Indie Workshop #4 (Mobile Device Edition): Jelly Jiggle Review

Welcome to the fourth installment of Indie Workshopwhere I take a look at some of the games of aspiring Indie developers and give them a honest review while also attempting to give them a little exposure.

I truly encourage you all to get involved with the Indie games featured here and check out the developers – they work long and hard to bring you what potentially may be the next generation of video games, so its worth your time supporting them!

This is the first time I’ve ever reviewed a tablet/mobile device game so as always, your feedback is really appreciated!

Wobble on the Wild Side – A Jelly Jiggle Review

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“Ah, another endless runner on the market… Yet another civilization-type game? How many more games are they going to slap that character’s face on? Just another day at the office of video game apps. Your typical soft vanilla games for your mother, father and grandparents to play in their spare time… But what’s this? Jelly Jiggle? What on earth… Oh my.”

Those of you who regularly follow my Twitter feed know that I very rarely go near tablet gaming, and there’s good reason for that – with the occasional rare exception, almost every game you can find on your preferred mobile gaming device is catered to what I like to call the “family” market – games that offer a mild challenge for those who do not normally indulge in gaming, while providing a primordial experience for anyone that’s ever held a controller for more than 10 minutes. With that in mind, then, I was dubious as to whether I should give Hanger18’s Jelly Jiggle a chance, with the fear that it might just be another plushy game that wraps you in cotton wool for its 2-3 hour duration.

To quote a popular internet meme: “never have I been more wrong.”

Jelly Jiggle is a 3D puzzle game created by developers Hanger18. In Jelly Jiggle, players assume the role of Jay Jello, whom they guide through a series of levels moving other cubes of jelly onto specific platforms. The premise sounds simple enough, but as the number of jellies you need to transport increases and the obstacles in your way multiply, the difficulty sky-rockets. Hanger18 describes Jelly Jiggle as a way to get your “old grey cells moving” – mine moved so fast playing this game, they nearly spontaneously combusted.

As you progress through Jelly Jiggle, a variety of storyboards explain how your different consumables interact with the environment, and how you move Jay throughout. The game uses an on-screen directional pad and the controls are extremely fluid for a tablet game – particularly one that is Indie. You swiftly learn that your consumables – which consist of bombs to destroy obstacles and teleporters to instantly move a jelly to its required location – are extremely limited, and as such very valuable. More than once during my play-through, I was confronted with the difficult choice of whether to tackle a puzzle head on, or use a consumable to make it that much easier to conquer.

There is one respite in the form of environmental collectibles – certain objects light up and, when bumped by Jay, will relinquish consumables such as teleporters, or coins which can be used to purchase consumables and, with enough, extra worlds.

Consumables can be used to make levels considerably easier.

Consumables can be used to make levels considerably easier.

Let us not pretend, though, that Jelly Jiggle’s concept is anything groundbreaking or new – games involving the “move x block to y location” puzzle have been around for years, and some franchises such as Legend of Zelda incorporate it in almost every single one of its titles – but Jelly Jiggle is certainly one of the most refined examples currently on the market. The colour palette is absolutely stunning, and the soundtrack is silky and simplistic and compliments the game beautifully.

On top of this, Jelly Jiggle takes some of the better features from aforementioned “soft” games and makes them its own. For example, each level has 3 stars to collect that require you to complete the level under specific conditions. These stars are entirely optional, but add a layer of re-playability which gives Jelly Jiggle that extra pinch of value for its money. For those people who are completionists like myself, Jelly Jiggle still gives you plenty to do after you’ve defeated a level for the first time.

The full game features 3 different worlds, and each one of them is beautifully designed.

The full game features 3 different worlds, and each one of them is beautifully designed and unique.

At this point, I’d love to be able to call it quits on this review and tell you that Jelly Jiggle is a game that is completely without fault – and for the majority of you, it probably is. At its core, there is absolutely nothing wrong with Jelly Jiggle. It is a gorgeous puzzle game that will keep you entertained for hours on end. One caveat however – this is not an easy puzzle game.

