We know many of you have been excited that POSTAL is going to be made available on Android devices, but it seems we have hit a bit of a snag. Unfortunately it appears POSTAL has been rejected from Google Play due to it containing "GRATUITOUS VIOLENCE". Sadly this means it won't be welcomed alongside the Grand Theft Auto series, Carmageddon and horde of Zombie games on Google Play. For those that don't know, Google Play is the premier store for Android Apps. There are other outlets though so fear not POSTAL fans. While this is disappointing for us, it won't stop you from being able to play POSTAL on your favourite Android device. We are looking into Humble Store, Amazon and other Android App stores. We will let you know when the time comes where you can pick up your Android copy of POSTAL.
Not to worry though, POSTAL 2:Paradise Lost will still release on Steam on April 17th, 2015!
Hang on to your hats and just wait until you see this tasty treat. Any guesses to who this curvaceous cutey can be? We will give you a hint. You might not remember but you have heard from this gorgeous young lady before.
We can tell you love is in the air when it comes to this bodacious babe. Wedding bells might even be ringing. This eye-catching little sweetie might be a bit skinny but she is no stick-in-the-mud either. This dazzling darling is very agile and can put up a good fight to get what she wants. She proves that she’s really got the moves and is more than willing to show them off. We have to say there are not too many guys who wouldn’t be more than proud to be seen with such a stunning beauty on his arm.
Well have you guessed who it is yet? We at RWS are working hard to make sure you can see first-hand if you guessed correctly. Will romancing this beauty result in Paradise Lost?
That's four down, seven Mystery Images to go! Stay tuned, another Paradise Lost Mystery Image will be released tomorrow!
OH NO! Word has reached us that there has been a blood bath down in the woods once again this year. The smashed remains of once carefully decorated eggs are scattered everywhere and we have been informed there is a crazed bunny threatening revenge on anyone foolish enough to set foot near his hideaway. The Bunny is prepared to defend and protect what is left of the eggs with his life. We know we have to get rid of this mad rabbit so we can gather up some of those pretty Easter eggs for ourselves. Just make sure if you go down to the woods to claim your share that you are heavily armed. Good luck on your Easter egg hunt but we feel with public safety in mind we must repeat the following warning.
If you plan on heading into the forest today, you might want to be heavily armed.
Disappearances have been reported near the Paradise Area.
Victims were last seen following a trail of “Eggs” into wooded areas. If these eggs are spotted, do NOT follow them! Report them to your local P.M.C.R.D. officer immediately!
If you have any information regarding these disappearances, please contact the Paradise Mythological Creature Removal Department immediately.
Together we CAN stop this!
Paradise Mythological Creature Removal Department
This is just a reminder that there is a special Easter themed holiday event available for you to enjoy today!
Okay, no matter how long and hard you look at this picture, we know you are never going to be able to guess who this is. This guy shoots straight and fast and can be a dangerous man to handle. He may be totally inflexible when it comes to getting his own way. As stiff as he is, a little stroking has been known to calm him down. Want more of a clue? The ladies love this pleasantly plump guy. He is a real sharp dresser when it comes to his golden jewelry. He also may be found on occasion wearing some pretty snappy raincoats.
Have you guessed yet? Oh shoot, I guess we can give you a bit more of a hint since we don’t want you to be totally stumped. This is one character who really has the balls to get out there and get the job done. You can be sure he will be making some slick moves and getting lots of action in Paradise Lost.
As we promised, it's time for another little update to let you see what’s happening at RWS. Just a small teaser to get you going and make you a tiny bit more excited for the release of Paradise Lost. Now who could that diminutive fellow be I wonder? Have you got the teensiest bit of an idea? You can make your best wee guess but your still just going to have to wait a short time to find out.
You know even a little bitty character in our games usually plays a big role. There really are no minuscule roles when it comes to Paradise Lost. Being small in stature doesn’t mean their temper is also microscopic and believe me, a pint-sized character is nothing to trifle with.
We know you have all been waiting for what seems like a very long time but you really won’t have to wait much longer for Paradise Lost to be released on Steam so let your imaginations run wild. In the mean time we thought you might like to enjoy a little artistic rendition of what you might possibly expect to find in Paradise Lost. Anticipation is part of the fun so we have actually decided to let you have a tiny peek at what’s in store for you with some great poster style art work. Running With Scissors has decided to display a new picture every day or so until the big day just to add a little spice to the event. Stay tuned and follow the Official POSTAL 2 Steam page to be notified when the next image goes up!
Okay so a new picture every few days might be just a tease to make your toes curl and make your teeth itch but it really adds to the excitement and we here at RWS are plenty excited ourselves. As you know, we have worked very hard and have been dedicated to this project for a very long time. Our main goal has always been to produce a quality video game that we know our fans will enjoy. We are confident that we have reached our goal with Paradise Lost.
Remember release date is April 17, 2015 so make sure to mark that date on your calendar.
