Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Lazy Review #10

Happy Holidays everyone. I am back in action over here and you'll see more reviews rolling out at a faster pace. It's not so much a "new year's resolution" really - it's more me just giving myself a swift kick in the buttocks. (I'm flexible)

Kicking things off, this Lazy Review session is really more of a look back at the past couple of months of XBLIG releases, with a trifecta of recommendations from me. If you missed these games because you were bogged down over the holidays (or let's face it, flat broke because of the holidays) or playing one of the seven hundred AAA releases that all come out around November, then go back and have a look at these.

Goblyn Stomp (80 MP)

Another solid example of an 80MP-priced game that will provide you with a fresh burst of fun, Goblyn Stomp takes a simple premise, adds some powerups, and coats the whole package in a unique tophat-and-cane antiquey style/color palette.

All you have to do is stomp goblyns, which we're all pretty used to doing in one manner or another. Poorly executed stomping will result with the goblyns nibbling at your ankles until you die, which honestly feels a bit pathetic once you see these things. (see screenshot) They are sort of like fat clumsy chickens.

The key to the fun lock here is repetition and addiction. Squashing endless amounts of goblyns is a simple premise but one that focuses on a rather enjoyable aspect of your average platformer. There's nothing to learn except stomping technique - and as you stomp more goblyns you gain several upgrades (e.g. power stomp, cane spin, land mines) which allow for more stompage. Stomp as many as you can and watch your body count pile up towards the highest score. Something tells me that most readers reading this will have a mounting urge to go stomp some goblyns. Don't let me stop you.

Chris Unarmed (240 MP)

For all you platformer-lovers out there, this is a newcomer that will offer a lengthy and challenging experience. Once you get rolling the graphics grow on you and you will quickly realize that there are going to be some tough platforming challenges.

Most of the basics are intact here - avoid enemies, don't fall or hit traps, get from point A to point B, collect coins, etc. It's a time-tested formula that works well and there are some other tweaks as well. Wall jumping is available from the get-go and physics play a role in terms of air currents that manipulate movement. In general, these features work well, although sometimes there are some quirky movements that seem to be physics related - I occasionally died at the hands of some inexplicable lateral movement.

Some of level design is downright evil so I'd sharpen your platforming skills and prepare your patience. There's a nice light story built in and I found some charm in the fact that the developer designed the game around himself as an "unarmed" character - worth a go.

Johnny Platform Saves Xmas (240 MP)

It's a nice feeling when a successful game is followed up with a sequel. Many of you are probably familiar with the first Johnny Platform ("Biscuit Romp") game which was well-received and widely played. It's important to note that "Save Xmas" is not a re-skin or add-on, but a totally new adventure with all new levels and features.

For those of you who missed Biscuit Romp (now 80MP), I highly recommend both the original and this latest holiday release. They are both notable for their charming coffee-drinking main character, tight controls, and levels full of "ah-ha!" moments. At 240MP, this is honestly a steal.

Saves Christmas feels much like it's predecessor (nothing wrong with that), but I'd say that the graphics are more polished and the challenges are more intricate. Hopefully this means we'll keep seeing more from this developer (Ishisoft).

1 comment:

  1. Saves Xmas is great. It is nice to finally play Johnny Platform widescreen.

    Goblyn Stomp is pretty fun for a while but I wish there were global leaderboards.