Indie game news, reviews, previews and everything else concerning indie game development.

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Party Like It’s 199X – Streets Of Rage Remake V5 Released [Freeware]

Back once again with the renegade master!

Update: Looking for the game, now that Sega have backed out on their agreement to let the project live? Take a look here.

It’s been a long time coming. After a massive 8 years in development, one of the oldest, longest fan-projects in gaming history launched last night, quietly and with little fanfare. Bombergames’ Streets of Rage Remake. Technically, this is labelled as version 5, but considering that the previous build released was a fairly rough beta iteration in 2007, this may as well be considered V1.0 – the big one. The final release. Right now, just the Windows build is live, but Linux, Wii (homebrew) and even GP2X versions are coming soon.


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Shut Yo Mouth… Frobot [Review]

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I had originally meant for this review to go live last week, but, unfortuantely, the holidays just got the better of me. I do hope that you didn’t take that to mean Frobot wasn’t a good game, however, as I’ve just finished playing my review copy and I came away thoroughly impressed with not only the gameplay, but also the aesthetic, characters and story… yes this game most certainly has a story.

Frobot, for those of you who haven’t seen it, can be summed up in a single word: funky. Everything about this game oozes with that sort of jive 1970s vibe that was so pervasive 40 years ago. While it might seem dated now, you can rest assured that reliving this fabled time of gold chains and jive turkeys is actually well worth the entry price, particularly if you always found yourself fond of a certain American detective named Shaft.

But enough about that let’s tackle what you’re probably really interested in, the gameplay.

I’ve mentioned this previously on this site multiple times, but I’ll say it again: the entire gameplay of Frobot is very similar to playing a the classic 2D Zelda temples. This, in my opinion is a fantastic gameplay structure as it creates a fun, puzzle atmosphere but without getting overly complicated for people who just want to play a game and not worry a third dimension as is now customary in modern Zelda titles.

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The primary difference between Frobot‘s puzzle “temples” and Zelda‘s is that Frobot‘s puzzles aren’t contained to a singular room. What I mean by this is that you’ll habitually be dragging items from one screen to the next and back again in order to solve a puzzle. This ensures that no puzzle is too easy, aside from the very first few, of course.

Now, naturally, being a badass Frobot, the game hooks you up with an impressive arsenal to dispose of any enemies that you most definitely will come into contact with. You’ve got the traditional “pew pew” energy blast gun, remote mines, a rocket launcher, the “Jive Stalker” which follows your Wii pointer, and a grenade which can be thrown over walls. Each weapon provides it’s own use and functionality within the game that will allow you to proceed through the levels. Note: the grenade is for multiplayer only.

Beyond the weapons, Frobot also has a a shield with which he can block energy blasts as well as a dash that allows Frobot to quickly move out of the way should you require it. These two items are fairly standard within this type of game.

My favorite part about the game, however, isn’t really the puzzles but rather the bosses for each section of the game. During these fights, the game’s camera zooms out and gives you a much wider perspective from with which you can view everything. Each boss has a unique hook to it that makes fighting them different from traditional games where you’re usually just required to hit them ‘x’ amount of times.

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Frobot also comes with a local  multiplayer mode. It’s pretty fun, although nothing really spectacular. It’s just you and 2-3 friends blasting each other with all of Frobot’s arsenal. It can be particularly fun if you’re with the right people. Sadly, however, beyond that there’s just not much to it.

Stylistically, Frobot is a double edged sword. On the one hand, the aesthetic and setting of the game are great. I love how colorful and funky the game feels. On the other side, Frobot is a glaring reminder at the Wii’s inadequacies when it comes to graphics. Colors are dimmer and everything is rougher than what you’d expect on even most Xbox Live Indie Games. A PC version of Frobot is supposed to be coming out soon and I can only hope that it doesn’t suffer from similar issues.

