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Mortal Manor

Mortal Manor bids itself as a Metroidvania, but also wants to stand out with a different approach to gameplay. Fortunately, this includes a vast sprawling world and tons of weapons to collect. Unfortunately, the approach also includes instadeaths and enemies that are as annoying as %*#&.

Any indie gem has rough edges and I’m not going to sugarcoat it – Mortal Manor‘s edges are about as smooth as rock golem’s butt. For those with the same sort of patience as an eternal being, though, there’s a massive game here, crammed with varied areas and bursting with weapons, relics and secrets to find.

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Chasm (demo)

We cover a lot of demos and alphas and the like here, and while the demos provide decent entertainment, pretty much none of them over the last three years have since seen the light of day as a full release. So here’s a demo for a metroidvania that is due for release in just one month. Oh, but it’s been in development for six years.

Chasm promises the usual metroidvania fare, and while it certainly is polished with all the right founding ingredients in place, the demo, which turns out to be from the dark ages of 2013, left me feeling a little uninspired.

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New Retro Picks: Steam Summer Sale #2

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.

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Remake Roundup: Super Mario Bros. – Part #2

Welcome back to part 2 of our Remake Roundup feature looking at redo’s of the classic 1985 turtle-smashing game Super Mario Bros.

Last time around, we looked at some pretty straight-up remakes that, for the most part, took the original formula and merely spruced it up with better graphics or gameplay elements, but kept things mostly the same.

This time around we dive deeper into the abyss to look at games that take the original Mario concept and start to alter it in more interesting ways. There were no hard rules on what fits for this round, but I generally looked for games that added something innovative but kept the implacable Mario spirit.

Let’s a-go!

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You Have to Win the Game: Steam EGA edition

You have to win the game… Again! Minimalist indie classic You Have to Win the Game was a sweet little hit back in 2012. If there were an alternative universe with a DOS-based 286 metroidvania, this game would have been it. It was one of the first games I posted about, and I loved what it managed to pull off with the otherwise eye-gouging CGA graphics limitation.

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At some unknown point, YHtWtG moved onto Steam, and then added a bunch of new features including an equally lovely EGA mode, boasting a whopping 16 colours! It also includes more difficult remixed campaign and a playable cat character, you know, for people who are into that sort of thing. And best of all, it’s still 100% free (note: there’s a $1 option on Itch.io if you want a permanent Steam key, which is otherwise not available for free games.)

You Have to Win the Game | download steam / itch.io

 

Nightkeep (demo)

Nightkeep is, well, as its indiegogo page puts it: “an action RPG platformer inspired by such classics as Castlevania Bloodlines, Demon’s crest and a variety of JRPGs” – yes, please. Ture, it’s yet another retro-style game wearing its influences strongly on its sleeves, but the demo here is polished enough in its own right that Nightkeep looks to be shaping up to serve an interesting mixture of platforming action.

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[Freeware] Mariovania

Let’s face it, Bowser is horribly incompetent. The number of times his plans for world domination have been thwarted by a overweight plumber from Brooklyn should be enough of a signal to call it quits. But what if Bowser… teamed up with Dracula? That is very the question Mariovania answers.

Die, Bowser! You don’t belong in this world! Not quite the same ring to it, but just go with it.

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Actually, considering Drac’s similarly lacklustre record, actually, probably not a whole lot would be different. But the combination of Mario platforming and Castlevania stlye exploration works surprisingly well.

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[Freeware] Ragnarok

One of the core drivers to starting this blog was to unearth and share unassuming freeware games that don’t get much coverage elsewhere. To some degree we’ve done this; at least – you won’t find many of the games we cover on Gamespot or Rockpapershotgun, but the rabbit hole goes a lot deeper… and its time we started digging into our vault a little more. I present: Hyuke Kigyouden, or, in its more easy to pronounce form: Ragnarok.

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An obvious Castlevania inspired indie effort, Ragnarok isn’t going to provide any surprises at first glance, and even though it probably won’t dethrone indie stars like Cave Story or La Mulana any time soon, it’s an interesting enough – if still formulaic – take on the formula.

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Gameboy Jam 5 Round Up

Was hoping to get out some more detailed looks into some of the 400+ entries into GBJAM5, but well, ain’t nobody got time fo dat and all that (not for lack of want though, I’d rather be playing through each game and writing about them here than working -ed). Here, at least, are a couple more tasty desserts from the GBJAM5- some choice selections from an admittedly fine menu.

The appetizer is a challenging action-platformer featuring ever Ninja’s favourite weapon, followed up by a main serving of Slug-shooting arcade action, finished off with some classic football-infused dungeon exploration. Yes, really. As a bonus supper, I’ve also included a rare treat: a Gameboy style beat ’em up.

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Andromeda (demo)

For all its ups and downs, if anything else, Kickstarter has at least allowed the creation of some ambitious demos – and when these demos provide a few hours of solid, old school style gaming joy, I can’t complain. The Andromeda demo does just that.

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As you’d expect from a demo, it’s a bit rough around the edges, but it’s a fully playable and enjoyable “NEStroidvania” throwback that will easily consume a solid few hours.

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