Friday, November 21, 2014

Flash Game Mini-Review: Run 3

Run 3 is, as the title suggests, the third in a series of games called Run.  Run and Run 2 were decent little time-wasters, though Run 2 was a bit of a disappointment to me after enjoying the first.  So I didn't have my expectations particularly high when I tried out Run 3.

Fortunately, Run 3 is great.

Screenshot of Run 3
Use the lizard. Always use the lizard.
It takes what was great about the first Run and makes it better, while taking away the stuff that wasn't too good from Run 2 (or, at least, introducing those things more slowly, so they're easier to adjust to). Add to that a colossal amount of new (and awesome) features, along with continual updates, and you've got a game that lasts and lasts.

The Run series has you take control of a little alien guy running along a track in space.  All you have to do is avoid the potholes and make it to the end of the course.  You have your choice of two basic characters: the jumper, who goes a moderate speed but can clear some good-sized gaps, and the skater, who is faster but can't jump as high (so he's a bit more of the "expert mode").  In Run 3, you can unlock lots more characters with different abilities, including a child which lets you run over crumbling tiles without crumbling them, and a pastafarian who can cross empty spaces for a limited time.

Explore Mode has you moving through carefully designed levels, with the goal of trying to make it to the proper end of a branching maze of tracks.  New tracks get added slowly, so even after you've completed all there is to complete, you can come back in a month and see what's new.  Just recently a level pack called "Low Power Tunnels" came out, which has tiles that fade to black against a starry background, making them hard to see and harder to land on.

Infinite Mode is more about getting a high score--that is, getting as far as possible.  As you go, the pattern of the levels changes to become more challenging, so just when you think you're a master at it, you get something new.

On top of that, users can create and share levels, so there's always more and more to do.

Friday, November 14, 2014

Flash Game Mini-Review: no-one has to die.

"no-one has to die." is a short puzzle game where you have to save four characters from a building that's on fire.  You direct their actions and have control over fire doors to keep them from getting killed.

Well, okay, it seems someone sure has to die...
However, the plot is where things get tricky.  It's a bit convoluted, but quite interesting.  It's difficult to mention anything about this game without spoilers.  The spoiler-free version is this: the corporation that owns the building is up to some very shady business, and nothing is as it seems.  You, a delivery man, find yourself in a guard room with two dead guards, and you can communicate with the characters through instant messaging.  The questions are numerous:  Who lit the fire? Who killed the security guards?  What does the corporation do?  Why so many cockatiels?!

But most importantly: who are you going to save?

In each level, you are forced to sacrifice one character so the others can move on.  Who you choose to let die not only changes the plot, but also changes how the next level is played, because the characters that survived will be in different positions.  In this way, any given level after the first, while technically having the same layout, can be made into different puzzles.

The puzzles are pretty easy, so don't worry about too much brain-bending; the game is much more about solving the mystery.  The story is anything but linear, and I think the game did a great job mixing the gameplay and the plot, in both a literal and an abstract-design sense.

It definitely gives a new meaning to "replayability"...

Friday, November 7, 2014

DOOM: The Mine #2

More detail in The Mine:

This is the previous space from the first post, with more detail.  Now it has been shrunk a little bit, there's more obstacles/decoration, and the bump in the floor gives it a feeling of a new room even though there's no door.

This is the center so far.  The player comes in from the green marble area at the top, and the screenshots I've shown are of the very center.  Those smaller rooms on the sides house demons or barons, depending on the difficulty.

This is one of those side rooms.  Again, to keep it from being too much red brick, I cut the wall to have the stripe around the center.  It's still a bit pink, but pink is okay I think, as long as it's a little bit of variety from the red brick.  The pink intestines-looking bit right under the gun is similar to the bump in the way to the center area, just pink instead of beige.  I decided to make them different so when you're circling the middle, the beige one catches your eye, so you head that way to escape, while these pink recesses are more to be unnoticed and you freak out when you hear the monster shriek.

For instance:

The part on the left is the exit (the first screenshot above), while the part on the right is a niche with a baron in it.  I'm thinking of making this level more of a run-away-type than a real shooter; ammo will probably be scarce the deeper you go, so you might not be prepared for a baron (or three), and you'll want to get to the exit quickly.