Tag Archives: Google

Dronefall imagines a pixel art future overrun by deadly drones

dronefall prologue gd impressions charity game

It really bums me out covering games much later than I intended, especially indie titles or tiny slivers of experimentation from the myriad jams that go down in this industry, as often finding information about these things months–or even years later, as is the case with Dronefall – Prologue–is nearly impossible. You’d think my seasoned Googling skills would unearth all the details, but nope, not for something as slight as this; that said, I dig the search engine company’s new logo.

Anyways, I’ll do what I can with what I got, but if you know more than me and want to rub my honker in it, by all means. Dronefall – Prologue was made by Inglenook, a company that is hard at work on something called Witchmarsh. The short little thang was produced for the Charity Game Jam back in 2013, along with almost one hundred other games, with funds going to the Reprieve UK foundation. Again, I do not remember where I was and how I came to download it, but its executable file was in my videogames folder…so I gave it a double click.

Basically, we have a future overrun by drones, machines unafraid to murder and cause chaos. They were not programmed to bite the hand that wires them, but they’ll do it without question. In Dronefall – Prologue, you play as a woman whose name I cannot recall or look up due to nobody else ever in the entire Internet-driven world having touched the thing. YouTube and Google continue to suggest Downfall instead. Anyways, naturally, she has just awoken up to this dark, dastardly future, and begins moving left to right in hopes of figuring things out. It’s a puzzle adventure game, though there’s only a little bit of both in this “prologue” chapter; you can examine items in the world and turn wheels to shut off machines or pipes leaking steam, and there’s truly only one puzzle to maneuver through at the end, which is not difficult to figure out. Then it fades to white and the dreaded “to be continued…”

Before I finish this post, I have to say that I’m pretty amazed with myself for breaking Dronefall – Prologue, a game that takes maybe no more than five minutes to get through. Towards the end, you have to take a lift down from the second floor to the first, and somehow, the lift got activated without our main hero girl on it. I could stand her over where the lift once was and still activate it, but that meant she rose into the darkness known as the ceiling as the lift rose as well. I walked her to the right onto the next screen, and everything froze, then crashed. It’s like accessing the warp pipes in Super Mario Bros, except instead of leaping forward a few worlds it teleports you back to your desktop.

Considering I can find next to nothing about Dronefall – Prologue or even Inglenook–its website is launching soon!–and that the developers are all hands on deck for their Kickstarter project, I don’t expect there to be a continuation of this adventure. Which is a shame. Not because there’s a fascinating story or mystery here, but it looks gorgeous, and a full-fledged dive into this unpredictable future through pretty, pretty pixel art is more than enough to count me in. That said, Witchmarsh, an action RPG set in 1920s Massachusetts, does seem to have a similar look, so perhaps I’ll check it out later this year.

2012 Game Review Haiku, #32 – Angry Birds (Poached Eggs episode)

2012 games completed poached eggs2

Sixty-three levels
Flying birds, dying pigs, wee
No more Angry Birds

For all the games I complete in 2012, instead of wasting time writing a review made up of points and thoughts I’ve probably already expressed here in various posts at Grinding Down, I’m instead just going to write a haiku about it. So there.

Angry Birds should really be called Murdered Pigs

Yesterday, I played Angry Birds for the very first time. It was bound to happen. You can only avoid these things for so long; it’s kind of like how everyone eventually joins a social media site, no matter how vocal they are about hating those sorts of things; granted, every website these days integrates some kind of social media element in it, and then you’re there, stuck, updating your status, liking posts, and adding “friends” you’d never consider friends if you bumped into them while out shopping for books or something. Um…yeah. What was I saying? Oh, right: ill-tempered fowl.

While it’s been pretty easy to ignore almost all games on Facebook thanks to some settings tinkering and the fact that I really don’t hang out there as much as before, a host of new clickfest titles debuted this week at Google+, a website that I originally called “like Facebook, but without the games.” Guess I can’t say that anymore. What is nice though is that the games section is totally separate from the main feed of the site, so I don’t have to see how many points Joe Hoeblow got on level 9-154 of Murdered Pigs as I’m trying to see what people are really up to. That said, don’t you want to be my friend on Google+?

For those that don’t know, Angry Birds is a physics-based game of tossing birds via slingshots at rather innocent-looking pigs, trying to kill them all. I think there’s a storyline here. Something about the pigs stealing these birds’ eggs, which doesn’t really make sense when you consider that pigs don’t often climb trees. You toss the birds and gain points for how effectively you murder these pigs, as well as how few birds it takes to do so. I played up to 1-15 of Poached Eggs, the first episode, without a hitch, just sort of floating along. At 1-15, a new type of bird is introduced: a tiny blue bird which, when clicked again while in mid-air, splits into three birds. Very cool. Sadly, the game itself neglected to tell me this. I guess it did try with an unclear image while waiting for the level to load, but nothing ever specifically stated that these birds had a secret power, one vital to solving the upcoming level. I only learned this key strategy skill by accident after trying to beat 1-15 for the nineteenth time.

At no point did I ever get the sense that these birds are angry. If anything, they seem cracked out of their tiny  bird brains, shrilling in glee as they are hurled at stone walls and piles of wood, tossed to their death so systematically. All for the murdering of pigs, purported to have stolen eggs. A pig steals, a pig dies. What? I mean, things weren’t even this harsh in 16th century medieval times. Severe cases of theft back then could be punishable by flogging or the cutting off of one or both ears or a hand. And yeah, death by hanging. But surely that’s better than death by bird to the face.

It’s an okay little game. I just don’t get the logic of it all, but that’s the writer in me. Pigs and birds have no famous (or infamous) connection in nature. Might as well toss pineapples at polar bears. I’ll probably continue to play here and there as I find a moment of gaming emptiness, but I can’t really imagine myself going the distance here and seeing all 250+ levels to the end. That kind of grind is for the birds…


Celebrate Pac-Man’s 30th birthday with Google

To celebrate Pac-Man‘s thirtieth birthday (that’s three followed by a zero for my fellow mathematicians), Google has redesigned their logo in its honor. Very, very cool. But wait! There’s more. You can play Pac-Man, too, right there and then, thanks to some magical widget voodoo. Click “insert coin” and use the arrow keys to move around. Click “insert coin” a second time, and you can control a second Pac-Man on the board. Niiiiiice.

Seriously, no one will do any work today, and Google is to blame. Not Pac-Man. Pac-Man doesn’t kill work efficiency; Google giving us quick and easy Pac-Man kills work efficiency.

Don’t try clicking “insert coin” in the above image. Head over to Google right now for the real thing!