Jun 27, 2008

The Ivy's lively Nanobots

nanobotsnanobots ivy agsI may be lacking the time for a proper review, but you simply have to know that Nanobots, an exquisite indie adventure game, has just been made available for download. Here and for free. Now, be reasonable, trust me, thank the nice lady who created it, make yourselves a favour and grab it. After all, Nanobots is an innovative and quirky point-and-click adventure, with beautiful graphics, a great soundtrack and an intriguingly cute plot brought to you by Erin 'Ivy' Robinsons of Spooks and Blackwell Unbound fame, with the help of Vince Twelve of xii games and Chris 'Scorposer' Moorson. What a team, eh?

And to quote in the most informative of ways:

Nanobots is a classic-style point and click adventure game that lets you control the six different robots as they race to save themselves from being turned into scrap metal. Can they make use of their surroundings, fashion an escape plan, and avoid coming face-to-fist with Professor Killfun? Only if they give peace a chance.

Related @ Gnome's Lair: Resonance screenshots, a bit of freeware Sam & Max, Adventure Speedruns, Space Quest IV

Jun 20, 2008

A few lovely free games against the heat

Summer's here, living in A/C conditions is as irritating as ever, a thousand things have to be done, international levels of alcohol are running low and all I can do is suggest a few -excellent if I may say so myself- freeware games. Well, anyway, that's something I guess.

Solar Vengeance 5: an impressively deep and polished game of interstellar conflict and conquest. Impressively, it also supports multiplayer gaming and if it weren't for TIG Source you (and obviously I) wouldn't have spotted it.

War Twat: the naughty sounding arena shooter that's for free. Also feels quite a bit like a Robotron-Geometry Wars hybrid on mind-melting drugs, is addictively hard and an all around excellent game. Looks great too.

Space Shot: the procedurally generated shmup that sports incessant swearing and nasty rectangles. Realistically boring and mostly vacant bits of space are also included. Oh, and should you care for more procedurally generated games try this selection of compo games.

Ant Attack: the first isometric 3D game ever in its original format and in all its survival horror glory. That is, on a brilliantly online emulated ZX Spectrum courtesy of the game creator. It hasn't aged a day...

ForumWarz: the funniest MMORPG possible. Ever. No, really. You just have to try being a camwhore for a while. ForumWarz is the Internet (in game form).

Immortality: an existential puzzler about, well, immortality apparently. Smart, intriguing, visually interesting and even quite a bit enjoyable too. Oh, and it's another Indie Games discovery.

Quest for Yrolg: an excellent point-and-click fantasy adventure as suggested by SSH's equally excellent AGS blog. Quest for Yrolg by Crystal Shard (of A Tale of Two Kingdoms fame), beside its other qualities, also let's you be the bad guy's henchman, in what can only by described as the anti-Quest for Glory experience.

Related @ Gnome's Lair: 100 excellent free games, Sim Junta & 1821, Pac-TXT, the Commonplace Book Project

Jun 13, 2008

The porny side of gaming

Having already brought you some of the sickest pictures of gaming, and in what could only be described as a stylistic U-turn, I've now gone and touched on the subject of video game porn. This time though I've stupidly focused on using words. Oh well, nobody's perfect I suppose and you can still pay the old Cabaret a visit and read the aptly titled Oh video game pornography, where art thou?

Jun 11, 2008

Penny Arcade Adventures - Episode 1: On The Rain-Slick Precipice Of Darkness. Uhm, the demo.

Penny Arcade Adventures episode 1I could just tell everyone to immediately go and grab the demo of the rather verbosely titled Penny Arcade Adventures - Episode 1: On The Rain-Slick Precipice Of Darkness, for it is an excellent and truly funny demo, but, frankly, I'll try not to be that lazy. Well, not again that is. I will instead attempt to elaborate; convince you even of the greatness of the thing and humbly suggest you should probably buy yourselves the full version. It is after all available for everything a PC gamer could care for: Windows, Mac, Linux and Xbox 360.

Oh, and please do bear in mind that I've only tried the demo -not enough time/money those last few days I'm afraid- of the game and thus can't comment on some issues other reviewers have mentioned, such as Penny Arcade's rumored lack of length. Hopefully, I will eventually get to play through the full version -and appropriately comment on such grave matters, though, and in case you really have to research before investing your 20$, you'd better have a look at a few professional reviews. Anyway. On with the rant.

The first thing I have to admit, is that the Penny Arcades Episode 1 (hence PA) demo is a thoroughly successful demo, as it both manages to show off every key aspect of the game and leave you wanting for more. And where I say wanting, well, I mean craving.

So, what's so great about it? For starters, it's a game by the Penny Arcade duo with the assistance and direction of the great Ron Gilbert. It is thus a genuinely funny, beautiful and well designed offering. What's more, the thing's innovative too. And starts you off with the creation of your wacky in-game persona in 3D, which impressively also spawns a 2D version of itself to be used where appropriate (i.e. cutscenes). Here's a crude example:

On The Rain-Slick Precipice Of DarknessMultidimensional cartoon visuals aside, PA is an interesting and highly playable RPG/adventure hybrid, that manages to let gamers explore, fight and wade through Monkey Island-esque dialog only with their mouse and the space button, in what must be the most impressively intuitive new interface I've encountered the last ten or so years. The fact that said interface is presented to you via an in-game tutorial of sorts, that is seamlessly integrated with the core game, and even sports an utterly hilarious voice-over, does help quite a bit too.

Then again, the humour, acting quality, art-direction and of course the artwork itself are constantly impressive throughout the demo (and its stunning cutscenes). Touches of Gilbert's properly interactive humour are also apparent, even though this is something that is mostly based on the Penny Arcade sort of jokes and situations. I love them, but that's a personal thing.

Further satisfying aspects of the demo -and apparently the game- include a lovably absurd Lovecraftian plot, a ton of little touches, excellent gameplay mechanics, a quasi turn-based combat system that actually works, a thousand things to click on, fantastic dialog and what I (and shockingly the developers) refer to as The Office. That is the hub where a ton of unlockables (movies, LPs, etc), bits of info, case-files, collectibles and... err... the game-map can be accessed. Have a look, I'll have some sleep instead:

Related @ Gnome's Lair: Stalin vs Martians, DeathSpank, The 2007 AGS Awards, Rex: a ZX Spectrum classic