Tag Archives: Badland Games

Demon Crystals review

I love a twin stick shooter. Their simplicity, ease, and often hectic gameplay is the perfect mix for a quick and fun gaming session. Demon Crystals is one of a number of twin stick shooters that offers all of those elements, but how does it stand up to the rest? Read on find out, or if you don’t want to read then scroll down and watch the video review at the bottom.

Demons Crystals, brought to us by Badland Games, is an anime themed shoot fest where you lead Urican demons through countless hazards to bring peace to their world.

There is no complicated plot to Demon Crystals, what you see is pretty much what you get, the action, however, has you gripped making a complex story unnecessary. Each stage sets out a particular challenge, this could be to kill a certain amount of enemies or collect a certain amount of crystals. The levels cannot be cleared unless you complete the challenge.

In true anime style, there are loads of weapon pickups that offer some crazy over the top weaponry to help you with your quest. Each pickup will only last a limited amount of time but there are plenty to grab so you’re never short of a decent weapon. It is virtually impossible to complete a level without the firepower of a pickup, so make sure you search the whole area to find the next weapon. Along with the weapon pickups are orbs that add extra firepower, pickups for extra time, health or speed. There is even a mushroom that you collect that increases your size allowing you simply walk over your enemies.

Like most game of this type, it is sometimes not about where you’re shooting and more about dodging incoming bullets or enemies. After a set number of stages there’s a boss level, these are again about dodging. It can require some perseverance but it’s still fun nonetheless.

One thing that did strike me was the awesome sound. The music is very high quality and had me humming along at times. There are four different demons to choose from but they don’t really do anything different from each other. With the basic XP system your demon will level up but this seems pointless because it is purely to take on more difficult levels and enemies. There is an option, however, to have up to three mates join in and take on the horde but this could prove to be very hectic, but worth a try anyway.

Despite its lack of depth, I had an absolute blast playing it and I think you will too. If I had one criticism then it would be that each demon could do with a super ability, a bit of a panic button if you like, to take out all the enemies on screen at once.

There is no tactical gameplay and to be honest, once you’ve had a good go at it is has the risk of sitting in your installed games all lonely and gathering dust. Demon Crystals is cheap and definitely worth a playthrough, I loved it. At just shy of £4 it’s a pocket money game but unfortunately that’s as far as it goes. It’s not horrible and it’s not amazing, what Demon Crystals is, however, is a lot of fun and worth anyone’s money.

Thanks to Badland Games and Xbox for supporting TiX

8DAYS review

8DAYS is infuriating. Every step is dangerous, every fight hard fought, and every weapon precious. Indeed, 8DAYS’ mix of twin-stick shooting, bullet hell and stealth is an intriguing and highly challenging hybrid of genres that often feels insurmountable but is oh so satisfying when you overcome it. It’s the best kind of infuriating.

You are an elite mercenary working for the private military company G.O.D Inc. (Gold, Oil and Diamonds), undergoing operations all over the world to serve your outfit’s clients the best you can. This means murder, mayhem, and war mongering. It makes for a nice change, playing in the mud a little, with no clear heroes and villains just different shades of grey. Of course, a story of betrayal and conspiracies soon unfolds around you, but for the most part it simply facilitates new locations for you to struggle through against superior numbers and weaponry.

Equipment is OSP (on-site procurement) with only two slots available to you. Rocks, guns, knives, rocket launchers and more can be picked up and utilised against your enemies, allowing you to brutally bludgeon, shoot, slice and blow-up those that stand in your way. It’s a bloodthirsty and vicious existence serving as a mercenary, but a necessary one, drop your guard and you won’t be returning home in one piece.

Enemies will react lightning fast to your presence, sending a hail of bullets your way, not dissimilar to a bullet hell shooter, or chasing you with their massive knives where one hit can kill you. Even some of the local fauna will attack on site and ruin your day. Furthermore, you can fall off cliffs and fall in rivers, making awareness of your surroundings a crucial skill. It often feels like everything is out to kill you, and it’s equally exhilarating and terrifying, thanks largely to how insanely fast the action is and how easy it is to die.

Fortunately, progress can be broken down into screens. Each time you reach the edge of a screen and move to a new area it acts as a checkpoint. This allows you to break down the challenge into chunks, and once you figure out the troop placement for a particular screen, you can begin to work your way through it, engaging groups individually, skirting round them entirely, or just running for the edge in a mad dash. It’s completely up to you, and each screen is large enough to provide some tactical options, allowing you to make progress through multiple styles of play.

You’re sent on multiple operations with each one offering an entirely different location and set of enemies to overcome. There’s some nice variety here, whether it’s outdoors in a dusty desert or lush forest, or inside an advanced facility. All of which are superbly designed to provide multiple paths to your objective, or large screen where you can choose your method of engagement. Midway through an operation you’ll face a mini-boss, testing your reactions and accuracy thoroughly, then at the end of each operation another boss will challenge you. These encounters offer a mix of threatening and quirky opponents, in line with the action parody tone of the game. They’re delightfully deranged and dangerous.

It can certainly get frustrating when you fail to get past a screen multiple times (see my video), or can’t figure out the best path forwards, but with each screen offering a discrete challenge and a checkpoint, perseverance will eventually get you through. And it’s cleverly designed to make the frustrations as fleeting as possible. Bringing a second player along for the ride in local coop often turns the frustrating into hilarious shared disasters, and the stunning pixel art portrays the blood, gore and murder in a rather fetching way. Sure it’s challenging, but it’s also fun, funny and compelling enough to keep you playing.