Finally, we come to the story. As you can imagine Frobot absolutely has quite a ridiculous plot line. But that’s okay because being set in the same vein as Shaft entitles you to have a ridiculous plot even if it involves jive robots from a dystopian future. I won’t delve too deep into it, but suffice it to say “the Man” has decided to abduct Frobot‘s women, an entirely unacceptable proposition.

Overall, I was impressed with Frobot‘s simplistic yet addictive gameplay that had me returning for more time and again. There’s a lot of gameplay to be had here, especially for fans of the old Zelda games.

Frobot can be had today on the Nintendo WiiWare store for 1000 Nintendo points ($10).

[Frobot, WiiWare]


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Retro City Rampage Hitting XBLA Summer 2011… Summer of Arcade?

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Well, some good and bad news for fans of the upcoming Retro City Rampage game. The good news is that the game is now definitely coming to a platform other than WiiWare, in fact it’s actually coming to my preferred platform of XBLA. The abd news is that the game has been delayed significantly to the summer of 2011. For those that recall, the game was originally slated for this month.

Some other off putting news for Wii owners is that the game isn’t set to launch on WiiWare until fall of 2011, a significant delay from when it was supposed to launch exclusively onto the service.

Still, it’s not all bad news as it appears that Retro City Rampage could be in the running for inclusion into Microsoft’s coveted “Summer of Arcade” event that they hold annually. No specific word on it yet, but I’d be surprised if such a high caliber game wasn’t included.

Our own Peter Eykemans previewed the game recently and found it to be a fantastic gaming experience even 6 months out from release. Even I can attest to the fact that the game is certainly shaping up quite nicely given my play time at this past year’s PAX 2010. So, with that said, let the waiting game begin.

[Retro City Rampage]


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Classic Zelda Lovers Rejoice, Frobot Now Available on WiiWare

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I honestly had my doubts about it getting released this year, but it appears that Andrew from Fugazo has kept his promise to get Frobot out by the end of Q4 2010 and, just 11 days away they’ve made it so.

For those who haven’t heard of Frobot, just imagine the old top-down Zelda formula mixed with a dash of funk and you’ve got yourself a fantastic looking game in the same vein. Seriously, the game looks and plays great. You can check out our own preview of the game earlier this year from PAX 2010, or you can wait until our official review later this week or early next.

There is a demo available right now and, should you decide you want more, the game will cost you 1000 Nintendo points ($10).

[WiiWare, Frobot]


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LA-MULANA Pushed to 2011

La-MulanaThe news had been heating up that we were nearing a release date after the development team had submitted their build of LA-MULANA to Nintendo, but after it was rejected and they’ve gone back into testing, LA-MULANA has officially been pushed into 2011.

With countless apologies, the team stated that they’re going to need more time to finish it because “it’s better to enhance the completeness instead of completing it roughly in a hurry.”

I completely agree with them. Don’t needlessly rush a game out. Give it the attention and bug-fixing it requires.

We’ll have more on LA-MULANA in the new year. You can read the official explanation of the delay from the developer.


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Chick Chick Boom Gets North American Release on December 27th

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Merry Christmas from the guys over at Tons of Bits as they’ve just emailed me to let me know that their upcoming, adorably charming WiiWare game Chick Chick Boom is finally getting a North American release two days after Christmas (Dec. 27th).

The game will presumably cost 1000 Nintendo points ($10) and features 1-4 multiplayer.

[Chick Chick Boom]

Trailer


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The Nostalgia of Pixels…Retro City Rampage [Preview]

Retro 6Nostalgia is an interesting feeling. Elements throughout our lives rekindle memories of things we knew in our younger days, and generally bring a smile of remembrance to our faces. In the world of video games, which is a relatively young world all things considered, it’s when a game presents an homage to the games of yore or outright copies them in respect. If it’s a game we’ve played at a younger, it’s going to bring that same grin to our faces as we recognize a significant gaming moment from our past. With Retro City Rampage, the game doesn’t only present small homages to the past, it outright paints itself from head to toe in shout-outs and moments of remembrance.

