Subject: Thoth's own recommendations from the bundle
Posted on: 2020-06-12 16:18:24 UTC
Celeste: Yeah, yeah, Tomash just covered it. But... uh... how do I put this? It's really good. Matt Makes Games, the same people behind Towerfall Ascension (sidenote: Towerfall Ascension is one of the greatest party games ever made. It's got rock-solid gameplay, you can teach someone to play in 5 minutes, and it's just a barrel of fun. If you like platformers, and you have friends who like platformers, and you're tired of loading up Smash ever single time you get together... uh... yeah, just go buy it. It's that good), have made something incredible here. the artwork is absolutely beautiful, the platforming mechanics are rock-solid, totally responsive, and and feel incredible, the level design has so far been really good as well, ever character on screen is just... brimming with character, and the story feels... good. And none of that was necessary. This is a hard-core platformer, directly competing with Meat Boy, optimized for speedrunning. Nobody cares about plot, and only the barest hint of atmosphere would have sufficed. But Matt Makes Games does not care, and as a result they've turned out something really special. In fact, I'm just gonna say it: mechanically, I think this game is better than Meat Boy. If you care about platformers, like, at all, this game is worth it on its own.
Lancer: It's another giant mech RPG. If you Mobile Frame Zero: Firebrands but want more mechanics than that, or you like
Mechwarrior A Time of WarMechwarrior but want something less headache-inducing, or you just want another cool setting to punch giant robots in... here you go. I haven't had time to look at this one in depth but it seems solid and it's coming out of Massif Press, which is Tom "Abbadon" Parkinson Morgan (of Kill Six Billion Demons fame)'s house, which is one heck of an endorsement.
Micro Mages: Now we're talkin'. Micro Mages is a 4-player co-optional (as was the style of the time) game built to spec for the original Nintendo Entertainment System. Note I did not say "in the style of." Micro Mages is not Shovel Knight (but Shovel Knight is, like, really good. Go play Shovel Knight). I said "to spec." Micro Mages can actually run on a real NES (on an MMC-less cartridge with a spare 8K of ROM, no less), and if you don't run windows you can download a .nes file and run it in your emulator of choice. I dunno how much all of you will get out of this: the game itself is good, but not amazing. But if you're like me... well, it's just too damn cool a thing not to love.
Silicon Zeroes: The endorsement quote for this is from Zach Barth's twitter, where he calls it "the best game about CPU design that I can imagine." Seeing as Zach and his company, Zachtronics, are the reigning kings of the design-based puzzle game subgenre (sometimes known as, variously, the "Zach-like", "Open ended puzzle games", "Programmer crack", "crack for engineers", "games for mad people" and so on), that's one of the higher endorsements you can get. And honestly, I don't think Silicon Zeroes is quite up to the Zachtronics standards of quality and open-endedness, at least early on (And it doesn't have the Zachtronics trademark histograms...). But it's pretty dang solid, and the affordances it makes over "real" digital logic make it simple enough for people who aren't familiar with this sort of thing, while still plenty complex enough for some fiendish puzzles. If you want to get into the genre, I'd pick up Opus Magnum or Infinifactory instead, but if you're fresh out of new Zachtronics games, check this out. Oh, and it tells a charming story about a bunch of misfits and outcasts on their quest to build mini (or micro?) computers in a version of the founding of silicon valley that is... much much nicer than the real and rather sordid tale (if you're curious, go look up William Shockley and the Traitorous Eight... which would also be a great name for a movie about the founding of Silicon Valley).
Quadrilateral Cowboy: From the people behind Gravity Bone and 30 Flights of Loving comes another stylish game in the Doom 3 engine with characters that look like they're made out of cereal boxes. Because that's kind of what those people do. But this time, it's a cyberpunk game about hacking, planning heists, and taking down The Man (TM) (no actual programming skills required). And.. uh... yeah. It's a quite good puzzle game, with all of that trademark Blendo style. If you like that sort of thing, check it out.
Starseed Pilgrim: A charming and very chill puzzle platformer about figuring out what the rules are and how the game works.
Octodad: Dadliest Catch. Yeah, you've probably seen this one floating around. You (and optionally your friends) play an octopus who is trying to pretend to be human to be a good father and husband for his family. Yes, this raises a lot of questions. Probably best not to think about it. Control and movement is deliberately difficult, and the levels focus on trying to accomplish different simple, everyday tasks with this awful control scheme. And if you're playing co-op, you and your partner control different limbs of the octopus. Look up gameplay footage if you're interested.
-Pico-8: Pico-8 is a fantasy game console. That is, it's a piece of hardware that doesn't exist with hard limits that don't really make sense. Why? Well, hard limits can make it easier to be creative. If you know what you can't do, it makes it easier to figure out what you will do. And unlike a real old videogame console that might have these limitations, the PICO-8 has a development kit designed (which is what you're getting in the bundle) designed to be easy to use, and it's programmed in Lua, a pretty simple programming language that's easy to pick up and learn (unlike real consoles, which make you write assembly). It's a great platform for prototyping, too: Celeste began life as a Pico-8 game. If you've ever wanted to make a videogame but just didn't know where to start, this might be what you're looking for.
And finally, things that look good that I haven't been able to test enough to give the seal of endorsement: Minit, Hex Kit (an RPG mapping tool), Secret Little Haven (if you're into that sort of thing), 2064: Read Only Memories, Long Gone Days, Diaries of a Spaceport Janitor, Anodyne, Serre, Jimmy and the Pulsating Mass, Super Rad Raygun, Bleed, Bleed 2, Gnog, The Fall of Lazarus, If Not Us, nullpointer, On Rusty Trails, Spirits of Xanadu, Heavy Bullets, Oxenfree, Feud, Corvid Court, Chalice, a dozen tabletop RPGs, and like a billion visual novels.