Monthly Archives: January 2014

Steam Indie Game Reviews 2

I’m still playing a lot of indie games on Steam, so here’s another batch of quick reviews…

Legend of Dungeon

When I started playing this, I thought that the controls were too simple to make an interesting game. There’s only movement, a jump button, an action button, and a simple inventory system.

But it turns out that there’s such a variety of interesting items to use, that it’s not a simple game at all. You’ve got melee weapons, guns, spell books that can summon monsters, different hats to equip for different abilities, potions with random effects, light sources, item magnets, cats which shoot lasers from their eyes, unicorn shaped shields, and other stuff. And there’s also a massive variety of enemies, which will require different strategies to defeat or avoid.

There’s a lot of interesting ways that the entities in the game can interact with each other. For example: I summon a bunch of skeletons to defeat my foes, one of the skeletons touches a torch and is set on fire, the fire spreads to the other skeletons and eventually to me, and I burn to death.

I should also mention that the lighting effects in Legend of Dungeon are amazing, especially in the dark rooms where you need to carry a light source with you. The game is best played in a dark room, for maximum atmosphere. I found the controls quite hard to master on a keyboard, but they work very well with a controller.

Also, the shield is overpowered. The devs should probably nerf that or make the other melee weapons more useful.


The lighting effects are pretty cool.


I tried to like this game. I really did.

Everything about it is great; the humor, the music, the action, the graphic style, etc. But it’s so cryptic that it’s almost unplayable without a walkthrough, and using a walkthrough for the entire game would be boring. I gave up a few hours in, once I could no longer make any progress by myself. La-Mulana gives you almost no instructions or directions at all, just very cryptic hints that are usually impossible to understand. Some of the more annoying puzzles include invisible floors, or breakable walls that look like normal walls.  The world is so massive and has so many path branches that you’ll be backtracking for ages before you figure out what you’ve missed or where to go.

Even very important key items like the map and warp system are fairly well hidden!
I probably wouldn’t have found them for a very long time, but I checked the wiki when I got trapped in a dead-end room. There’s actually traps that force you to load your last saved game! And they don’t even tell you that you’re perma-trapped! So you have to sit there like an idiot for 15 minutes trying to get out.

Ugh. It’s a shame. I really would have liked to finish the game. Cause it would be awesome if it was actually playable. If I wanted pointlessly difficult games, I’d pull out something for the NES.

But who knows, maybe I’ll give it another try someday.

Where do I go?!

Where do I go?!

Papers Please

Papers Please is a very unusual game. I’m not even sure how I can describe it effectively.
You play as a dude who checks passports for a fictional communist country. Sounds boring right? But so much drama happens. People try to bribe you, they tell you their sob stories, they try to smuggle weapons and drugs, your superiors are eager to punish you for any mistake you make, terrorists ask you for your help in overthrowing the government (and you can!), and if you mess up, either your family will starve, you’ll be arrested, or you might just die in a terrorist attack. There’s tons of different endings, and all of your actions have far-reaching consequences.

I used a walkthrough, because I didn’t find the gameplay very fun, I just wanted to experience the story. But I think the gameplay is supposed to NOT be fun. It’s supposed to be really stressful, and to put you in the shoes of the character you play. And maybe I cheapened the experience a bit by using that walkthrough. Oh well.

Anyway! The story was intense! It makes you really think about what effect your actions will have on others and yourself.


So many papers!

Intrusion 2

Intrusion 2 is basically Metal Slug with physics. Objects get thrown around, trees bend and wobble, and enemies wave their mechanical tentacles around.

I didn’t really care much for the physics, but I guess that’s what made the gameplay a bit different from similar games. The mech designs were cool and the boss battles were epic. The final battle in particular was one of the most insane boss battles I’ve ever played in a game.

My main criticism about Intrusion 2 is that the levels just dragged on for a bit too long. Enemies and scenery just repeated a few times too many. It took me over two hours to play through the game, while Metal Slug fits the same amount of content into a much shorter game with more replay-value.

It’s also worth noting that it was made in Flash by one guy!


Fighting a giant mecha-snake while snowboarding down a mountain!

Ballpoint Universe

Don’t know if it was just me, but I really didn’t like the controls in this game. They were just really wonky no matter what settings I used. The gamepad joystick was too sensitive for the shooting parts, but not sensitive enough on the menus. And the mouse controls were horrible for the platforming bits.

