Showing posts with label side scroller. Show all posts
Showing posts with label side scroller. Show all posts

Monday, October 22, 2012

Side by Side, Deep Sleep, Mastermind: World Conqueror

This entry has been sitting in backlog for, like, two weeks! Go figure. Perhaps I was subconsciously saving one of the best horror-themed browser games for Halloween, yet laziness won out.

Side by Side


Mammoths need love too, and these two lovely beasts are trying SO HARD to reach one another's world. I'm not sure what THAT'S all about, but it's up to you to unite them through a series of puzzles. The controls are a bit tricky at first, and the map screen looks a liiiiiittle cluttered, but overall I think it's worth playing.

Deep Sleep


You're asleep. You've got to wake up. WAKE UP. Deep Sleep is a genuinely creepy game, with crazy sounds, a bizarre atmosphere that would make most survival horror games proud, and an... interesting... story. A point-and-click adventure that'll probably freak you out, even if it's just a little bit. Play it at night, with the sound cranked, for maximum potency. (Damn, shoulda saved this for Halloween.)

Mastermind: World Conqueror


You are MASTERMIND. You must rule the WORLD. Resource management and static tower defense, that's World Conqueror. This is a deep, robust game that's likely to last a hell of a lot longer than your average browser experience, and more than fun enough to warrant the time spent. Huzzah for sacrificing patsies and robbing gas stations!

All done! Next on Browser Rousers: who knows, I have no more backlogged posts.

Friday, October 12, 2012

Wilt: Exordium, Medieval Shark, Monster Saga

Introduction? Nay. Unnecessary. Off we go!

Wilt: Exordium


Jon, your daughter is in trouble. (Or is she your daughter?) Save her in a nightmarish landscape... or don't. Who knows exactly what's happening in this little game, as it's supposedly part of a larger adventure to come later in 2012. I enjoyed the experience overall, short though it may have been - but the programmers reeeeeeeally need to work on the controls. Precision jumping is a pain in the ass in Wilt.



Shark.

SHARK.

SHAAAAAAARK

I don't feel that any of these games need an explanation. It's more of the same silly, murderous fun. This time with a jester's hat.

Monster Saga


You are a child, blasted into a strange land full of monsters and dominated by a tyrant. Free the kingdom with your own band of mighty warriors! Or something!

I dunno. Monster Saga's got rather an oddly generic story. The visuals compensate for the narrative, however, and the game play is decently fun. Train monsters and send them out to battle other monsters. It's unfortunate that you have nooooo say at all in how the battles turn out once they've started, but it's not difficult to blaze through most of them with sufficient prep. A decent game, albeit glitchy and easy.

Prediction: next week will feature more Halloween games. I can sense this happening, somehow.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Hunt of HORROR, REW 2, FrankenSplit

Today's Browser Rousers features a smattering of moe Halloweeny games. We're getting close to that magical day, ladies 'n gents.

Hunt of Horror


A Where's Waldo? of the cinematic horror scene. Pretty basic, but the mural's fun to look at and there are a TON of references. I pride myself on having seen a lot of horror movies, and I didn't catch a lot of the references. Go fig.

REW 2


Sequel to another great game that I've reviewed, REW 2 is a Memento-esque foray into the world of storytelling in that it goes through the plot backwards. Figure out what's happening while journeying through a point-and-click landscape. It's a really neat concept, as you're often left wondering how the landscape got to be the way it is. I didn't find REW 2's story to be quite as neat as REW's, but it's still a good game.

FrankenSplit


Frankenstein's monster always wanted a friend, and now he's got one - more or less a clone - in this unusual platform-puzzler. Controlling two monsters, you must guide your compatriots to exits with only mouse clicks to make them jump. No other control is needed. A challenging game, as you need to keep track of two restless wanderers at the same time. You'll really appreciate being able to guide your own characters after playing FrankenSplit.

That's all for now. Friday ho!

Monday, September 24, 2012

Tallboy, Cop Crusade, Gravity Duck 2

I'm not feeling intros today, so let's jump right into the action.

Tallboy


You're tall. You're hungry. Your mouth can move along the length of your body. You're Tallboy, and you're a complete freak of nature. Objective: eat as much food as you can while ducking under and jumping over obstacles. This is a weirdass game, lemme tell ya, and that should be reason enough to play.