Don’t get me wrong – I hate easy games, and I love it when games provide a challenge, within reason. I played Jelly Jiggle to level 11 of the first world, even though I had access to all three worlds. The reason for this was because I was unable to actually progress any further due to the fact the difficulty tends to peak once you’re past the tutorials. Maybe its just because I suck at this sort of puzzle game, and Jelly Jiggle made a mockery of me, but I really feel as though there’s this vast jump in difficulty that may put some people off. As an example, I spent nearly 20 minutes trying to solve level 7, and actually had to ask the developer if it was possible without bombs and teleporters, because the solution is so niche I probably never would’ve thought of it if I hadn’t chipped away at it for so long.

The game becomes fiendishly difficult - but is that a bad thing?

The game becomes fiendishly difficult – but I’m not sure that’s a bad thing.

I get the feeling that, for this reason, Jelly Jiggle in its current state will appeal to a specific group of people and will without doubt divide opinions. Despite its cute exterior, Jelly Jiggle could potentially become a game for sadists – some levels are blindingly hard and the longer you play, the more it starts to feel like you’re just throwing things at a wall to see what sticks – but of course that is my opinion. For those hardcore gamers out there who love a challenge, you’ll find none better than the puzzler that is Jelly Jiggle; it will rise to meet you time and time again. For those who enjoy a nice, relaxing puzzle however – you may not find much for you here.

In conclusion, I don’t wish to give Jelly Jiggle a hard time for being difficult, because at the start of this article I complained that too many games on the tablet market are targeted at casual gamers, but I feel its important to state that its difficulty may not appeal to everyone.

Ask yourself this; have you ever been in a situation where a particular puzzle or challenge has stumped you for minutes, hours – even days – but you refuse to give up out of stubborn disregard for how complicated the task may be, because you know eventually you’ll crack it? If so, you may just enjoy Jelly Jiggle – because it will become the biggest nightmare of a puzzle game you’ll ever play – but in absolutely the most beautiful way possible.

Title of Indie Game: Jelly Jiggle.
Most appealing quality?: The stunning colour palette. I haven’t seen such a beautiful tablet game in a very long time.
Most disappointing quality?: Very little disappoints in Jelly Jiggle. I only wish there was a little more back-story included.
How much did I play?: I played up to level 11 on the first world, but will no doubt return to try and defeat the game in its entirety.
How much does it cost?: Jelly Jiggle is currently available as a free demo on iOS and Android which includes 18 free-to-play levels. Alternatively, you can pick up the full PRO version on iOS (£0.64/$0.99) or Android (£2.34/$3.62) which includes an additional 32 levels.
Where can I find it?: Information about Jelly Jiggle can be found at the developer’s website.

Jelly Jiggle is a 3D puzzle game created by Hanger18, available now on iOS and Android. You can follow Hanger18’s progress with Jelly Jiggle via Twitter.

All reviewing content, including images, is used with consent of the developer. A massive thank you to Hanger18 for providing me with a review copy of Jelly Jiggle.

Thanks for reading this post! If you enjoyed it, remember you can bookmark this blog or follow me direct from a WordPress account. Alternatively, you can follow me on Twitter here for updates.

If you have any comments, post them below or get in touch with me via Twitter.

Indie Workshop #3: Accelerated Delivery

Welcome to the third installment of Indie Workshopwhere I take a look at some of the games of aspiring Indie developers and give them a honest review while also attempting to give them a little exposure.

I truly encourage you all to get involved with the Indie games featured here and check out the developers – they work long and hard to bring you what potentially may be the next generation of video games, so its worth your time supporting them!

This game review is an exclusive, and has never been reviewed before. I hope you enjoy!

Top Secret Packages – An Accelerated Delivery Review

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When I was approached about the possibility of reviewing a game about boxes and their movement from one area to another, I couldn’t help but wonder if the entire concept was perhaps a little simple – how on earth was I going to create a fully fledged Indie Workshop review based upon a game who’s solitary objective is “move X amount of boxes from point A to point B”? Any normal game would have proved me right and I’d be sitting here right now telling you a very different story to the one I’m about to tell – but I didn’t play the “moving box simulator”. I played Accelerated Delivery.

