Blog Archives

New Retro Vault: Treasure Adventure Game

Treasure Adventure Game has been around for at least five years and is by and large an excellent metroidvania adventure. So it’s a bit of a crime that we haven’t covered it yet.

With a full-blown commercial redo now released, I thought it was high tide to don my paper pirate hat and mention the original freeware gem that inspired it.

Read the rest of this entry

Advertisements

Sigma-Finite Dungeon

The remarkable thing about zero-budget indie RPGs made by guys in their basement is that can compel us to still play them under the shadow of top quality million dollar triple-A ventures. Case in point: I recently acquired The Witcher III, and yet here I am, playing Sigma-Finite Dungeon. That’s not to say the Witcher isn’t great, because it is, but there’s always room to indulge in that sense of old-school satisfaction that pushing yet another pixelated goblin to its death in a spike trap elicits.

sigmafinitedung_1

Sigma-Finite Dungeon is an intoxicating mashup of Final Fantasy Tactics party-based battles with roguelike dungeon crawling, with a party to equip, skills to leverage, and monsters to slush. It’s not quite as deep as FFT or Nethack, but its tactical combat provides some solid satisfaction.

Read the rest of this entry

Magna Driver

I have a confession to make: I don’t really miss JRPGs all that much. After gluttonously gorging on Final Fantasy‘s heyday (6 and 7 in particular), Chrono Trigger, Secret of Mana and more, I’m incredibly blessed. But I don’t really want more.

Yet… If it’s one thing I really do miss from those days where trifling matters like paying taxes were not on my radar, it is the FF5/Tactics style job system. That shit was awesome. JRPG derivations are a dime-a-dozen now, but this one enticing element is never authentically replicated.

Magna Driver heard my call, though, emerging at my darkest hour. It may be a prototype-level demo, sure, but that same addictive crack-like quality of the job system is still there, and I devoured it gleefully for about an hour until I had unlocked every job and ability for each character.

Read the rest of this entry

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.

youhavetowinthegame_1

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

 

Bold Blade

Those anime protagonists sure know how to wield a massively oversized impractical sword. You’d think that by the time they actually manage to lift it, a ninja would’ve already stabbed them in the face a few times, but apparently not. Nevertheless, Bold Blade puts my theory to the test, with gameplay entirely swiveled around (pun intended) the art of sweeping a screen-clearing hunk of metal through wave after wave of monsters.

Bold Blade clearly channels the impractical sword-wielding antics of Ginormo Sword, but where that effort happily jumped into a lo-fi psychedelic deep end without abandon, Blade is far more polished in appearance and follows a much more grounded 90s arcade approach, and I could easily see myself playing this on the SEGA Megadrive as an angst-filled teenager, when giant swords where the best solution for most problems.

Read the rest of this entry

Fortify

Fortify is a classic tower defense game, reeking of late 90’s indie. From the MS paint style graphics to the somewhat clunky interface, everything takes a distant backseat to the detailed gameplay and challenging learning curve.

Read the rest of this entry

Burst Fighter [Full Game released]

Early last year, we took a look at work-in-progress shoot em up Burst Fighter, now the full game has been released on Steam so we could take a deeper look.

Read the rest of this entry

Remake Roundup – Super Mario Bros. (Part 1)

It’s been a long time coming but we’re finally back with another Remake Roundup, where we examine an arcade classic and unearth modern remakes!

This time around we take a look at the venerable classic Super Mario Bros. franchise and see what sort of remakes are lurking around. This will be a two three-parter: the first part will focus on more straight-forward remakes, while the second will look at remakes that take the Mario concept and apply it to different gameplay styles (Mario as a metroidvania? Sure, why not) and then finally, we take a cautious gander at some of the more… esoteric interpretations.

Grab your fire flowers and, in some cases, axes, bombs or megablasters, and see how deep the green pipe goes.

Read the rest of this entry

Clash Force

Back in the late 80’s, cartoons seemed to be based solely around the idea of grabbing everything a 10-year-old thought was awesome and merging them together into a force of protagonists who fought overtly evil bad guys who try to take over the world for no more reason than because it’s there. It worked well enough for a while, endowing us with gift like Transformers, He-Man, and erm, Dinoriders, before we all got totally sick of it and the too-cool-to-care 90’s emerged.

Clash Force is sort of like traveling to a world where this never happened, and an endless stream of colourful robot-animal hybrids continued to beam into our television sets and game consoles. It also harks back to a simpler time for games, gifting us straightforward running-from-left-to-right, shooting everything that moves, and kicking the odd bosses’ face in as you move from forests to deserts to caves. It’s a simple arcade affair to be sure, but sometimes that’s all you need.

Read the rest of this entry

Kingdom Builder

A 1-bit jam take on mixing city builders with the incremental/clicker genre, Kingdom Clicker presents an interesting, if very basic, prototype of how such a beast could work. And I can never resist those delicious Gameboy style graphics.

Read the rest of this entry