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.

Catching Up

It’s been a while – a little bit of writer’s block and a lack of new things to play has stopped me from writing anything for the past few weeks, but I have been keeping some notes aside to help me put something together today. As far as The Gamepad goes, the domain is mine and can be live but I’m just trying to make sure things look good.

At the beginning of the month was Play Expo Manchester, held at EventCity near the Trafford Centre. Tickets were fairly cheap for the day only, so we grabbed a pair for Saturday – doors open at 10, but we’re fashionable and cool, so we arrived for 11.

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The anonymity of using my character name on this website is now completely lost. Oh well.

It was a pretty interesting day, although I don’t think I have the patience to stick around for too long – however, we did get to have a look at a couple of cool indie games that I’d like to share with you.

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Uncharted 2: Among Thieves

I’ve tried to write this review several times over the past two weeks with, as you can probably tell, little to no success. It’s difficult for me to properly express my experience with Uncharted 2, especially in a balanced and thoughtful manner.

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Naughty Dog have done a brilliant job in getting the most out of the consoles, although I’ve been playing the Remastered version so I can’t really say that it looked great on the PS3. They did a great job with their environments and scenery, which has been the major selling point of Uncharted since day 1 – everything will look great, you’ll climb over some of it and shoot most of the rest. Away from the lush, open forests of faraway islands, Uncharted 2 is more focussed on cities and towns and you’ll find yourself on top of buildings to gaze upon the world more often than not.

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Uncharted: Drake’s Fortune

A few weeks ago I decided to do a bit of ‘spring cleaning’ and ended up selling about half of my old 360 games collection. With the proceeds, I bought the Nathan Drake Collection and have now completed at least 1 of them – the first one, on easy.

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Uncharted was a series that flew past me, again because of my past with Nintendo and then my fling with Xbox. From what I could gather, it was Tomb Raider in proper 3D with a dude. I assumed there were intricate puzzles, cunningly laid out by ancient civilisations that had somehow managed to remain in complete working order for thousands of years just to screw around with future archaeologists, with some platforming and combat thrown in there too.

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