Accelerated Delivery is a 3D puzzle game developed by Indie game group Two Button Crew. Originally created by Jonathan Fischer under the moniker Core43, “Box Factory” (as it was then affectionately known) became a group project when Two Button Crew combined forces with Jon and programmer Alex Van Liew to forge the Two Button Crew that has put out Accelerated Delivery in its completed form today. Although their story is a long and sometimes complicated one, Accelerated Delivery’s base concept has always been the same – control machinery in the environment to move boxes to an end-zone and complete the level. Lose too many boxes to the hazards below and you fail, starting the level over anew. Its a lovely little concept that is deceivingly difficult at its core.

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Accelerated Delivery offers a basic tutorial for beginners, and optional controller support for those more accustomed to gaming with a third-party controller.

The game starts with a very basic tutorial option and helps players to find their feet before the game begins proper. One thing Accelerated Delivery does very well is guide you through its opening levels without holding your hand – it teaches you the ropes, but there’s still room for failure. Its the best kind of learning curve that doesn’t rely on tutorial menus opening every 20 seconds and interrupting fluent and constant game-play.

As the controller of the machinery around you, you must activate specific sections throughout in order to guide the boxes to their eventual destination. This starts out relatively easy, with the use of only one or two buttons to guide a singular box to its inevitable end, but before you know it, you’re dealing with 7-8 buttons at a time, multiple boxes of different colours that need to be delivered to different locations, and even boxes that explode and must actually be disposed of in order to gain points. Its fast and frantic, but never verges too close to pandemonium that you feel like you’ve lost control. Additionally, each level features its own score tracking system which adds a level of re-playability and competitiveness to the affair – meaning you may find yourself using the game’s level select functionality to try and best your friend’s best runs and outdo each other more often than you’d care to admit.

"Good, but could I do better?" is the thinking that drives Accelerated Delivery's re-playability.

“Good, but could I do better?” is the thinking that drives Accelerated Delivery’s re-playability.

Rather than the aforementioned intrusive tutorial messages popping up throughout, Accelerated Delivery features a “guide” of sorts in the form of your voice-acted boss. He’s frequently dismissive of your abilities as a machinery operator, sarcastic and humorous in his approach. He narrates the story and provides guidance in the most convoluted manner possible, and whether you’ll appreciate the voice acting depends entirely upon your sense of humor. The game plays just as well without it as it does with it, and the developers have provided an option via the pause menu to remove the voice acting if for some reason you decide it isn’t really your thing.

On that note, the audio and visuals in Accelerated Delivery are something to marvel at. The soundtrack suits the game down to the ground and really helps to add to the overall feeling that if you lose a box, its going to have consequences somewhere down the line. The visuals meanwhile, are incredibly aesthetically pleasing and rarely do they detract from the objective at hand – they’re something beautiful to look at, but they’re not so distracting that you find your eyes hurting while you play, or an inability to focus on what you’re meant to be doing. Kudos to the art guys for their excellent work in Blender, because some of the hazards such as the lava look practically alive and dancing, and that really is some kind of accomplishment.

The environments really are captivating.

The environments really are captivating.

Game-play itself is fluid and the mechanics work exactly as you’d expect them to. In particular, I was very impressed by the box physics – drop them from a significant height and they’ll bounce, threatening to be lost in the void below before settling down and putting that particular mini-heart attack to rest. Get hit by a particular piece of machinery at a funny angle, or get caught between two walls because of your bad timing, and the box threatens to wind up being flung back a few steps – adding more precious seconds to your ever-increasing time. Very rarely have I ever felt such deep concern for an inanimate object as I did with Accelerated Delivery’s cardboard boxes – but because of the way their physics function, you’re constantly left with the feeling that these boxes really are delicate and subject to a swift reckoning if you’re not careful with them.

That having been said – I did run into one or two minor issues while playing Accelerated Delivery that, while nothing serious, did make me wonder “what if?”. Firstly – and probably more to do with my personal preferences – even though you have the ability to move the camera, I do somewhat wish that the option was there to zoom in even closer. On some of the bigger puzzles, it can occasionally be difficult to see where your boxes are and that’s when a quick “snap-to” zoom in would be really beneficial.

