Google's 2016 Happy Halloween Game: Micro Review

     Today Google put up a small animated movie-game about a tiny wizards on their home page.  It's starts out in a wizard school with various animals and their books of magic, but then a ghost steals your book.  As the preeminent cuteness, and wizard extraordinaire, you set out through 5 levels to recapture your stolen book.

     The game is extremely easy to play.  As ghosts close in around you, you have to draw the symbols above their heads to destroy them.  It starts out quite simple with singular straight lines, but then evolves into slightly more complex shapes, and then into whole chains of symbols.  You can even smash out combos if you get the symbols drawn in an order that finishes multiple ghosts all at the same time.  Each level adds a more challenging amount of enemies and even mini-bosses on the way to the big boss ghost at the end of level 5.

     Because I have no idea how long this wonderful little treat will last, I'd recommend you head over and play it for a bit while you can.  It should only take as long as it would to eat a snack-sized candy bar, and is probably just as enjoyable for those of us that aren't the candy munching type.  I got 84,330 my first go around, and may go back for more periodically throughout the day.

     Happy Halloween everyone!

     Source [ Google ]


Butt Sniffin' Pugs: Update & New Kickstarter Trailer

     It's been nearly a year since I last posted about SpaceBeagles' silly dog park game Butt Sniffin' Pugs, and they only have a month left to meet their Kickstarter goal.

     Butt Sniffin Pugs is pretty much exactly what it sounds like.  It's a game about pugs and butts.  Pugs and butts and squirrels.  Pugs and butts and squirrels and frisbees and sandwiches and peeing and pooping and barking...
     ...all presented in an open-ended sandbox world of silliness.

     The sandbox world of BSP is Central Bark- an interactive playground for all the curiosity the pugs' players can imagine.  BSP eliminates the general goals of traditional gaming and instead lets players merely have fun through exploration.  Silly surprises can be found everywhere through interaction with the environment- drag your butt across grass and flowers may begin to sprout, eat a hotdog someone messed on and you'll get diarrhea, pee on a squirrel and it'll pop an umbrella.  The entire place is loaded with things to do and discoveries to be made to hopefully give players the same amount of joy a dog gets from doing pretty much anything.

     In addition to a wonderful and ridiculous game, SpaceBeagles want the game to be able to reach as many players as possible- to be able to be PLAYED by anyone- so they've teamed with AbleGamers to create a controller that is accessible for players that may not be able to use traditional controllers.  This specially designed controller actually uses a giant tennis ball (a trackball) as the primary control, along with two large buttons, and a stuffed dog butt input for some dog-bum-sniffin' hilarity.

     The Butt Sniffin' Pugs Kickstarter only has 27 days left and is currently sitting at $22,432, and they are trying to get up to $60,000.  If this game interests you or you'd like to support SpaceBeagles' project, head over and donate.

     As a disclaimer, I'm heading over to support this game fight after posting this.

     To help support [ Butt Sniffin' Pugs on Kickstarter ]

     SpaceBeagles on [ Facebook ] [ Twitter ] [ Youtube ]


Souls in Stone: Micro Review (An Evgiz Game)

     Souls in Stone is a small platforming game by a creator that goes by the name Evgiz.  Back in January I was quite impressed by his horror game Minor Steps, and I'm equally impressed with his condensed take on this genre.
     This little gem is a quaint puzzle-platformer that gives off a wonderful sublime feeling of nostalgia.  Souls in Stone is a very simple game done with a minimalist flare.  You play as a character in search of some souls to unlock extra abilities and subsequently the doorway to leave the strange place you find yourself in.

     What really makes this game stand out is the ambiance of the music.  It's a genuine treat to play through the 4 puzzles (levels) and take it slowly because the music sets the whole tone.  There's no rush or hurry to get things over.  No sense of urgency driving the player.  The game begins and you take it at your own pace- be it 5 minutes or an hour- and the music suggests we take it easy and enjoy the journey.

     I believe the only issue I found is the jump button can be a bit unresponsive leading to an inconvenient death- setting you back about 30 seconds.  A small irritation, but I must note it is there.

     Souls in Stone is another one of those mini-games that I would really enjoy seeing expanded to include more levels to find out what is through the end doorway, extending the experience just a bit longer, while somehow still fully appreciating its brevity and understanding that there doesn't truly need anything more added.

     To play in your browser [ Souls in Stone ]


Hello Neighbor: What Horrors are in Your Basement

     Someone who knows of my great appreciation for the highly underrated Tom Hanks dark comedy classic The 'Burbs sent me a link to this wonderfully creepy game with a similar premise.  Hello Neighbor is about spying on whatever awful secretive thing your neighbor is hiding in his basement.  Is it a dead body?  A monster?  A little girl's porcelain knick-knack collection?

     The gameplay is a first-person stealth horror game.  Not made up of merely cheap jump scares, but true atmospheric horror.  This will be due to the AI of the neighbor himself.  He isn't a stupid AI, he'll learn from what you've been doing- the more you play, the smarter he gets.  
     As developer Dynamic Pixels and publisher tinyBuild say on the official Steam page, "You play against an advanced AI that learns from your every move. Really enjoying climbing through that backyard window? Expect a bear trap there. Sneaking through the front door? There'll be cameras there soon. Trying to escape? The Neighbor will find a shortcut and catch you."

     The sound, lighting, and art design all seem to add to the effect of making this idyllic suburban neighborhood seem quite ominous.  This is definitely a game to keep your eye on.  It'll require a lot of strategy and cleverness to outwit the neighbor to find what he's so desperately trying to keep hidden in his basement.

     The game is set for release in summer 2017.

     To sign up for the [ Alpha ]

     Hello Neighbor on [ Steam ]