Joined 01/23/2012

Fuzzy pickles!

59 Posts

Awhile back I was given a review copy of No Time To Explain, a platformer/action game by tinyBuild Games. Now that I’ve made it about halfway through the main game I think it’s a good time to post my thoughts on the game so far. Especially since we’ll be giving away several copies here on the site!
(Check here for details on how to win a copy: http://cheerfulghost.com/jdodson/posts/1564)

First, let’s talk about the good.

The core mechanic of the game revolves around a powerful gun that your future self delivers to you in the present. In addition to working as a gun it also works as a jet pack. It’s one of those easy to learn but difficult to master game mechanics and figuring out how to navigate the levels without dying is where the majority of the fun can be found.

And those levels ARE out to kill you. Bottomless pits and instant death spikes abound. This might have been frustrating, but since there really is no penalty for dying, it never bothered me while going through the levels. The game is very good about placing you on the last safe surface you stood on, so once you clear a particular obstacle you rarely have to redo it when you die.

Each new level introduces some new game mechanic that you have to use to reach the end of the end of the level. I wanted to keep this review spoiler free, so I won’t talk about the specifics of these mechanics, but they do help mix things up and keep the game from getting overly repetitive.

Now, the bad.

The controls for the game can be difficult. The gun/jetpack always fires in the direction of your mouse cursor. However, as you are moving around your character does not stay centered and even though you don’t move the cursor, your gun is now shooting in a different direction and this usually causes you to die or end up somewhere you didn’t want to be. At times I felt like I made it around obstacles through sheer luck and not because of skill. But again, because death is such a minor set back this wasn’t a huge problem.

My big complaint is with the boss fights. They seem kind of tacked on and pointless. For the first couple bosses all you do is just hold down the mouse button to keep firing when you’re not dead (and the bosses will kill you A LOT). Since there is no penalty (other than time) for dying, there’s no real incentive to try and avoid the multitude of attacks coming your way. That is until you get to the mole boss, which is where I ultimately stopped playing.

For this boss the game kind of rewrites its own rules by restarting the fight from the beginning if you die. This caught me by surprise seeing as the rest of the game doesn’t work this way, but that’s not what drove me to give up. What ultimately drove me nuts was that this boss has several attacks that don’t kill you, but instead knock you into a pit that’s difficult to get out of. The pits are just deep enough that you have to have a perfectly executed jump to get out and I spent far more time fighting the pits than I did the boss. I eventually gave up and moved on to playing some of the bonus levels I had apparently unlocked at some point.

Although I never experienced any bugs, I’ve noticed several complaints on various forums that others have had some real trouble with game breaking bugs.

The bottom line.

Overall I would say this is a good game with a few big problems. It’s hard to say if I’ll come back to the game. On the one hand, I don’t really have that much patience for a boss fight I don’t really want to play in the first place. On the other, I do actually want to play more of the levels, which (control difficulties aside) are actually quite fun. If you have the patience to get through the bosses then I would recommend you catch this game when it’s on sale (or as part of a give away! :) )

Agree or disagree with any part of the review? Sound off in the comments! I’m curious to know what others think of the game.

More info: http://tinybuild.com/

Multiple news sites are reporting that Nintendo is releasing a new Nintendo "2DS."

The new Gameboy will play all 3Ds and DS games in 2D. In addition to ditching the 3D the new gameboy also eschews the clam-shell design that all Gameboys have sported since the SP first came out in 2004. The new Gameboy is also priced lower than the 3DS at $129 MRP.

Here's Joystiq's article on the big reveal: http://www.joystiq.com/2013/08/28/nintendo-2ds-plays-all-3ds-ds-games-in-2d-ditches-clamshell/

As I mentioned in the last Cheerfulghost Roundtable, 3D movies and games give me a headache, so I'm actually pretty intrigued by this new Gameboy. Not having to pay for a feature I would never use is a win in my book. But man, that new design is kinda ugly...

Minecraft's head developer, Jens Bergensten (a.k.a Jeb), posted a new blog post today showing off some of the changes coming to Minecraft's world generator with the next big update. Some of the changes include smaller Oceans, more varied Biomes, as well as rare varients of the existing Biomes.

You can read the full blog post here: https://mojang.com/2013/08/minecraft-world-generator-update/

It's been awhile since I've picked up Minecraft, but I think once the new Biomes hit I might have to start up a new map and see what's out there. What do you, my fellow Happy Haunts, think of the next update?

