Demo: GunBlocks combines sidescrolling with tactical tetromino placement

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German developer Cookie Engine is working on their first title, GunBlocks. It's a turn-based tactical sidescrolling platformer in which the player must modify the environment by placing tetrominoes every round. It's also funny and adorable.

The demo has an introductory story scene in which the pilot of the spaceship the player is on has a fit and leaves the cockpit to his pet pig. Naturally, this doesn't work out so well; the ship is forced to land and the player is sent out to retrieve a dropped repair kit with which to fix the hull.

Once outside the ship, the player is given instructions on how to play. Each round has three phases. In the first phase, the player must use all of the blocks in their inventory. Most of these are tetrominoes, though some are defensive and offensive powerups. The tetrominoes can be used to do things like patch holes in the ground and raise the player, enemies, and/or items up. Phase two has the player taking aim and firing a bullet, which can target an enemy or the ground. Destroying the ground can make it possible for the player, who can only go up one level at a time, to pass a tall spot and also creates an extra tetromino for the player to pick up, which will be added to the free one they get at the beginning of the next round. In the third and final phase, the player moves forward four steps. Or tries to, if there's a wall in front of the player that is too tall to climb. With every step taken or attempted, the screen moves forward. The player must avoid being pushed offscreen.

So much about the game is wacky in a good way, from the jokes to the fact that a dropped tetromino immediately grows grass so it can blend into the landscape. The graphics and characters are fun and the music is pleasant. It all ties together very well, and although there's no solid information available about when, where, or for how much GunBlocks will be available, this demo makes it easy to look forward to eventually being able to get it.

[GunBlocks]

Adventure/RPG Pick: Quest for Infamy (POStudios, Infamous Adventures)

QFI.pngI've been keeping an eye on Quest for Infamy for quite some time now and I'm finally in the enviable position to let you know that Quest for Infamy has already been released for Windows, Mac and Linux. It is, as promised, a huge and humorous point-and-clicker paying homage to the venerable Quest for Glory series and thus an incredibly ambitious adventure/RPG hybrid filled with spells, combat, puzzles, multiple storylines, 200 scenes and three playable character classes. And did I mention it has some truly lovely pixel-art fantasy backgrounds? Well, it does.

Purchase Quest for Infamy for $19.99 on Steam, GOG or the Phoenix Store.

Browser & Mobile Pick: Xibalba (PhobosLab)

xibalba.pngXibalba is a first person shooter originally designed for the 7DFPS competition last year, but was only completed just recently and released online as a free browser game. It features six levels to play through, where players will get to face masked natives, alien creatures and tree monsters as they make their way to the final boss.

Besides the standard energy gun, you can also arm yourself with a shotgun and a rocket launcher once you've found their hiding spots somewhere in the labyrinth. Health is restored whenever you collect a first aid kit, while locked doors can only be opened using the correct colour-coded key. The sound production here is incredibly atmospheric, changing dynamically whenever you enter a new area or location. It's as if you can feel the cool breeze blowing through your hair in the lush jungles, or feel the heat radiating from a pool of lava as you walk by them.

Xibalba is available to play in your browser via this link, and if you own an iOS device you could download the free game from the App Store as well.

Within

Within by developer RageKit is a mysterious first-person exploration game where players explore a minimalistic and ever-shifting maze while being stalked by a malicious entity which represents the player’s anxiety. Doors open and close with little provocation, can you find the way out while avoiding the force trying to bring you down? Check out Within […]

Kickstarter Pick: Fire With Fire (and attack defensively)

An offensive twist is an odd thing to insert into a tower defense game, but that's exactly what Skull Skill Studios are aiming to do with their Fire With Fire Kickstarter campaign. They are creating a multiplayer (well, two-player), competitive tower defense game focused on both defending (in a more or less traditional genre manner) and attacking by constructing armies of creeps. Handily for us misanthropes a single player campaign will also be included.

Fire With Fire has launched a Steam Greenlight campaign too and is set to appear on Windows, Mac, Linux, Android, iOS and OUYA.

Freeware Pick: Explore and solve puzzles in Cloudfall

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Croatian developers Vatigo and Bitserum put their heads together for the recent Game Maker 2014 contest and the result of their efforts was Cloudfall. In it, the player is a cloud who must float around, exploring the environment and solving puzzles with no hints beyond explanations about the controls.

The player's cloud starts by a monument which is surrounded by four smaller monuments with elemental markings, all of which has its own small, floating island. Moving around, the player quickly finds other floating islands with a number of things to interact with. The cloud can dip into a pool of water, soak it up, float to another spot, and drop the water to make a flower bloom, for example. There are caves to find and explore in the name of finding out more about the setting and figuring what to do about the monuments shown at the start of the game.

It's a neat little game with pleasant yet mysterious music and tricky puzzles. People who like games that require them to explore, observe, and think hard about overcoming obstacles should give it a try. Those without the patience for that kind of game will likely tire of Cloudfall quickly. It can be played in a browser (Unity) or downloaded for Windows.

You can now Mount Your Friends on PC, and you really should


Mount Your Friends is out on Steam today. The original Xbox Live Indie Game saw players climbing atop one-another, naked flesh and swinging manhoods akimbo, and this PC version is no different.

What you can expect this time around is online multiplayer, and lots of new single and multiplayer modes. If you've never played Mount Your Friends before, let me assure you that this is an experience you need to have. It's hilarious, but it's also one of the best modern party games you can play. Mount Your Friends is out today on Steam.

Miopia, a ’2D endless Katamari’ game

miopia2a.pngMiopia is a procedurally-generated devouring game where players have to eat other microorganisms to grow. Playing as a tiny purple blob, you are only able to consume other entities which are smaller than you. Larger organisms won't hurt you when you bump into them, but touching any sharp protrusions can harm or even kill you if you're not careful.

Any yellow nutrients collected can be used to evolve your blob's abilities. To gain a new ability, you'll have to find an energy ball first. Each energy ball allows only one ability to be upgraded, but there are usually more balls to be found elsewhere on the map if you look hard enough.

The Unity-based web version of Miopia is available to play here, or you can download the Windows executable directly via this link.

Freeware Pick: Even The Stars (Pol Clarissou, Nicholas Gavan)

eventhestars.pngGetting old, getting lost, getting stranded. Disappointment, boredom, old age, lack of purpose.

Yes, Even The Stars definitely isn't about starry-eyed space heroes and interstellar excitement. It doesn't promise anyone a riveting journey. Or dogfights. What it promises and promptly provides players with is a wonderful galactic journey of contemplation and exploration, after which only a captain's log will remain to remind everyone of the wondrous artifacts, structures and places you discovered. It's the journey that matters after all and this is one you'll be taking mostly via text controls in a beautifully crafted universe.

Even The Stars can be played online or downloaded for your Windows, Mac or Linux machine.

Browser Pick: Figure of Eight (ABA Games)

figure8a.pngIn Kenta Cho's Flash game Figure of Eight, your objective is to destroy the enemy ships and gather red collectibles for points. There's no way to control the ship directly as it moves back and forth mimicking the shape of an infinity symbol, but you can always left-click on the game window to make the ship move at a fraction of its original speed.

Slowing down your ship also causes its firepower to be concentrated at a single point, hence making it much easier to defeat some of the larger enemies in the game. Your weapon will return to its default spread shot configuration the moment you release the left mouse button. Scores are uploaded automatically to the online leaderboards, though it'll take some effort and practice to break into the top ten rankings.

Figure of Eight is available to play at ABA Games' site.