Category Archives: [News]
Sometimes you just want to fly from left to right, power up your space gun, and explode caterpillar-like waves of alien spaceships, before heading home for a space beer. Sometimes you only a few basic powerups that get the job down. Sometimes you only need 4 levels to be complete as a person. Death Strike is that game.
I’m a simple man. I see straightforward ship shoot ’em up action, I download.
Death Strike is a short, quick old school shooter that has quite clearly modelled itself after 80’s shooters like Gradius and R-Type. Much like most situations in the 80’s, pressing societal problems like renegade cops, drug cartels or alien invasions could only be solved by one man. Pulled out of retirement. For one last job. Also, you are that man.
Gameplay-wise, the game presents an (at least for now?) relatively simpler affair, with waves of enemies throwing themselves at you with gleeful abandonment and a large oversized boss waiting for you at the end. The powerup system is a bit simpler than excessive upgradable orbs or charge beams etc. you might find elsewhere, though finishing the levels does grant a megaman-esque WEAPON GET screen. You can then switch between weapons freely during levels, and this at least adds a small dab of variety.
Although the straightforwardness of Death Strike was somewhat cathartic, keep in mind it follows in the heels of its vintage predecessors – it’s reasonably difficult to beat.
Death Strike | download
With a few days left, time to slip in another set of picks for the Steam Summer sale.
Last time I pointed out a bunch of games I largely already owned or ended up buying and playing due to the sale, that turned out decent enough. This time, I’m pointing out some games that I haven’t yet played, and probably games that most people have never heard of – so this is a good chance to discover some new obscure games.
The Steam Summer Sale is currently on, running until July 5th, so another 10 days or so from this post, which means plenty of time to grab some bargains.
When 25 of my wishlisted items appeared on sale in my inbox, it was both a blessing and a curse for my wallet. I mean, sure, I spent a lot, but at these savings, it’d be losing money not to buy… uh, right? Double-mortgage aside, given the massive number of games on sale I thought this would be a good time to shortlist a few New Retro Games Staff picks.
Thimbleweed Park (40% off, ~12EUR)
An old-school adventure game throwback by Monkey Island brigand Ron Gilbert himself, Thimbleweed Park kind of gets thrown as Maniac Mansion meets Twin Peaks. Perhaps not totally inaccurate, but… to me, it feels a bit more like Zakk McKracken meets Twin Peaks.
The general impressions of the game were positive, and although while perhaps not hitting the highs of his earlier affairs, Thimbleweed seems to be offering some solid adventure so far. It sports some damn beautiful classic pixel artwork, and the five character + inventory swapping puzzles and bizarre town make it worth the discounted price for sure.
Cosmic Star Heroine (50% off ~8EUR)
I took a look at Cosmic Star Heroine back in Jan, and while I did enjoy it, I also had somewhat mixed feelings about it. A callback to 16-bit SNES rpgs brimming with modern potential, CSH had an interesting fast-paced battle system and creative cast, each with their own unique skillsets, but it tended to burn through everything so fast that it was hard to really dig in to. I finished it, including every side quest and achievement, in 17 hours, and that was at a relaxed pace. Still, sometimes we don’t want to invest 100+ hours into a game, and for less than a tenner, it’s pretty cheap.
Darkest Dungeon (70% ~7EUR)
This is a game I’d been on the fence about for a long time, persisting through numerous sales. The game brings some richly artistic flair to your dungeon crawling, mixed in with Dark Souls level punishing difficulty. As a fan of old-school dungeon crawls like the Gold Box games or even Nethack, this can be a good thing, but I also don’t quite have the patience I did those days. Nevertheless, at 70% off this sale convinced me to take the plunge and I can confirm that I have been enjoying the self-flagellation so far. Even playing on the (later patched in) easier mode, I find myself taking careful steps in combat and each trip feels suitably risky, yet rewarding. Worth the admission price, I think, even if you end up only spending 10 or so of the potentially dozens of hours the game offers.
Dungeon Warfare (66% off, ~3,50EUR)
Dungeon Warfare is a relatively simple but strangely addicting reverse dungeon crawler/TD-style game. Being some sort of sentient evil entity, you decide to fill your dungeons with an assortment of traps to put a stop to the encroaching horde of money-grubbing do-gooders from the inconvenience of killing you. Where the game really excels, however, is how well these traps work together in unison, whether it be pushing peasants into spike pits or pulling knights into an endless pit. Playing with combinations is fun by itself, but the game actively rewards you for doing so, and it gets addicting fast.
