Butt Sniffin Pugs: Just Another Day at the Pug Park

     A few months ago at E3 2015 a strange and wonderful new game appeared called Butt Sniffin Pugs.  It's exactly what it sounds like.  A 2-player walk in the park with pugs.  Pugs and butts.  Pugs and butts and squirrels.  Pugs and butts and squirrels and frisbees and sandwiches and peeing and pooping and barking...

     The description from the press kit:
     Butt Sniffin Pugs is a co-operative explorathon that is literally enhanced by your ability to run like a dog and sniff butts. Thanks to SpaceBeagles' giant trackball controller (with stuffed pug butt attachment), players are now finally able to immerse themselves as a pug and explore the virtual world that is "Central Bark". Everything in the game is interactable with your different “pug powers”.

     By playing with the world in different ways, you’ll uncover multitudes of secrets, toys and puzzles in each area of Central Bark. This means you could work collectively to achieve goals and unlock the different regions of Central Bark - or just spend time running around pooping and exploring as a pug to your heart’s content. There’s no wrong way to play Butt Sniffin Pugs.
     This game was designed for pure enjoyment.  The same enjoyment dogs seem to find in doing pretty much anything, players will get to discover surprises and silliness in being a dog exploring the fully interactive dog park you visit.  What gives Butt Sniffin Pugs a boost in here is the fact they have eliminated doggy goals.  The whole purpose of the game is merely to have fun through the little surprises and discoveries.  Squirrels pop umbrellas if you pee on them, eating hot dogs you've messed on gives you diarrhea, barking at a bush might uncover a hidden frisbee, and so on.
     The game's creators also made sure to make all the surprises cooperative.  The game is fully made to be 2 player as well as single player for the shared hilarity.
     Adding depth to the experience is the specially created trackball controller- a giant tennis ball serves as the main control.  The gamepad also currently features two large buttons and a stuffed dog butt for digitized dog-bum sniffery.  In making this game they wanted to make it accessible to people that might struggle with a traditional controller, and their solution is truly wonderful.  We can all paw at the controller simulating the puppy play experience.

     So far, Butt Sniffin Pugs is aimed at a 2016 release on Steam, PS4, and PS Vita.
        (And at a later time on iOS)

     To learn about beginning their Dec. 2015 Kickstarter Butt Sniffin Pugs ]

     Sources [ Eurogamer ] [ Destructoid ]


Monster Streaking: A Short Review of a Naked Endless Runner

     Today saw the release of Beavl Games recent Ludum Dare Challenge 33 entry themed "You are the Monster" with the apt title of Monster Streaking.


     It is exactly what you might expect of a game with that title.  You play an inexplicably naked monster terrorizing an unnamed American town with your nudity.  It has nice pixelated art, pretty good sound effects, and very simple controls- you touch the screen for a burst of speed, holding it to run, and letting go to slow.  The whole game is trying to avoid being tackled by angry people, stampeded by the pitchfork bearing mob constantly chasing you, and have pictures of your dangling nether regions taken by the paparazzi you pass by.

     It's worth a quick play for some oddly charming monster butt-cheek action, but if you invest more time by earning coins slowly you can unlock more than just Frankenstein.  There's also a vampire, a wolfman, a mummy, and with enough time and coins players can also unlock some more modern horror butts like Pennywise, Freddy, and Jason- or at least some silly pants-less analogs of them.

     Monster Streaking offers at least 5 minutes of Halloween hilarity just in time to play while trick-or-treating this coming weekend.

     It's free to play and can be found at these links: [ Android ]  [ iOS ]


Stay, Mum: An Emotional Tale of a Mother and Her Son

     Stay, Mum is a very interesting find.  Lucid Labs have created a game about a mother and son that don't get enough time to connect in their daily lives.  The boy, John, relies on his great imagination and uses a series of colorful toy blocks to help get through the loneliness he experiences while his mother is constantly away trying to muster a living for them at her job.  He uses the blocks to create new creature-friends and then they help him navigate the game's 70 levels of puzzle solving.