Kotaku is reporting that Microsoft is back peddling on their DRM restrictions. Original article: http://kotaku.com/microsoft-is-removing-xbox-one-drm-514390310

According to the article these are the following changes:
No more always online requirement
The console no longer has to check in every 24 hours
All game discs will work on Xbox One as they do on Xbox 360
Authentication is no longer necessary
An Internet connection is only required when initially setting up the console
All downloaded games will function the same when online or offline
No additional restrictions on trading games or loaning discs
Region locks have been dropped

Will any fellow Happy Haunts from the Southern California area be attending the opening night for the new Iam8bit exhibit?

Mrs. Slim and I will be attending and would be happy to meet up with anyone else who can attend. Admission is free on opening night. :)

Details here: http://iam8bit.com/the-gallery/

Like most galleries I imagine they probably have a no photography rule, but if allowed I'll snap some photos to share with all of you after the event. :)

Secrets of Grindea is an upcoming game that aims to put a modern spin on the beloved SNES era action RPG’s. I discovered it while looking through the list of games that had been Greenlit on Steam. Seeing as many of you CheerfulGhosters like retro-styled games like I do, in addition to sharing my find with all of you I decided to reach out to the developers and see if they were willing to do an interview for us. As it turns out they were happy to oblige!

Whiteboyslim: Could you please introduce us to your team and briefly explain your role in developing Secret of Grindea.

PixelFerrets: Our team consists of three members; Teddy the programmer, Vilya the graphic artist and Fred the animator. Basically Vilya does all the static sprites and user interface, Fred creates enemies, npcs and animates other sprites that need to move, and Teddy puts it all together.

The music is made by Andrew Riley of Lucky Lion Studios, and the sound effects are made by Mariusz Jasionowicz of RareSound Production and Hallvard A. Ulsund of Fark Audio.

Whiteboyslim: Do any of you have a background in game development or is this your first time taking on a project like this?

PixelFerrets: We’ve all studied game development for three years. Teddy released a game called “Dwarfs!?” on Steam a couple of years ago, but that game was nowhere near the scope of Secrets of Grindea!

Whiteboyslim: Congratulations on recently being Greenlit on Steam! How has your experience with Valve been so far?

PixelFerrets: We haven’t talked that much to them since we’re so far from release! What little correspondence there’s been has been nice.

Whiteboyslim: Your website lists the SNES era RPG’s as a driving influence for the game, and Secrets of Grindea has a pretty obvious Secret of Mana / Secret of Evermore vibe to it, but I was was wondering what other games have inspired you guys to make Grindea?

PixelFerrets: Two of our main sources for inspiration have been Ragnarok Online, Zelda: A Link to the Past, games we’ve spend a lot of time playing in our youth.

Whiteboyslim: What is, in your opinion, the best video game related movie ever?

Fred: Anything by Uwe Boll.

Teddy: There’s no good video game movie, but I think Street Fighter II The Animated Movie was okay.

Vilya: I honestly don’t watch a lot of movies (I prefer series!), but if I have to pick one out of the ones I’ve seen I’d say Advent Children, mainly because it felt kind of cool to see the characters rendered so clearly compared to the game art.

Whiteboyslim: Is working on Grindea your day job?

PixelFerrets: Yes and no. We spend just as much time working on Grindea as would be expected of a day job (sometimes more), but that’s obviously not where we get our income. We have some savings, and Fred and Vilya are studying part time to make them last longer.

Whiteboyslim: When you’re not working on Grindea what other games do you like to play?

Teddy: Right now, Battleblock Theater.

Fred: At the moment, Battleblock Theater. With Teddy.

Vilya: I love long epic RPGs. So Baldurs’s Gate I and II, the Elder Scrolls games and classics from the SNES era. I’ve also played a lot of League of Legends, but stopped recently - it takes too much time!

Whiteboyslim: You get on an elevator and suddenly you realize the person standing next to you is J.J. Abrams. You have 30 seconds to tell him what you want to see (or not see) in Star Wars episode VII. What do you say?

Fred: I don’t really care what goes in it so I would probably keep my mouth shut.

Teddy: I want more Jar Jar!

Vilya: I used to be a huge Star Wars fan when I was younger, so I would just tell him I’ll be really disappointed if they disregard the expanded universe and start anew. I’d also say that I expect the Solo kids to be awesome and that we get to meet Mara Jade!

jdodson: Do you anticipate porting your game to Mac and Linux after launch?

PixelFerrets: We’ll definitely look into at after the game has been finished. If we think we can do it within a reasonable timeframe we’ll give it a shot. MonoGame looks good, but we don’t want to make promises we can’t keep!

jdodson: Will you be able to play Secrets of Grindea with a usb controller?

PixelFerrets: For now it’s 360 controllers (X-Input) only, but the goal is to have it support other controllers as well.