The 1st day of spring has come and gone but I don’t see any flowers poking their heads through the snow drifts yet. Actually, I shouldn’t complain. It has been a fairly mild winter as winters go. I don’t think it got below minus 45 more than a few times and I only slipped and fell on the ice a couple of times where nobody seen me. Falling on the ice only hurts when you know other people spotted you going down and are giggling behind their scarves and mitts. I am not one of the graceful fallers who slip down slowly like they are doing a ballet. I fling my arms around and around like a windmill gone mad or an airplane doing a flip flopping death spiral. My feet automatically stomp out a wild tap dance before I finally go down flat on my back with a crash that sends the snow flying and ice crystals smashing and leaves my dignity in ruins.
Spring is the time of year car salespersons and car wash companies around here love. All of our vehicles are white. They are not white from snow or from their paint. They are white from all the salt filled slush splashed up on them from our roads. The salt might help keep the roads clear of snow but it turns our vehicles into a smorgasbord of rust and peeling paint. It doesn’t take long at all for road salt to chew through anything we take out on the highway.
The Dude is actually very lucky in more ways than one. There isn’t any snow in Paradise so he doesn’t suffer the bone chilling cold or the embarrassment of falling down in front of a much amused audience. You can see by looking that’s not a snow shovel he swings around but the biggest way he is lucky is something you wouldn’t think of unless you have a dog or two in snow country. What starts showing up through the spring melt from your dog(s) is not treasure. You would swear your dog must have had every large size dog for miles over for a visit in the last few months and they all overate before they got to your place. One benefit of having the windshield still so frosted over in the morning is that as you leave for work, you can’t see all of the doggie-doo mini-mountains slowly making their appearance over what seems like every square inch of your back yard. When you hear something being described as smelling “Spring Fresh”, it kind of makes you stop and wonder what in the heck they are talking about!
Anyway, it won’t be long now until the hot days of summer are finally here and the Spring mess is all dried up, cleaned up and no longer even a memory. If you are really smart you will somehow have got someone else to clean it up for you. So what’s it like in your area? Are you already sitting out on a hot beach slowly sipping a long cool drink? I know I will soon be out with my feet up relaxing in the hot sun (at least in my dreams). Most likely, I will be sweating buckets and gasping for air as I am struggling to mow a lawn covered with bare patches or choked with weeds. I’ll also be swatting the black flies and mosquitoes that are biting blood filled chunks out of me, chasing grass snakes off with a stick, squishing the ever present spiders and all the other creepy crawlies that come with the sun and wishing it would snow again and chase them all away for another year. Right now I gotta go and scrape the car. The frost on the windshield is growing thicker every minute I sit here and if I’m not mistaken there is a bunch more Spring snowflakes getting ready to come down right now. I just hope it doesn’t turn into sleet or I will be on my way skating instead of driving.
Reminder, don't miss your chance to get POSTAL 1 for 90% off! Sale ends soon so get yours right now!
With the release of POSTAL 2: PARADISE LOST coming up faster than we can believe, we figured it was about time for a Poll and a Sale just to spice up the wait and make things a little more interesting! Do you plan on grabbing PARADISE LOST as soon as it’s available to add to your collection? Are you going to get it Day One so you don’t risk your friends getting it before you and spoiling all the fun surprises? Fantastic! Hold on! Did you just say you still don’t own POSTAL 2 on Steam yet and therefore won’t be able to play PARADISE LOST on Steam on Day One? Well we have the solution for you! POSTAL 2 is on sale right now for a huge 80% off! Pick it up quick so you not only get a great deal on POSTAL 2 you will be able to run the PARADISE LOST full expansion pack on Day One of the Steam Release! Already have POSTAL 2? How about picking up the classic POSTAL 1 for the almost unheard of price of 90% off! Already have both of those don’t you. Check your friends list on Steam, if they don’t all have POSTAL 1 and 2 already, you probably should unfriend them… or better yet… send them all a copy of POSTAL 1 and/or 2! That way you will have a very inexpensive way of cementing your friendship* into something everlasting! Friendship is magic after all.
You know when you look at it, unless you are a Steam Card collector and crafter like I am, you could buy POSTAL 1 and sell the cards and pretty much get most of your money back. That really means we are practically giving our game away. But we don’t stop there! One day someone will craft a set of POSTAL cards and you may be selected by the great and powerful random number generator to be the lucky winner of a POSTAL 1 booster pack! Now not only did you practically receive POSTAL 1 for free, you just got paid for owning it! It’s the gift that keeps on giving!
Now here is the question. Why should you consider buying POSTAL 2 on Steam even though you already have your copy be it on GOG, Desura or the good old physical copies? Well on Steam you get the Steam Cards, Achievements to help drive you to change up how you play the game and access to the Steam Workshop! It is the fastest and easiest way to mod the heck out of POSTAL 2 including letting you play the long lost Pigeon Hunter Mission or at least our contest winner’s rendition of it!
