Weedcraft Inc. – PC Game Review

Time to trade green for green in Weedcraft Inc., the latest title from Vile Monarch.

A game about growing and selling weed? I know what you are thinking but Weedcraft Inc. manages to turn a touchy subject for some, into a seriously fun business management game. You start off in one of two scenarios, the default scenario being that you are a pair of brothers that just lost their father. One brother has experience with business, the other with growing plants in their father’s basement. In the other scenario you are an ex-con that is fresh out from jail, this is labelled as the harder of the two. From here you grow product, harvest and sell at a local market, sounds pretty simple but there is a lot of depth to Weedcraft Inc. that is very enjoyable.

Growing the product itself acts a lot like a clicker style game, you choose your weed strain, soil type and begin to grow your plant. Soil type, soil chemical composition and growing conditions will affect your harvests yields and quality of the final product. As the plant grows you need to water and trim it to promote best growth, this allows the plant to grow faster. Time can also be sped up or slowed down to suit your playing style and helpers can be hired as the game progresses to help tend the crop. Expanding your operations will start to draw attention from not only rival dealers but also from the local police, who kindly hint you at first to make things a little less obvious. Rival dealers can be strong armed out of a spot or just dealt with by delivering higher quality product at a better price. As for the Authorities, multiple fronts can be purchased such as tea rooms and pizza shops to hide your activities.

Weedcraft Inc. manages to address the serious social and political sides of growing Cannabis. Apart from the illegal and humble beginnings of your venture, it’s possible to move onto medical production and eventually push for legalisation by befriending senators and pushing for reform. Dialogue is well written and avoids any real cheesy characters you would expect to find in a game on this subject. It is obvious that a lot of care and dedication has been put into striking a balance between serious business sim and weed subculture. Weedcraft Inc. has a very nice hand drawn artistic style and a mellow soundtrack, both of which create a nice aesthetic that suits the overall feel of the game perfectly. Menus are easy to navigate and it’s always simple to tell exactly what is going on.

No matter how you feel on the subject it is a well made and interesting business sim with lots of hidden depth. From illegal dealing to thriving business empire, Weedcraft Inc. is a game that will certainly end up growing on you.

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Mat Panek
Retromancer – Collector, repairer & fan of retro games & tech. Atari to Amiga, Nintendo to Sega! LD, Zip, Beta and a proud dad! One half of the TiredParents on Twitch.

Follow Mat on Twitter and Twitch

 

 

Disclosure: Weedcraft Inc. [Steam] was kindly provided by Power Up PR for this review.

 

 

OTTTD – Nintendo Switch Review

Time to preemptively defend humanity in Over The Top Tower Defense, blasting its way onto the Nintendo Switch from the team over at SMG Studios

Over The Top Tower Defence (OTTTD) is a game where the title already tells you everything you need to know. Mega HEROCORP has found a way to open interdimensional portals to far off hellscapes for fun and profit. It’s up to you to assemble a squad and destroy the possible threat these creatures may cause, the best defence is a good offense right? Each level has you defending a mobile headquarters from waves of enemies by deploying your squad and building machine gun turrets, laser cannons, rocket launchers and more.

Fans of other SMG games will recognise the same humour and charm in OTTTD straight away.There is lots of funny flavour text in menus, mission descriptions and load screens. New squad members can be named manually but there is also a random name generator that can create fantastic names like Spanner Longtooth, Bubba Noblefist and Shiv Mcpunchy. Each character’s style, attitude and quips are very cheesy but suit the overall style of the game, where everything is cranked up to eleven.

OTTTD’s look is excessive perfection, soldiers look big and beefy, guns are massive and explosions are satisfyingly big. Enemies can range from zombies and squirming eyeballs to laser cod and giant flying sharks. The gameplay itself is a mix of your standard tower defense game with the addition of RPG elements, adding some nice depth. Each level will give you up to a 3 star rating and your team will earn currency and experience, this allows you to buy new upgrades and unlock skills to use.

Enemies will follow a path through the level towards your mobile base and you need to destroy everything that stumbles into your crosshairs. Starting each level with the basic turrets, you earn cash to upgrade and modify your defenses as you take out waves of enemies. Defeated foes will be blown into gibs that litter the battlefield, leaving a very visible trail of carnage which is very satisfying. Apart from the campaign, there is also an endless mode to unlock for a real challenge.

Whether you enjoy tower defense games or just the quirky humour, there is something here for everyone. Packed with of hours of fun and destruction, OTTTD is a fantastic game that finds a perfect place on the Nintendo Switch.

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Mat Panek
Retromancer – Collector, repairer & fan of retro games & tech. Atari to Amiga, Nintendo to Sega! LD, Zip, Beta and a proud dad! One half of the TiredParents on Twitch.

Follow Mat on Twitter and Twitch

 

 

Disclosure: OTTTD [Nintendo Switch] was kindly provided by SMG Studio for this review.