Cop Crusade


Bad, bad, super-bad men are on the loose and on the highway. You gots to take 'em down in your cop car that admittedly doesn't much look like a cop car. Cop Crusade is an upgradeable birds-eye-view car chase game; go a certain distance and you'll earn money to upgrade your ride. Occasionally blow up other cars with the GIANT CANNON that's apparently hidden in your front bumper. Basic, but it reminds me a little of Spy Hunter, and that ain't never a bad thing none.

Gravity Duck 2


I lack context since I haven't played the first Gravity Duck (yet), but what I understand is this: a Moai statue-type thing has been nabbed and brought to 'the city', and its minion, Gravity Duck, is tasked with bringing it 'delicious golden eggs'.

Sure. Whatever works.

 Gravity Duck is a fun gravity-flippin' game once the plot's out of the way. You have to navigate various perils and change the duck's gravity to reach a golden egg. Do so in 40 levels and you win! It's a decent puzzle game, if a little easy, and should eat up about an hour of your time. Depends how good you are at platforming and puzzling combined.

Finito. Until Wednesday!

Monday, September 17, 2012

bit Dungeon, Spaceship, Farm and Grow

Today's Browser Rousers takes place as I watch I, Robot! The entry has next to nothing to do with that fact, but I thought I'd point it out. Decent movie. Nothing fantastic.

First up: a point-and-click dungeon crawler! Weird combo.

bit Dungeon


You and your wife have been kidnapped and locked in a dungeon. She's presumably helpless (haven't beaten the game yet), you presumably aren't. Save her with a mass of swordplay clicking reminiscent of Legend of Zelda. Interesting concept, though the action can be awkward with the wrong device, and the interface is a little basic. No saving? Boo.

Spaceship


Usually in space shooters you're a human protecting the motherland against aliens. In Spaceship, you're an alien fending off humans. (I think. Story's sparse.) Fun, relatively basic side-scrolling shooter, a little slower-paced than other, similar games, with lotsa pretty backgrounds and funky ships. I love the art style.



Ever created a farm in a video game? Yes? Well, do it again anyway. Farm and Grow dispenses with cutesy graphics and conversations with town folk for pure farming strategy. Labour your days away in this simplistic-looking but surprisingly complex sim. No tutorial, so you'll have to learn as you go.

Alllllll done! Bit busy today, so I only did three. I'll toss an extra one on Wednesday. See ya then!

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

We return!

Yep, after months of procrastinating and work on other projects (I swear it's ACTUALLY the latter), I'm back...

... but the format's gonna change. I've got so much stuff going on that I don't have the time for full-on reviews anymore. That's kind of a lie, admittedly, but they eat up time I need to devote to other stuff. I still love playing browser-based games, though... and will do so whether I review 'em or not...

SO HERE'S THE DEAL! Rather than force myself to do reviews I'd rather avoid, I'm gonna turn Browser Rousers into a recommendations website. I play Flash games, I tell you which ones I enjoyed the most. Three times a week - Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays, I think - I'll post a list of four games I enjoyed, and a brief blurb on why. You play yourselves, you enjoy. Sound good?

Off we go, then, with our first entry!

Unnatural Selection


Another of those glorious Ludum Dare 48 challenge pieces, Unnatural Selection is kind of an RTS. Your little monster controller dude has to create an orb by gathering crystals, and he protects said orb with a horde of obedient monsters that swirl around him. Could use a bit more strategy, but overall a fairly good game, especially since it was made in 48 hours.

Escape from the Very Bad Planet


Why's it so bad? I have no idea! You don't stop to ask these questions! Run for your liiiiiiiiife

Fun side-scrolling shooter game. Collect money while dodging obstacles on your way to the end of a course. Get blown up, buy upgrades, become stronger. Eventually reach the end of the course and escape the Very Bad Planet. Mildly addictive, especially with those flashy retro visuals.

Nemonuri Tower


Climb tower. Avoid buzz saws. Get points. Climb faster. Die! Then start over. Yay! Not much more to say about this one; it's simplistic, but addictive. The control scheme's annoying at first, but you get used to it. I enjoy the jaunty tune in the background more than anything else in this game.

