Short impressions for some of the notable releases I had a chance to play in March.
- Cautious Recommendation
- Not Recommended
- Stay Away
I’m not the biggest Asteroids fan but I’m a sucker for a hacker-console aesthetic and skill trees so BYTEPATH still has the right formula to lure me in. As for the Asteroids portion, it handles this extremely well and is a joy to play.
A fantastic puzzler with a small scope and a cute dot-matrix style shader. You play as a witch cleaning city rooftops in 95 puzzles. The level size seems to remain consistently small but every level has continued to bring new challenges and mix them with established ones. There’s enough variety in the puzzles to be worth the low asking price.
PanDimensional Conga Combat
This is a delightful take on the twin stick shooter where your ammo takes the form of a conga line trailing behind you. Use that to build up meter and unleash a more powerful attack you can direct.
As far as shmup mechanics go, Shooty Skies is pretty inoffensive albeit not groundbreaking. Coupled withwith charming voxel graphics a la Crossy Road and you have a very playable and casual shoot em up. There’s a ton of F2P stuff in here but it’s more bearable on PC than on mobile. Furthermore, you could argue that this fits the genre pretty well – I spend nothing and am interested in how far I can get on “one credit”.
CYPHER suffers from a bit of harmonic dissonance in my opinion. The museum aesthetic gives me the notion that this is a learning tool, or at least one meant to showcase the history of cryptography, but the difficulty will make it prohibitively difficult for the average player to see most of the content. Recommended only if you’re into tough niche puzzles.
There’s a lot to not like about this game. The controls are complex at best (wonky at worst), it all moves quite a bit slower than you might expect, there are cheap deaths and I find the guidance to be lacking. But there’s a lot of heart here. There’s a bevy of drunk dwarfs to choose from, there are a number of interesting campaigns for a total of 25 levels and the poor English localization is charming. Recommended if you have patience and a fondness for stiff Amiga platfomer.
Temple of Xiala
Unfortunately the content does not match the price here. The mechanics themselves seem interesting and the pixel art is well done but there are only 20 puzzles for $5 and due to the short length, it seems like the puzzle design doesn’t have any natural escalation. The mechanics don’t seem to be played around with very much by the designer. At the time of writing this was in Early Access and while the amount of content may change, the Early Access snippet seems to imply there isn’t much content to be added.
I didn’t like the main conceit as much as I expected. Your player character doesn’t have any offensive options and you are meant to get the enemies to shoot at each other. While I enjoy pacifist action games (like the pacifist mode in Geometry Wars 2), there does not seem to be much depth here.
More side-view golf than turn-based platforming, Volatile Triangle leaves much to be desired. The menu controls often fail, but more importantly the gameplay is bland and the level design seems devoid of effort.