Thanks to Xbox and Badland Games for supporting TiX

BadLand Games to publish Nightmare Boy

BadLand Games will be publishing The Vanir Project’s psychedelic platformer Nightmare Boy.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EmSiSfqWJeg

BadLand Games CEO, Luis Quintans saif about the partnership:

Working with The Vanir Project means fans of mind-bending visuals and non-stop action get another incredible platformer in 2017. Nightmare Boy’s creators know their stuff, and we couldn’t pass by the opportunity to bring the game to a wider audience.

Victor Avila, head programmer from The Vanir Project said:

In developing Nightmare Boy, we wanted to create a game that would be found right next to classic 16- and 32-bit platformers. We hope players will get a kick out of Nightmare Boy’s unique look, atmosphere, and story, while facing unspeakable, unstoppable horrors.

After unfortunate events result in the disappearance of Aster, Noctum’s king, the balance between Monsters, Mongos, and Dreamers is lost … and chaos engulfs the land of Donorok in the Noctum region. Defenceless against evil, the children of Donorok are trapped in a malevolent wizard’s dreamlike world and forever locked in darkness. Their only hope? Nightmare Boy, who’s ready and willing to enter the nightmare and put his life on the line.

Explore a hell-like open world in your quest to free the children from captivity; each rescued child grants the protagonist special abilities and powers — such as double jumps, projectiles, explosives, and more. Tread carefully when talking or interacting with NPCs: Quirky characters and their reactions can have game-changing consequences. In fact, mere survival is far from guaranteed in Nightmare Boy: Fast reflexes and a taste for exploration are key if you intend to collect rare items, vanquish enemies, and eventually face your deepest fears.

KEY FEATURES:

*   Sharp Controls: Players have absolute control with double and triple jumps, wall-grabbing, multiple forms, spells, and much more!
*   World Map: Far corners of the world are revealed as players venture further and further into the nightmare.
*   Hidden Collectibles: Helpful in uncovering a number of possible endings.
*   Precious Stones: Necessary to save the game (as a tribute) or to be able to afford items in the store.
*   Player Choice: Very different outcomes available, whether players interact with characters — or not!

Nightmare Boy is due out on Xbox One in Q3 2017.

Heart&Slash review

Heart&Slash has the potential to fill a void in your gaming library, offering an experience that’s visually charming and nostalgic yet one that plays similarly to that of Dark Souls of Devil May Cry. It’s an interesting mix of aesthetics and gameplay, and one that works surprisingly well, that is once you’ve come to terms with the difficulty.

Indeed Heart&Slash is a hard game, the combat is fast-paced and brutal, the enemies numerous and hard hitting, and the bosses massive and intimidating. Furthermore, the rogue-like element of procedurally generated levels and enemy encounters means sometimes fortune isn’t on your side.

It’s Heart&Slash’s greatest strength and greatest weakness; the dichotomy of surprise. On the one hand, dying and having to replay a level is far less frustrating when that level is entirely different the next time around. However, mastering a level is made all the more difficult because you’re not sure what to expect. It’s a trade-off that doesn’t always work, especially early on in the game where you have no or very little upgrades and your mastery of the mechanics is still in its infancy, but later on it’s less of a problem and overall the randomness of it all makes the experience all the sweeter.

Heart & Slash 1

However, in order to taste that sweetness you need adapt to Heart & Slash’s pace and challenge. Blisteringly fast movement and combat that requires forethought and skill to best conquer your robot enemies isn’t necessarily what you’d expect after the amusing and slow-paced introduction. The first 15 minutes involves you jumping into the mechanical boots of a robot, with a tutorial on movement and combat in a safe test lab accompanied by your maker and his assistant setting up the world through banter. Next thing you know, you’ve been inactive for 100 years and missed the robot apocalypse. Humankind is dead and the robots that now rule this world are locked in to a long obsolete standardisation protocol, under the supervision of the all-seeing robot leader Quality Assurance System (QuAsSy). You think differently, you want to think for yourself and be unique, and so begins your quest to fight the establishment.

Heart & Slash 2

And fight you most certainly do, utilising your equipped blades or all manner of weapons you can pick up on your adventure. However, don’t let this 3D brawler’s bright and colourful palette and cute robot design fool you, combat is strategic. Your enemies come in a variety of shapes and sizes, all with their own unique attacks, strengths and weaknesses. You can’t simply pound away at them and expect to be victorious, instead you must read their tells and dodge their attacks, looking for openings to strike before quickly moving away. Moreover, the combat is so fast paced that you’re barely given the chance to think before you react. It requires some practice but eventually you’ll adapt to Heart&Slash’s combat system and speed.

Beyond practice however, upgrades are what really start to make a difference. Nuts and bolts you collect can be spent on upgrades to yourself and your weapons, granting you more health, stronger attacks, better abilities and even modifying the kind of attacks from your arsenal to include elemental damage and projectile functions. Indeed, the more enemies you study – committing their attack patterns to memory – and the more upgrades you acquire, the easier Heart & Slash becomes, however, thanks once again to the procedurally generated encounters, it’s always interesting, surprising and rewarding to progress that little bit further.

Heart & Slash 3

However, no amount of upgrades and practice can help you in your fight against the camera. The often narrow hallways and confined rooms cause the camera to zoom in and out at the most inopportune moments, and it’s so incredibly sensitive that lining it up manually is a chore. It frequently causes platforming and combat inaccuracies, which inevitably lead to death.

Heart&Slash is a very challenging but equally rewarding brawler that stands out from the crowd thanks to its colourful and charming aesthetic yet highly tactical combat. The camera is a huge pain but otherwise tight controls help keep you moving and fighting at the blistering fast pace required.

Thanks to Xbox and Badland Games and aheartfulofgames for supporting TiX