     From the official description:
     Stay, Mum is an ordinary story about John, a young boy with an extraordinary imagination and his mother, who is busy trying to make a living for the two of them.  
     Stay, Mum will let you manipulate different blocks to form surreal shapes out of John’s wild imagination and explore the bittersweet relationship of John and his mother. John means the world to his mother. But to meet their needs, his mother has to work very hard. So hard that she never finds time for him. 
     John’s loneliness is only cured by different blocks given to him by his mother. Why does the mother give him building blocks and what purpose do they hold?
     Honestly, this game looks to be a tremendously intriguing way to show the strain a family might have while struggling to eke out a living.  I can't wait to learn the truth about, "why John's mother has no time for her only son and how are the blocks going to help him in a tale of twists and emotions."

     Stay, Mum arrives on iOS devices October 29th for $2.99.


Frosty The Assassin: A Cold-Hearted Take on a Well-Known Snowman

     In a strange way, we always knew there was something magical in that old silk hat they found.  Unfortunately, this was not a magical hat bringing life to the snow...
     "A pail from outside a jail has evil magical powers and it gives life to a snowman. Now a call goes out to all the mythical snow creatures to come and destroy him. The user takes on the fugitive role of "Frosty The Assassin" and tries to stay alive."
     This free-to-play indie game will allow players to take the role of a less-than-sane version of Frosty the Snowman in a randomly generated, roguelike winter wonderland.  His goals are simple, stay alive and kill things through as many levels as possible before succumbing to death by ice monsters.
     Of course an assortment of cold-weather related weaponry will be at your disposal, such as an icicle dagger or the most despicable projectile weapon in history, the yellow snowball.  But, players beware, every level has an invincible ice troll that cannot be killed, no matter how much yellow snow is used.

     This Christmas season looks to be filled with madness, mayhem, and murderous intent.

     Frosty the Assassin is slated for a general release time this Fall for Android devices.


Murder: A Neon Cyberpunk Point-and-Click Mystery

     Publisher Curve Digital is bringing us developer Peter Moorhead's newest title Murder, a new take on classic adventure point-and-click games taking place in cyberpunk Tokyo

     The game promises to be heavily cinematic and steeped in the influence of great cyberpunk works by masters such as Masamune Shirow and Katsuhiro Otomo.  
     "Over its memorable thirty to forty minute playtime, Murder takes players on a journey into a cyberpunk Tokyo, following the actions of a Lieutenant in the Tokyo Metropolitan Police on an unusual and dangerous case in a story that explores the intersection of morality and sentience in a future where both have become commodities."
     Shadowy streets, perpetual rain, and a gritty environment will help Murder evoke the truest feel of a future noir short story in a neon world, and should arrive on October 21st on iOS, Android, and PC for $2.99.

     [ EDIT ] The Android version may not release until November.

     For more information [ Murder ]


Noct: A Top-Down Multiplayer Horror-Survival Game

     On October 22, players on PC, Mac, and Linux will be able to experience a very strange new multiplayer horror-survival game.  Devolver Digital is helping bring C3SK's Noct to desktops via Steam for us to live in fear of friends and enemies.

     Will you ally with other survivors, or will you fall prey to the creatures of the night?
     Once our home and record of modern civilization, the Earth is a ruined wasteland engulfed in perpetual darkness. Older than any recorded texts, an ancient evil descended upon our world without warning, consuming the population and leaving only despair behind in its wake. The unfortunate survivors of this purge now struggle to overcome the horrific terrors of the Nocturnal. 
    Noct is a 2D top-down multiplayer survival horror game that blends arcade combat with RPG survival elements. You are a survivor of the apocalyptic purge that formed the desolate wasteland now known as Noct and view your experience in the world through a thermal image satellite system high above the Earth.
     In Noct players must not only try and survive in a world of awful Lovecraftian monsters, but must also worry about being betrayed by other players as well.  Survival at any cost will ratchet up the tension in the dark landscape to a whole new level.  Noct certainly captures a Predator or Aliens vibe in a nice black-and-white noir color scheme adding greatly to the tone and bleak atmosphere.

     Noct looks to be a very interesting game to try and survive.


MoBu: The VERY Hungry Ape Trailer

     Panteon Games has released a game trailer for the upcoming hungry ape game, MoBu.