EDIT: Looks like POSTAL 2's Sale has been moved! POSTAL 1 is still on for 90% off though!
We here at Running With Scissors are pleased to say our POSTAL games have once again made the headlines. A well written article by Tom Cornelis in the March 18th edition of 3RD STRIKE asks the question, ”Does POSTAL still have a place in our culture?” The article gives a brief description of the contents of some of todays more popular video games including our POSTAL games and makes some comparisons of POSTAL to other more modern video games. Tom might not realize it but we have actually made comparisons ourselves to other newer or recently developed games. There certainly are definite similarities to our POSTAL games which are easily noticeable in some of the newer video games. We have actually pointed some of them out although in most cases our comparisons may be a bit tongue in cheek, ie: our September 27, 2013 Grand Theft Auto V article.
Quote from: 3RD Strike
[...] Postal 2 is arguably most famous for its gratuitous violence, it showed some glitter where others would later shine. The town in which its story takes place is so ironic it borders on downright cynicism, its inhabitants the most hypocritical and stereotypical characters imaginable. “Parents for Decency,” for example, is an in-game organisation of Parents who are demonstrating in front of the Running With Scissors headquarters, blaming videogames for the violent nature of their children. Their demonstration ends, however, when they themselves take up arms and blast their way into the building, shooting every (innocent!) employee. When you look past the smokescreen of pure aggression and psychopathy, a layer of – for its time – sharp social commentary is revealed. When we look at masterpieces such as Grand Theft Auto V, which is often more subtle and of course boasts many other features, it’s hard not to think of the influence a game like Postal will have had on its development. [...]
As usual, Running With Scissors wants to thank our fans first for keeping us in their hearts. It’s the good people who support our POSTAL games that keep us going and growing and make articles like this feasible. We would also like to thank Tom Cornelis for the interest he showed in our game and for taking the time to do such an honest and down-to- earth article. The answer to Tom’s question was obviously a resounding “YES”. To read Tom’s entire article for yourself, please go to the 3RD Strike page and check it out! Want to share your opinion on the article, there is a comments section below it for you to do just that. Don't want to post there but still want your opinions heard? Post in our comments below!
Ahh March 17th. Faith and begorrah, we all know what day that is. It’s Saint Patrick’s Day, the day everyone even if they are not at all, tries to be a little more Irish. Saint Patrick, the foremost patron saint of Ireland, is credited with bringing religion to the Emerald Isle. He is also credited with driving all of the snakes out of Ireland and into the ocean. (Shhh We won’t tell anybody it’s been more or less proven there never were snakes found in Ireland. It was too cold for them there).
Worldwide celebrations in honor of St. Paddy himself take place. There are huge parades and everyone who can find even a scrap of green material seems to be wearing it along with their shamrocks, green hair and green beads. Rivers and fountains run green for the day too and the Dude will be able to buy himself all the green beer he can drink. I don’t know if that will turn anything else green and God help us if he drinks too much and gets sick!
The Irish have some wonderful sayings though and as a Saint Patrick’s day wish for you along with hoping you have the Luck of the Irish, I offer one of my favorites. “May you die in bed at 95, shot by a jealous spouse.”
Don’t forget our holiday themed updates. Go after that Leprechaun and make him either grant your wishes or turn that pot of gold over to you. The little green man is only here once a year so make the best of it while you can.
Not much new or exciting is in the news this week so we thought this would be a good time to remind you that a few months back, our man Krotchy finally found his voice and started talking. Watch out how you touch him or Krotchy will have you in stitches when you give his special parts a squeeze. He is a little guy with a big voice and now that he’s found it, he doesn’t mind using it. You will certainly know who is the boss when Krotchy lets fly with some of his wisecracking phrases.
There is another reason we are reminding you right now that Krotchy talks. The Easter bunny is due next month and you know how that guy likes to hide presents around the house. Why not have the bunny leave something a little different this year. Think how excited your special someone will be if the “Easter Bunny” leaves a Talking Krotchy Doll for them to find.
Make Krotchy extra special. Tie him up with a pretty pastel ribbon and leave some flowers or chocolate eggs around him and just wait for the fun to begin. Get your order in right away to be sure Krotchy gets to you on time. Remember people, unlike chocolate, there are no calories in a Krotchy so you can have as many as you want.
It’s easy to get Krotchy. Just go to our store and put in your order for as many as you want. Before you know it Krotchy will be at your house talking his head off to anyone brave enough to lay a finger on him.
Click the Speaker icon on the video to hear a sample!
Time goes by in the blink of an eye. There are many ways for you to lose track of time. One such way is when you are playing a really great game the hours seem to just melt away. You know the feeling, you just looked at the clock what feels like 5 minutes ago but when you look again you are shocked to discover already over an hour has passed in what seems like just seconds. I am sure every gamer has pulled an accidental all nighter at some point. You just got the game and very quickly you become engrossed in it. You likely keep telling yourself you will just make it to the next section of the game then quit for the night but the next thing you know someone is calling you for breakfast.