There’s a disappointingly increasing trend for browser games and mobile games to try and go big time by releasing a PC port. However, most of the time the leaving in of a horrible UI, dumbed-down gameplay and, in some cases, confounding “freemium pay-to-win” model in the game smells richly of cash grab. Luckily, this is not the case for Dungeon Warfare. It did indeed start as a free browser game (and is still available), and the Steam version simply adds a bit of extra polish and content. This may seem “low effort”, but the game itself is solid, so while technically you can get enough enjoyment from the free version, for me this really was a case of throwing a few deserved bucks the developer’s way.
Legend of Grimrock 2 (60% off, ~9EUR)
I bought this game for full price back in the day and still don’t regret it, even though it took me about 3 years to get around to finishing the thing. Grimrock 2 is an expertly-done modern take on the classic Dungeon Master crawl formula, and is also basically an improvement on its prequel in every way possible. If you like this sort of game at all, and don’t mind square dancing with giant turtles while unkillable air elementals push you into the water where a sea monster blocks the ladder while you drown to death, then hey, there’s no real reason not to get this.
Z-Exemplar (50% off, 2,50EUR)
Taking the spot of one of our games of the year back when we did that sort of thing, Z-Exemplar is a solid, if sometimes unforgiving, classical horizontal-scrolling shoot ’em up harking back, as the name would suggest, to the days of the ZX Spectrum. What helps the game stand out from its inspirations is its solid weapons system, with tons of combinations to choose from, all characteristic from branching vines to lasers to orbs of death, and all upgradable. Better yet, the game doesn’t take itself too seriously and sports a lovely british sense of irreverent humour. There are also over 900 levels to non-linearly explore. They are all very short, taking around about 1 minute to beat, but goddam if that’s not insane. I am still nowhere near finishing the game.
Phew, that’s enough for now. I might try to throw together another list in a few days, because hot dam, if this isn’t a disturbingly enticing sale I don’t know what is.
A title that serves as both an expression and description of gameplay, I Am Overburdened is, in principle, about everybody’s (non)favourite part of RPGs: having too much loot and struggling to juggle what to keep and what to ditch.
Should I go for those +5 gloves of nail-biting or stick with my powerglove of uncanny referencing?
The game doesn’t exactly deliver on this promise, per se, though. Funnily enough, this is a far better outcome: instead resulting in a fast paced arcade-roguelike-ish affair with an extremely streamlined loot system and minimal inventory tetris. Unlike its namesake, I am Overburdened is a simple pleasure to run through, albeit (for a commercial release) a relatively short one.
Time for a quick update on some new retro happenings. This week’s them is: terrible controls don’t die, they just fade away. Also, basketball.
- Double Dragon returns, again!
- More masochism – stair quest ascends!
- Boom-shaka-laka! NBA JAM updated!
‘Bout time we listed some news of the recent happenings in the new retro game scene, eh? Here’s a few tidbits from a week gone by:
- Diablo…inside MY Diablo?
- Crow-tel, Mo-tel, Holiday Inn?
- Frogs…inside MY Fairy Village?
Just a shoutout for those few readers who may happen to also live in Düsseldorf, Germany, there’s a retrogames event happening this weekend.
It’s called “PIXELBÖRSE” and its on this Sunday, 8 Janurary @ Zakk. Fichtenstraße 40, 40233 Düsseldorf.
I’ve heard that Düsseldorf has a lively retrogaming community (and some good retrogaming stores that I need to check out), but haven’t as yet seen it. PIXELBÖRSE could be fun. We’ll be there.
Hard to believe we are now entering our second year! But much like Phil Collins, yes – we’re still here.
2016 has been a year of ups and downs to say the least, whether its your favourite celebrity deciding they don’t want to live on this planet anymore, or your least favourite one becoming ruler and overlord. Whatever the case, new, fun and innovative retro style games will always be here for you, patiently waiting.
As always, we have a lot of plans in the works for 2017 – if you’re interested in that behind the scene stuff feel free to read on. If not, next week we’ll be back to our usual broadcasting (a few weeks worth of games has already been drafted and scheduled!)
We played a lot of games this year. Some of them we even wrote about! We generally shy away from too many “best of” listicle style articles, but figured this holiday day is a good time to sit back with a hot cup of mulled beer or flask of vodka and reflect on what a year of games it has been.
New Retro Games’
This isn’t a objective list, just our favourite picks from each category of game we’ve covered. As a basic ground rule, we are favouring fully playable, complete and more recently covered games. Unfinished games (beta, demos, etc) remakes, enhanced editions and the like won’t count unless unless they offered a new and complete playing experience on their own terms.
Without further ado…
With the latest posting of Sky Rogue I’m proud to announce we’ve hit a whopping 200 posts!
Never expected it to get this far or grow this much, but thanks to an ever growing amount of visitors we’ve gone from a couple of guys dropping notes about random retro-style indie games to… well, uh, a couple of guys still doing that. And a little bit more.