EvilQuest – The Pseudo Sequel to Crystalis

EvilQuest is a very interesting title.  One of the ‘gems in the rough’ of the Xbox Indie Games service, EvilQuest stands out not only because it’s supposedly an okay game (well, maybe it’s not for everyone) but also because you get to play as the villain.  Not the ‘evil that eventually turns good’ villain, but a straight-up evil dude.  Also, it’s only a dollar, so what’s the harm in giving it a try?

But the game’s merits or faults aren’t what I’m talking about today.  No, I haven’t played the game yet.  But, when I watch my boyfriend give the game a whirl, I had a bit of a thought…

“Man, this game looks JUST like Crystalis.”

In the past, I called Crystalis one of my favorite NES games, though that probably wasn’t the best idea:  I only played the GBC version, and ultimately it’s a flawed game, albeit with some interesting concepts.  It also had quite a unique style to it… the way the character and the world looked makes the game pretty easy to pick out amongst a crowd.  So, it’s a bit surprising to find a game that seems to use the same character animations and general models as SNK’s action RPG.  Heck, it even seems as though both titles have the issue of a invincibility time after getting hit that’s far too short!  Of course, that’s hard to really tell without a direct comparison, but it’s there.

EvilQuest certainly isn’t a rip-off of Crystalis, but it’s very hard to not see the similarities.  Then again, it can be a little hard to explain in words.  Why not take a gander of these gameplay videos of the two games, side by side?

Yeah, they look quite a bit alike, don’t they?  Of course, EvilQuest does offer a but more design wise: Level ups allow you to choose what stats to increase, and items are of course easier to use.  But, it’s interesting–much like the NES game, EvilQuest seems to be loved by some yet hated by others.  Some of EvilQuest’s design choices were flawed… and while some our unique to the game (such as Galvis, the main villain, and his lack of personality), others seems to resonate with Crystalis’ problems, such as balance and difficulty issues.

But hey, that doesn’t mean EvilQuest is bad.  It’s certainly true that some people don’t like it, but chance are if you enjoyed Crystalis than this title’s worth a shot, especially for a single dollar.  Give it a try if you’re interested in a pseudo-kinda-sorta-sequel to Crystalis… I know I will be giving the game another look soon!

Project Giana

Have you heard of The Great Giana Sisters?  If you haven’t, it’s not surprising; it was a blatant clone of Super Mario Bros., to the point that Nintendo made the developers take the game off the shelf very quickly after its release.  Many years later, the series got a release on the DS (ironically enough), and introduced a couple features to set it apart from the Mario games; namely, Giana’s transformation to Punk Giana.

Now that the history’s out of the way, we can get to this Kickstarter project, called Project Giana.  Black Forest Games, made of a bunch of people that worked on past Giana games, is trying to finish up production of their next game in the series, but they’re short on funds.  The game looks great from the video seen; don’t let the… questionable 3D design of the heroine steer you wrong, as the environments and enemies look fantastic in motion.  The transformation from Cute Giana to Punk Giana is cool, as well; the Giana in charge has different powers, and the entire stage and music changes to fit the mood.  You can change at any time, so there’s no worries about not having the power you need to move on.  The music sounds awesome as well, and only the video on the Kickstarter page can truly show it.

The best part about this project?  The game’s almost done!  The estimated delivery date for the game is October… yes, this October.  It isn’t often for Kickstarter projects to be more than just a concept.  Black Forest also plans on releasing demo levels throughout the month:  You don’t even have to take their word about how awesome the game might be, you can decide for yourself, which is very nice.  So keep an eye out for this game, and maybe even chip in the ten bucks for a pledge copy; it looks to be quite fun!

Retro/Grade

All shooters are practically the same; no matter how they look, you end up dodging bullets and shooting some matter of enemy into oblivion across stages that may or may not make sense.  It’s all well and fun, but wouldn’t a change in the genre be nice?