There is another way to lose an hour too. This one isn’t nearly as fun as staggering bleary eyed into the kitchen at the crack of dawn after a long night of heavy game playing. Depending on if you work or go out on Sundays, you might find you have missed a bus or find yourself showing up an hour late for work even though your watch shows you are on time. No, I’m not talking about a dead watch battery. The boss will only buy that excuse so many times after all. Nope, what I am talking about is Daylight Saving Time. Some parts of the world observe it, others don’t. Another fun thing, which adds to the confusion is that places that do observe Daylight Saving Time don’t always observe it at the same time.
In North America, for the parts that observe it anyway, it occurs tonight… or if you are reading this in the future, it’s March 8th, 2015. At 2:00 A.M. the Lords of Time force time to skip ahead an hour to 3:00 A.M. This means all of us living in an affected area lose an hour of gaming sleep tonight. Of course it comes back again as an extra hour in the fall, but still, it makes my weekend 1 hour shorter right now, and that does not please me one bit! The Weekend is my time and it goes past fast enough as it is! Plus I genuinely don’t know what the time change is supposed to accomplish. Mostly I go to work early morning when it’s dark and come home when it’s turned dark again for evening.
As mentioned, different parts of the world that observe the time change may have it change at a different time. As an example, in the UK, this change will occur March 29th, 2015 at 1:00 A.M. So a different day and time… still Sunday though.
The funny/annoying thing about the change not being Universal is the fact when you are shifting between time zones in your travels, you might not know if you are supposed to change your watch or not. As a fun example, I know for a fact there is a small town in Northwestern Ontario called Atikokan that doesn’t observe the time change, even though the rest of the Province does. That’s just a little wacky in my opinion since I believe the towns main industry is tourism, you would think it would create a lot of unnecessary confusion for its tourists. Mind you, most of Arizona doesn’t observe the change either so the RWS HQ never needs to adjust the clocks anyway.
How about where you live? Does your area participate in Daylight Saving Time? Hit up the poll above to let us know. Also can you tell us the reason for the time change? I have heard a few different ideas but none of them seem to fit.
We are really going the Distance here with the Indie Spotlight! Three in a row, that’s never happened before but it’s a new month and it is time for the Indie Spotlight to shine again. This time the glow is on Distance by Refract Studio.
Sometimes when you try out a new game you are expecting one thing but end up with something completely different. When I first got a look at some screen shots of Distance I was thinking it was sort of like a Tron inspired Survival Racing game. Being a fan of other Survival Racing games such as Carmageddon, I knew I just had to give Distance a try. One of the best parts of Survival Racing games is seeing exactly how much abuse your vehicle can take before you just can’t move anymore or you explode into a ball of fiery ground up metal shards. Another fun angle is smashing your car in to other racers in the hopes of damaging them more than it hurts you. This unfortunately usually leaves you victoriously leaking oil everywhere from your mangled wreck of a car. Turns out Distance isn’t quite that kind of Survival Racing game, at least not in Single Player. So then, what is Distance? Glad you asked!
Distance is a game currently in Early Access. If you are reading this post in the archive there is a good chance things may have changed a bit. Currently in the Single Player story mode there are no other racers to contend with and no real time limit or consequence of failure. Your vehicle is transported to the start of the track and from there you take off and run along the track until you reach the end portal area. That’s it. That doesn’t sound too exciting does it? It might even be a little boring if that was all there is to it. I should mention at this point that your car does have limited turbo boosters to help you get to the end faster. They tend to overheat so you better make sure you make it to the next gate to cool them or you will explode. Still doesn’t sound all that interesting to you? Well don’t let that fool you!
Driving from Point A to Point B isn’t quite as easy as it sounds. The track is littered with things that will slow you down and get in your way… if they don’t out right destroy you. Simple things like static barriers for you to maneuver around as well as pop up barriers that may unexpectedly pop up right where you were heading forcing you to quickly turn, quite possibly in to the path of another pop up barrier. Starting to get a little more interesting? What if we include lasers sweeping the track as well as saw blades, both which will slice your car up. Great thing about them, unlike the barriers, odds are you will survive the hit and what is left of your car can keep on racing. If you manage to limp yourself to a gate you will be regenerated.
You know, all this together makes for a rather fun game… but Distance doesn’t stop there! Distance is set in a really chaotic world where the road isn’t always right in front of you… in fact it might not even exist at all! Your car has the ability to jump. If a low barrier or grinder is across the track or if the track is missing a segment you can turbo boost yourself up to a high speed and then jump over the obstruction. But what happens if there is nothing to land on the other side of a missing segment? Well your car can also fly. Gull-wing door like wings pop out of the side of your car which allow you to fly through the area. You can leave the track area completely if you really want to, but you have to be careful. Your flight ability causes you to overheat as if you were booting. Fly too long and you will find yourself falling to your death… unless you are close to a wall. That’s right… your car can drive on walls, you can also drive on the ceiling. Just don’t stop moving or you will find yourself falling off. Getting from A to B has never been so difficult! The game is forgiving to a degree. There are checkpoints where you will reset to if you are destroyed. There is no real penalty for failure other than you will end up with a really terrible time. There were many sections I had to try repeatedly just to get by… the reason for that? A little fun monkey wrench in the game! There are infected zones where your flight ability just won’t work. This keeps you from being able to cheat your way through difficult areas simply by flying over them…. curses… there goes my clever way to trick the game into thinking I actually made it past that section properly!
