December 9th, 2009

Tesla towers are neatThe Tower Defense genre is regarded by many gamers as a grotesque derivation of the Real-Time Strategy genre; a genre replete with common contributions unworthy of attention. They’re right, of course — there are a lot of bad Tower Defense games. Hidden Path Entertainment’s Defense Grid: The Awakening, however, represents the genre’s potential.

There’s an archetype that Tower Defense games adhere to, and Defense Grid is no exception. Waves of enemy units travel unimpeded along a path until players build towers to suppress them. Strategy is called for by the stipulation that, while towers can be built to redirect the enemy’s path (“mazing,” colloquially), towers can’t outright block the enemy’s path. Both units and towers have their respective strengths and weaknesses, so tower selection matters as much as tower placement.
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October 30th, 2009

A Small WorldSmall Worlds is a free platformer created in Flash by David Shute for the JayIsGames.com Casual Game Design Competition. A piece of pixel art constitutes each level, and it must be explored to be revealed. Leap — then look.

Thanks to Pyroman[FO]‘s post at GamersWithJobs.com for pointing this game out.

September 19th, 2009

Earlier this week I rewrote my Painkiller article to be consistent with the Cheap Gaming posts we write today. Have a look.


The first Cheap Gaming post that I wrote about an MMO will also be our first Cheap Gaming post to expire. This news is disheartening as Dungeon Runners is not a bad MMO, and worse games have succeeded. Dungeon Runners game servers will be on until the new year, so treat yourself to playing before it’s too late.

The skill-based progression Cryptic is describing sounds similar to how I remember Star Wars: Galaxies’ progression to be (pre-revamp). I didn’t play SW:G for long, but I admired its skill system for the freedom it gave players to gradually shape their character’s class.

It’s old footage that wasn’t meant for public view, but I am glad to know that a sequel to The Witcher is coming, however unceremonious the reveal was.

I didn’t buy Trine for $30 because I felt it was expensive and I wasn’t sure I would have fun playing it by myself. Now, a few days before its price dropped to $20 on Steam, there’s news that it will be a part of my GameTap subscription — and just in time for my transition to Windows 7 64-bit. Score!

Just as its predecessor in 2007, Skate 2 is on track to being my favorite game of 2009. It’s definitely the game I’ve played the most, so I’m predictably glad to hear of another sequel. Some are saying it’s too soon, but the release cycle is consistent so far — about 15 months between each game (Sept. 2007, Jan. 2009, May 2010). Unless you weren’t satisfied with Skate 2′s improvements on Skate, there’s no precedent for concern yet.


August 21st, 2009

Or is it?There was a time when it was acceptable for a game’s sprites and animations to be crude, its fonts illegible, and its puzzles and plot absurd. That was the best anyone could do at the time, and now these games are looked back on as charming, but also as products of a bygone era: something lost in the wake of big budgets, polygons, and bump-mapping. Enter: Zombie Cow Studios with Ben There, Dan That!, a free comedic adventure game designed in the classic Lucas Arts style that gamers have grown to miss.

The British stars of Ben There, Dan That! are its own creators, Ben Ward and Dan Marshall. In the real world, Dan handles the coding, the art, and co-writes along with Ben. Within the game, Ben does almost all the heavy lifting while Dan keeps him company, offers funny asides, and stands by for when such erudite tasks as flipping light switches need managing. The latter of which, admittedly, is infrequent; in this particular adventure, Ben and Dan visit a number of parallel realities, most of which are well-lit. What these realities lack in their demand for light fixture manipulation, they make up for in such anomalies as an ever-displaced London skyline, soccer hooligans, zombies, and tolerance for wanton murder.
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July 24th, 2009

A major update has been released for NCSoft’s free-to-play MMORPG Dungeon Runners. Many bug fixes and tweaks have been made, but these are the most interesting notes:

  • No more ads!
  • We’ve added shadows to the game. You’ll notice a new graphics configuration option to control the quality level of the shadows.
  • PvP is now allowed on all worlds. There are no more PvP worlds.
  • All Unique and Mythic drops are now Membership Required. Kings Coin purchases are, as always, usable by anyone.

While non-paying customers lose access to some upper tier items, they’ll no longer have an ad eating up screen real estate. I logged in to get a look at the new shadows (they look great) and about half of my items were ineffectual, but I think losing the ad is a fair compromise. Besides, I wouldn’t sweat five dollars per month if I were to play regularly again.

July 23rd, 2009

Raz at summer camp, aka Psychonauts training grounds“Mmmm… Bacon!” If that doesn’t ring a bell in your ear, you may have a gaming nutrient deficiency. Previous sources of this vitamin include the Monkey Island games and Grim Fandango. The most potent of Tim Schafer games, however, is the mind-blowing Psychonauts, released by Double Fine Productions in 2005. Initially overlooked by most gamers (except maybe the color blind), Psychonauts went on to garner Gamespot’s “Best Game No One Played” award among numerous other commendations for writing and voice acting.

The story begins with Raz sneaking into summer camp. You know, the one where it’s actually a secret government training ground for psychic soldiers, also known as Psychonauts. Consequently, his dad is called to pick him up, so Raz is determined to train as much as possible before that happens. What Raz doesn’t know yet is that he’s more special than the other kids at the camp (and trust me, there’s some “special” kids there). What’s more, it’s the start of an adventure only a madman like Tim Schafer could produce.
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July 14th, 2009

In addition to being an animator, illustrator, and photographer, Silence (A.K.A. Vincent Girès) is a composer of electro tracks for what he calls his Copyleft Music Project. Music from Silence’s latest album, L’autre endroit, was used for the soundtrack of Chains, an indie-puzzler featured here previously at DoSu. The particular song ridden through below, “Open Electro,” is from the self-titled album Silence. The rest of Vincent Girès’ music, as well as his visual art, can be found through his website Untitledocument.net.