Reign of Centipede


Centipedes? Ruling the world?! I DON'T FUCKING THINK SO. A combination of platform shooting and real-time strategy, here, all dedicated to the destruction of those bastardly insects (though some of them are QUESTIONABLY centipedes at best). Lots of fun, if a bit easy... though I've only played the first level of five, so I'm sure it gets harder.

That's all for today. Back on Friday! I promise!

Monday, February 6, 2012

Spermrider: Seed of Destruction

Yes. I am reviewing a game called Spermrider: Seed of Destruction. And that is not a euphemism or metaphor for something else - you are, quite literally, a Spermrider.

...

Well! Let's have a look, shall we?


Concept

Oh, how to describe a game such as Spermrider. Hoooooow to describe. The story's damn simple: you, the spermrider, have come to town on your... giant, floating sperm... with one goal: destroy as much as possible. This generally means crushing people and smashing military machines to bits.

And there are military machines. Oh yes.

In more practical terms, Spermrider is a side-scrolling flier, for lack of a neater category. Spinning about on your giant sperm, you mangle anything that gets in your way. Destroy enough stuff and you'll move on to the next level, which is BASICALLY the exact same as the previous level, only with a new, more difficult brand of foe to defeat in addition to the old bunch (which includes soldiers, helicopters, planes, tanks and, after a while, laser-toting zeppelins).

Yeah. It's difficult to describe Spermrider. Best just to play the thing - you'll understand.


Controls

Controls are of paramount importance in Spermrider, and for the most part they do just fine. The sperm will move of its own volition at all times; you just have to give it direction, aiming the sperm with the left and right buttons. Doing so will spin the sperm clockwise or counterclockwise. You can also speed the feller up with either SHIFT or the up key, handy for escaping enemy fire.

I have no problems with the controls. They're simple to figure out after some practice flying. I was more annoyed at using those controls to deflect enemy fire, as you can slap projectiles out of the sky and back at your attackers with your sperm's tail. The slow rotation of the sperm makes this veeeeery tough to do, and though you can beat most of the game without having to resort to deflection, there's one level that absolutely requires the tactic. Stupid tanks. Snappier turning to remedy this, perhaps? (Or maybe I just suck at spermriding?)


Graphics

I read the name 'Spermrider' before I actually saw the game and action, so I figured it would be a crappy porn game with terrible visuals. Not so on either account, really - it's a clever (if nonsensical) game, and the graphics are actually kinda neat.

Spermrider's visuals are pretty much the results of somebody going to town with some pencil crayons. Everything has a slightly sketchy feel befitting some of the best old school cartoon shorts, particularly when you hit the silly cut scenes between levels. I would argue that Spermrider's presentation is probably its strongest quality, even if the transitions between stages and cut scenes are a little abrupt.

Sound

Spermrider's main character is a little cowboy, and you can't have a cowboy without some acoustic accompaniment. And, fittingly, the game's tunes are, for the most part, drawn from the strings of a guitar, providing a near-relaxing-but-at-times-high-octane feel. I overall approve of the musical choices, especially the funeral dirge that plays when your sperm bites the dust.


guuuuuuuilt triiiiiiiiiip

Challenge Rating

Spermrider's middle of the road difficult. It's not very hard to play, and there are only five levels in all, so advanced players with experience in dizzying flight-destruction games such as this should be able to plow their way through in about twenty minutes. There are some tricky bits (the aforementioned tank level being my primary nemesis), but even the final stage with the zeppelins isn't too taxing - and there are custom games and mini games available afterward, so your play can continue in some capacity.

WILL you keep playing? That's questionable. I don't know that there's enough difficulty or replay value to warrant lingering over Spermrider. Still, for those willing to endure, there is fun to be had.


Conclusion?

Spermrider: Seed of Destruction ain't expansive, it ain't cutting-edge and it sure as hell ain't for everyone, inoffensive though the giant flying sperm may be. That said it's nevertheless a solid, fun browser game, and worth taking for a spin around the block.

PLAY SPERMRIDER: SEED OF DESTRUCTION

Monday, January 23, 2012

Effing Worms

Worms. Can't live with 'em, can't kill 'em. Usually can't kill 'em.