Whiteboyslim: Other indie games have seen a lot of success with Kickstarter (like Shovel Knight) or by offering pre-orders (Like Starbound). Did you ever consider going the crowd sourcing route?

PixelFerrets: For now, we have income to keep us alive while working on the game, but as we said earlier, we can’t work full time because of it.

We’ve been thinking about doing a Kickstarter and might go through with one to be able to work full time on the game, but we’re holding off for now since it’s a pretty big undertaking.

Whiteboyslim: Will Grindea use any kind of DRM?

PixelFerrets: No, it would probably cost us more to implement it than we’d gain from having it (likely nothing).

jdodson: When you made it to the final boss in The Secret of Mana I wonder what your thoughts were about the fight and how the game wrapped up?

PixelFerrets: As a kid, the fight with the mana beast was epic to say the least. Going back and playing it today it's not as impressive, mostly from a gameplay perspective. The fight feels really slow and it's pretty easy to grasp to pattern of the boss. I like the setting and the idea, it's too bad the gameplay couldn't keep up. Would be cool to see a remake of it today!

As for the ending, I think it wraps up the entire game pretty spot on. Losing Popoi is still to this day a very emotional gaming moment. Since the entire game pretty much is about companionship and fighting together it really strikes hard when one of the main characters suddenly are gone.

Whiteboyslim: In your trailer for Grindea you say that game abilities have no class restriction. Can you explain a little bit about how the skills work?

PixelFerrets: It means that you don’t select a class in the beginning and stick to it. You can put some points in a one handed weapon skill, and some in a magic spell, and you won’t be punished for it.

Whiteboyslim: I see from your developer blog that in addition to the main storyline there will also be optional puzzles and also a fishing minigame. Are there any other activities to keep us busy in the world of Grindea?

PixelFerrets: There’s an arena with graded challenges, where doing well will give you items. You can also fight against your friends in Versus Mode there. Other than that we have a pet system where you can catch different pets and improve their stats by collecting and feeding them different types of food, as well as plans for a treasure map system. And last but not least: trying to find all the items!

Whiteboyslim: Can you talk a little bit about what kind of character customization you plan to implement?

PixelFerrets: Aside from that you can mix and match any skill combinations, there will be lots of hats, facegear (stuff like glasses, beards, masks) and a bunch of haircuts. You can also change the color on your basic clothing, as well as your gender and skin color!

Whiteboyslim: Thank you for taking the time to answer some of our questions. Is there anything else you’d like to add?

PixelFerrets: Thank you for asking us to do the interview! Hope you enjoy the game when it’s out :)

You can check out more information on the game at http://www.secretsofgrindea.com/.
You can follow Pixelferret on twitter at https://twitter.com/pixelferrets and on facebook at https://www.facebook.com/SecretsOfGrindea.

As I posted earlier I recently came across this game and though it looked pretty darn awesome. So awesome, in fact, that I reached out to the developers to see if they would be so kind as to answer a few questions for us in the form of one of our CheerfulGhost interviews. They have agreed and so I wanted to see if you fellow Mirthful Spirits had any questions you'd like me to add to the interview. Post 'em in the comments and I'll pick out the best ones to include with the interview. :)

So I was skimming through some Steam Greenlight games and noticed this game with a serious Secret of Mana / Secret of Evermore vibe was recently greenlit.

This game was nowhere on my radar, but I am glad I stumbled on it by chance 'cause it looks seriously cool. A retro action RPG with on-line co-op? sign me up!

Hello happy haunters!

I wanted to make sure you guys were aware of the special shift code you can redeem for some new skins (meh) and a pretty awesome shotgun (yay!)


Or for the lazy, here's the codes:

PC / Mac Loverpalooza SHiFT Code: W3KJ3-69JR5-9CXT3-JTJJT-WSCK5
Xbox 360 Loverpalooza SHiFT Code: W3W3B-BHX9K-3TSTX-WXJ3J-XCHKH
PlayStation 3 Loverpalooza SHiFT Code: WJCJJ-HCBFB-CCKC3-H3CJT-6FBHW

This seemed like a good time to share these. :)


While I don't necessarily hate valentines day I think we can all agree it is deserving of a little fun mocking.

Recent Activity...

Season 7 of Star Wars: Clone Wars Arrives Feb. 21

Now that season 7 is done, I'm rewatching the...

Tale of the White Wyvern: Bugs Thread

Fresh new day. Went to the outhouse for ablutions. ...

Tale of the White Wyvern: Bugs Thread

Just a note about the above, the game informs you of...

Cheerful Ghost Terraria Server #6: Journey’s End

Chippy has a good 1.4 tips video:...