Retro 1Originally conceived as a way to recreate Grand Theft Auto on the original Nintendo under the title Grand Theftendo, Retro City Rampage quickly grew into something bigger. With countless pop-culture elements to pull from and dozens of games to tip the hat to, almost every aspect of the game is a nod to something. As a gamer approaching thirty who recognizes almost every one, the game’s flow kept me significantly entertained and bathed in the warm light of the days of yore. But at the same time, this excess of callbacks and references makes me worry about any younger generations picking up the game. Will they get it? While more modern catch-phrases like “more car bell” are dropped into the game, what child of the nineties is going to recognize Roger Wilco’s ship from Space Quest III in the junkyard of Retro City? But in the game’s favor, it has excellent gameplay and can be a successful experience for anyone who picks up a controller. And if any parents happen upon their kids playing the game, they’ll spend the entire time saying “isn’t that?” or “that looks just like” or “I remember that!” and it will be like a living history lesson.

Retro 7I’ve put hours into the most recent build of the game courtesy of the developer Brian Provinciano and seen a lot of its gameplay, story and secrets.

The gameplay is simple. You control a pixellated character from a top-down view who can maneuver in all directions, jump and attack. You can also get into cars by pulling out the driver or stealing one from its parking space. You’ll find additional weapons like pistols, uzis, bazookas, baseball bats, molotov cocktails and more along the way. There is plenty of mayhem to undertake. Using the joystick of the Xbox 360 controller (or PS2 controller as was offered in this build of the game) it’s quite easy to control who or what you’re shooting. The game features an adept lock-on system so you don’t have to get your angle perfect, just close to your target.

If your crime starts getting out of hand or you happen to murder someone in front of the police, your wanted meter raises on police cruises and bikes begin hounding you. To the game’s credit, the cops are more difficult to shake than any prior installment of Grand Theft Auto I’ve experienced. If the cops get on your tail during a mission, you’re going to be looping, circling, parking in alleys, and generally trying to hide yourself from the fuzz – which is no easy feat. The cops are able to zip right up to your bumper and try to ram you off the road, but if you thread enough traffic, pull of illegal u-turns and generally drive dangerously, you might just get away.

Retro 5On the note of driving, the game offers two control schemes. In one you can turn your car with the joystick and accelerate with the normal trigger, and in the other the car automatically drives in whichever direction you may be holding the joystick. I preferred the latter. It’s easy to maneuver through traffic, around (or over) pedestrians, and generally get to your destinations unscathed. The cars are all pretty solid and can take a beating without exploding, but it still pays to drive safely.

The missions throughout Retro City Rampage pull a lot from the games of yore. Your character is called simply PLAYER, in an entertainingly self-reflexive manner. The game begins when you find a job ad looking for henchmen, and you’re crime career begins in earnest. From planting underwater bombs a la Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles on NES (though the heroes-in-half-shells definitely defused them) to escaping a laser-filled base in the vein of Contra, you’ll experience a lot of memories as you work your way through the game’s story. One mission has you trying to rid the local high school of a student with the name “Norris,” one letter off a certain TV-troublemaker. And throughout the city, almost every business has a sign that’s a play on game history. From “Gargle Quest” mouthwash to the “Fresh Prints” copy shop, you’ll be experiencing a lot of “oh yeah!” moments throughout.

Retro 4Along the way, the game manages to shake up its general gameplay with unique twists on what might be called mini-games. At one point, you’re helping a team not unlike the Ghostbusters rid a possessed van of spirits. To do this, you head to the local retirement home where they throw bodies out of the window and you have to “feed” these bodies to the haunted car in order to satiate its possessor. Nobody said the game would be politically correct in its mission structure. Later on, while in disguise as the town’s superhero “Biffman” in order to “offset your criminal footprint,” you’re kidnapped and lowered into a tank of crocodiles. But to save yourself you have to swing back and forth, catching henchmen from a henchmen-dispenser (every villain’s dream machine) and feeding them to the gators in place of yourself in order to stuff them and keep them from eating you.