Effing worms.


Concept

I COULD sum up Effing Worms, but the description IN the game is so succinct that I might as well just post a screencap:


Not enough? Okay. Here's the not-so-skinny: you're a worm. A biiiig worm. Human beings running about on the surface offend you and make your tummy rumble. Eat the bastards. Giant worms don't need storylines, they just need meals. So, from a purely game play perspective, Effing Worms is a fast-paced mission to guide your worm about and make it as large as possible by eating things. Eat enough things in one go and you'll enter a frenetic rage that will speed up your worm. Between levels you can choose evolutions that will make your worm faster, tougher and altogether more deadly.

But, yeah, at the end of the day you're just out to eat stuff.

Controls

Effing Worm's controls are a little confusing, but only at first. Utilizing WASD or the arrow keys, you can throttle your worm into high gear by holding up or W, then use right/D or left/A to change its angle and direction. A little like a gas pedal and a steering wheel in a car, though this car eats people. The controls will grow on you in no time, and I had few issues with them, aside from the occasional difficulty of locking onto tiny targets.


Graphics

Effing Worms ain't the cream of the crop, but it's not bad, either. The graphics are basic but sleek, and though the environment around you never changes you won't care about the background anyway - too busy hunting teensy humans. The worm itself is definitely the most impressive visual, going from a wee little thing -


- to a ridiculous monstrosity.


It's so sad watching your children grow into adults.

Sound

Effing Worms sports two songs: one that's low key and one that's head-banging, guitar-shredding mayhem. Both are okay, and they're suitable for their respective purposes (not-out-of-the-ground-yet and surprise!). Not wowed, but not disgusted.

Challenge Rating

Effing Worms is not a difficult game, and I highly doubt it was meant to be difficult. The only challenge in the game stems from choosing speed over bulk when accepting wormy upgrades, as speed makes it easier to miss targets and decreases your worm's potential bulk and overall health. You need to keep eating humans and avoiding military weaponry to stay alive, and that's tough to do when you miss your meals every time you come around for another pass.

By the end, Effing Worms is (by the game's own admission) just a sandbox slaughterfest where it's almost impossible to die, assuming you don't stop moving. That does not, however, make the game less fun - it's just stupid fun.


Conclusion?

Effing Worms is not high art. This title exists for pure, bloody mayhem. It's a great way to unwind after stress, especially if you're interested in seeing all of the visual combinations you can achieve by evolving your worm. Highly recommended - I'll be going back to play this thing again.

PLAY EFFING WORMS

Thursday, December 15, 2011

REDDER

Eee! Exploration game, exploration game! I'd been combing the best of 2010 Newgrounds archives when I came across REDDER, and I must admit that, a few small things aside, it does indeed belong among such auspicious company. It's a good game. Not as good as Endeavor, perhaps, but still pretty damn fun.


Concept

REDDER's the result of, more or less, an error in fuel calculation. You play a tiny astronaut whose ship has been forced to land on a dangerous planet, and in order to escape again you need to collect an assortment of colourful gems that will power your ship. Story done. That was painless.

So, yeah, there's no huge or interesting plot behind REDDER. It's a lot like Insidia, a similar exploratory platformer that sees you stuck on an alien planet. I'd argue that REDDER is the better game, however, mainly because it's got more variety and provides a larger, more difficult adventure.


Controls

REDDER is a more or less slick game when it comes to controls. It's very simple: use the arrow keys to run and jump. While jumping, keep holding onto the up key to float further upward, defying gravity for a few precious seconds. This little feature provides your spaceman with a greater measure of control over his jumps, which makes it possible to bypass some otherwise suicidal traps.

Are the controls perfect? Nope, unfortunately not. REDDER will operate properly 95 percent of the time. That last five has a tendency to put you places where you don't want to be, resulting in a few unwarranted deaths on my part. Save points spring up often in REDDER, though, so it's not a big deal.


Graphics

REDDER is, at least to my eyes, as close to a chibi version of Metroid as you're going to get. It provides a huge, nice, varied world to explore, with a lot of different tile sets that neatly break up any monotony that might set in. The deeper you get, the neater the game looks.