 

 

Ultra Space Battle Brawl: It’s Bang Bead For Your Switch!

If you are craving for some PongWindjammers or Bang Bead action for your Nintendo Switch, then keep reading! Hang on, Bang what? Ahhhh, if you don’t know, that’s fine, this game plays it a similar way…

So what do you get when you sprinkle some Pong on steroids, a dose of fighting elements, Japanese 80s aesthetic, some cool Indonesian urban house music and a hefty pinch of Windjammers and Bang Bead for good measure? You get Ultra Space Battle Brawl, that’s what!

For those of you that haven’t played Atari’s Pong or Bang Bead and Windjammers on the Neo Geo, Ultra Space Battle Brawl is a fun competitive game fit for settling disputes, be it with your friends and family or rivals, this couch party game has the essence of a flying fighting game melded onto a single screen that is easy to pick up and play but hard to master.

The game provides a choice of ten protagonists, each with their own unique “Ultra” and quirky skills that can easily turn the tide in the heat of battle. Story mode sees you battling through a number of rivals that will determine your fate in the Intergalactic Society, that is if you manage to beat them all. For those that prefer a party game (of up to 4 players), the ‘Versus’ mode is for you. Versus provides the freedom to set the number of rounds and battle modes, be it 1 vs 1, 2 vs 2, 1 vs 2 or 2 vs 1. Once your character is chosen you are thrown into a battle where the premise sees you smacking the puck towards your opponents end attempting to smash their glass gem while also defending your end. If you manage to win the necessary rounds, you move onto the next (even tougher) opponent.

Sounds simple enough? Um not really, as this game will see your rage meter go through the roof when you battle tougher opponents that require lightning fast reflexes and dexterity to have a chance at beating them. This game does shine when played against other humans, where you rib each other or give high fives when battling on the same side.

The background story to how this game came about is quite cool too – Ultra Space Battle Brawl was first born out of a Mojiken Camp, an internal team building program. During this program the whole Mojiken Studio crew had to build a prototype based on proven products and fresh concepts. From all the prototypes they came up with, it was Mojiken Studio’s co-founder Eka Pramudita’s Ultra Space Battle Brawl that came out on top.

If you also want to come out on top and can’t wait for Windjammers, then you should grab this game for your Nintendo Switch, stat!

Title: Ultra Space Battle Brawl
Developer: Mojiken Studio
Publisher: Toge Productions
Price: USD$14.99

image source: Toge Productions

 

MiniDOOM 2: A Parody Retro Platformer

Just in case you missed the memo with this most important proposition – what if DOOM was a platformer instead of a first person shooter?

The answer is miniDOOM 2, a fan game that pays homage to the DOOM franchise by reimagining it as a 2D retro platformer. It takes the beloved cast of classic DOOM enemies and weapons and blends them with old school 80s and 90s games like Contra and Metal Slug, resulting in a fast paced pixelated carnage-fest with a killer heavy metal soundtrack.

More than a sequel, miniDOOM 2 is actually a remake of miniDoom 1 on steroids: Bigger, louder and more badass. Download it now – it is free!


source: JC Porcel

Features

  • 17 new levels and 2 new bosses for hours of fun (and frustration).
  • 14 weapons spanning all Doom games and additional secret weapons.
  • 40+ minutes of face-melting metal and spine-shivering ambient music, plus renditions of the classic “At Doom’s Gate” theme.
  • Secrets, upgrades and mysterious artifacts to discover and unlock.
  • Smooth and responsive controls that will make your skills the most important weapon to defeat the legions of hell.
  • Colorful, funny and bloody artwork inspired on 80s and 90s games.
  • 5 levels of difficulty and 4 game modes to fit every gamer, from the inexperienced rookie to the demon slaying hardcore gamer that has walked the planes for a million years.

source: Calavera Studio

 

Review: Pan-Dimensional Conga Combat

By: Kevin Tilley (Unkle K)

Being an old timer harking from the days of the Atari VCS and Commodore 64, the complexities of modern gaming sometimes get the better of me. Not only that, but with a large family and demanding job, spending hours gaming each day is an impossibility. Short, sharp bursts of gaming not only fit into the small amount of free time I actually have, it also suits my rather limited attention span as well. Cue RGCD, who have been bringing us pick up and play Commodore 64 games for years now, and in 2016 released Pan-Dimensional Conga Combat on the Windows platform via the RGCD itch.io store.

After nearly two years since the original itch.io release, and a rather quiet Greenlight campaign, Pan was released on Steam on February 16.

Self-described as “a rhythm-synchronised, old-school, score-chasing arcade game that plays like some alien coin-op from another dimension”, Pan is a mash of the old and new. I can only describe it as the love child of Volfied and Robotron, with a hint of Geometry Wars thrown in – an impressive pedigree indeed, and fortunately for us, it all gels together perfectly.