     "Meet MoBu, the laziest ape in the jungle, who has the appetite of 5 elephants. One day MoBu meets whimsical voodoo magician MaGu, who lends MoBu a supernatural power that allows him to infinitely extend his arms. 
     However, if MoBu wants to satisfy his hunger now, he has to eat bananas… 
     A lot of bananas." 
     The game is described as "an action-packed simple platformer game with fun mechanics... instead of running or flying, MoBu juggles his lengthy arms to race against his hunger."  Though, the trailer above appears not to be a platformer at all, but a kind of endless swinger where players must avoid the toxic dangers below and all manner of various obstacles in the path to a banana-filled belly.

     The art style and animation look wonderful.  The designs are clean and cute, combines with simple and entertaining sound effects, this could be a great time-eater game.

     MoBu will have 3 different environments with 60 levels of banana-hunting goodness.  The game also features the nice touch of allowing players to upload their play through Everyplay videos, and share via Facebook, Twitter, or Youtube.

     This looks like a great way to waste a day or two with when it hits Android in September.


Sploot: The Gift of a Seagull with IBS...

     Poop.  Just saying it brings the smile of my inner 5 year old to my face.  Now, with the future of 3D gaming's potential so close on the horizon, it has already struck comedic gold with Sploot.

     Sploot is a free-to-play first person flight simulator game where players inhabit the body of a poor seagull with uncontrollable bowels.  The goal is to keep the splattery projectiles focused on people, buildings, and all the rest of their expensive shiny objects.  Players must try to score points during within the time limit given, both avoiding dangerous obstacles, and eating bread to continue their unstoppable excremental assault.

     It is worth noting that the game was originally made specifically for the Oculus Rift's 3D capabilites, but it isn't required for play.  Sploot is still perfectly playable on both Mac and PC with good old mouse-and-keyboard.

     Nothing screams "a majestic experience" quite as much as watching a bird soaring beautifully on the wind... and then seeing it launch a payload of fecal armament on unsuspecting humans below.

     Players can now feel the exhilarating rush of being that majestic pooping bird.

     Sploot is simple, silly fun bringing bird poo to a bright and colorful 3D world.

     Source [ Sploot ]


Ennuigi: Super Melancholic Bros.: Luigi Living in Mario's Shadow

     In Ennuigi, players explore the ontological background behind the Super Mario Bros.' tragic and destructive path through the once glorious Mushroom Kingdom with Luigi.  Chain-smoking and contemplating the decisions his reckless brother Mario led him to, Luigi seeks meaning among the ruins.  Players can only walk, smoke, and ruminate here, but then, what more could one want?

Was it darkness, or just the shadow of my brother?
     He ponders about what is left in this bleak and haunted world.  Plumbing the depths of meaning and perspective behind his past actions, Luigi reflects upon things like what wonders might this broken land have once held.

     Angst and existentialism are abundant in this look inside the mind of the oft-forgotten brother.  Profound insights and a sardonic view of one of the most beloved franchises, makes us reconsider how many innocent lives were destroyed by two plumbers in a foreign world, and for what real reason, leaving Luigi merely the regretful koopa shell of a man.

Another castle.  Always another castle.
     The official synopsis for the game reads, "Spend some time with a depressed, laconic Luigi as he chain smokes and wanders through a crumbling Mushroom Kingdom, ruminating on ontology, ethics, family, identity, and the mistakes he and his brother have made."

     Game maker Josh Millard goes on to describe what prompted this beautiful little game:
     "This is a shot at a collection of ideas I had a few years ago, about looking critically at the universe of Super Mario Bros. in light of the total lack of explicit narrative in the original game in particular.  Who are these strange men?  What motivates them?  By what right do they wreak the havoc they do on this strange place?  What do they feel about where they are and what they're doing? 
     And so, this is one lens through which to look at all that, with Luigi, the second brother, the also-ran, as a complicit onlooker, wandering now through some fractured, rotting liminal place in this strange world, reflecting on it all in scattered fragments."
     The feel of meandering the desolate kingdom as the despondent, green-clad Mario brother perfectly captures the over-dramatic tortured soul ideology of a teenager delving into the pointlessness of life and, subsequently, life's apparent cruelty.

     The joy this small game gives me is great.  It gives me pause and makes me consider the consequences, the justifications, and the superficiality of the things we help our characters do.  What awful things have we wrought, who have we killed, and the greatest question of them all- why?