Secondly, and slightly more of a concern; during one of the later levels, I’d been playing the level for roughly 10 minutes and I was in the process of moving five or six boxes at once, when they all got clogged in a corridor and would no longer move along the conveyor belt. I had to push another two or three boxes behind them before I eventually managed to get them to budge, but by the time they did move, they were threatening to put an end to my fairly lengthy run, and I did end up losing one or two boxes in the avalanche that ensued. It probably won’t happen to 95% of people who play Accelerated Delivery to its conclusion, but for the 5% that do have to restart a 10-12 minute run, it will be a minor frustration that they will inevitably remember.

The blockage in question.

The blockage in question causing me some significant difficulty.

Despite this though, Accelerated Delivery is a nice game to play that requires some proper hard thinking and strategy to complete in the most efficient manner properly. My initial thought was to call it a “decent time-waster”, but I’m almost ashamed to now admit that because Accelerated Delivery is deserving of so much more. Rather than button-mashing or speed-running your way through it, Accelerated Delivery demands you take appropriate time to learn it’s ways and then use what you’ve been taught to achieve the best possible scores and figures. The game is fresh and keeps adding new challenges and puzzles all the time, and you can’t help but continue attempting it regardless of how frustrating the previous level might have been.

I haven’t used my brain so much in a video game since I played Portal 2, and that is a massive credit to Accelerated Delivery. Its a game that will have you scratching your head and playing long after you’ve completed it, trying to top your best scores – it takes puzzle-solving to an entirely different level,  fantastic in its approach, and beneath it all, just one question remains;

Do YOU have what it takes to handle with care, and, more importantly, will you be able to tear yourself away regardless?

Title of Indie Game: Accelerated Delivery.
Most appealing quality?: The sheer meltdown your brain will have when more and more buttons get added – and the feeling of achievement when you manage to nail it perfectly after 10 tries.
Most disappointing quality?:  Aside from the few minor issues I had, Accelerated Delivery does what it does with gusto. Its difficult to fault it.
How much did I play?: I played up to the 6th level for this review, and plan on returning to complete the entire thing before the week is out.
How much does it cost?: Accelerated Delivery is currently available for $5/£3.26 directly from the developer’s store and is worth every penny – support an extremely promising Indie developer and earn yourself a really nice puzzle game in the process. Alternatively, try the demo, featuring six levels, for free!
Where can I find it?: Information regarding the game can be found at the developer’s website.

Accelerated Delivery is a 3D puzzle game created by the minds at Two Button Crew, available now on Windows. You can follow Two Button Crew’s progress with Accelerated Delivery via Twitter.

All reviewing content, including images, is used with consent of the developer. A massive thank you to Two Button Crew for all their help throughout this review and a particular thank you to Alex Van Liew for his help.

Thanks for reading this post! If you enjoyed it, remember you can bookmark this blog or follow me direct from a WordPress account. Alternatively, you can follow me on Twitter here for updates.

If you have any comments, post them below or get in touch with me via Twitter.

Indie Workshop #2: Lenna’s Inception Review

Welcome to the second installment of Indie Workshopwhere I take a look at some of the games of aspiring Indie developers and give them a honest review while also attempting to give them a little exposure.

I truly encourage you all to get involved with the Indie games featured here and check out the developers – they work long and hard to bring you what potentially may be the next generation of video games, so its worth your time supporting them!

This game review is an exclusive, and has never been reviewed before. I hope you enjoy!

An Adventure to Call Your Own – A Lenna’s Inception Review

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While playing Lenna’s Inception in preparation for this review, I stated to a friend of mine that, had I been playing this game without the prior knowledge of the developer being an Indie, I would’ve never thought anything different – it plays like a major developer’s creation despite still being relatively early in it’s development. I think it says a vast amount about Lenna’s Inception and its developer, Tom Coxon, that a game can come across so professionally done when it is the Indie development of just one person.

Lenna’s Inception is an Indie RPG adventure by aforementioned developer Tom Coxon. It is not Coxon’s first foray into the world of development, but is slated as his first “commercial Indie release” (Coxon previously released an app called  xkcdViewer on Google Play, which has now hit over 200,000 total installs). The game itself begins as you, the player, takes on the role of Lenna as she searches for a number of various artifacts to save the world from its impending doom. The Prince has been captured, and the Chosen One has been overthrown, leaving average joe Lenna to collect the artifacts necessary to send the evil back to where it once came from.