Problem? Yes, unfortunately, there's a slight problem: the graphics are, er, screwy. I don't know if this was intentional or not - probably not - but the more crystals you collect, the more prone the tiles are to randomly transform into the wrong thing, like so:


These problems are fairly small, and won't stop you from completing the game, but they CAN prove a little jarring when the landscape begins to randomly transform around you.

Sound

There are no ambient sound effects in REDDER as far as I can tell, and the music is industrial-grade beats accompanied by sci-fi work on a keyboard. It's not bad, but it gets old after a while. A little variation between areas, perhaps? You need to listen to this tune for a long time, after all.


Challenge Rating

Thanks to the constant save points and a handy map, REDDER isn't THAT tough. There are a few tricky spots where you need to zip between cannon blasts and patrolling robots, sure, but one or two tries is usually enough to circumvent these challenges. The real difficulty lies in the length, as you need to run through a hell of a lot of areas to beat REDDER, and some of the mazes may prove tricky enough to stymie some players into defeat.

Conclusion?

The glitches aside, REDDER is an excellent title. Anyone with a strong case of wanderlust will happily get lost in this massive labyrinth for at least an hour, if not longer.

PLAY REDDER

Friday, December 9, 2011

Syobon Action

Hoo boy. If you know your internet games, you've probably heard of Syobon Action before - and if you know anything ABOUT Syobon Action, well, you probably have the good sense not to play it.

... or you want to play it more than ever. Either way, it's not good news - though I will admit that I've been wanting to review this game since trying it out in college a few years ago. I just couldn't resist.


Concept

Syobon Action is a pretty damn innocent game at first glance. I mean, look at it. You play a happy white cat in a land full of blobby, smiling marshmallow things. It's a close homage to the first Super Mario Bros. title, and though the aesthetics are a bit cruder here the resemblance is unmistakable.


But this isn't Super Mario Bros. Oh no. Sure, it starts off nice enough, but within a few seconds you'll run into something weird. An inexplicable invisible box, perhaps, or a ghost that zips out of a pipe without warning, or perhaps even floors that fall away.


Or this shit. What kind of cruel joke is that?

And that's exactly what Syobon Action is, in the final analysis: a massive, cruel joke, one meant to torment anyone foolish enough to play the game. What starts as a simple-looking platformer quickly becomes a descent into cutesy hell, one few players will manage to survive.

The one thing you have on your side? Infinite lives. Though, uh, once the number gets low enough...


... your efforts become something of a farce. (That wasn't even CLOSE to the number I reached before giving up. I was in the sixties, at least.)

Controls

Syobon Action isn't as well-tuned a game as I would like, and I'm sure the programmer is perfectly happy with that result. It's similar to the original Mario in that our cat, on landing, has a tendency to float a short distance before coming to a stop - and that floating will get you killed many, many times. Frustration abounds. On the plus side, it IS easy as hell to master... up for jump, arrows for side to side...




Graphics

In ways, Syobon Action is a step down from Super Mario Bros. Everything is kinda... flat... by comparison, and the animations are pretty sparse. Your cat's legs move, but everything else soars without flexing a muscle. Not too impressive, though innocent enough to draw in the unwary.

Sound

The music from Syobon Action is damn near unmistakable for anyone who's played it, which is hilarious since it actually comes from ANOTHER game, Cheetah Man (and its sequel, which is a rather cheap move). There are other tracks and sound effects similarly stolen from other games, most notably the death music from Super Mario Bros. Fitting.




Challenge Rating

Good lord, where to start. Syobon Action is, for good reason, often billed as one of the most difficult games in existence. I don't know if I QUITE agree with that, 'cause with some memorization it's not that tough to beat, but it's still a right pain in the ass.

What makes Syobon Action so painful is its relentless cruelty. It sports a completely unfair set of traps, always sprung without warning and usually in places that your instincts will tell you are safe. Take the picture above, for example: that blue goal post is actually an ENEMY that comes to life when you either touch it or try to jump over it. Do you think that cat stands a chance in hell of surviving the next three seconds? I don't. (And he didn't.)

