Category Archives: Reviews
Go see Bolt!
That’s basically the gist of my and Keith’s critical analysis of the movie, so consider yourself spoiled.
I was going through my audio library and found the reviews we did for a local radio station, KGLT, a few years back. This is one of the few where Keith and I both agree. We also both think that Bolt was amazing in the theater.
Of special note, Keith admits to liking 3D! Well at least he does when it’s done well and with subtlety.
Here’s some gemtastic quotes from some of this year’s 7dRL Challenge declared failures:
- “Adding rouge-like properties…” – It’s hard to program in a genre you can’t spell
- “I drew the theme “invade” from a hat, and also the feature “ASCII” — but from a shoe that time. Your guess is as good as mine as to what this all means.” – If you have to guess what your game’s going to be I’ll guess it’s going to be a failure
- “http://tbd.somewhere.out.there.com/” – With a progress blog like that you’re doomed to forever singing this song:
- “First ever in my life I’ll program in Java – I hate it unspeakably – and for Android – first ever I saw/use one in ’12 Dec. ” – 7dRL is not the time for “First ever in my life” and really not for anything that includes the words “I hate it”
- “…Unity…” – Awwwww. To be fair, several successes used Unity to great effect.
- “Windows (sorry)” – Apologizing for supporting the most popular OS is a bad sign
- “No idea what is roguelike.” – Also no idea what is success
- “no pre-built engine or libraries” – Also no built or post-built ones.
- “I hate going to the grocery store. This roguelike is inspired by that.” – This one I actually really want to see, hopefully it gets made in the future.
However! If your reason for failure included the following words, all is forgiven:
“My first roguelike”
“I learned a lot”
“I’ll be back next year!”
One of the fun things about a challenge is that it’s okay to fail. Trying to succeed makes us better, even if we don’t quite reach our goals. The only real failure is in not trying.
That being the case, here’s some of the games that were entries in the 7 Day Roguelike Challenge 2013 declared as failures by their creators but still have something about them worth noticing.
Drifting in Solar Winds’ best feature is the simply amazing galaxy map. Click here to go to a test version where you can just play around creating galaxies and see them animated! There’s a randomly generated ship layout on the righthand side, and a crew inside the ship. Given the success of FTL, this game looks like it’s off to an excellent start. This is on my watch list for a future full release!
Despite its crazy font mapping, which might be due to a missing font on my part, this game has a very unique look. With a bit of tweaking this hyper-colored environment could really be thematic.
Unnamed Tower Defense Roguelike by Philipp “fillest” Saveliev and Tosh
Great writeup about how and why it failed and lessons learned, including a plan for how to approach future projects. Exactly the sort of after-challenge thinking everyone should partake in, whether successful or failed. Due to there being no Windows build, I have not played the actual game.
Generally Great Quotes from Random Developers
“Not sure yet. I have several ideas, but they all seem too ambitious. We’ll see what happens. Edit: Not knowing what to make turned out to be a terrible plan.” – monad, as the description of his game on 7dRL.roguetemple.org
“I’m using this competition as a way of learning google dart. Outcome – learned dart, but no game.” – Paul Evans
Bump! by Aaron Steed, recommended for you to play.
What it is:
Bump! is a turn based platformer with randomly generated levels. Like Earl Spork and Fuel, it’s a 7 Day Roguelike Challenge entry. Also like both its predecessors, it’s quite fun but would probably be more fun as a real time game.
It’s a fun game. Fairly simple (just movement keys to use) and short. There is no difficulty level, but the game itself ramps up pretty quickly in difficulty so that’s not a problem. Typically it took me less than five minutes to get to a point where I either made a mistake in movement or in tactics leading to my death.
Your goal is to beat your score from previous runs. While not the highest stakes, it does provide enough incentive to play again and again.
The elements in the level includes blocks, gems in blocks, bombs in blocks, and two types of spikes. This small set of elements provides a surprising amount of variety. A vertical stack of blocks can be bumped from below to gather the gems in the blocks, explode the bombs, and cause spikes to fall down through the blocks. This presents interesting tactical challenges since the spike fall all the way through the bottom of the level, taking out everything along the way. Using this fact can help you get rid of enemies and clear new paths.
There are a few minor bugs, but nothing that detracts from gameplay. The only two obvious ones are that you can jump up through a double spike (but not a triple one) safely and if you reach the top of the screen you can hover by repeatedly bumping up. Because these are consistent and your only goal is to get a better score than previously, they’re not really a problem.
Stylistically the game looks a lot like a Game Boy game. It has rudimentary black & white graphics which lend an old-school feel to it. Unfortunately the player character and other elements have differing levels of blockiness which causes the visuals to look a little inconsistent.
The sound is well done. While simplistic, the sounds reinforce the basic gameplay well without being annoying.
The game starts with a simple screen showing the command set, which uses only keyboard controls. There is no description of story or goals, but it does record what your highest score so far is, which provides a reasonable enough goal. There are no other menus or options, just the game itself.
The levels are randomly generated. It appears that the generation doesn’t allow for horizontal gaps too wide to cross, but often vertical features are frustratingly out of reach. Because the game scrolls as you move, and doesn’t scroll back, you can’t reach any areas you pass by once you get higher up on the screen.
The basic interface is nearly enough. Without a guide to how far into a jump or what your maximum jump is, sometimes you find out you’re just one or two spaces away from where you want to be when your jump runs out. Thanks to your character flipping upside down when falling, it’s easy enough to tell when you’re done jumping.
Movement is allowed in six direction, the cardinal four plus diagonals upwards. Down is only useful when falling where it acts as skipping a turn. Jumping diagonally doesn’t work quite as well as you might suspect since you can’t do it properly if there’s a block next to you either vertically or horizontally in the direction you want to travel. This makes maneuvering a bit more difficult than it perhaps should be.
The basic mechanic of bumping a vertical column to activate everything in it is novel and enjoyable. Causing spikes to rain down is a lot of fun, especially when you can get them to crush the moving spikes in your way. Sometimes timing your vertical movements to catch moving spikes is an exercise in frustration though. It’s also unfortunate that a bomb in the stack keeps the stuff above it from being activated.
The game rules are nice and consistent. The elements always behave the same way, so once you experiment and figure it out you don’t have to worry about them randomly changing on you.
Suggestions for Improvement:
For the most part the game is really solid, but there are a few minor areas that could use improvement.
It would be very nice to be able to move diagonally if the diagonal space is free, regardless of the vertical and horizontal spaces having blocks in them. It would also be nice to be able to simply skip a turn rather than awkwardly jumping at angles to pass odd numbers of turns while waiting for a moving spike to be in the right spot. On the subject of controls, numpad support would be appreciated as well.
And last but very much least, some sort of story about what’s going on and why collecting gems and killing spikes is important would be nice.