Entries in hella indie (90)


QCF: Yoku's Island Express

ith so many open-world adventures on the indie game market today, a majority of newer titles are now throwing all of their weight behind the craziest gimmick they can offer with their experience in hopes of finding a large enough of an audience that will praise it. While the experimentation hasn’t paid off every title, there is one new idea that has crossed expansive level-design into a territory that it has never been in before—pinball dynamics.

Villa Gorilla’s premier title explores the juxtaposition between side-scrolling platforming and a pinball table turned on its side in Yoku’s Island Express, a tale about a dung beetle who employs his spherical excrement as a means to bounce around and about through the obscure tropical arrangement of flippers and bumpers just so he could deliver some mail. In all honesty, the game is a lot weirder than that made it sound, but fortunately, it’s a whole lot more enjoyable too.

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QCF: Fox 'N Forests

hen people think about video game nostalgia, their minds immediately fix upon images of pixelated sprites, alongside beats of synthesized chiptune sounds, and other trademarks from the early years of the medium. With so many throwbacks, and love letters out on the market these days, developers are now more pressed to celebrate the past in a way that’s more innovative than a majority of the retro-inspired titles that are currently flooding storefronts; callbacks are now starting to pull from some of the more nuanced moments of gaming history.

Which brings us to Bonus Level Entertainment’s Fox ‘N Forests, a 2D action-platforming side-scroller that was Kickstarted back in 2016 in an effort to deliver a very specific kind of nostalgia—the kind that’s reserved for a majority of the early SNES titles that defined the system before fighting games swept the scene. While there’s plenty of fan service to indulge upon and enjoy in this self-aware romp, a majority of Fox ‘n Forest’s charm is fleeting at best, and largely obnoxious the rest of the time, or worse—all too forgettable.

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QCF: A Robot Named Fight

hat was once a niche sub-genre that was only romanticized by its rabid cult-following, has now gradually begun to spill into the mainstream of the independent video game scene—Metroidvania games are available on just about every system at this point, to the point where the style is bordering on stagnation.

In an intriguing twist, however, similar to the Nuzlocke challenges that have swept numerous play-throughs of the Pokémon series, the iconic games that pioneered the formula, like Super Metroid, and Castlevania Aria of Sorrow, are now getting modded with the “randomizer” treatment. This modification works to alter the order and location of key upgrades and items in their core game, forcing an entirely new Meta into the gameplay for players to tackle.

One developer by the name of Matt Bittner took notice of the trend, and took it upon himself to push the concept to an entirely different level; developing a Metroidvania adventure that would not only randomize items, upgrades, but the map layout itself, in a manner that’s similar to roguelike dungeon crawler titles. His efforts led to producing an ambitious pixelated tribute to the genre called A Robot Named Fight, releasing for Steam and Nintendo Switch, and while the release does make good on its premise, its execution leaves a lot to be desired.

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QCF: A Hat in Time

012 gave us the year of the bow, then 2015 became the year of the sequel, and while it 2017 has been a significantly memorable year for video games as a whole, there’s no denying that it will also go down as the year that hosted the return of the 3D Platformer.

Granted, while there’s been a lot of praise for the throwback titles that have dropped so far, the craze has also seen its fair share of criticism, generating a lot of commentary on whether or not the genre even deserved such a renaissance in the first place.

Of all the games in the conversation though, one KickStarted-project stuck out as the dark horse of the topic; Gears for Breakfast’s A Hat in Time. While most games like Polykid Games’ Poi or Playtonic’s Yooka-Laylee were heavily promoted as spiritual successors to the iconic gems that best defined the collection-driven gameplay, the folks behind A Hat in Time were more concerned with creating an adventure where the journey itself is as, if not more rewarding than the destination. The Humble-Bundle published title establishes early that it’s 3D Platforming gameplay relegates the collectibles or objectives into being more of an accessory than a direct extension.

As novel as these ambitions were on paper however, A Hat in Time fails to step with its best foot forward at the early going, and barely manages to stick its landing, taking far too long to pick up any sort of real momentum in what’s ultimately, a clumsy outing.

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Bullet Heaven, Episode 194 - The Next Penelope

hmuppy Switchmas may have come and gone, but the Shmuppy Holidays STILL continue! In episode 74 of Bullet Heaven. we took a look at a shmup with racing elements called Shippu Mahou Daisakusen Kingdom Grandprix (疾風魔法大作戦 キングドムグランプリー), and we liked it quite a bit. But what about a racing game with shmup elements? Well, we might just have what you need with The Next Penelope. How does it stack up?

Get The Next Penelope - https://www.nintendo.com/games/detail/the-next-penelope-switch

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QCF: Owlboy

he concept of “living to fight another day” has always been a strange perspective, and easily one of the most endearing when it comes to the human condition, and this underdog theme has only resonated with me more and more as I got older—it never stopped being so captivating to me.

As much as I want to believe that I identify with that try-hard sentiment though, the reality is that I would immediately weigh in on the option of cutting my losses before I ever considered staying and finishing what may end up being a losing fight. I kick myself every time I stray towards the mindset, but the realist in me can’t help but eek out some semblance of control over which hill I choose to die on, and which I don’t. It’s this weird struggle to describe, and one that I’ve never really seen explored in great detail within most narratives we consume in modern day media.

That is, until I booted up D-Pad Studio’s Owl Boy; a game starring an introverted hero who’s only wish is to do what he thinks is right in spite of his personal flaws, and the flaws of everyone else around him for that matter. Hidden in this surprisingly charming platformer is a tale that’s deceptively rich with character and heart like none that I’ve seen in quite some time.

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PPR Presents Play Play: Hyper Light Drifter

he Legend of Zelda: A Link to The Past is one of most influential games in history, a masterpiece that will stand the test of time as one of the iconic showcases of game design. As such, it’s only natural that it would inspire the generation of games that followed its prime, and one day, there’s going to be a game that will outshine it.

Hyper Light Drifter isn’t that game mind you, but God Damn is it ever close to accomplishing that.

George takes full command in this edition of Play Play where plays through the beginning of Heart Machine’s love letter to ALTTP, and goes on about the delicately brilliant nuances to this title’s ebb and flow, and hauntingly beautiful Éric Chahi-like pixel animation, and art. 

Mail us at our new email Mailbag@presspauseradio.com, leave a voicemail at 469-PPR-TALK, and be sure to stop by at our Forums if you haven’t already registered and post your thoughts about the show. Finally, make sure to rate and subscribe to us on iTunes and YouTube, follow us on Twitch page and Twitter, and finally take part in our Facebook and Steam group!


Bullet Heaven HD, Episode 150 - RefRain ~Prism Memories~

egica is back with more shooting goodness from across the Pacific. Annunced at PAX East, RefRain ~Prism Memories~ is a vertical shooter with some really cool features and deep scoring mechanics. How does it stack up?  


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