If this sounds somewhat familiar, that’s because it follows a very similar plot and design curve to another very famous game of the same style – The Legend of Zelda. When I first begun playing Lenna’s Inception, in fact, I could not help but notice the similarities between it and Link’s infamous journey through the land of Hyrule. There’s a lot of influence here and its apparent, but I want to make a clear definition between Lenna’s Inception and the adventures of our little hero in green; firstly, and one of the main things that also makes Lenna’s Inception such a blast to play, is its procedural generation – every play-through of Lenna’s Inception is randomised, and you begin in a different area each time you play, meaning you never know what’s going to be around the corner the next time you load it up.

Adding to this intense randomisation is the ability to add perma-death to your play-through. When you die normally in Lenna’s Inception, the game will offer to restart you at the beginning of the dungeon, albeit with your map still filled out as it would be had you never died. With perma-death on however, every play-through is a one-shot deal; die and you start the entire thing again. Its a nice little feature that adds some replay-ability, as you never know where you’re going to end up or what challenges you’ll face that may cut your run drastically short.

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The game has this lovely pixel-y design that brings back an instant rush of nostalgia.

There is a slight drawback to the randomised design of Lenna’s Inception, and that is the variation in its difficulty. Its nothing that really takes away from the game too drastically, and once you get your feet wet everything becomes evident, but my first play-through saw my life rather short-lived as a group of gelatinous fiends cut me down rather swiftly. On my second play-through, things went much smoother and I managed to get to grips with how things worked before I encountered any real challenge. Its not a major defect, but its something worth considering as some gamers may be thrown off by a slight variation in the difficulty level. Call me picky, but I just wish there was some sort of “non-randomised” area at the beginning to serve as a tutorial and allow users to find their feet before they were thrown into Lenna’s Inception proper.

That having been said, Lenna’s Inception does feature both an extensive document (think of it as an instruction manual, if you will) as well as tutorial pages throughout the game that help newer users get used to how the game is played. Lenna even carries a manual in her inventory that can be referred back to at any time for almost all of the game’s items and actions should you need them. Its a small detail but its very helpful if you forget how a certain function is supposed to work and its that little extra attention to what a player might need that stand out in an Indie title.

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The tutorials are sufficient to help you around Lenna’s world.

One thing I have to admire about Lenna’s Inception is its variation. Throughout the game you will encounter puzzles or certain areas which require you to use specific items which you have gathered to solve. It allows the player to step away from the adventure/combat side of things temporarily and use their brains in order to proceed. Not only that, but the quirkiness of the game is quite something. Sure, you have your typical, “to-be-expected” items that you find in almost every game of this type such as a bow or bombs, but how often does the jump function come in the form of a spring? Found a fire spell in order to cast fireballs? Too typical. In Lenna’s Inception, you’re going to be using Prometheus’ lighter instead. Did I mention one of the bosses – affectionately named Cuddles – is also a giant kitten? Oh yeah. Around every corner is something weird and wonderful, and finding them is half the fun.

Oh yes. There will be chickens.

Oh yes. There will be chickens.

The soundtrack is nice and suits the style of the game well, too. Its pretty simplistic right now, mainly consisting of a singular track that plays throughout your dungeon treks, with a separate tune for the boss fights. Tom has informed me that there are plans to further improve the soundtrack, but for now it does the job just fine (and I can’t stop humming the main theme to myself). There are options to turn off music (F5) or sounds (F6) if one so wishes, too. Again, attention to detail pays dividends.

I feel at this stage I should state two things – one; this game was created by just one person, similarly to my previously reviewed 2x0ng. This is one heck of a game that is bug-free and entirely playable from start to finish, and its all the work of just one guy. Second – the game is still being worked upon and will feature even more content when its finished. RPG elements and a greater expansion on the story, along with an over-world and stores for Lenna to make use of the coins you collect throughout the game are just some of the plans Coxon has for the game, and its looking to be pretty damn incredible already. Despite the fact its not finished, I still had a blast playing it and that’s a testament to Coxon – making a game playable and enjoyable to the last minute when its not even complete is one hell of a task, but he pulls it off with aplomb.