Speaking of tricks… you can pull of some pretty fun stunts as you play. The game will recognize that you are either really doing terrible at the game or doing really awesome by having a trick notification pop up that starts counting what you are doing. Are you backflipping to your death? Well that’s a stunt! Did you just accidentally do a barrel roll while trying to wall jump? That’s a stunt too! Now see if you can pull them off without them being complete accidents! Doing so will help cool off your boosters so you might make it to the next gate without overheating.
The game is very atmospheric with a great sound track to back it up. Each level feels different from the last and I have to say some of them get a bit creepy. Sometimes the screen starts acting up as if the game is starting to break, but really the game is just doing it to freak you out. It’s very effective! There are portals to drive through, machines trying to smash you, spinning gates to jump through, and narrow areas to fly through. Constantly losing the ground out from under you forcing you to ride the walls or fly to make it to the next bit of track… I could go on, and I am sure I am missing many of the elements in this game despite making it to the end twice already.
Speaking of the end of the game, I should note that this was a Kickstarter funded game. Many Kickstarter games offer backers the opportunity to have their name listed in the credits if they pledge over a certain level… This sounds awesome, but really, your name is most likely lost in a massive wall of names. Odds are the person who just played the game already hit escape to get back to the main menu by that point…. Well it’s a lot different in Distance. They have an entire playable level to display the names. Driving around the level gives you pellets to hit. Hitting a pellet displays a name. It is fun driving around the level and trying to make your way to all the pellets available to you. It’s truly an awesome and unique way to fulfill the “names in the game” promise.
Outside of the Single Player’s story mode, there is also Arcade mode. Time limited levels where your skills are put to the test. If you just want to fool around with stunts and not worry about getting to the finish, that is okay, there are stunt levels too!
Also available is the Multiplayer component. In Multiplayer you can of course play with others and there is plenty to do there. There are all the Arcade games plus a few more for you and friends to enjoy. Reverse Tag is a fun game where the person who is “it” tries to avoid being hit until 3 minutes have passed. If they are hit, someone else gets their timer started up. First person who makes it to 3 minutes wins. You can also race your friends or show off with all the stunts you can do. There is even a soccer mode where you try to get the ball in to the other player’s net. The most goals win! Unfortunately when I tried Online Multiplayer the time was wrong and I couldn’t find people to play with. I am sure once word about this game gets out there, that will change. Split-screen local was the only kind of Multiplayer I actually was able to try.
There is also Steam Workshop support as well as Level Editor! Run out of things to do while waiting for the next update? Check out the Workshop. There are tons of new things for you to try in there! Have a great idea for a level? Make it in the Level Editor and share it with the world via the Steam Workshop! If you like to be on the cutting edge and don’t mind potential instability, there are also experimental builds that are released for you to enjoy. That’s about it for this Spotlight. Pick yourself up a copy of Distance and find out why it currently has an Overwhelmingly Positive rating on Steam!
Quote from: From Steam Store Page
About This Game
Distance is a survival racing game that combines the intense action of arcade racing with the exploration of an atmospheric world. You control a unique car that allows you to boost, jump, rotate, and even fly through a chaotic and twisted city. The world has a mysterious history, and as you explore you'll be able to uncover pieces of its past.
The roads are treacherous and unpredictable with obstacles around every corner. Instead of doing laps on a loop, you'll be trying to survive to the end in the quickest time. Since your car has several abilities, it allows you to not only drive fast on the track but also upside down and on buildings and walls! You can also fly to discover new shortcuts and paths. You'll be able to take on the roads alone, or in multiplayer with your friends!
The game is a spiritual successor to the multi-award winning game Nitronic Rush, created by ourselves and 8 others while attending DigiPen Institute of Technology. It was widely praised for its innovative mechanics, visual style, audio design, and atmosphere.
Abilities: The cars can perform many unique actions such as boosting, jumping, flying, and rotating to navigate along and around the track. Obstacles: There are many dangerous obstacles waiting to challenge the player along the way. Adventure: A single player experience to learn how to play the game as well as unveil a short story about the world's mysterious past. Multiplayer: LAN, Online, and Split-Screen play in several modes, such as Sprint as well as Reverse Tag, Stunt, and many others. Level editor: Includes a powerful level editor that can be used to create levels from inside the game and share them with players around the world using Steam Workshop.