     Experience the ennui here [ lexaloffle Games ]


Alphabear: Short Review: Spelling, Word Play, and Unintentional Hilarity

     The Road Not Taken develpoer Spry Fox's newest game, Alphabear, is deceptively simple, hilarious, and utterly enchanting.  The game takes on a familiar old spelling game with a few interesting additions in the form of bears and a puzzle element.  It is a free to play, on both iOS and Android, but has a $4.99 IAP to unlock unlimited honey (the currency to play each normal level).

     The gist of the game is to make a bear(s) expand as much as possible to multiply and increase your score.  Each level has 2 goals, one nets you a bear, and the higher goal unlocks a rarer bear with better abilities.  To reach the goals you need to use as many letters as possible, before their dual score/timer number depletes and that particular letter tile turns to stone and blocks off expansion.  Each letter has a predetermined number of chances for use and the faster you can use it the higher its score value will remain.  Players can do this in either mode of play choosing normal mode, allotting as much time as you need to clear the board, or a timed mode, which has a limit on the length of game stressing speed.

     To help along the way are a series of bears players can unlock.  Players can choose any of their bears (up to 3 per level), unless it is in a cooldown sleep from use, to add that bear's particular skills to the mode adding to the score bonus.  Some bears add extra time to the timed levels, some give more of a specific letter, and some give bonuses to words of a certain length.
     Each themed chapter has numerous levels each with their own goals and each also having a higher chance of unlocking a potential themed bear with its own special bonuses.  As players get much further into the game the difficulty in strategy really ramps up.  There comes times when you almost have to sacrifice some letters to progress.  I had a level with 6 letters and 4 were Zs, making things extremely tough.

     What sets this game apart from other spelling games is the social media element.  Whenever you unlock a new bear (or an upgrade to one already owned) the game gives you a bear taking a selfie.  On that selfie is a Mad Libs type of statement made with words you used in the level, often times leading to very dirty sounding amusement.  (See Screencaps Below)

     Alphabear is somehow a magical blend of adorable, addictive, and accidental indecency, and is definitely worth the time to play.  Anyone that likes Scrabble should give this game a go.


The Late Show with Stephen Colbert: Escape from the Man-Sized Cabinet: Mini Review

     While we await Stephen Colbert's return to television since departing from The Cobert Report in December, his new show has given us a few small bits of entertainment to pass the time.  The Late Show with Stephen Colbert's newest morsel of digital snackery is a text-based game called Escape from the Man-Sized Cabinet.

     It's a simple game involving a magical cabinet that is totally not-even-close to being anything like that other famous wardrobe that leads to a magical land named Narnia.  You play as Colbert as he traps himself in the man-sized cabinet and you must use your Colbert-powered wits to escape the clutches of an evil wizard in an enchanted cabinet land.

     The text-based adventure-slash-Stephen-Colbert-simulator game has all the right ingredients.  It has Stephen Colbert, a man-sized cabinet, a frosted-skull castle, and a key!  I mean, really, what more could you want from a video game?

One possible outcome...
     When you get right down to it, Escape from the Man-Sized Cabinet is the perfect 15 minutes of textual hilarity.

     To play the game [ Escape from the Man-Sized Cabinet ]

     The Late Show with Stephen Colbert is set to premiere Sept. 8th, 2015 on CBS.

     Source [ Colbert Late Show ]


Gassy Mob: Farting Your Way to Victory

     Jaewoo Jeon has created a hilarious game by taking something that everyone does, and making it playable.  The player's purpose in Gassy Mob is to eat, run around, and fart on people, offend as many noses as you can, gain their ire, and then have them chase you to your flatulent doom.  
     It sounds absolutely delightful!

     According to the game's Bitsummit page, the official summary is:
Gassy Mob is a simple Pac-Man style arcade game for iOS.
Gorge yourself, fart on NPCs, and get a high score. But make sure you stay one step ahead of the mob!
The unique gassy gameplay delivers fantastic farting arcade action.
So let's fart!
     Simply farting on these unsuspecting victims is not enough- your goal is to consume the most stomach-churning, bowel-roiling foods you can and proceed to drop monstrous olfactory bombs on the maximum number of people as possible before their collective group hate descends upon you, and thus thwarting your aromatic attacks.  