The platforming bits seemed unnecessary. Why not just give us a menu-based level hub instead of constantly shifting between two types of gameplay?

The shoot em parts were quite fun, but felt like they could have been done a lot better. The worst part was how often enemies would go off screen. If enemies go off screen in a shooter, they’re not supposed to come back!! But in this game, they do, quite often. Most of the enemy movement patterns depended on your movement, so you often had to move in a way that would keep them on screen. That’s pretty annoying.

Anyway, I played the game for the artstyle, and it surely delivered on unique graphics. The melee weapons on your ship were fun too. But overall I wasn’t too impressed.


Everything is a pen drawing!


Reus isn’t really my type of game. I just picked it up because it looked interesting, and it was. You play as four giants who terraform the world and make it habitable for humans. Then the humans get greedy and start fighting wars with each other, and eventually they’ll even start attacking your giants. At that point it’s time to destroy their civilization with a single punch.

Fun concept, but it’s not something I can play for more then an hour or two before getting bored.

I also liked that the game looked like it could have been made in Flash. I’m sitting there thinking, “Hey, I could do graphics like that!”.


Don’t piss off the giants.

New Year’s Resolutions

My resolutions from last year:

I managed most of my resolutions from 2013. The ones that I failed were either out of my control, or turned out to just not be very important to me.

✔ Get a driver’s license!
(done: got a car too!)

• Get a good haircut!
(failed: because I changed my mind. the Thor movies have made my hair cool again)

✔ Get a social life!
(done: I go out whenever I get the chance now)

✔ Get fit!
(done: started cycling, running, climbing, and just generally getting regular exercise)

✔ Run 10km! (Or 5km, more realistically)
(done-ish: managed 5km, but I’ll probably try to do 10km someday)

• Climb Ben Nevis!
(failed: never got round to it, don’t really have anyone to go with)

✔ Go to and survive northern Sweden in Winter.
(done: it was awesome)

✔ Go on at least 2 more challenging holidays!
(done: went to Sweden again in Summer, and went to London to do a presentation at a game-dev meetup)

• Go skydiving and survive!
(failed: never got round to it, kind of scared)

• Grow the world’s hottest Chilli Peppers and eat them!
(failed-ish: almost done, I’ve got the plants, but they haven’t produced any fruit yet)

✔ Get my tax issues sorted!
(done: woop! not really a huge achievement, but the IRS was really bothering me)

✔ Finish setting up my bedroom/office!
(done: more or less finished, probably looks as good as it’s going to get until I move out)

• Start and finish Bullet Heaven 2 or Adventure Story 2.
(failed: web game market died, not a priority anymore, made Cat Cafe instead though)

✔ Finish Epic Battle Fantasy 4 and get rich!
(done: didn’t get rich, but earned enough)

✔ Get EBF4 on Steam!
(done-ish: got Greenlit and am working on it, so it’s almost done)

• Get EBF4 on The Pirate Bay!
(failed: need to publish on Steam first)

• Get 10 million plays on Kongregate!
(failed: not going to happen, not really my fault though)

◦ Get Newgrounds game of the year!
(undetermined: these don’t get announced until later)

• Get a Wikipedia article about myself!
(failed: will probably happen once EBF4 is on Steam though…maybe)


My resolutions for this year:

A lot of these are just continuations of stuff that I’ve already started. Hmmm. Maybe I should be more creative. Anyway, here’s my resolutions for 2014…

✔ Get a girlfriend. (It’s about time)

✔ Get better at driving, and explore the UK. (also don’t crash)

✔ Eat healthier and lose weight. (already made a lot of progress with this, but still need to do a wee bit more)

• Cycle 100km. (best is currently 50km)

• Move out of my parents’ house. (low priority, do everything else first)

• Learn how to invest savings. (stock market?)

• The run 10km (✔), chilli pepper(✔), Ben Nevis, and skydiving ones from last year.

✔ Publish EBF4 on Steam.

✔ Get really good at faking confidence around strangers. (eye-contact, posture!)

✔ Do projects which are fun rather than those which are profitable. Or better yet, figure out how to do both.

• Buy an iPad and publish Cat Cafe on iOS, and on the web.

✔ Start working on another awesome game. (What that is will depend on EBF4’s sales, but probably EBF:TD)

✔ Design future games to be compatible with mobile devices. Maybe try a quick mobile port of EBF4 too.

