[Game: Awesomenauts, Ronimo Games, 2012]
Casual Competition and Awesome Addiction:

The Enduring Joy of Ronimo Games’ Awesomenauts

 

Introduction:

Just as I have done across the preceding month, I am following up last week’s more in-depth entry into this series (which, in this case, talked about the qualities of The Binding of Isaac which qualify it as a worthy successor to the original Legend of Zelda) with a light recommendation. The game which I would like to recommend this week is Ronimo’s 2012 side-scrolling platformer MOBA, Awesomenauts.

This game is a truly one-of-a-kind experience, whose indie team has carved out a consistent niche in the perennially monopolized MOBA genre. Anyone who is not impressed by Awesomenauts‘ sustained success has a very short memory. I can effortlessly think of a dozen or more multiplayer indie games I’ve liked and watched die for any number of reasons. But in the three years I’ve been playing Awesomenauts, I’ve never waited over five minutes for a full game of players. And it’s not even free-to-play. Allow me to explain what makes this title superior.

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[Game: Awesomenauts, Ronimo Games, 2012]
Casual Competition and Awesome Addiction:

The Enduring Joy of Ronimo Games’ Awesomenauts

was last modified: July 5th, 2017 by Daniel Podgorski

[Game: The Binding of Isaac: Rebirth, Edmund McMillen/Nicalis, 2014]
Bound and Determined:

The Binding of Isaac as a Worthy Successor to the Original Legend of Zelda

 

Introduction:

Edmund McMillen Sketch by M.R.P. - The Binding of Isaac: Rebirth - The Legend of Zelda - Edmund McMillen

Sketch by M.R.P.

Since its original release as a subversive flash game way back in 2011, The Binding of Isaac has ascended from a cult classic to a mainstream success. In the time since that release, all of the elements which made it subversive, from its dark themes to its biblical allusions, have been covered and analyzed by critics from numerous angles. Theories about the meaning of the game’s obscure, sparse narrative have ranged from wild ad hoc hypotheses about Isaac’s family history to carefully built cases tracing themes across several earlier games made by designer Edmund McMillen. Regardless, it has seemingly all been said (until the upcoming Rebirth expansion brings new evidence, at least).

I see that sort of analysis as highly valuable, and I find myself largely in agreement with commenters who interpret The Binding of Isaac as a portrait of a particular type of upbringing, with all of the entailed positive (i.e. creative and skeptical) and negative (i.e. repressed and threatened) effects. Acknowledging that as trodden ground, however, I would like to discuss an aspect of the game which is often gestured toward, but seldom discussed at length: how the roguelike gameplay lends itself to the game’s homage and spiritual succession of the earliest Legend of Zelda games.

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[Game: The Binding of Isaac: Rebirth, Edmund McMillen/Nicalis, 2014]
Bound and Determined:

The Binding of Isaac as a Worthy Successor to the Original Legend of Zelda

was last modified: April 4th, 2016 by Daniel Podgorski

[Game: Spacechem, Zachtronics, 2011]
Lost in Spacechem:

The Addiction, Atmosphere, and Exquisite Challenge of Zachtronics’ Spacechem

Introduction:

Last week was another slightly heavy entry into this series, focusing on the interpretation of pixel art, and pixel art as an artistic movement. So, just like my post on Offspring Fling! from two weeks ago, I will be making this post another lighter recommendation. The game which I would like to recommend, however, is hardly light, and it goes by the name Spacechem.

No true fan of puzzle games should go through life without having experienced this title. Spacechem is an amazing piece of software, elegant in its game-design simplicity and staggering in its gameplay complexity. But also like that Offspring Fling! article, it is not the primary gameplay of Spacechem which is going to the focus of this article: instead it is an aspect of the game that I haven’t seen many people mention: the game’s atmosphere and story. Yes, this game is a satisfying yet relentless challenge, but its virtues do not end there.

Spacechem Screenshot - Zachtronics - atmosphere, aesthetics, story

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[Game: Spacechem, Zachtronics, 2011]
Lost in Spacechem:

The Addiction, Atmosphere, and Exquisite Challenge of Zachtronics’ Spacechem

was last modified: October 24th, 2017 by Daniel Podgorski

[Game: FTL: Faster Than Light, Subset Games, 2012]
Style by Necessity:

On FTL: Faster Than Light, and Pixel Art as an Art Movement

 

Introduction:

FTL: Faster Than Light bead sprites - pixel art analysis - Subset Games

Bead Sprites by The Gemsbok

The artistic movement of Cubism has had an incalculable influence on the art history of the past century. Its temporal and spatial fluidity was new and exciting, and carried art yet further along its strange journey of influence from Impressionism toward Abstract Expressionism. Some formal attributes of Cubism, such as flattened perspective plane, an emphasis on forms and experiences over realistic minutiae, a reduction of realistic complexity to geometric simplicity, and sharply contrasting regions of intense color, are also present in a much more recent art form: pixel art.

One recent game which uses pixel art to great effect is Subset Games’ acclaimed strategy roguelike, FTL: Faster Than Lightpixel art analysis - FTL: Faster Than Light - Subset Games. By taking a quick look at some of the art in FTL, one can acknowledge and remark upon the meaning it carries, in the hopes that others will go on to do the same for pixel art that interests them.

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[Game: FTL: Faster Than Light, Subset Games, 2012]
Style by Necessity:

On FTL: Faster Than Light, and Pixel Art as an Art Movement

was last modified: June 1st, 2017 by Daniel Podgorski

[Game: Offspring Fling!, Kyle Pulver, 2012]
A Hidden Gauntlet:

The Brutal Platformer Hiding Behind the Lovely Facade of Offspring Fling!

 

Introduction:

After the heavy subject matter and dense theoretical prose of your last Mid-week Mission, I am just going to make this one a brief recommendation of another cheap, oft-overlooked indie product. This might just be another outlying opinion on a tiny title, but when it comes to Offspring Fling!, I love the game.

After beating Offspring Fling! casually (or as soon as you care to notice it), the real challenge of the title opens up: one of the most precise and challenging speed-run systems built into a game of which I am aware, which upon completion unlocks a suite of precision platforming bonus levels.

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[Game: Offspring Fling!, Kyle Pulver, 2012]
A Hidden Gauntlet:

The Brutal Platformer Hiding Behind the Lovely Facade of Offspring Fling!

was last modified: May 16th, 2018 by Daniel Podgorski