Set in a rather confined arena, Pan has you navigating the screen and obliterating everything that moves with your bullet tail. The tail follows you around at a distance that is proportional to your speed – the faster you move the longer your tail gets. You can also charge your on board laser cannon whenever the free roaming purploids drift into your tail. Once charged, you have a short burst mega destructive cannon at your disposal, which is essential when the action hits a certain level of franticness. To complete each level you must make a predetermined set of kills. There are also various score chains you can achieve and an assortment of enemy types to get your head around – with most of them homing straight in on you Robotron style, in various speeds and patterns. Enemy portals are destroyed by looping your tail around them, and levels are completed by entering the warp which opens up as soon as you reach the kill quota.

Pan is a frantic and compulsive score chaser that will have you pulling your hair out in disgust and immediately pressing the button for another go. Controls are simple and the game is immediately accessible. There are enough game modes present to keep you more than interested for a good while (include arcade and a survival mode) and the Steam release introduces online leader boards and achievements. For a game like Pan, these simple additions really add to the games longevity.

Graphics are solid without being outstanding, with the limited palette of colours supported by attractive pixel art and various visual effects, that don’t reach ‘Minter’ levels of trippyness but do their job regardless. The soundtrack is perfectly suitable, with various beats and breaks complimenting the gameplay and adding to the overall experience.

Pan-Dimensional Conga Combat deserves to be played. It’s an honest and fun score chaser that will test your (probably aging) reflexes and reward persistence. Old school gamers looking for a quick blast will love it, and younger gamers should give it a go and prove their superiority on the online leader boards – c’mon, I dare you! Highly recommended.


source: James Monkman

Footnote: A special package is still available on itch.io which contains the game (the itch.io download and a Steam key) as well as a set of two matte-finish A2 RGCD posters.

 

Sydney Game Developers Jam Together

How long does it take to create a video game? According to the trail blazers at the Global Games Jam, just 48 hours – all in the spirit of good fun of course!

The flagship event of the 2017 TAFE Open Week saw 183 game developers converge on the North Sydney campus for the Global Games Jam. Global Games Jam is an annual international event in which competitors from around the globe are given a theme to create a fully playable game in just 48 hours. 2017’s event saw over 36,000 jammers in 702 sites across 95 countries create over 7,000 games in just one weekend!

Artists, musicians, coders, designers, writers, producers and more spent a hectic sleepless weekend creating games inspired by the deceptively simple theme of “waves“, with matters being complicated by our list of optional diversifiers. The games that emerged at the end of the weekend took the theme in many directions, some very literal and others more esoteric. We had ocean waves, sound waves, Mexican waves, enemies attacking in waves, players communicating by waving their hands, and so much more.

“Global Games Jam offers both TAFE North Sydney students and the wider Sydney gaming community the chance to come together and share their love and passion for gaming.” says Daniel Hale, Game Development Course Coordinator at TAFE North Sydney.

Having competed in every Games Jam since January 2015, Ray Frihy and Memia Lin are certified Games Jam veterans – at just 18 years of age! Both began their studies at TAFE North Sydney at 16, completing the Diploma of Interactive Games and are now currently completing an Advanced Diploma of Screen and Media.

For them, Games Jam has been instrumental in developing their technical skills for game development, as well as giving them the real-world experience of working towards deadlines and collaborating as a team – essential skills necessary to succeed in the highly competitive gaming industry. This sentiment is echoed by their teacher Daniel Hale; “Ray and Menia are both great examples of the budding talent we are seeing at TAFE North Sydney. Games Jam offers them and others students the chance to meet directly with industry professionals and demonstrate their amazing talent, we believe it is really important to nurture talent and provide them with the skills necessary for a successful career in games development.”

Now in it’s third year, TAFE’s Global Games Jam saw the cream of Sydney’s video game development crop come together as a community to share their knowledge and passion for gaming. A fantastic live stream hosted by Bajo (Steven O’Donnell from ABC’s Good Game) led to the reveal of the “waves” theme after a keynote video created by the team at Extra Credits. This led to a frenzy of creation, which didn’t stop at the weekend. Many games developed in previous Game Jams have become fully realised games. The Global Game Jam is open source, hardware and software agnostic and all projects are protected under a Creative Commons license. Some standout mentions from this year included:

Wave Breaker – A tsunami survival game with a bizarre Nicholas Cage Easter egg.

CYCLONE_RYDER.EXE – A wave pattern maze game that is deceptively difficult.

Electric Surfaloo – A surfing themed game which pits Broseidon against an onslaught of beach goers.

That’s My Queen – A truly unique and entertaining concept that requires you to make the correct hand gestures to your kingdom’s subjects as you pass by in your car.

For a full list of games created and participant lists follow the link to the official Games Jam site here.

image source: TAFE North Sydney – Global Games Jam