The missions are varied and hilarious and will keep you entertained throughout from the cheesy dialogue to the hilarious situations you’ll find yourself in.

Retro 2The game also features a series of sprees in which you unleash timed havoc on the city. From a bazooka with unlimited ammo to a DeLorean that can only get up to 88-mph by running over pedestrians to how fast you can flatten fifty people in a steam roller, the challenges are varied. You’ll see skulls on your mini-map indicating where you can launch one of these challenges. The game tracks your scores and records, along with a staggering numbers of stats from “Invisible Walls Found” to “Bikeapults.” In fact, it appears that the game keeps tabs on more elements than most full retail releases to a hilarious extent. Want to know how many swimming lessons you’ve given? No problem! It’s all there. For 8-bits of sound and graphics, the game has gigabytes of stats (not literally).

Retro 3The music and sound effects are fabulous throughout. With composition that could truly be coming directly from the 8-bit era, everything from the explosions to the game’s theme song are great. Just check out the soundtrack trailer we posted a few weeks ago to hear it in action.

The aspects that linger long after you’ve shut down your console are the details. From the clever signs spotted about the city to PLAYER’s tiny little feet pedaling a bicycle.

Retro City Rampage was originally announced as a Wii title to be released by the end of 2010. But as of now the game has been pushed into next year (hopefully February) as the platform of choice is now up in the air. If you have any inkling of interest in the game, make sure you’re following it on Facebook and Twitter, and we’ll have any key updates and trailers right here at DIYgamer along the way.


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Fate Has It In For Me… BIT.TRIP Fate [Review]

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BIT.TRIP Fate is the next installment of the wonderful BIT.TRIP series of games by Gaijin Games. I don’t recall just when the series began, however, our own Peter Eykemans reviewed BIT.TRIP Runner not too long ago. The reason why I bring that up is because, despite having the same series name, the two games aren’t entirely similar. Each has it’s own “story” and gameplay type. For example, BIT.TRIP Runner was a game about running through various levels, BIT.TRIP Fate however, is something else entirely… a shmup.

So, sit back and relax while you take in the newest BIT.TRIP game and all its glory as you read this review.

Gameplay

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Commander Video can't deviate from the line.

As mentioned above, BIT.TRIP Fate is a shmup. However, while at first glance it may seem like a fairly standard sidescrolling shmup with Wiimote-pointing controls, the whole genre gets turned on it’s head by a unique “on-rails” sort of gameplay. What I mean by this is that, despite it being a sidescrolling game, you’re stuck to a line that Commander Video can’t deviate from. If the line goes up, you have to go up as well. This method brings about a whole level of strategy to the game that otherwise wouldn’t be there. Suddenly you have to tactically use the line to avoid various enemies and bullets that are coming at you.

Of course, the flip side of this is that, sometimes you’re just screwed. While the method is certainly unique and brings some fun gameplay, it can be frustrating to know that no matter what you’re about the get a face full of bullets and there’s nothing you can do about it. Removing the control from the player is often an aggravating experience.

Now, as with most shmups, BIT.TRIP Fate allows you to upgrade your weapon in order for it to become bigger, badder, and even more “killy.” It’s a simply process: everything you kill in the level will drop an item that you can pick up. No matter where you kill them the item will float down or float up to your line so that you’re able to collect. After attaining a certain amount of them Commander Video will be “upgraded” to various levels termed “Ultra,” “Mega,” “Giga,” and so on in that manner. With each new mega or ultra rating you’re weapon will get bigger and more powerful.

Additionally, and this is quite unique amongst side scrolling shmups, with each new ranking Commander Video will be able to take another hit of damage. of course, getting hit will instantly downgrade you to the next lowest rank. So, for example, if you’re at the “Giga” rank and you take a bullet, you’ll be downgraded to “Extra.” The method works for what it is, but, as I mentioned previously, it can be quite frustrating to lose an entire rank when you get to one of those places where there’s no way you’re dodging a bullet.

