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Mercenary Kings – 2D Action Awesomeness

Tribute Games , the team that brought us Wizorb, and more importantly, Scott Pilgrim Vs. The World: The Game, has a new upcoming Kickstarter-funded project in the works. Mercenary Kings will be a 2D platformer that looks like an absolutely bombastic, kill-spree, weapon-fest…. with very cute animation. It’s like if Contra and Metal Slug had a chibi wedding with Hello Kitty. The thing I’m most interested in is their gun crafting mechanic. Apparently every part of your weapon is customizable, allowing you to make all sorts of (hopefully very wacky and ludicrous) gun bastardizations. The game boasts 4 player local co-op, and will be available on a number of platformers including PC and the upcoming OUYA. Now if they could only get Anamanaguchi to do the soundtrack for them…

Anyway, I really don’t have much else to say about the game that you can’t read for yourself on their own page. So go there, check it out, watch their video, and get excited dammit!

Ninja Senki

While I was looking up information on Wizorb, I came came across the personal blog for Pixeltao, Jonathan Lavigne, who worked on Wizorb. I noticed the GAMES tab and within only 2 were listed – Wizorb and Ninja Senki. I liked Wizorb so much, I was about ready to just buy the other game, but I didn’t have to. It’s free!

Ninja Senki is basically your classic, side-scrolling, action platformer, that came out of the 8-bit era. The game feels like what would happen if you mixed Ninja Gaiden with Mega Man. It’s got pretty much everything you would find commonplace in the genre – pitfalls, double jumps, spiky dangers, disappearing platforms, enemies that knock you out of mid air and cause you to fall to your death over and over again, and a difficulty factor that spikes rapidly as your progress. It’s got a catchy, up beat soundtrack that matches the tempo of the game. There’s really not much else to say, it’s a platformer, but it’s free and it’s fun, so go check it out. There’s nothing to install. Just download the zip file and execute.

NinjaSenki.com

Ninja Senki Launch Trailer from pixeltao on Vimeo.

Wizorb

Arkanoid, Alleyway, Breakout, or by whatever else you know that game, has gotten a major overhaul. Wizorb is part Breakout, Part Devil’s Crush, part RPG, all awesome. It’s a game that embodies the exact reason of why I support indie games; it’s a game of passion and not necessarily of financial gain, though I’m sure the developers wouldn’t mind making profit off it. And who are the developers exactly?  Jean-François Major, Justin Cyr, and Jonathan Lavigne are the masterminds behind Wizorb, the first game developed by their recently formed Tribute Games. Jonathan’s own portfolio consists of working on a handful of games at Ubisoft, including one of my personal favorites, Scott Pilgrim Vs. The World: The Game. Anyone who’s a fan of River City Ransom is totally legit in my eyes.

I only had to play this game for about 10 seconds before I knew I loved it. You all know I’m a sucker for new games made in that retro 8-bit style. I will invariably try out any game just because it looks 8-bit, but all too often they’re nothing special. Just trying to bank off my nostalgic sentimentalism of my youthful gaming. Although I would have played it for just the soundtrack alone – nothing beats a catchy chiptune soundtrack and sometimes I’ll forget I’m even playing a bad game if the music is good.  But Wizorb is the total package, and what’s more, it’s not just a cleverly re-imagined game, it’s an excellent blend of arcade style gaming, story telling, and genre mashing. You play as Cyrus the wizard, master of a secret magic, the Wizorb! Using your mastery of white and black magic you must help save Gorudo from a mysterious evil threat. Acquire gold and power ups by defeating enemies and beating stages to help the villagers rebuild their homes and bring prosperity back to Gorudo.

The gameplay is broken down into basically two parts – the narrative where you talk to townspeople and set of on your quest, and then the action stages which is essentially like playing breakout. Rather than just a lifeless bar and ball however, you control the Wizorb and Cyrus’s magical wand to deflect the orb, destroying bricks and enemies. Proving that his wizardly prowess is more than just a glorified inanimate deflecting bar, your control of magic allows you to shoot fireballs from your wand, or alter the orbs course with a gust of wind.  The inclusion of wandering enemies on the field was a nice touch and makes the game more dynamic. Otherwise I could have easily gotten that metronome style of deflect ball, break bricks, then repeat from many other various sources. And the far reaching goal of saving an entire town gives you more of a reason to play rather than just looking for something to do to kill some time. I would consider this a casual game like most of the ones you can find on an android or iphone, and I usually disdain casual games, but it’s that RPG element that completely elevates it above the entire genre. You may have played games like Wizorb before, but never one this well developed.

Developer: Tribute Games

Released: 09/28/2011

Official Site: Wizorb.com

Platform: XBLA – 240 MSP

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