Sunday, April 20, 2008

Grid Wars 2

I don't know if I've made it quite clear yet; when I'm not playing an RPGs or strategy games, I'm usually playing a shooter. No, I'm not talking about the twitchy, blood-and-gore shooters like Quake and Halo.

No, no, no.

I'm talking about good old "fly around in your 2d spaceship or spaceship-analogue and blow stuff up" type shooter. My two favorite games for the classic Turbo Grafx are Blazing Lasers and Lords of Thunder. Like my tastes in RPGs, shooters have to be something special. Grid Wars is special.

One of the many Geometry Wars clones out there, Grid Wars is the best of the best. The crème de la crème. The platonic ideal of a 2d shooter. Geometry Wars Galaxies is out for the Wii right now. I want it. I will have it. But until then, Grid Wars will do just fine.

If you're in the market for a shiny, sparkly, blowy-upy experience, you can download the game by clicking the link on the right, courtesy of the World of Stuart . And don't blame me if next week, after dreaming every night of pink, swirly stars and horribly evasive green cubes, you find yourself unable to resist picking up a copy of Geometry Wars Galaxies for the Wii.

Polychromatic Funkmonkey

An interesting diversion that quickly got me hooked, PCFM is a puzzle/platformer of unending possibilities. The world in this platformer is randomly generated every time you start a new game, so each playthrough is a different experience.

In the words of Farbs, the game's creator, Polychromatic Funkmonkey is "a tile based platforming game about building maps for tile based platforming games." The gist of the game is that you have to pick up the multicolored pieces of platforms that you walk on and place them in creative ways that allow you to reach the next “telefunkter”. Each telefunkter allows you to carry more blocks as well as teleport back to that particular point. The goal of the game is to touch each telefunkter in the randomly-generated, rainbow-colored, funky-sounding world. It’s great fun. Try it out!

Barkley Shut up and Jam, Gaiden

"Um... The hell, you say..."

That's pretty much the reaction I have each time the "Chaos Dunk" or "b-ball catacombs" are mentioned in this completely atypical RPG. Made in the style of Chrono Trigger, this homage to a Sega Genesis sports game is, to put it bluntly, bizarre.

It's also a fairly fascinating RPG. Set in a techno-fantasy universe where, in the year 2030 or so, Charles Barkley is in hiding and basketball is outlawed. You tromp around Neo New York as the now 60 year old Barkley, trying to escape from a past that haunts him.

Meet Larry Byrd as a priest. Evade Michael Jordan and the rest of the anti-b-ball police. Find out why a secret organization wants your only son dead. Save your game by listening to xenophobic gas pumps rant about the glories of Japan and how crappy the rest of the world is. It's good stuff.

While watching the oddly elaborate story unfold is my main draw in this game, the battle system keeps me playing too. It's very interactive; you won't be just selecting "Super B-ball CRUSHER" from a list of commands and calling it a day. Every character has unique active battle commands that you can enter when it's their turn. The battle system is far more active than any other 2d, turn-based RPG that I've played.

If you're up for a bizarre ride through a strange, post-apocalyptic vision of our planet's future, give this one a download.

Just a side note: The official site for Tales of Games, the company that developed BSU&JG, is kind of not built yet. The temporary site that they have up will get you to the proper download link. I assume when they're done making their site, downloading this game will be made easier.