I've played a few interesting games recently, and thought I'd do a quick synopsis of a few. Over Christmas, Steam had a bunch of sales, stuff like $3 for 4 games, so I went crazy buying that shit. Many of the games have been left un-installed in my library, but I recently had the time to play some of them, here they are: (oh, not all of these games are on Steam btw)
Nightsky, by NICALIS
I remember seeing a trailer for this awhile ago, from like 2007 or something, and heard it got cancelled. I just saw this pop up on steam for like 10 bucks. I didn't even know it was released, let alone still alive; I bought it.
The concept of the game was nothing new; play as an orb and roll about physics based puzzles. But I was really surprised, the level design was really creative, and there were all kinds of new challenges, introduced gradually throughout the game, some of which I wish I got to do more. The game gave me about 4-5 hours of gameplay just breezing through it, but there are plenty of hidden secrets, and another difficulty, with entirely different level designs (this gives it extra points in my book). The game had a quaint art style, and brilliant music by Chris Schlarb (available on bandcamp). Theoretically, the game could have been freeware, but the musical score and experience make it worth it, so if you have some spare cash lying around, I suggest you go buy the game.
I give Nightsky 7/10, and you can get more info on it here
, and buy it on Steam or WiiWare.
FRACT beta, by Richard E Flannigan
Heard about this game from the IGF student entries, and it won the best student game. FRACT is still in the beta stage, but has 2 playable world ready to go (around 1-2 hours of gameplay if you're slow like me). Fract is a minimalistic first person adventure puzzle game, with gameplay similar to Myst or Frictional titles. The game is set in a wonderful, hexy, technologic world. with stunning basic polygon visuals, and the game is inspired by electronic music, and has a big emphasis on sound design. The puzzles in the game aren't anything too hard, and generally revolve around problem solving rather than logic. The movement in the game is a bit stiff, but hopefully that'll be fixed soon. The real reason I like the game so far is its style; the absolutely stunning world design, animations, and brilliant sound effects are really what make this game superb. I can't really explain the game, you have to play it to know.
I'm giving FRACT as a beta 7/10, and you can play the game here
Kruunu by Jukio Kallio
I had seen this on ThePoppenkast for a long time, but for a long time wasn't able to download the game due to reasons unknown. I'd seen trailers on the game and wasn't so impressed, and wanted to give it a shot. The game is a vertical twitch platformer, with a simple mechanic. The goal is to climb to the top of the tower (that part is rather obvious) without dying (also obvious). The game incorporates wall jumping as the main method of progress, and the developer has sported the game as having smooth wall jumping; this is true, it felt really good. The gameplay is pretty typical: avoid enemies which walk left and right, spikes, and a death ray that slowly moves upwards. Kruunu will give you around a half hour of gameplay (not too bad), and perhaps another half hour once you unlock the (stupid) hell mode. The music was annoying. The graphics were ok
but had some weird noisy overlay to give them a 'crayon' or 'hand drawn' effect; it was stupid. The game is also fullscreen, which is stupid, it looks so much better at original resolution. All in all, Kruunu didn't offer anything new, but it was fun, and I loved the sense of adrenaline I got when I gracefully joined together clusters of wall jumps.
I give Kruunu a 5.5/10, and you can play the game for free here
Bleh, it's late, I'll continue this with a few more games such as Cogs
and The Wonderful End of The World