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February 2005 Printer Friendly Page



February 2005 Indie Game Monthly Round-Up

(by The Illustrious Panel - TIP)

Scoring Scale:

1 - Just Unbelievably Bad
2 - Terrible
3 - Quite Poor
4 - Way Below Average
5 - Below Average
6 - Average
7 - Above Average
8 - Way Above Average
9 - Nearly Flawless
10 - Perfection
Award Winners This Month:

Average score of 9 or above

Average score of 8 or above

Average score of 7 or above
  Q'Bicles
Pizza Frenzy
Asianata
Gink in Trouble
Laser Dolphin
Bricks of Camelot

d

Return To Citadel: Tri Pack
(January 29)



by Byxon

Some games are just odd, and you're left wondering what the developer was thinking. I can't tell you how annoying it was when my "tank" was constantly beeping its little VW Bug horn at me. The horn is meant to tell you when you're pushing something you can't move, but cleverly it also goes off occasionally when pushing something movable, just to keep you on your toes. Overall, this is a Sokoban game with some twists including bombs and crates you can push all in a row. Decent tricky puzzles to solve with some fairly bad graphics in different places and a lot of highly unnecessary things scattered around every screen. What's that bar moving around on the title!? - MH
This sokobanish “object pusher” logic puzzle game could easily slip below the radar but it has some nice things going for it such as bombs and being able to push rows of crates at once. What is lacking in presentation is made up with 180 interesting levels. Content is king! - SR

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Anime Bowling Babes
(January 25)

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by Glimmer Games

 

The bowling physics and game part is acceptable (I like arcade mode, you can steer the ball) – but the anime babes seem wooden, they don’t cheer or get mad, they just throw the ball. A cute “Yataa!” sound effect when they strike would go a long way to establish some personality. Maybe they are robot anime bowling babes. Not a bad game at all, but somehow the experience comes off sterile and unmotivating. (note: This is based on the demo, which is fairly limited) - SR
Last I checked, "babe" themed games have a minimum requirement of some 7 scenario's of explicit or arguably explicit material, Baseball, or an adolescent talking pig.  An Anime styled Babe Ruth in a Bowling game makes sense to me, maybe Alitius too (BaseStrike!).  The problem, is there's only 6 characters.  Ha ha ha!  *Cough*.  Ok, the game is tame, but given the seemingly explicit name, I was expecting some sort of Anime smut that I could write off as someone else trying to capitalize off the "apparent" success of other explicit or arguably explicit sport titles (BMX XXX, DOA Volleyball).  Yeah, Acclaim is doing well.  Nope, things are a little more plain here.  Instead we have a bowling game, with characters each with a stereotypical Anime girl back story (i.e. actually has a hobby or an interest), which is at least respectful compared to a stereotypical americanized one (i.e. likes shopping).  Art resembles something similar to non toon shaded 3D Anime games, such as Xenosaga.  The game offers a number of graphical options, including shaders and antialiasing, though I'm not sure the later helps all that much, as the pins themselves seem to have a sharp pixel edge on them (on my video card at least).  Variety of gameplay is lacking, but in the full version you get dozens of pins, balls, places to bowl, and the 6 "babes" to do it with, so you can get your unplayable content fix from that.  Anime addicted bowlers shouldn't miss out.  First Impression: 5 (Not bad, but not good either), Lasting Impression: 3. - MK
This game offers lots of options, which is good, but makes you go through and choose all of them each game, which is bad. It offers nicely modeled anime babes, which is good, but you barely glimpse them as they throw the ball, which is bad (actually, sorry Ayame, it's kind of good, you creepy bug girl). It offers well-implemented bowling gameplay, which is good, but has deadly dull fanfare-free feedback in plain text form, which is painfully bad. Getting a strike is an exceedingly unexciting experience.
 - MH

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Asianata
(February 3)

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by Kraisoft

Physics and color matching combine in Asianata to create more than your average color popper. As the levels get more difficult strategy becomes more important. For instance, you may need to bomb a structure to create a platform usable to line up your balls. The ball physics are neat and work very well, this is one to check out. - SR
The KraiSoft guilt trip strikes again.  "I don't want ... to be used ..." (edited for my amusement).  I may be laughing, but I'm crying on the inside.  My financial shortcomings aside, something in this boot sequence struck a chord with me.  A logo.  It read, "Newton Dynamics" (Readers note: Imagine that in big bold/italic/flashy ... maybe glowing letters).  "Physics!?", I mutter to myself.  Puzzled, yet intrigued, I grip my mouse and advanced further... forward... deeper... in to THE GAME!!!11  ... Then I had to drag my mouse *all the way* to the bottom of the screen, just to advance past the option less title screen.  Ouch!  (Readers note: As insignificant as it sounds, Mike didn't like that).  Moving on.  It sports a beautifully produced ethnic Asian theme, with the groovy music, and the red and gold, with dragons.  The game itself is essentially a physics based matching game.  Move balls of the same color in to a row horizontally or vertically, and they disappear.  There are some variations, like balls that are half one color and half another, which are fixed horizontally or vertically.  That's what really bothered me about the game, but I'll get to that shortly.  The physics... them be fighting words.  I doubt this game will be hailed as the poster boy for Newton Dynamics, as it hardly does them justice, being a purely sphere based game (Sphere vs. Sphere, Sphere vs. Polygon, though I suspect it's running in 3D behind the scenes).  While it is good to see a smaller title use a fancy physics/dynamics engine like Newton, it doesn't strike me like it's enhancing the gameplay at all, seeing how you still must match horizontally and vertically.  I am a tough crowd, as I have tech demo's sitting on my drive that play exactly the same as this game, minus the matching.  I might also be an advocate for rolling your own physics (pun intended, and you're a lame-o like me if you got it).  Ah well, that's business.  That's also why I have zero indie games out there selling (Tag: March 2005), and they have 12.  First Impression: 7 (Physics, and it looks sharp), Lasting Impression: 4 (Bejeweled: The Next Generation). - MK
At first blush, this game is really cool. It's fun to pop the balls up in the air and the freeform physics is just a nice sensation. Shortly thereafter, you discover just how shallow, simple, and pointless the actual puzzle is. The early levels are utterly trivial, you could win them by randomly bouncing the balls around, but once the yin-yang balls are introduced, some element of puzzling actually appears and I