One more thing that really bugged me about BIT.TRIP Fate was that the game had no set “check points” within each level. So, while getting through the level was fairly easy enough, figuring out the boss patterns could be quite challenging. Unfortunately, should you die you’ll have to start all over again from the beginning of the level, which is exactly the same as the first time you played it and moves along at a slow pace. After dying a couple times on a boss you’ll definitely have reservations about beginning the process over again.

Finally, yes both Super Meat Boy and Mr. Robotube make an appearance in the game as special weapons that last only a limited amount of time. I won’t spoil what exactly they do, but they come with three other BIT.TRIP robots each of which enhance your weapons for a limited time.

Style

As with other BIT.TRIP Games, BIT.TRIP Fate proves retro still looks good.

As with other BIT.TRIP Games, BIT.TRIP Fate proves retro still looks good.

BIT.TRIP Fate’s artistic style is decidedly retro, as with all the series’ games. It’s colorful, blocky, and overall looks really good. I don’t believe anybody expected anything more or less than that. Gaijin Games proves, once again, that the retro style fits in perfectly with modern consoles such as the Wii.

The music, however, is where BIT.TRIP Fate really shines. With each successive rank the techno music gets better and better. Additionally, whenever you kill something the song works in a little “bing” to add even more flavor to the already great music. Of course, the flip side is that with each successive hit you take the music will get flatter and flatter to the point where, just before you die, you’ll hear no music at all. It’s a nice affect and one that really brings BIT.TRIP Fate to life.

Story

I don’t recall any sort of story line and I honestly don’t know if there is an overarching storyline across all the various games.

Other

The game comes with support for the either the nunchuck attachment or the classic controller attachment. My suggestion? Go with the latter. It makes the entire game far more enjoyable. To expand on that even further however, I recently received a Nyko gun attachment that really made the game all the more enjoyable. So if you have one I strongly suggest playing with that.

Bottomline, BIT.TRIP Fate is another solid entry into the BIT.TRIP series of games by Gaijin Games. If you’re a fan of the series and, more importantly, a fan of shmups then I’d suggest giving this most recent addition a look-through. It has enough content to last for a while, offers a unique take on a tired genre, and is generally more fun than not.

BIT.TRIP Fate is available on the WiiWare channel for the Nintendo Wii for 800 Nintendo points ($8).

[Gaijin Games]


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No Plans for a Super Meat Boy 2

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I know the first game has just released onto it’s first of three planned platforms, but Edmund is already chatting up about the sequel to their already smash hit game: Super Meat Boy. And when I say “chatting up” I really mean shooting down as he has confirmed that neither he nor Tommy wants to create a sequel to their beloved franchise and possibly tarnish its image.

Here are the reasons given by Edmund:

  • It’s bad to over explain and over develop characters like the ones in super meat boy.
  • We feel like we did it right the 1st time.
  • The book is left open. (They, and PC users can expand without making a sequel)
  • It would mean we are just doing it for money.

Of course Edmund goes a little more in depth with his reasons and I recommend checking them out if only for the fact that you can see that these two guys are stand up developers who are more interested in creating a unique experience than cashing in at every opportunity.

Of course, that said, Super Meat Boy is already kind of a “sequel” to the original Meat Boy flash game. Check and mate Mr. Edmund.

[Team Meat]


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No Super Meat Boy on Wii in November

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Wii owners can count themselves as a casualty of the development process today as it looks like their own version of the spectacularly made Super Meat Boy platformer will make it out in time for the end of November as was originally planned. <insert frowny face here.>

As always you guys can blame Nintendo for this one. As many of you know, for WiiWare titles the game can not exceed 50MBs, probably due to the Wii’s small hard drive and reliance on SD Cards to store games, which would make any excessively large file kind of a pain to use.

Still though, Team Meat has said their goal is to get it to 39 MBs, for whatever reason, and they didn’t count it out of getting a December release so there is a chance you’ll be able to get your “Meat” on before the end of the year.

[Team Meat, Twitter]