Friday, November 15, 2013

Holy Dhul Fiqar this game is good.

Rarely does a game make me drop everything I am doing, RUN into the next room, grab my USB controller, shout uncontrollably at my room mates to come sit down so that I can show them the most righteous new game I just found online. Rarely do they then go grab their laptops and creating a circle, we all play the same game on separate computers, laughing and shouting and longing for more…

Developer Will Blanton, who goes by 01010111 has created these rare occurrences. His game DhulFiqar (named after the mythical Islamic sword once wielded by the son of Mohammed, Ali) is a simple, yet extraordinarily nuanced experience which follows the likes of Ninja Gaiden and Super House of Dead Ninjas. Players glide through a mysterious board filled strange crab-like enemies that shoot projectiles when approached. This is immediately remedied by hacking through them with your legendary sword. Enemies give you experience points, and with them you purchase Health and/or attack upgrades. At first this game seems like a pretty straight-forward hack n' slash, but give it time and it becomes as technical as an old Samurai show down. Players will find that their initial instinct to blow through stages, cutting at their surroundings will only send them to a continue screen faster.

The only drawback to this game (and it is an extraordinarily heavy drawback) is that it is too damn short. After the first boss battle, the screen flashes and it is assumed that you have won. But….But….I got all the way up to Lvl. 9!!! I killed and killed to get ready for the white cloaked boss battle! I was there mannnn I was therrreee!!!

Alas, I have played it through a few times and yes, this is the end. Judging by it's release date ( a few weeks ago )I would say that this magnificent little jewel is still on it's way. We can only hope so, there is SO much potential here. Parrying moves, upgrades, bosses, enemies, this game could be limitless.
Wicked Basement gives the current version a 10/10
In love.

Shovel Knight looks too cool.

As Shovel Knight reaches the end of pre-production, we tear up at how awesome this game will be…

Elliot's Meh.


So this week I played Ansimus Games' "Elliot Quest" and amongst all the positive reviews it has been getting I have to say that this Alpha funding stage Zelda II homage didn't quite live up to the hype surrounding it. Elliot Quest begins on a vast island in which players explore, level up, and battle through an array of territories which on their face, seem interesting. Players are initially given only a bow and arrow set (unlimited) and throughout the game achieve weapon/skill unlocks and spells to aid in future battles, none of which are really talked about by NPCs or informative to the player. You are just supposed to figure it out as you go, I guess.

Most of the territories in Elliot Quest have a purpose but are a bit daunting in their make up. Enemies don't really seem to get harder and the bow never really receives much of a power up. In the demo version, players level up and Elliot's aim improves drastically, but in the $4.99 alpha version, players are plagued with dead on hits to a given enemy which read "MISS". This mistake was literally the WORST part of the much hated N64 game "Quest 64". Stand next to enemy, hit enemy, game registers hit as a miss. No real rhyme or reason here, just a miss. Players can go from firing arrows at such precision that they are opening gates via arrow while free falling, yet when a slime attacks they have suddenly fumbled their shit. I don't think so. 

[Quest 64 mechanics revisit to annoy in Elliot Quest]

Another issue I had with this game is that it never really gave me any incentive to keep playing. Not a conversation with a dying warrior, no cryptic clues or warnings of upcoming bosses, nothing. It felt sort of empty in a way. Like I was just enjoying the aesthetics of a retro game without really having a particular mission at hand. Elliot Quest has all the makings of a great game-to-be, but never really makes me WANT to play it aside from simple curiosity. Most worlds have sort of a confused objective and when players receive their eventual plunder from a given area, it just seems a little late in the game. Then again, because there is no set objective, the term "late in the game" holds no meaning. Why should I achieve double jump (wings) before a host of crystals I know nothing about? Why should I expect items that are more meaningful from extraordinarily hidden chests? How has the SHIELD avoided me this whole time?!
Elliot Quest never really answers these questions and yet, somehow you keep playing.

I can't be too hard on Elliot Quest because as Ansimus Games warned me, it is in early stages and "doesn't reflect the final quality"(even on the payed version for extra warnyness…). The positive elements of this game are self evident. Great visual experience, gameplay is light, music (by Michael Chait) has nostalgic SNES flair, there is room to grow as a player, boards can be challenging, bosses are fun. That all said, Elliot Quest has a ways to go before I will purchase another version. The Alpha, in all honesty should have been the browser demo. I was delighted by a lot of this game, but I couldn't help but feel like I was consistently wanting more from this world. Hopefully Ansimus will deliver on the final version.

 So check out the Elliot Quest website, try the demo and pay the $4.99 alpha price to experience this game . I wouldn't say it was a complete loss. Hopefully more reviewers can see past the obvious when it comes to Elliot Quest, really PLAY this game, and offer Ansimus some helpful critiquing. It will only make the final version as good as we all know this game CAN be.
Wicked Basement gives Elliot Quest a 4/10.