Elemental Focus

March 4, 2012

IndieCity Recommendations: Part 4
Filed under: Article,IndieCity — Chris @ 6:33 pm

I don’t want to sound like Homer Simpson, food critic, where everything is amazing, but the latest lot of games just happened to be a good lot for the most part.

Monster RPG 2
Price: £1.19/$1.99
I suppose its no surprise that with a name like Monster RPG 2, this is one of the most generic games I’ve ever played. Not tongue-in-cheek satire of the genre, straight up everything by the book RPG.

Monster RPG 2 rolls the RPG story dice and goes with “best friend possessed by mysterious artifact”, you start a journey following his trail of destruction and start picking up other group members (which seem to have little to no backstory or personality) and you basically need to make progress across the land in spite of the random battles. The biggest problems are a lack of autosave and dying sends you back to the last save point (First time through I hadn’t saved yet by the first time I died which happened surprisingly suddenly) and a lack of explanation for many of the items in the game, although they’re all so generic, you can probably work it out yourself anyway.

It’s not a horribly bad game and if you’re an RPG fan and want something new to play (or at least is technically new) there might be something for you here, but in general you can probably play something else more interesting

3 stars

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KrissX
Price: £3.49/$4.99

KrissX is a puzzle game based around swapping letters in a crossword to make full words again. I really don’t know what else I can say about it, its really not that complicated.

It’s surprisingly fun and there’s little to criticse. The game’s main failing is that it’s really rather easy. The hints system means on most occasions you could guess the word with even having the letters in front of you, but if you switch it off, on a few occasions you have no way of knowing which anagram the game is actually looking for. This means the challenge is based more around speed and not making unnecessary swaps. Still, it’s worth a look, if only for the somewhat sneaky trial-only level.

4 stars

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Neon Prime
Price: £0.60/$1.00

Neon Prime is a vertical spaceship shoot em up, enemies come from the top of the screen and fire down at you and you shoot back up. The whole game uses vector graphics and bold colours, so looks very crisp. It also has its own (non-IndieCity) leaderboard system which keeps track of recent scores as well as all time scores. It also allows you to use an Xbox controller, which I decided against (although I had to unplug it shortly after making this decision as it rumbles heavily every time you die).

The game is very active with plenty of enemies on screen and lots of things being fired at you. You need to be moving your own ship constantly and have to take enemies down in bursts of shots. There are also boss/bonus levels at the end of each round with a slightly different style of gameplay. The first one is space invaders style game (which also strips you of all of your upgrades) and the second puts you in a rotating box of enemies which you need to slowly whittle down.

My main problem with Neon Prime is the lack of enemy movement in the levels I encountered. Aside from the boss/bonus levels, only some enemies will occasionally move and even then its not very quickly. As a result, the only challenge in shooting them is avoiding their fire while getting beneath them You only ever really need to use the ships ability to go up and down the screen if you’ve let an enemy get by and its in the way of moving left and right. With this fairly bare bones approach, while reasonably entertaining, it doesn’t achieve much more than other similar games.

4 stars

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Didgery
Price: £3.00/$4.80

I’m not normally compelled by card games in quite the same way as some people do, undeniably so given the stats you can rake up about the amount of hours people play solitaire for, but Didgery was different for me. In Didgery, you’re given a grid of cards and have to build up a chain. For a card to follow in a chain, it must be adjacent (including diagonals) to the last in the chain and either be of the same suit but lower than the previous card, or the same number in a different suit. Finishing a chain removes the cards from the board (and with large chains can cause explosions removing other two, but scoring lots of points). Obviously removing cards means you can’t use them in future chains, so tactical play is required throughout. There are also special cards which mix things up just a tiny bit and you’re against a clock as over time energy drains from each suit. If it gets too low, it starts bleeping at you and you need to remove cards of that suit from the board with a chain quickly.

So as such you have the combination of trying to calculate what your best current chain is, balanced with setting up bigger chain in the future, balanced with the time pressure. In addition to such a compulsive mechanic, the game is very highly polished and has very soothing and appropriate accompanying music. I found myself playing Didgery for quite a while, constantly saying “one more round, one more round”, which is the sign of a very good game.

5 stars


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