So, yes, Syobon Action is more of a dickhead joke than anything else. That said, it's also a game that forces innovation, because you often have to think outside the box to survive the many, many pitfalls. For example, there's one point where you're faced with a patrolling enemy you can't touch and a small gap you can't possibly circumvent without making contact. There are item boxes floating nearby, however, and if you hit one you'll release a mushroom - and though it will kill the cat, it makes the enemy grow in size and burst through the bricks so you can get through. It'll take a while to come up with the answers, but you'll feel proud of yourself for managing the feat.


Or you can cheat and watch one of the thousands of playthrough videos now posted on YouTube. I wouldn't blame you, either - as I recall all you get for beating Syobon Action is a melon. How quaint.

Conclusion?

Syobon Action is the stuff of legends. It's the game you try and beat if you want to show off. And, with a loooot of practice, you CAN beat it - because your body will force you to remember the traps, and exactly how to avoid them. I remembered a lot of the problem spots years later and, consequently, had a much easier time with the game on my second go. Think of it as aversion therapy with painful electrodes, installed in your computer, and you'll get the idea.


Still wanna give it a go? You have two options:

- First, you can go to the programmer's home page and PLAY SYOBON ACTION. Problem is, it doesn't seem to work for everyone.

- Or, second, you can download a version from some random website and play it on your desktop. Type in 'download Syobon Action' or something similar and you'll find a download link for almost any OS in no time.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Random Heroes

In my experience, platforming games don't need a hell of a lot of depth to work. Why bother with storyline when you've got good gameplay? Obviously the programmers of Random Heroes follow that credo, 'cause this game is action, action, action, and not much else.


Concept

Bad stuff is happening. Aliens and robots and what look like zombies and all sorts of NEGATIVE INFLUENCES have invaded your city. You need to bring an end to their horrifying reign of horror. And things.

Meh. Plot. Who needs it. There's a brief cut scene at the beginning of Random Heroes that more or less explains what's going on, but here's the salient point: you need to kill things to buy guns so you can kill bigger, badder things. Solid.

In short, it's an action platformer. You run, you jump, you collect coins, you buy better stuff, you shoot baddies. Eventually, you win. If you've played a Mega Man game before you'll have played Random Heroes, albeit with more derivations and less variety. (And no boss powers. That would be sweet, though.)

Controls

Random Heroes goes a step further than the average browser game in that it not only provides both the arrow key and WASD configuration for movement, it offers alternate jumping and shooting buttons on opposite sides of the keyboard to accommodate people who like to use different keys. It irks me on some Flash games that players who choose one set get penalized with cramped fingers; Random Heroes avoids that altogether.

Beyond that? Good controls, no glitches. Kinda wish your guy could jump just a BIT higher to get on those stupid platforms littered through every level before they slowly float out of range, but that's mainly impatience talking.


Graphics

Random Heroes is pretty. It reminds me of a Gameboy Advance game, and that's a very good thing, 'cause the GBA was one of my favourite gaming systems ever. I especially like the tiered backgrounds that move as you do, giving each level more depth and character.

... for a while. Unfortunately, despite having three distinct visual layouts for the levels - city, sewers and cemetery - Random Heroes is rather repetitive. You spend a fair amount of time in each locale, and seeing the same lamps and platforms and whatnot over and over gets tiresome. More variety in the sequel, maybe? (If there is a sequel? I hope there is.)

At least you get to pick between a few different skins for your character:


And, naturally, I went with The Gentleman, because top hats are slick. As far as I can tell there's no difference in play between the characters, though the choice is the important thing.

Sound

Random Heroes boasts a solid soundtrack, heavily reminding me of any number of Capcom games. (Browser games always seem to remind me of Capcom.) A couple more tracks might have been nice to break up the monotony between areas, but I was never bored to the point that I muted the game and turned on the radio instead.


Challenge Rating

Ah. Here's the real problem with Random Heroes, my major point of contention:

It's too easy.

Given the length of Random Heroes, you'd think it would have a steeper learning curve and more difficult levels. That is not, however, the case - if you've ever played any form of platformer you can probably blow through this game in less than an hour, and potentially collect almost every achievement in the process. Part of this problem stems from level design that isn't terribly challenging, part of it from enemies and bosses who are quite predictable...

