Aug 14, 2012

Adventure Lantern #32

It is admittedly August, but you should definitely download the July issue of Adventure Lantern. It is after all as fresh as your average August magazine and, by far, the best looking issue the dear, venerable adventure gaming fanzine has so far managed. Pretty impressive really, as are the excellent reviews of Scratches: Director's Cut and Metal Dead. Oh, and the news section is both incredibly rich and downright mouth-watering.

Aug 9, 2012

Deirdra Kiai presents Dominique Pamplemousse in It's All Over Once The Fat Lady Sings!

Okay, we still don't have The Threepenny Opera: The Game, but Dominique Pamplemousse in It's All Over Once The Fat Lady Sings! will apparently be able to cover our collective jazz-musical point-and-click adventure gaming needs. Provided we help it get funded, that is. You know, by giving money to this mouth-watering indiegogo campaign and making sure that the brilliantly multi-talented Deirdra Kiai has the funds she needs to actually pull this one off.

Just take a look at the pitch video and tell me the prospect of such a visually and aurally beautiful stop motion detective adventure isn't something worth supporting...

See? You loved it too reader! How very lovely!

Aug 7, 2012

Thomas Was Alone and a new breed of reviews

Having already covered the release of Thomas Was Alone over at the IndieGames blog (see? that's where newsbits go these days) I thought I'd take my time and finish the game before reviewing it for my very own, very cozy place. But first a bit of history.

Thomas Was Alone is a game by Mike Bithell and Mike Bithell is one of the first indie game designers I started writing about sometime six years ago. He was still a student back then, but had already come up with more than a few intriguing ideas and was more than capable of creating beautiful games. Games like Reunion if you remember, which I deeply enjoyed and (hint, hint) would love to see evolved.

Then, things and games happened and Mike went on and crafted a particularly successful flash game named Thomas Was Alone which you can no longer play online. It was an utterly lovely game. A refreshing puzzle-platformer that provided you with rectangle characters and a geometric world, in which said characters could climb and bounce on top of each other in order to solve platformer puzzles.

Then, even more things happened (mainly glowing press and, apparently, brave choices) and Mike decided that Thomas Was Alone simply had to realize its full potential and become a full-blown, downloadable and thus logically commercial indie game. Following a modest IndieGoGo campaign the game was released and you can (and frankly should) buy it now for Mac and PC over at its very own and most aptly URLed site. There's even a demo available to help you make the right choice.

History lesson over. Time for a review.

Well, the official description of the game goes a bit like this: a minimalist game about friendship and jumping and floating and bouncing and anti-gravity, which is pretty accurate, but fails to add the words terrific, story-heavy and brilliantly narrated somewhere. A grave marketing mistake surely, as what we are talking about here reader is easily one of the very best platformers ever. A game that has earned its place among classic platformers Manic Miner and VVVVVV; a rare action offering that can proudly sit next to Alphaland (an inspiration perhaps?) and claim it really knows its storytelling.

The plot and its delivery, you see, are central to Thomas Was Alone, which does force me to namedrop a bit more. Remember that Portal game? Good. Now, do the math and find out what I want to say, by keeping in mind that I easily preferred Thomas' take on interactive storytelling.

As for the gameplay itself, things are both straightforward and innovative. You get to control a variety of subtly yet brilliantly animated rectangles, each with its own unique personality, set of abilities, shape and colour, and guide them through an excellently designed set of levels that will mainly tax your brain, but also -a bit- your reflexes. What's really lovely is just how well each rectangle's defining ability is tied to its character; what's downright impressive though is that said rectangles are so much more interesting than your average multi-polygonal mainstream hero. They have a soul and that's coming from a person who simply doesn't believe such things exist.

So, uhm, as I said earlier, buy it will you? Don't make me go on about how lovely the stylized graphics are or how addictive the game can get. I'm very busy these days, you know, and am pretty confident the less I tell you about it, the more fun you'll have discovering the many graces of Thomas Was Alone.

Related @ Gnome's Lair:

Aug 3, 2012

Today's Mech Delivery: PlaySF issue 2

Ask anyone who has ever published anything of a periodical nature and they'll admit that actually doing a second issue is the most difficult and crucial phase their magazine had to go through, which, gently leads me to telling you about the release of Play SF issue 2 and my being very happy about it. Well, it's out and I'm happy, and you should absolutely grab a copy (for Mac/PC and your iOS contraption) or, better, yet subscribe to the thing, as this is much more than the only sci-fi focused gaming magazine; it's a great and excellently written magazine. One of the three (yes, only) I actually read!

As for this issue's contents, expect tons of reviews, previews, features and newsbits. Personal highlights include a Carrier Command preview, a little something on Wing Commander Saga, my introduction to Hawken, an amazing feature on game adaptations, the continuation of the brilliant Tripping The Quantum Mechanic series and that Endless Space review.