Busload of Horror III: Laugh ‘Til You Bleed (And Vice Versa)

zp_dead

 

Oooh, I missed yesterday’s posting thanks to stuff going kablooie elsewhere, but here you go. The better news is I found a few more games to add to this list while poking around a hard drive, so consider this scary mission extended a bit starting with tomorrow’s installment where I add FOUR titles instead of three. Or perhaps FIVE if I’m feeling generous? We shall see. Anyway, let’s get cracking with the cracking up over assorted head cracking in these three today:

tom-vs-the-armies-of-hell_big

Tom vs. The Armies of Hell: From Darkmire Entertainment (or Sean Burgoon)  comes this hilarious spin on Diablo, Army of Darkness, a dash of Office Space and maybe a teeny-tiny bit of Half-Life (if you squint while hitting yourself in the head with a hammer at just the riiiiight spot) that’s going to tickle your funny bone as it tests your skills. You’re Tom, a low on the totem pole software engineer having the worst day at work ever (outside of Gordon Freeman’s of course) after all Hell figuratively (or is that literally?) breaks loose and you need to stop things from going further south.

 

 

The isometric view and chase ‘n chop gameplay will be familiar to Diablo or similar ARPG fans, although the game takes a bit more finesse in using skills-based attacks and drawing energy from dead demon spirits to power your weapon. Enemies tend to be fast and cheap, bosses are room-sized and cheaper, but all are bested by the best who remain calm under pressure. The game is still pretty tough on the easiest setting (or was until the last patch that lightened the difficulty up a bit), but it’s a challenge worth accepting if you like your games funny and sliding in winks and nods to all sorts of cool stuff.

tom-vs-the-armies-of-hell_01

As admirable and fun as the game is, even more so is Burgoon’s tweaking and fixing up bugs when players come across them. If only every developer was so responsive and self deprecating as this guy. $12.99 gets you this one on Steam and it’s worth it. I have not a single clue what Darkmire has up it’s collective one-man sleeves as an encore, But if it’s more tongue-in-cheek goofiness such as this, I’m in and smiling already.

 

Continue reading

Indie Quickies: The Incredible Baron (Or: Gotta Catch ’em All… For SCIENCE!)

the incredible baron header 

Baron for SCIENCE

The Incredible Baron: Okay, this one’s a total gem. Go try the demo out and see for yourself. Black Shell Media‘s games library is simply put, FANTASTIC. The variety of genres, visual styles and just pure fun to be had makes going through their catalog a complete pleasure. FlatRedBall’s *excellent*, comical RTS/monster collecting/tower defense hybrid looks and feels like one of those great SNES games from the 90’s to the point that if it were on a cart back then, it would probably win some sort of Game of the Year award or at the very least, be on a Top 10 or so list.

 

Easy to pick up and play, the game also uses some fine humor to toss your way as you play through its increasingly challenging maps. While veterans of tower defense games may blow through this one fairly quickly, the colorful cartoon visuals and perfect learning curve (you can replay missions until you get the hang of things) make this a great entry level game for newbies. I’m not sure if Black Shell has console plans, but to me, this one would be a perfect fit on any digital console platform as a straight port at a decent price point. Go get this on Steam and have a blast blasting those critters and keeping the Baron out of and in trouble. Methinks this one needs a sequel at some point.

 

Baron for CREATURES

Magical Brickout: Off The Wall Hybrid’s A New Classic in the Making

mb-ss008
 

Black Shell Media has been publishing a slew of fun indie games for a while (over 60 titles to date) and as I whittle away at my backlog, I’m finally getting around to playing a bunch of them. Magical Brickout won the coin toss and as a fan of Breakout or Arkanoid-style games, this Early Access game had me at the first ricochet. Indie developer Cunning Force Games has whipped up a fun mix of puzzle and RPG-light gameplay that’s addictive and challenging with a circular play field that may remind a few of the well-aged gamers out there a tiny bit of Star Castle played from the perspective of that game’s titular nemesis.


 

There’s a basic plot about an evil wizard trapping fairies in magical bricks and using their powers to keep his castle safe while his kingdom domination plans, but you’d like to know how it plays, I’d bet. Pretty darn good, I say. The rotating play field takes a bit of getting used to, but the replayable tutorial does an excellent job of setting up the game and letting you ease into the controls. Using the A and D keys to rotate the play field and SPACE to launch balls (or the right analog stick and X on an Xbox 360 pad), you’re tasked with freeing all the fairies on each board while avoiding bad status bricks and using assorted power-ups to aid in your progress.

mb-ss007 

From what I’ve played so far, complaints are minimal. Sure, mouse control would be a nice addition to the game because some levels get REALLY hectic. But I think  the rotation speed of the board is set to be intentionally methodical for say, billiards and pinball fans looking to line up shots before launching. That and heck, there’s something to be said for LEARNING how to play a game and not expecting it to play EXACTLY like something familiar, right? Yes, the art direction could be described as “hidden object game rustic” (a friend who popped by noted that with a chuckle), but it’s all good that this game rocks that hand-painted style without apologies.

Updates are hitting this one fast and furiously, so there’s a great deal of content to explore that makes the price point more than a reasonable bargain. Even better, there’s also a big sale on Black Shell’s catalog on Steam even as we speak, so I say click on over and buy a few things to add to your library or gift to friends who need more variety in their own collections. Add some Magical Brickout to your life as well – you look like you need to spin this spinner of a game for a spin anyway.