Vessel, Shatter and SPAZ
Vessel is a 2D puzzle platformer where the protagonist (you) gets to make use of a number of devices in order to progress. Each of these so-called devices are essentially puzzles which the game teaches you to use as you go along. The cool thing about Vessel, much like LIMBO, is that every puzzle seems mind-boggling at first until you try it a few times and you get that “Eureka” moment. Another nice twist about Vessel is that you can create AI helpers which assist you (or hinder you sometimes). Haven’t finished it yet but can confirm this makes for a good time-waster. 7/10
Shatter is Breakout/Arkanoid on mega-ultra steroids. The basic idea is simple, hit the bricks with a moving projectile and make sure said projectile does not die by hitting it with your paddle. Some bricks are harder to destroy then others while others explode taking their neighbours down with them. You also sometimes get powerups and extra-lives from certain bricks. Not much different from the two previosly-mentioned games so far. What Shatter adds is a bunch of cool mechanics. Let’s list some of them:
- You can push and pull the projectile allowing you to maneuver it into position.
- As the bricks explode you can collect their remains by pulling these towards you as you do the projectile. The annoying thing is sometimes this makes you lose focus on your projectile…
- As you fill up on brick debris you fill up a meter which allows you fire a barrage from your paddle.
- Your paddle is NOT safe. Certain bricks come towards you and you have to shield yourself using an ability you have.
- You can release as many projectiles as you wish based on the number of lives you have. This grants extra bonuses.
- MEGA BOSS FIGHTS!
All-in-all a good tribute with a good twist. 8/10
Space Pirates and Zombies
With a name like Space Pirates and Zombies (or SPAZ) I was a bit sceptic. Yet another generic indie game? Fortunately not! I started playing at 1700hrs and ended up stopping at 1830hrs only because a friend of mine messaged me. Needless to say I was engrossed. The game’s main aim is to obtain as much as possible Rez or E-126. An element which is used for warping around planets. Various factions trade/mine/pirate Rez as it is the most sought after commodity in the universe. As the game starts it puts you in the pants of a falling apart mothership which you repair via various tutorial missions. The nice thing about SPAZ is that you get to play on both a macro and micro level. On the macro level you get to pick where your faction goes to mine and who to attack/befriend/trade with. You also get to choose which ships your mothership builds based on your current scenario. On the micro level you can outfit most of the ships you use and even pilot them to mine asteroids and attack enemy ships. When you are making use of more than one ship you can switch between them. The AI takes care of the ships you are not directly controlling and does a decent job. Apart from Rez there are other commodities which the game uses such as Goons (or enemy pilots you rescue) and Data (used to upgrade stuff)… I’ll be honest, I probably have just scraped the surface of this game but I find it really makes up for its cost. My only qualm about the game is its presentation and interface but it is something one can get used to quickly. 8/10