a bit unstable, the floor is moving as well). The author mentions to go for the medi cabinet to heal a bit before exploring the rest of the ship (a small spoiler perhaps but people complained about the controls!).

Anyway, lots of neat ideas on this one and I liked the low-res style.

McPixel

Now this is totally awesome! It uses traditional point'n'click mechanics, but puts a time limit to each scene! You got 20 seconds to experiment and avoid almost certain doom. Regardless what you do, you then get transferred to the next unfinished scene until you complete them all. There's many ways to fail and there's lots of silly animations, it reminded me of the Space Quest series (which imho was just created only to make the player die and show silly sequences dying!).

Like I said at the beginning, awesome!

Update: here's a Christmas 2014 special!

Flee Buster

Sort of Bad Moodies this one! Yes, you control 3 different games, but not in parallel, you get turns for each one and you don't see all of them at once. So you have to remember where you left each game and take care NOT to leave the current game in a tough spot, otherwise you'll be in big trouble when you come back to it.

Addictive? Hell yes!

Redesigning breakout

Every time I wander into Nekogames to play the latest Hoshi Saga, I always stumble across something interesting!

So how would one go redesign breakout? Simple, add a time limiter. On its own, that would mean that the player simply has to play more efficiently to progress further into the game. But then the game's uniqueness comes to play. The first time the ball bounces up, comes down, and then you are expected to hit it with the paddle. But as you hit it, the ball speeds up to a freakishly high speed, hitting all bricks and walls on its way almost instantly until it comes down again. So, with a bit of luck and training you can finish a level within milliseconds! There are no lives in this game, instead, if you miss the ball, it bounces back in normal speed, so this is a penalty in itself.

Simple but nicely animated wireframe graphics and nice "ping" sound effects with echo.

So, seems crap at the beginning, but it becomes addictive really soon :)

/a

Frantic Frigates

Yaaarrrrrrrrrrrrr Jimlaaaaaaaaaaaad! There be lots of fun to be had with this game :)

If you ever played Microprose's Pirates!, then you should feel at home mostly as it's a toned down version of the battle sequence of that game. The cannons fire automatically, aim automatically to the nearest enemy, there's no wind to be afraid of, and there's the mandatory powerup system where you can upgrade your ship and its abilities.

An interesting design choice (at least for nowdays) is that the game actually has lives. So no checkpoints, rewinding time, infinite energy etc - if you lose all your lives then game over sucker, do it from the start :). I think I prefer that better than playing it to the end on the first go, it adds replaybillity (and I simply refuse to play a game again just to get medals/achievement/awards/what the hell you call it in your favorite gaming platorm).

Give it a shot, it'll get you hooked in seconds!

http://www.kongregate.com/games/BerzerkStudio/frantic-frigates

P.S. One of the screenshots is drawn by our own pixeller, sh3. Can you guess which one it is? Winners will get a signed autograph from Dr. Xuntavier! (also, extra points for knowing him ;))

Antagonist

Goodie, MOAR Ludum Dare 48! This time the theme was "escape", and there were a cool 599 entries! I'm in the process of giving a few a try, and so far this one stood out from the rest.

It's essentially a horizontal platform game, with the added element of a huge diamond thinghy chasing you! And when you think you lead it to a trap and it can't follow you, the bastard goes and teleports to other places where it can get back to you again! Nice idea :).

Hard way

Yay, canabalt madness! But with ninjas! And a spear! And you get different targets! Which all react differently! And you have to judge when to throw the spear at them! And the gfx are beautiful! And it's got tons of smooth parallax scrolling! And the music's a looped sample! And the game's really responsive to your input! And once you begin you don't stop playing! And I'm stopping this right now so I can go back and play MOAR!