✔ Read a bit more. Maybe some stuff about marketing, business or psychology.

• Go to more networking events and make contacts. (kind of already doing this, so I should keep it up at least)

• Visit America next time I’m invited to something cool. (probably Steam developers conference in Chicago or Flash games summit in San Francisco, or maybe even both)

• Visit Canada for fun. (It’s been a while)

• Visit my brother a lot wherever he decides to study next year. (I think he mentioned Germany?)

Blog of 2013

At the end of every year, I look through my blogs and pick out some of the most memorable events. So here’s all the stuff that happened to me in 2013, in roughly chronological order:

• Went to visit my brother in Sweden, during the coldest month. Saw Stockholm briefly. Most time was spent in Luleå, but also visited Abisko. Much snow. Northern lights. Dog sledding. Parties with the exchange students every day. Tried skiing (never again). Tried sledding down the ski slope instead (awesome!). Saunas and hot tubs. Played ball games in the snow for laughs. Made tons of friends. So much feels.

• Finished Epic Battle Fantasy 4, my biggest game ever. It was the best rated game on Kongregate and Newgrounds for a few months, but didn’t get as many players as I wanted because…

• The web game market started shrinking, as more and more people were playing games on their mobile phones instead. I started looking at other platforms to make games for (phones and Steam).

• This year’s summer was glorious. Sat around in the garden almost every day. Bought a bicycle and actually started using it quite a lot. Managed to cycle 50km and run 5km.

• Had my parent’s house to myself for 3 weeks. Having so much space is awesome. Was forced to learn how to cook. Had a fun BBQ with buddies.

• Started watching Adventure Time, which is now one of my favorite TV shows.

• Collected too many chili pepper plants. I’ve got more than I care to look after now, and most of them are too spicy to eat in any way. Also grew some tomatoes in the garden.

• Did a talk about game development for a highschool class. Then I did it again.

• Went to visit my brother in Sweden again, in the middle of summer. Didn’t see night for 10 days, which felt amazing and surreal. Ate moose and reindeer. Went to some festival in Luleå, which included a heavy metal gig. Tried slacklining and dumpster diving. Visited some small farm village and browsed through some interesting souvenir shops.

• Went to Mochi London to meet up with Flash game developers and to give a presentation about EBF4. Conquered my fear of public speaking. Got better at backpacking. Met childhood heroes and awesome people from the internet. Saw a bit of London, including the Natural History Museum.

• Got my driver’s license! Failed my theory test once, but things went well otherwise.

• Got my first car! Yay! I almost feel like an adult now! Still learning how to use it properly though.

• Started using Twitter regularly. It’s actually really good for meeting people who work in similar areas to you.

• Made my first mobile game; Cat Cafe. Learned about designing for mobile phones, hardware acceleration, native extensions, scripted tweens, time-based animation, and lots of other stuff that makes Flash more powerful.

• Went to Poland to visit family, and just to relax for a while. Went to some speedway competition, which was my first time at a sports event. Went mushroom picking for the first time. Got a personal tour of Kwidzyn Cathedral.

• Been going to every networking event that I’m invited to, even if it doesn’t sound like I’d fit in. There’s usually free food and lots of interesting people to talk to, and it’s good to hear about what people are working on.

• Finally made a website for myself; Played around with HTML and CSS for a few days. I think it looks pretty good now.

• Started indoor-climbing to keep fit in winter. It’s pretty fun!

• Started playing around with more Google products, including AdSense, AdMob and Analytics. Stats and advertising are cool.

• Breaking Bad finished, and the last few episodes are probably my favorite bit of TV ever. Dexter also finished, but the last season was terrible.

• Got EBF4 Greenlit for a release on Steam, and started working on an expansion pack for it. Kind of a big deal. Might start making paid desktop games instead of free web games, if things work out.

• Literally spent a whole week playing Pokemon Y non-stop.

• Started playing a lot of indie games on Steam, for “market research”. Some favorites include: Spelunky, Jamestown, VVVVVV, Intrusion 2, and AVGN Adventures.

• Started online dating, which has mostly been a waste of time. But I think I’ve finally found someone worth holding on to. We shall see how that goes.

Well I think that’s everything. It’s going to be challenging to make 2014 even more interesting!

Wow. So noble. Such grace.

Wow. So noble. Such grace.