What’s this? Can it be? Another Indie Spotlight right after the last one? Indeed it can be! AR-K was meant for January but due to some overly troublesome technical difficulties, it was unfortunately delayed. The delay however did not detract from the enjoyment I received from playing the game. Today’s Indie Spotlight is being written up perhaps a little bit early but for a special reason. The game just came out today! You are likely thinking to yourself, if it just came out today how did he have time to do up the Indie Spotlight for it? Well the answer to that is quite simple. I had access to the Closed Beta before it came out. I played it some more to see any changes that may have been made between the Beta and the final product and then proceeded with writing this post. Without further delay, it’s time for the Indie Spotlight to shine on Isbarah from Leikir Studio.
As you likely gathered from previous spotlights, such as the AR-K one, I have a certain soft spot for classic style games. One classic game style I always enjoyed were the platformers that were made back in the 16 bit era (before the 3rd dimension made some jumps and aiming difficult due to terrible camera angles). Jumping between platforms and making your way to the boss was usually a lot of fun although the best part was always the boss fight. After a couple playthroughs the level before the boss most likely became a bit boring. You may have started to wish there was a way to just skip it and get straight to the boss fight. Hold that thought!
The University I attended had a small Arcade on campus. One of the machines in the Arcade introduced me to Bullet Hell games. Bullet Hell games were pretty much designed to eat your quarters as rapidly as possible while giving you a massive challenge. Bullets and other things seemed specifically designed to swiftly kill you so you would need to speedily insert yet another coin as you worked yourself up to the main coin gobbler, the Boss. Again that was the best part of the game. Overcoming the massive spammy boss before you lost all your lunch money was a real challenge. I played that game as often as I could. I was lucky in a way that arcade machine didn't always work quite right. It often wouldn't accept coins properly and just let you play it. You might be asking yourself, why are you talking about Platformers and Bullet Hell games rather than talking about whatever Isbarah is? It’s the Isbarah Spotlight isn't it? Well that’s the thing. Isbarah is a Bullet Hell Platfomer! What a unique combination!
Isbarah sets itself apart from other Bullet Hell games due to being built on a Platformer base. It sets itself apart from a Platformer because it skips the lengthy pre-boss stage and throws you straight in to the boss fights. Best of all, it doesn't eat your quarters so you can save your lunch money! It’s kind of a win-win-win. Also you don’t have your own gun to shoot back with, so that adds a novel quirk to the fun.
You play as the daughter of God. You are basically up against anyone who is foolish enough to stand in your way. Each level consists of a boss, and a little bit of an intro area to get a feel for the level. Nothing else! Pretty much straight to the boss, which as I mentioned before, is always the most fun and best part of any game. So there you are, up against a massive boss that is spamming attacks at you. The majority of the time you will spend dodging attacks. Like was mentioned earlier, you have no gun to fight back with. Depending on the phase of the battle there are two things you basically have to do. Phase one, you get to a railgun turn it on and then stay near it as it flies around until it fires. Do that enough times and the boss drops its shields more or less, then you enter the next phase. Phase two is basically to stay alive long enough. The attacks get fiercer and you must stay within a certain area or else the battle will just be prolonged. Eventually you will get the opportunity to attack the boss and reduce some of its Health. Then the cycle resets. The cycle keeps resetting until you have managed to take out all of the Boss’ Health and it falls. That pretty much sums up every single battle.
Each boss battle is unique. You will have to pretty much go in to the fight blind and most likely die multiple times… even on the easiest setting. The game actually knows it is going to kick your posterior. This is based on the fact that a number of the achievements are for failing to the same boss multiple times in one play session. Assuming you can learn from your mistakes, you will eventually figure out the patterns the boss falls into and be able to plan your defence accordingly. This isn't a game where you can go in and just spam moves and win each time. You need to figure out how best to use the powers available to you. Your dash ability can be used to climb up to higher platforms that are too high to jump to. Dash can also be used to dodge attacks. Your barrier ability can be used to momentarily defend yourself from an attack long enough to get out of the way or can be used to make a platform to help you get up even higher. If the game is moving too fast to give you time to think, you can actually slow time momentarily to get your bearings or to execute a quick double dash to get out of the way of something that was coming at you very quickly. You get the idea I am sure. This game will make you think. In fact it will make you think very hard indeed and will punish you very quickly if you lose focus or fail to plan your next move in advance.
The graphics of the game are very nicely done and are reminiscent of the old school 16 bit era with more modern flair added to flesh it out. The sound fits this game quite well and helps keep you in the zone. The story is told with comic strip style dialogue and images. The story itself seems to be well laid out; I have yet to finish the game to see how it resolves, mostly because the bosses are kicking my posterior without mercy. The basic idea is that God is sending his daughter to fight those that violate the laws of the world. The battles themselves are in 2D thankfully as I don’t think I could handle this game in 3D, it’s so very hardcore as it is. There is a ton of unlockable content and 18 bosses to contend with. With multiple difficulty settings, this game should pose a challenge to anyone. The game forces you to play with a mouse and keyboard simply because you need to be so fast and accurate with your moves that a controller likely wouldn't be able to cope.