     Jeon is shooting for a September release of Gassy Mob on iOS, and about "two months later" on Android devices.

     Source [ Wired ]


Futurama: A Mobile Game is Coming Soon!

     Fans can rejoice, a strange and wonderful website has appeared touting the coming of an official game based on the beloved cult sci fi hit TV show Futurama.

     This is all the information we have been given.  A very ambiguous statement and a single image of Bender in a call to arms against the flesh-bags referred to as humans.  But, as a fan, this is more than enough to immediately think of the "Shut up and Take My Money!" meme.  My money shall be waiting.

     To receive updates sign up on their official site [ Play Futurama ]


Kung Fury: Street Rage: Review

     Kung Fury: Street Rage is a video game based off a crowdfunded short-film homage devoted to the nostalgic glory of everything 80's.  The game, however, narrowly misses the mark.

     For all that this game captures the essence of the 80's coin-op arcade machines in both appearance and sound design, it loses all that magic with extremely shallow gameplay.  Instead of a real brawler or beat em' up this rightfully should've been, we get a single revolving screen with 2 attack buttons in order to create one giant combo.  Attack right or attack left.  If you tap it and move without hitting something, or getting hit yourself, will cause you to lose the combo meter.  The simplistic mechanics hold the game back from grasping the grandeur of becoming a modern classic- a game worthy of the name it hearkens to- Streets of Rage.

     Being a free game, it can't be too harshly judged.  The visuals and sounds are absolutely stunning.  It's just that the game gives you a small taste of something wonderful, and then you find that the first nibble was actually the entire meal.  Kung Fury: Street Rage calls back to the brawler and beat em' up genres, and only delves into the beginnings of the game it could've been.  It leaves out all the depth it should've contained.

     As it is, Kung Fury: Street Rage is merely a simple, forgettable fighter.  One can only hope this is merely a test run on the way to producing a truly memorable game.  All the building blocks are here, just waiting to be put to better use.

     To watch the 80's homage [ Kung Fury ]


Xenowerk: Short Review: A Twin-Stick Mutant Slaughter-Fest! (for iOS and Android)

     Pixelbite games, creators of the great game Space Marshals, have now brought us a brilliant twin-stick shooter with a very basic premise- kill all of the mutants.  In their newest game, Xenowerk, the protagonist is sent into an underground laboratory to find out what happened and slay everything that isn't human through each consecutive descending level, which is quite literally, everything that is still moving.
As an added bonus there are achievements for destroying vending machines.
     The game has a very Dead Space feel to it, but that works for it very well in its favor.  Xenowerk is loaded with dark corridors and cramped areas swarming with mutated things trying to kill you.  The levels begin with small amounts of mutants infesting the area, and by the end you are slaying hordes of them, ranging from small creatures to giant tank-ish brutes.  Throughout the player's journey the mutants slowly gain their own new abilities, allowing for cloaking and acid-spitting.  Giving this an added boost is the wonderful lighting effects.  Because a lot of the compound is in the dark, the lighting comes from a weapon-mounted flashlight the player aims.  It really adds a lot to the tone and it spectacular when using a flamethrower to blow up generators- the explosions look amazing for a mobile game.

     Xenowork features 50 levels filled with one of three basic tasks for your very Samas Aran looking heroine- kill specific mutations, blow up equipment, or retrieve data from computer terminals and then get to the elevator and exit the floor.  It offers very repetitive missions and gameplay, but the entertainment value somehow manages to make the fun last throughout all of them.
Nice Mutant vs. Ninja sign. (and chalk outline in the bottom corner.)
     Along the way, you slowly accrue money to spend on gaining newer and more powerful weaponry and armor.  Every new type of armor offers new abilities that may be unlocked by getting a kill streak.  The powers start with a healing burst to regenerate health, but expand to give players a flash freeze, a speed boost, or damage increase.  The weapons to choose from come in quite a wide variety to welcome a multitude of play styles.  There are assault rifles, machine guns, rocket launchers, flamethrowers, an electricity weapon, and even a gun that fires bullets that ricochet around.
     Each weapon can also gain levels by picking up blue gear drops from killing a bevy of mutants throughout the floors.  Lowering the overheating time, increasing damage, or adding to the rate of fire speed.

