Monday, September 24, 2012

Indie Test Drive: 0 A.D.

Because I simply don't have enough games I decided it would be interesting to try playing more indie games. Sure, I actually play a fair bit of them once they come to Steam, Desura, and GOG but that's not quite indie enough. Why not try out other titles that have yet to find a publisher - or might not? So, yup, that's what this and future "Indie Test Drive" posts are about.

0 A.D. is a title being independently developed by a team of volunteers. It has apparently been worked on since 2001. Back then, it was a "total conversion mod" (meaning they took an existing game and overhauled it) but it changed later into a wholly new project. The game will probably appeal most to those who enjoy historical RTSes. If you love Age of Empires or Empire Earth then this is something worth looking into.

Initially, it didn't seem like there was much new brought to the table. You have your choice of various historical troops to choose from and then can go about growing your town into a society and going to war, or forging alliances. Apparently there is a multiplayer mode which would sounds like a lot of fun, but I was unable to test it out. There are multiple gameplay modes, but I was only gave one a shot and was a bit disappointed because the "AI controlled" enemies didn't actually do anything until I came and stormed their cities.

The version I played was a bit goofy. There were birds but they simply were stuck in place and didn't ever move across the screen. Upon killing a camel, it just stood there (upright) as my troops picked at it for food. Animals also did not have any walking animation and simply slid across the ground. However, in between me playing the game and looking up the 0 A.D. website I found that a new beta was just released earlier this month. It appears to fix up a lot of stuff and even upgraded the graphics.

0 A.D. is completely free in beta stages and will be once it finally launches as well. The game runs on Windows, Mac, and Linux. I enjoyed it but just wish there was some sort of story function instead of simply focusing on multiplayer.

Monday, September 10, 2012

68 - Chains

Genre: Puzzle
Rating: N/A
Publisher: Meridian4
Platform: PC (Steam)
Release Year: 2008

Chains is one of those games I put off playing every time I saw it in my Steam collection. It just sounds so dull, the graphics didn't look very great, and overall I didn't know what it was. Out of boredom (and a bit of inspiration) I decided it was time to give the game that has sat in my library for 3 years a shot.

The game is fairly interesting, and full of various gameplay mechanics, despite having only twenty levels overall. Basically, the title is a match game where you must connect orbs of the same colors together. The basic amount is three, but you can often find yourself chaining many more if they're all touching. The mechanic itself isn't the creative part as there are many games like that.

What is interesting is how many gameplay modes can be created out of it. For example, there is one mode where the circles are situated on top of gates. You must manage to keep clearing circles well enough so that X amount don't fall through the gates as they open up every few seconds. Another mode gives you a small tube for the circles to fall through and asks to keep it flowing for five minutes. If you're not able to connect them fast enough they'll clog everything up. Most of these modes are a lot of fun and only a few annoyed me.

I haven't beaten the game yet and that's just because one of the modes is a fairly confusing. I'm hoping that's the only one like it because otherwise the game is much more fun than was anticipated. Those who are fans of matching puzzle games should give Chains a look especially since it's only $5.

Would I play it again? Sure.
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