Thursday, October 25, 2007

Don't Drop the Narbacular

About a week ago, a buddy of mine got the Orange Box. While I don't generally like first-person shooters, there have been some exceptions. I did love the magical and ranged combat in Morrowind and I'm quite enthused about the combat system for the upcoming MMORPG, Age of Conan. Neither of these games really capture what most people enjoy about FPSers, namely fast and furious fragging.

As you can image, Team Fortress really didn't trip my trigger. While Halflife was better than a lot of other FPSers of its time, even HL:2 didn't really do much for me. What did wow and amaze me was a happy little shooter that, well... isn't really a shooter at all.

Challenging, smart, and downright funny, Portal deserves to win an award this year. Perhaps a trophy. Or a pizza. Or at least a pizza trophy.

The team of people Valve Software hired to create Portal previously wrote games under the cooperate moniker Nuclear Monkey Software. In looking at Nuclear Monkey's main project, it's easy to see where the concept for Portal came from.

The concept of Narbacular Drop is the same as portal: open an orange portal, then open a blue portal, then travel through one to exit out the other. At its core, it's a puzzle game. You have to find the right place to create portals to move objects, flip switches, and avoid dangers.

Narbacular Drop is set in a classic fantasy setting and has "classic" graphics, but the element that makes Portal a great game is there in Narbacular Drop too. It's a free download from Nuclear Monkey's website and there are many free mods that give additional levels and cool new features. Check out this gem of a freeware game by clicking its link to the right.


Why play it? The puzzles with portals cause you to have to think differently. Innovative gameplay is always a reason to give a game a try.

Friday, October 12, 2007

Let's get awesome!

I don't own a Wii, though I wish I did. When I do end up buying one, the first game I plan on buying is Super Paper Mario. What a great twist on the classic platformer! The Wii aside, a new indie game for the PC has burst into my sphere of awareness. Competing for the title of "unreleased game that Tony will trade his car for", Fez has joined Aquaria in this regard. To quote one poster on the Fez forums of The Independent Gamer : "It’s a whole different beast from Super Paper Mario. A different, AWESOME beast."

Not only does the gameplay look great, the music is a spectacular throwback to my childhood video gaming experiences. Think of me what you will, but it never occurred to me that people made music like this for a living. It's a whole new scene that I'm going to have to explore a bit more. For now, enjoy the video and get pumped about another really cool looking game! Like all the rest, keep up with news about Fez by following the link to your right.

UPDATE!: Fez recently won the award for Excellence in Visual Art at the 2008 Indie Games festival! Go Kokoromi!