Tanglewood

I haven’t written anything for a while, because I haven’t played anything for a while. Work and social life has taken up most of my time and energy, so I’ve not been able to play anything substantial for a while. However, I’d like to put the spotlight on a Kickstarter project I’ve backed this week, then I’ll be back to regular updates next week.

Full disclosure: I am friends with the man behind the Tanglewood game, Matt Phillips – however, I have accepted no gifts for this post and I have backed the Kickstarter project with my own money.

Tanglewood is a homebrew game being built for the Sega Mega Drive – some might think the mark had been missed now, but there is a great community behind the system and its games. Since the project was announced, it’s been picked up by sites such as Kotaku, Destructoid, Nintendo Life and more!

There is a tech demo of Tanglewood available on its website and I’d recommend playing it while you have the chance; it’s a platformer game, in the vein of The Lion King, with a lot of challenge behind it. You play as Nymn, a fox-like creature separated from their pack after the sun sets, and you have to find somewhere safe to spend the night.

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Nymn and a Fuzzl

After dark, terrible creatures roam the forest, including the menacing Djakk monsters which will hunt Nymn down for dinner. Nymn must use skills of evasion, special abilities, traps and trickery to defeat these predators.

At the moment, only the first three levels are available to try but they bring you into the world of Tanglewood and give a taste of some of the puzzles to come. You’ll find Fuzzls hidden in the world, who will bestow special powers upon you if you can move them back to their nests.

The world of Tanglewood is wonderful to behold – during the day, it is bright and colourful with Fuzzls dotting the branches in their own bright hue. The transition through to night is brilliant and then you notice how foreboding the forest really is, scared to push forward into the jaws of the Djakk.

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Nymn flees from a monstrous Djakk

 

What makes Tanglewood all the more impressive is the work behind it – Matt is building the game in pure 68000 assembly language, using original development tools. I wouldn’t begin to know where to start with programming, my job only requires SQL, but I’ve been assured that it’s not easy! It has taken Matt three years to get to this point, starting with applying basic movements to a Sonic sprite and tracking every step on his blog.

Tanglewood is currently on Kickstarter, with over 400 backers and £27,572 raised – if you pop over there, you can nab a version of the game on an original cartridge, as well as receiving regular updates from Matt – there have been additions to the team behind Tanglewood, including freezedream as the Sound Designer, Composer and Character Designer/Animator Adoru C. and Matthew Weekes, who was Environment Artist on Freedom Planet!

For more information on Tanglewood, please check out the official site. If you like what you see, please head over to the Kickstarter page and donate to Matt and this beautiful game.

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Super Meat Boy

In lieu of an excuse of “weekend shenanigans”, I did actually manage to play some games! One of them, as you can see from the title, was Super Meat Boy. Designed by Edmund McMillen and Tommy Refenes, developed by Team Meat, Super Meat Boy is a bloody take on the platforming genre.

super meat boy

You are Meat Boy and you must save your girlfriend, Bandage Girl, from the evil Dr Fetus (it doesn’t need to make sense, dammit). To accomplish this, you will enter a Dark Souls-esque repetition of smashing your gooey, fleshy body into various sharp objects until you win. Run, jump, slide… The basics are all there.

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Cities: Skylines

City Simulation games seem like a weird, niche area of gaming that only a few people would truly enjoy. Taking into account the surprising popularity of SimCity games in the past, it’s not a particularly strange concept. I’ve sunk a good, few hours into SimCity 4 and enjoyed watching the time fly by. For a while, Maxis seemed to corner the city planning market with bigger and better games coming out regularly. After their ‘slip up’ with the latest SimCity, however, there hasn’t been a better time to try and take that trophy.

Along came Cities: Skylines, just over 2 years after the flames had died down, who took that trophy swiftly and strode off triumphantly. Released by Swedish developer Paradox Interactive, Cities: Skylines is an excellent replacement for the city planning series.

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The wonderful metropolis of NewSave, from humble beginnings to high rise glory.

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A Yahtzee Special

If you didn’t know, Ben ‘Yahtzee’ Croshaw is a British games journalist, games designer and writer (amongst many other things I’ve probably forgotten). He is the sarcastic and quick-spoken voice behind Zero Punctuation, if nothing else.

I bought his two latest creations through Steam and they’re pretty much on opposite sides of the spectrum; Hatfall is a quick, quirky and fun game, whilst The Consuming Shadow is a Lovecraftian-themed, 2D horror game with some platforming and roguelike elements.

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Risk of Rain

Risk of Rain was recommended to me by a friend who has been known to torture me in the past with Dark Souls. For some reason I decided to trust him and exactly the same experience happened.

Character Selection
Man, man, man, robot, bigger man…

Risk of Rain is a 2D shooter with platform and rogue-like elements, and I’d just like you to know that was a particularly difficult sentence to construct. You are an adventurer on a strange planet, tasked with finding a ‘teleporter’ – whilst slaughtering or hoarding everything you come across along the way. It also operates on a timed system, where the longer you spend faffing around in a level, the more difficult enemies will be to kill and they’ll also spawn more across the zone.

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