24 Caret Games thinks so, and although this attempt might be a little off, it’s an interesting concept.  Instead of shooting enemies and getting to the end of a stage, you’re playing the levels in reverse, being forced to re-enact your victories in reverse.  So instead of shooting bullets, you’re catching them.

The whole thing plays more like a rhythm game than a shoot-’em-up, though; you catch the bullets along the beat of some pretty awesome songs, and the video even states that you can play it with a Guitar Hero controller.  Regardless of what the game is trying to be, though, it’s looking to be a pretty good game to try, and it’s coming out on the Playstation Network later this month.  You can look more into the game on its official page, and keep an eye out for it on the 21st!

Moon Intern

Most times, when you look around on Kickstarter, it’s not too pretty.  Sure, there’s projects like the Double Fine Adventure game that are completely awesome, but just looking around doesn’t always yield the best results.  However, Moon Intern looks to be a promising little game.

The video on the Kickstarter page explains everything best, but I’ll do my best to sum it up here.  You play as, you guessed a, a intern on the surface of the moon, helping out the denizens and taking care of problems, including alien rebels and haunted ships.  There is a lot to do, and many ways to get it done, and how you handle everything takes you along different play paths and scenarios that best matched your play style.  It’s a nice system, allowing everyone a somewhat tailored game experience.

The other interesting thing is about the people of the moon; they’re based on real people… specifically they’re people that donated to the game on Kickstarter and filled out an extensive survey to get a unique NPC.  It costs a little extra, but it’s worth it for those who have the extra cash to donate.

The problem is, Moon Intern isn’t quite funded yet; with seven days to go, they still need $5,000 out of the $80,000 needed.  They’re very close, but they need that final push to get the game made.  So if it interests you, make sure to donate the ten bucks for a digital copy!

Ghostwire

Ghostwire seems like an interesting title coming to the DSi.  No no, not the DS.  This baby’s a DSi exclusive, and it’s plain to see why in this game description on developer A Different Game’s blog:

Your portable device is used as a portal to the astral plane, and helps you find and collect ghosts that exist all around you. In your quest you use real tools, such as the built-in camera and microphone, as well as abstract ones like an “EMF tuner” for tracking down the ghosts. Once you find the spirits, you document them and find out why they haunt our world. They also give you riddles to solve. Ultimately, you will help them find peace.

The premise of the game seems really cool, and it’s a unique way to use the cameras of the DSi.  Checking out this teaser trailer might give you a better idea of how the game works:

Also, it seems that the game was being developed for cell phones as well, but I can’t tell if the developers stopped doing so or if it was released already.  Either way, this game is looking good for a DSi exclusive.  Now I’m just hoping for more DSi exclusives that’ll get me to save up for the system.

Towel Slappin’ Pro Jumper

I sure do love my quirky games. It’s been a while since I’ve seen any, though; it almost seems as if the fad of “OMG CRAZY JAPAN GAMES ARE CRAZY AWESOME” has died out over here in the US, which makes me a bit sad. How will I get my quirky game mix without resorting to importing/learning another language/pirating?

Thankfully, I’ve found the answer. And that answer is Towel Slappin’ Pro Jumper.

Yeah, the DSiWare’s got me covered, and it’ll be coming out sometime this year in the US. As you might get from the title, Towel Slappin’ Pro Jumper! involves getting the creepily cute Chamaki to the legendary hot spring, to relieve his back pains. (At least that’s what Siliconera tells me.)

Oh, what, that’s not what the title implies? Well, I guess not. But this awesome trailer should give you a better idea about it all:

Yep, it’s a platformer with some really neat sprite graphics. Oh, and did I mention it’s a Guilty Gear spin-off? Yeah, the main character here was in Guilty Gear 2 (somehow). You know, the Guilty Gear no one ever played. Regardless of that, though, the gameplay seems solid enough, and it’s just oozing with the quirky-ness we all know and love. I don’t know the price when it comes out on DSiWare, but I hope it’s under 500 points, so I can get it…

(Super ending special! The ESRB has already rated this game, and the comments on it are pretty funny. Check out the tidbit here.)