Quote from: From the Steam Store Description:
About This Game Isbarah is a cross-genre of bullet hell and platformer style, it's a hardcore 2d game and each level is a duel boss fight.
In Isbarah, you have the standard platformer game controls and bosses will fight like in bullet hell games.
To survive, we have added three abilities to the gameplay:
Slow Motion : Will enable a time slow down in order to give the player time to analyze the situation around them and to make a wise move. Dash : This ability allows you to make fast moves to any direction with perfect precision. The Barrier : you can use it as a shield or a platform, whether to protect yourself or to help you climb higher.
Players will need to fully understand the boss patterns. It’s built on smartly managing your powers and using them wisely to survive - everything in our game involves dodging and making smart movements.
Live through the story of Isbarah with short comic strips in each level.
Playing Isbarah, you will be following Iria's journey through her lineage.
Iria is a goddess and in order to prevent this world from falling into chaos, her father rules it with an iron fist - and Iria is his only weapon and shield; he uses her to harshly punish anyone that bends the law, and there is no mercy granted.
Isbarah is bound to the imaginary world that all humans fantasize of - encapsulating all their dreams and nightmares into. Every single thought made by human beings contributes to the shape and size of this world, creating an ever-changing universe full of creatures and landscapes. These creatures are called The Designed; they all have different shapes and their behaviour depends on the people who have created them. Alongside these creatures, live also the Designless. These creatures are only concepts, they haven't been fully created by humans. These Designless creatures are desperate to evolve and become full designs, therefore, they are constantly infecting other full designs to become more powerful and eventually takeover their shapes.
If you are a fan of Bullet Hell games and want a change of pace from the auto-scroller style, then give Isbarah a try. Do you like a good challenging boss fight in your platformer? Give it a try as well! I know I am once again hooked and plan to fight this game to the bitter end.
After having a video card fry out just before starting this spotlight and then waiting on a backordered power adapter for the new video card, this Indie Spotlight has been a bit delayed. Sometimes things are just worth waiting for though. Without any further delay, it is time once again to shine the Indie Spotlight, this time on AR-K!
AR-K is a game that was successful on Kickstarter (on its second attempt, so that just goes to show you, if you fail once, dust yourself off and try again!). I say was successful, but really it just squeaked by its goal. Anyway, you have to admit squeaking by the goal is much better than falling a few dollars short! I have to say, AR-K is a game I would have definitely backed had I seen it back in 2013. There was a floppy disk copy of the game I would have absolutely loved to own. It isn’t just an ordinary floppy disk (does anyone even have one of those drives in their computer anymore?) it’s really a transformer, robot USB drive in disguise! It would have looked great next to the floppy disk copies of a similar game series I have….
This might come as a complete shock to some of you, and I would imagine some of you probably do not care at all, but one of my favorite game series of all time are the Point and Click Adventure games of the Monkey Island series. Guybrush Threepwood is a Mighty Pirate. He often mentions a three headed monkey as a distraction or offers to sell a person a fine leather jacket as an excuse. Sometimes he just finds himself in a nice battle of insult sword fighting all while on a quest that covers the tri-island area and invariably winds up on Monkey Island. When he encounters something large, he will always remark that that is the second biggest (whatever it is) he has ever seen. The game is loaded with comedy, joke answers, and stuff to poke at and explore. There are items to combine and puzzles to solve. Now you might be scratching your head and wondering, why did I start talking about Monkey Island. Isn’t this supposed to be about AR-K? Well right you are!
What first drew me to AR-K was the fact that it was a Point and Click Adventure game with a comedy tag. Since I have been waiting ages for a new Monkey Island game, heck I would even settle for a Monkey Island movie at this point…. Hollywood take note, make that happen. I just had to try AR-K. Most of the Point and Click Adventure games I have played to try and fill the Monkey Island void have left me disappointed. Sure the point and click action was there, the Adventure was there and there might even have been some jokes, but they were just not what I was looking for. There I go, talking about Monkey Island again and there is actually a good reason for that. Almost instantly when I started playing AR-K and ran in to Frankie, a bovine bar owner, I felt like I was in the Monkey Island universe again. The comedy was there… the wacky quests that make you think and give you something to puzzle over were there. Having to figure out how to make a Corpse Reviver for a Princess Bride-esque mostly dead person with only four clues to go by… I knew I had probably found my Monkey Island fix. When I seen the girl jam something obviously way too big into her tiny little fanny pack, I knew I had found my fix. This game was definitely inspired by Monkey Island, check out the screenshot.
Those would go nice with my Fine Leather Jackets…
Yes I know that line originated in an Indiana Jones game before Guybrush pirated it.