They say variety is the spice of life, and Lenna’s Inception has it by the bucket-load.

Lenna’s Inception wears its influences on its sleeve, but does it with such charm and grace that it feels more like a homage than a rip-off. It is a game in it’s own right though, and does what it does excellently. I have to give credit to a developer who can make me think of one of the biggest and most well-known franchises in the world with a game that isn’t even fully complete yet, and further still suck me in so much I couldn’t stop until I’d watched the credits roll.

Sure, Lenna’s Inception isn’t finished just yet, and there are particular areas (such as the soundtrack and story) which could use some polish – but that is something which comes with time, not due to any lack of care by the developer. In a year or two’s time I plan to play Lenna’s Inception again, because I know I’ll probably love it then twice as much as I love it already, and that’s saying something.

Lenna’s Inception has the potential to be something much greater than the sum of its current parts – and I’m excited for it. Its not very often I play an Indie game so early in development as this and have more fun than I’ve had with some “major releases” I’ve played recently, but Lenna’s Inception got me. Somewhere between the kitten battle and the war of the chickens, it got me.

And I love it. I absolutely love it.

Title of Indie Game: Lenna’s Inception.
Most appealing quality?: Right now, the sheer humor the game possesses. The potential is vast too, I can’t wait to see where this is going.
Most disappointing quality?: I would’ve liked a little more story, but that’s something that comes with time and, currently, doesn’t detract too much from the overall game as it is right now.
How much did I play?: I played two playthroughs, one was very short-lived – I finished the entire game and saw the credits roll on my second.
How much does it cost?: Lenna’s Inception is currently completely free.
Where can I find it?: Lenna’s Inception can be downloaded directly from Coxon’s website.

Lenna’s Inception is an RPG adventure game created by Tom Coxon, available now on Windows, Linux and Mac. You can follow Tom and his progress on Lenna’s Inception and all his other projects via his Twitter. You can also find Lenna’s Inception and all his other projects via his website.

All reviewing content, including images, is used with consent of the developer.

Thanks for reading this post! If you enjoyed it, remember you can bookmark this blog or follow me direct from a WordPress account. Alternatively, you can follow me on Twitter here for updates.

If you have any comments, post them below or get in touch with me via Twitter.

Indie Workshop #1: 2x0ng Review

Welcome to a new series here on my blog titled Indie Workshop, where I take a look at some of the games of aspiring Indie developers and give them a honest review while also attempting to give them a little exposure.

This series will be very dependent upon the requests I receive from developers regarding their games, and the Indie games I can get my hands on, so they may not be as regular as some of the other features I have on my blog. That having been said, I truly encourage you all to get involved with the Indie games featured here and check out the developers – they work long and hard to bring you what potentially may be the next generation of video games, so its worth your time supporting them!

Blast from the Past – A 2x0ng Review

2x0ng is the creation of sole developer David O’Toole, who since 2008 has been creating Indie games for the PC platform, with his most popular being Xong, and its sequel, 2x0ng. 2x0ng is a amalgamation of sorts – its sort of 20% shoot’em’up, 60% puzzler and 20% adventure game all rolled into one retro package. For the efforts of just one man, it ain’t half impressive.

The main premise of 2x0ng is this; you are a robot-like being, who carries with them a squareball. Around you, scattered in each level, are several coloured blocks which when destroyed with your squareball allow it to change colour. By changing the colour of the squareball, you can then proceed to remove forcefields of the same colour. While you’re attempting to do this, a vast array of baddies will be doing their best to stop you, from a humble orb shaped being that simply floats menacingly towards you, to a octopus-like alien which shields itself and tries to occasionally blast you with light. The variation on enemy and level design is quite something for such a small Indie game.

If it looks confusing, that’s because at times, it can be.

In regards to story-line, there’s actually very little to 2x0ng, and I personally believe it plays in its favour. It makes me recall many of the first video games such as Tetris and Pacman – sure, you didn’t have any clue why the heck you were a little yellow ball going around mindlessly consuming everything, but it didn’t really matter – you did it because it was fun, and in the same vain, you destroy coloured blocks to access a portal in 2x0ng because, well, its fun. There is a slight story for the player at the end of the game as a sort of reward for managing to complete all of the game’s 16 levels, and it does a great job of rounding off the game, but apart from that, there’s little in-between, and I don’t think 2x0ng really needs it, either.