... but most of it comes from the money. It's way too easy to upgrade your character in Random Heroes. I had the best gun by the first level of the second area, and most of the other upgrades came close on its tail. Either scattering fewer coins throughout the levels or eliminating the cash-for-kills system would up the difficulty.

One other thing I'd like to note: the platforms move too damn slow. I know I said it above, but I got really annoyed waiting for those stupid things to come back down whenever I missed a jump with my dude's stubby little legs.


Conclusion?

It may seem as though I've trashed Random Heroes a lot during this review, but I DID enjoy the game. A lot. It's fun. It just needs some tweaks, which, again, I'd love to see implemented in a sequel.

PLAY RANDOM HEROES

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Culmination

DEATH TO VANDHEER LORDE

Whoops. Sorry. Bit of an outburst there. It's relevant to this review, however, because that's exactly what you want to do in Culmination: beat the crap out of some shadowy dude called Vandheer Lorde.


Concept

I've pretty much explained the premise behind Culmination already, but I'll be a bit more in-depth here. You play somebody more or less known as Lone Warrior, a man with a purpose: to kill a demented, power-hungry lord named Vandheer Lorde. The rest of the story may be explained in the rest of the Armed With Wings series, which I haven't played, but you get the overall idea regardless of background filler. Kill Vandheer Lorde.

How do you accomplish this feat? One sword, two swift legs and a slew of crazy combat moves, that's how. Culmination is a side-scrolling platformer that puts you in the shoes of a powerful samurai who gets more and more powerful the more he smashes the crap out of his monstrous foes. Running and jumping your way through monochrome environments you engage in battle with all manner of shadowy demons, and you need to slice through them with some very fancy sword-swinging attacks while avoiding their return swipes. That's Culmination in a nutshell.


Controls

Culmination requires absolute control over your character at all times. Little slips in judgement can get you killed really fast, especially on the game's Hard Mode, as the enemies are fairly ruthless - and can take quite a beating before they go under. Pinpoint control is a necessity.

And, for the most part, Culmination delivers. Your character will, on most occasions, go exactly where you want him to go. He doesn't ALWAYS seem to move flawlessly, though, and his tendency to drift on landings can result in some frustrating deaths. If you're going to fight, try to stay as far away from pits as possible, and don't underestimate the amount of ground you can cover while attacking.

I will add that Culmination is a little more complex than your average browser game, as you can potentially use A, S, W and D all in a single fight, depending on the buildup of your power meter. That said the simplicity of their implementation is perfect for a browser game rather than forcing the player to try and execute crazy move combinations, as might be the case in a console game.


Graphics

Culmination's visuals are THE reason every browser gamer should try it at least once, because this game is damn beautiful. The environment is uniformly fantastic, with wonderful atmospheric effects that are only amplified by the greyscale colouring. For example:


Would you believe that's a browser game? I sure as hell wouldn't.

And the combat! My god, the combat! Culmination is straight out of the pages of sword-swinging anime, utilizing fluid, swift movements that put real life to shame. These screencaps don't really capture how good this game looks when you're in the midst of a fight.

My only problem? There's a lack of variety in the enemies. You'll face the same couple creatures over and over, with only slight variation as you progress. It's not a long game, though, so that's okay.


Sound

The music on Culmination is okay. It's action-packed without going overboard, and doesn't break the atmosphere established by the graphics. I especially enjoyed the menacing boss music near the end of the game, even if I didn't get to hear it too often.

Challenge Rating

Culmination isn't too difficult after you've gotten past the first few levels, as you'll quickly adapt to the controls. Your first fight will end badly; second, a bit better; third, you should get the gist of playing. The big challenge on the first play is getting used to your various moves... and not accidentally jumping into pits.

Then you play on Hard, and all that changes. The enemies will rend you. The challenge curve is pretty steep on Culmination when you move between modes, and most players won't be able to beat Hard (I know I couldn't). That said you don't HAVE to play all the way through the game again to play each of the Hard levels - you just won't get any trophies for artificially skipping ahead.


Conclusion?

Culmination is a great game. It has a few little graphical problems, and the controls could use a little bit of tightening, but neither should hurt the experience too much. Give this beauty a ride if only to see these shadowy warriors in action.

PLAY CULMINATION