Every month we make a list of games we didn’t have time to fully review but still wanted to give our impressions of. Don’t take any of this as an end-all for their quality, but maybe give our words consideration before making the final purchase.
Here are our impressions of the games we “lightly toasted” for February.
One of those games you’ve seen the like of many times before. It’s top-down space shooter goodness, this time coming in with far more bullets and explosions than usual. So much more in fact, that I had a pretty hard time seeing what was going on most of the time!
Even so, Hyperbolic Ignition‘s chaotic gameplay only improved the experience as I panicked from shot to shot, throwing on the short-lived shield when it finally recharged and scooping up whatever idle weapon I could. Combat ends up being hypnotizing. Before you know it you’ve either died or made it to the next level and all within what feels like moments.
The graphics also do a great job in hitting that lonely feeling of space while also maintaining the exciting vibe the game has. Everything has the perfect amount of detail to contrasting the still yet vibrant background of space. Sound effects were chunky and had just enough punch to satisfy. Even the music was a hit!
Overall I had a blast with Hyperbolic Ignition and will certainly be playing it again!
Pan-Dimensional Conga Combat
Taking notes from the pacifist mode of Geometry Wars, PDCC is a bullet-hell without the bullets. Using your “tail” you kill or ward off various geometrically shaped enemies, and once you’ve killed enough you can dimension jump to the next level.
Don’t let the cartoony graphics fool you, it’s a tough as nails game. Touch a single enemy and you’re dead. The biggest achievement is for surviving for a total of 6-minutes. If you’re into high-score chasing then this is absolutely a game for you.
The game has a great soundtrack, but doesn’t quite deliver on its promise of being “rhythm-synchronized”. Waves and portals are supposedly linked to the music, but no matter how hard I listened I just couldn’t figure out what the cues were supposed to be, and nor did it really help.
The main reason this game only got the Lightly Toasted treatment is that for all the dimension jumping, it’s a little one dimensional. There are a couple different modes, but they’re all the same type of high-score chasing with the same inputs. It’s a classic “one more go” style game though, and worth checking out if that genre is your jam.
Ever play a game and think “man, if only the controls were just a bit tighter” Yea, that’s this game all the way.
You play what looks like an arrow making it’s way up a corridor. Seems well enough, but what do you know, instant-death cubes lie on every side! Only thing to do now is shoot them and make your way forth. While honestly not looking that exciting I was ready to jump right into this one and see what it had to offer. Sadly trying to play this thing only lead to an immense amount of frustration.
The main problem is that your arrow dude just kind of slides all over the place, and that’s even if your playing with a controller. Trying to make slight movements feels like walking a tightrope. One small increment too far and your flying right off into your death.
Even when I got a better hang of the controls the various boss-type enemies that show up had attacks that – due to the aforementioned slipperiness of movement – were just downright annoying, maybe even unfair in a way. I never felt like I could really tell where my arrow guys movement was going to end, which for a game requiring a certain level of precision, is a carnal sin.
Sorry Project Velocity… but it’s a thumbs down from me.
Creatio Ex Nihilo: Aition
So here’s an interesting one. Creatio Ex Nihilo: Aition, as well as having an oddly problematic name to try and remember, is an alternate take on the creation story.
This old-school style rpg tells the story of Uros as he emerges from the nothing that was, as the first living being. Through sheer force of will he destroys the nothingness, and by doing so brings about a world of chaos and confusion. Thus he begins to roam, perhaps eventually making sense of place he created.
The story itself doesn’t strike me as anything that special, but I have a thing for creation myths so I was getting pretty into it. Sadly, the gameplay took me right out.
To be honest, the game just seems unfinished. From the way areas are just a still background image with no level design to speak of, to the complete lack of direction as you hug the walls of your monitor trying simply to progress. It’s clunky, barebones, really rather annoying.
Coupled with a jarring abundance of random encounters, I couldn’t help but find my time with Creation Ex Nihilo unpleasant; even if the boss hadn’t repeatedly insta-killed me.
The Void Rains Upon Her Heart
Maybe I’m a bit biased. Sidescrolling bullet-hell mixed with a weird and almost creepy plot about loving monsters? Yea, that sounds like my thing.
The Void Rains Upon Her Heart is a strange little roguelike starring ” a young zaraden woman” who lives in a cave, unable to leave it for the monsters that surround her. She was shunned by society for she was ugly and pale, and thus is loved by no one. But one day she comes to the conclusion that perhaps she can love the monsters instead of fearing them. Thus begins the game.
The presentation, from the almost painterly style to the calm and somber music set the mood perfectly. I was genuinely interested in the story of this young zaraden and how she would manage to leave to the cave, if at all. After the initial scenes there’s some light tutorial-ization from a friendly robot (don’t question it) and we’re off to shooting stuff!
It may sound a bit jarring going from a somber story scene to intense bullet-hell action, but it honestly blends pretty well. I had a ton of fun just going from fight to fight and awaiting the next monster to “love”.
In the end, my time with this game was probably the highlight of the list. Whether I was weaving in and out of a maze of bullets or collecting power-up cards from various challenges, The Void Rains Upon Her Heart was a fantastic surprise that I honestly enjoyed far more than probably should have.
A shoutout to Ron Morrow for his impression on Pan-Dimensional Conga Combat!