The main issue, unfortunately, is that I’ve just given you more information than I knew tackling 2x0ng for the first time. I actually had very little understanding of what to do and had to directly contact the developer in order for him to inform me that CTRL+H displays a help message. This does actually appear at the top of the screen briefly, but its easy to miss. If you’re going to set out a direct objective with little or no story, its very critical that you at least give your player-base some guidance – I died the first time because I had next to no clue what was actually going on, apart from that my square could kill enemies. For now its a little rough, but David has assured me that he plans to create a much more streamlined help system and a tutorial through which players will be able to learn the ropes – so lets hope that’s only a temporary issue.

As with many of the retro games of years gone by, 2x0ng is hard, and designed to be that way. On certain levels you’re flooded with enemies as you make a desperate attempt to escape via the portal, and if you die once, you’re forced into starting over again from scratch. While this may seem like a downside, I actually found that once I understood the premise of the game, and knew what I was doing, I couldn’t stop myself from trying again, and again, and again. You have to give kudos to an Indie game developed by just one individual that’s capable of drawing you back in like that.

One thing 2x0ng gets absolutely perfect, though, is the soundtrack. You can really tell that David has put a lot of time into the way this game sounds while you play it – it suits the retro theme of the game down to the ground and it really helps you to feel that much more immersed in the game itself – which is a mean feat when you’re trying to get immersed in a game with next to no story, but 2x0ng pulls it off with aplomb.

The game is colourful and vibrant, its quite the feast for the eyes.

In general, the game is presented quite well. It has an introduction screen (seen at the head of this blog), and the visuals are generally very pleasing on the eye. Although 2x0ng uses a vast array of colours, somehow it manages to steer clear from some of the more eye-warping ones (such as red on blue) and generally shows itself off quite nicely. The whole game is wrapped into a nice package and I really wish that a tutorial/help system had been present at the beginning of the game to give players an easier progression and to better understand what their goal would be.

Don’t get me wrong, 2x0ng is by no means a triple AAA title, but then its not trying to be. Its humble in the most quaint of ways, and once you get over understanding what the premise of the game is actually all about, it turns into a really enjoyable affair that you just can’t seem to tear yourself away from. Its a diamond in the rough right now, with still a fair bit to do before it can be considered 100% perfect, but David is working tirelessly to make sure the game is as functional as possible, and I think with a bit of work it could really become a retro masterpiece. It has the charm to pull it off, and god knows its addictive.

I personally feel as though 2x0ng is really only at the beginning of its adventure, and that David has a real good game in front of him once he works out the kinks. Give it two or three years, and I can easily see 2x0ng sitting on your Smartphone equivalent, or being a downloadable game that everyone can enjoy. There’s nothing wrong with 2x0ng right now – god knows I finished it and had a thoroughly good time doing so – but I still feel there’s so much potential left for a really great game that will probably be misunderstood by many.

In the light of things, 2x0ng is a wonderful little mixture of genres smashed together in the most brilliant way, all by one guy that has his heart set on bringing retro gaming back into the limelight – and that’s the most brilliant thing about 2x0ng;

When I played it, I felt as though “retro” had never really gone away.

Title of Indie Game: 2x0ng
Most appealing quality?: Its die-hard nature and quirky mechanics. 2x0ng really is something a little bit different.
Most disappointing quality?: Lack of any real tutorial and the occasional glitch (to be expected with a small Indie title)
How much did I play?: I finished the entire game, and saw the ending.
How much does it cost?: 2x0ng is currently available for free.
Where can I find it?: 2x0ng can be downloaded directly from David’s website. It can also be found for free at Desura.

2x0ng is a puzzle shoot’em’up adventure game created by David O’Toole, available now on Windows, Linux and Mac. You can follow David and his progress on 2x0ng and all his other projects directly via his Twitter. An article regarding incoming updates and plans by the developer can also be seen here.

All reviewing content is used with consent of the developer.

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