     Xenowerk is the simplest of run-and-gun shooters, but it is also an incredibly fun one.  It can be a bit monotonous at times, because most of the levels and enemies look relatively the same, but the consistent action and immersive atmosphere pull you in and make up for it.  Xenowerk is a great mutant slaying horror-adventure.  With the way the story ends, I really hope there is either an add-on expansion or a sequel.  There's always room for more mutant slaughtering.


Furdemption: Official Gameplay Trailer & Thoughts

     I came across this gem through an AppSpy video (via a PocketGamer article) with a fair amount of footage and commentary and decided to give it a look.

     And what a curious gem I found.

     Here's the official description:
     "Taking place in hell, you play as a royal rabbit that’s trying to escape by finding enough feathers to craft wings. Along your journey you’ll encounter searing lava, deadly traps, and terrifying slug-reapers. Use a combination of wits and skill to navigate the rabbit hero through 100 hand-made levels gushing with craftsmanship. This genre-defining game will challenge your mind and satiate your senses. With several hours of gameplay and more updates on the way, this is one quality title to keep in your collection for years to come. Every crevice of the game oozes with quality art, animations, and sounds. Be sure to buy now before the price increases with big updates."
     It looks to be an increasingly difficult puzzle game along the lines of Monsters Ate My Birthday Cake, only much more gruesome- which could be a very good thing!  Furdemption looks to be a game of cuteness and death with clean and lovely graphics to lure you in before eviscerating, charring, and all-around general maiming of your rabbit hero will all manner of hellish traps.
     So...     it looks like tons of fun!

     Furdemption will be available June 25th on the iOS Appstore.


SEA OF THIEVES: Rare Studios' Pirates in an MMO World

     Rare Studios have shown us a wonderful look into their upcoming open-world pirate MMO-like game, Sea of Thieves.  The game is intended to bring multiple players together in a large game world for exploration of islands, piloting and crewing ships for sea battles with other groups, and in the video one crew is making one of their members walk the plank towards shark-filled waters.  I even caught a glimpse of a skeleton attacking and theirs tales of treasure hunting to be done.

     Could this be the pirate game to beat Assassin's Creed IV: Black Flag?  I think so.  There looks to be plenty of first-person pillaging and plundering to be done.

     Sea of Thieves will be an Xbox One exclusive.  No release date was announced.


Fallout 4: Official Announcement Trailer... Finally

     Years of rumors trickling out culminated this morning into an actual full-on leak- oddly enough, it happened a mere hour and a half before the countdown timer's end- with the official announcement and first trailer arriving.

     Bethesda Game Studios, the creators behind Fallout 3 and The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim have been unsurprisingly working on Fallout 4, and it looks absolutely glorious.  We'll all be needing to ready our official RobCo Pip-Boys for some sweet, sweet post apocalyptic antics.

     For more information check out Bethesda’s E3 2015 Press Conference (their first ever!) on Sunday, June 14th at 7:00pm PT to see the world premiere of the game.

     Fallout 4 will be released on PS4, PC, and Xbox One some time before the post apocalyptic world the game takes place in.

     The official site [ Fallout 4 ]


Catlateral Damage: Releases May 27th on Steam (Incl. Infomercial & Press Release)

     Yes, the first-person cat simulator game about playing a cat left alone to run amok and generally go about ruining things will be released on May 27th.  I recall hearing about Catlateral Damage quite a while back from it's Kickstarter campaign and was reminded of it due to its press release (copied below).

     Since Catlateral Damage first came to my attention, it has grown to be a much, much larger game.  From what I recall it began as a simple browser game allowing you to push things off of stuff and be a small nuisance.  Now you are able to choose from many different cats, collect power ups, and generate a much higher level of cat-havoc outside of the home environments because there are now bonus levels in places like museums.  Utter cat-destruction and furry mayhem will ensue.