AR-K is a fully voice acted, episodic game with the first two episodes already out and a couple more in the works. The episodes are each only a few hours long if you don’t know what you are doing, a little shorter once you do, but it looks like there will be enough of them to probably give you quite a bit of play time. You play as Alicia Von Volish (voiced by none other than Ash Sroka, the woman who voiced Tali’Zorah vas Normandy in the Mass Effect Trilogy). Alicia is a kind of sarcastic and “passionate” young woman who was a promising police cadet. This ended when she found a mysterious golden orb in her locker and was kicked off the force. She opted to cut her losses and go back to University to become a Journalist instead.
You start out the game with a wicked hangover and no memory of what (or who) you did last night. Missing your purse, your bracelet and joined by your faithful dog Ambar, you set off on a quest to figure out what you did in your drunken stupor as well as get the final assignment for your class. You figured your roommate might have an idea of what happened but he is out cold at Frankie’s Bar. This starts you off on your first real quest which is to collect the ingredients for the Corpse Reviver. With your new quest in tow, you head off to the University to see your professor about your final assignment. Unfortunately, you are running late and that rat of a professor decides he will not give you your assignment to teach you a lesson. Enter your second main quest, figure out a way to get your assignment. Without realizing it, this will set you off for the main story arc of the game.
So what do you do in this game? Well basically you carefully look around the environment and find things to interact with. This can be items to collect, people to talk to, or machines to interact with. Using your fanny pack and PDA you are able to collect and store items and information. Are you stumped as to what to do next? Well why not try asking one of the NPCs! Need something more specific, such as the feelings or thoughts one of the characters has about another character but you don’t see that in the question list? Well use the portrait from the PDA to ask the NPC about that specific person. With a little pressing you can find out a lot of information about someone and it can give you clues about what to do next.
Unlike Guybrush, who relies on his wits (and at times his clumsy/carelessness) to get around and obtain what he needs, Alicia is willing to use her “natural talents” and her destructive tendency to get what she needs. There is another comparison to be made here as well, but this time it isn’t Monkey Island! It’s POSTAL 2. That’s right, a Point and Click Adventure has something in common with POSTAL 2. Who would have thought it! No, it wasn’t a reference to POSTAL 2, it’s a pure co-incidence. Both POSTAL 2 and AR-K have a real life dog digitized and added as a companion to the main character. POSTAL 2 has Champ and AR-K has Ambar. Check out these pictures of Ambar!
That’s one nice looking dog.
There is one issue with all point and click games (even Monkey Island) sometimes you have to think so far outside the box to solve a puzzle you may end up just doing trial and error rather than actually doing it properly. As with all things in life, there are three ways to do something. The Right Way, The Wrong Way and The Max Power Way (which is the wrong way, but faster). If you do it properly, the game will give you strong hints at what you are supposed to do, which of course is the right way. You can do it the wrong way, which is just randomly clicking on things until something, happens, or you can look it up in a guide.
Why a The Simpsons reference? There is a phone outside the University that lets you make prank calls!
Are you a fan of Monkey Island like I am, but can’t find your fix? Give AR-K a try! Do you love Comedy games? Give AR-K a try! Do you love Point and Click Adventure games? Give AR-K a try! You know what, just give AR-K a try! It has its faults as all games do but there are usually ways to get around just about anything. For example, sometimes the hit box is a little smaller than you would like so you might try an idea and it will fail even if it was the right idea. I tied a rope to a shelving unit and tried pulling on it myself with no luck then I tried having Ambar help me, again with no luck. After trying everything I could think of, I cheated and looked up what to do which was to have Ambar pull on the rope! I tried that once again with no results but then I found the sweet spot and it finally worked. Sometimes when I attempted to interact objects with other objects I would be told it was wrong, but I knew it had to be right, so attempting it again did in fact yield the expected correct result. These kinds of problems can be easily forgiven; you could say they make the game even a little more interesting. There is also the chance they may frustrate you a little if you lack the patience to find the sweet spots. These kinds of games are for problem solvers who might enjoy the thrill of the hunt or a bit of a challenge!
The second chapter adds a little more flavor to the game by adding the narrator. He is generally much more polite and is quite judgemental of Alicia’s actions to the point where she hates him, but he does offer her some insights. It also adds a fast travel system, which means you get to skip over some of the transition zones, which is quite nice since you will be doing a lot more walking in the chapter. This chapter is considerably more complex than the first chapter as well, at least in my opinion, so if you found the first chapter a bit too easy, well then, chapter two just might offer the challenge you need. I know I will be waiting patiently for the third chapter to be release to see where the story is going to go next.
Well there you have it, the much-delayed Indie Spotlight that was mentioned in January! AR-K is definitely a game to check out if you are looking to kill a few hours and would enjoy a good laugh. I mean how many games are out there where you can feed someone your dogs vomit (Hint: That is part of aforementioned the Corpse Reviver)? Or scare said person into falling out the second story window so you can use that as a distraction to get what you need (Don’t worry; I’m sure he is fine, that space motorbike surely broke his fall)? AR-K is a game that has something for everyone! Still not convinced and have an Android or Apple product? You can play the first chapter for free so go right ahead and try it out now!