     For your reading pleasure, here is my new favorite official press release ever:
"For Immediate Release
Catbridge, MA, May, 18, 2015 - Mew meow CATLATERAL DAMAGE meow meow-ow Steam mew OUYA! Meow-ow mew mrow meow mew meow mew meow mew mew meow-ow, mew mew meow mrow mew mew meow meow-ow meow mew mrow meow meow! Mew mew meow meow-ow meow mew meow mrow mrow meow-ow mew mew mew. Meow-ow mew, meow meow mew meow mew mrow mew mew meow-ow mew mew meow.
Meow-ow mew meow meow Wed May 27th mew meow mew meow mew mew meow-ow, mew mew mrow mrow mew meow meow-ow meow mew meow meow! Mew mew meow meow-ow meow mew meow meow-ow mew mew mew mrow. Meow-ow mew, meow meow mew meow mew meow mew mew meow-ow mew mew meow. Purrrr... Meow raaarowwww meow.
Me-meow mew mew meow meow-ow meow mew!"


Kill the Plumber: Ever Wondered What it was Like to be Mario's Enemy?

     In an interesting turn of events, all of us that once wondered what it was like for all those poor nameless creatures wandering around when a red-hatted plumber ruined their days don't have to wonder much longer.  In Kill the Plumber players are tasked will stopping a red-hatted plumber, that's not named Mario, from destroying their land.

     Kill the Plumber features a 4 levels per each of the current 8 enemy types- including enemies that totally aren't Goombas, giant stone faces that are definitely not Thwomps, some not-quite Boos, and even Bosses- all trying to stop the no-good plumber from his quest.  

     In addition they've also noted they've got an extra bonus in the form of a little something familiar sounding called the Lost Levels.  This looks to be a wonderfully inspired take on the game that really started it all, Super Mario Bros.  It actually makes me wonder if there'll be a sequel with a green-hatted plumber out for revenge on creatures that are in no way at all related to Koopa Troopas?  And might he possibly being accompanied by a mushroom-topped being, a floating princess. and surrounded by beings that are definitely not Snifits or Shy guys???

     Kill the Plumber is slated for a late June to early July release on Android and iOS devices.


The 2¢ Review: Ori and the Blind Forest

If there was one word that could be used to describe Ori and the Blind Forest, aside from “beautiful”, it would have to be "deceiving". For the uninitiated, this may seem a peculiar choice for a game that has highlighted its lush, vivid world and moving orchestral score since it was first teased back in 2014. But for those that have a had a chance to explore  Nibel – the forest which Ori takes place –you know all too well that something sinister lurks within those woods.

Players assume the role of Ori; a luminous little forest sprite who sets out to restore life to a dying forest. While the beginning of Ori and the Blind Forest teases the notion of a relaxing adventure through the woods, players quickly learn that at the core of this fantastically crafted world lies a brutal platformer that rewards patience and punishes haste. But don’t let this deter you from playing Ori; difficulty aside, it is absolutely deserving of your time.

It truly is amazing just how beautiful
Ori and the Blind Forest is.
Moon Studios, the developer behind Ori and the Blind Forest, has created a brilliantly designed action/platformer where trial and error are key to solving its puzzles, as well as liberal use of a very generous check-point system. Ori, which draws inspiration from well-known open-world exploration titles such as Metroid or Shadow Complex, easily makes its mark in a genre not only with its haunting atmosphere, but by shaking up a few staple rules of the genre, mainly with upgrades.

Ori lacks traditional boss fights, instead replacing them with 
truly challenging platforming segments that'll test your skills.
Where combat-oriented upgrades such as missiles or other explosives are often the tools of the trade for games of this genre, Ori instead has players seeking new skills and upgrades that allow Ori to navigate the hostile environment of Nibel with greater ease. Being able to sling-shot off of enemies and projectiles, gliding, charging through obstacles – all are abilities where the primary purpose is to help Ori explore while combative functionality is secondary. Given Ori focuses more on platforming challenges and less so on fighting monsters, it’s a fitting distinction that encourages players to explore such a wondrously created world.

So, found nestled amongst the thorns, my 2¢:

Ori and the Blind Forest is a gorgeous 2D platformer coupled with a beautifully orchestrated soundtrack that creates a breathtakingly stunning and immersive world. Yet beneath the beauty hides a beast of a platformer that at times can be unforgiving though ultimately rewarding for those that persevere. A “Metroidvania-style” game, Ori plays it safe with the genre, focusing more on platforming and less on combat than those it is inspired by. Ori and the Blind Forest’s bittersweet yet touching story, while a tad short, is definitely worthy of a playthrough by anyone who loves a game with heart.

(Originally published on, March 24, 2015)