Postcards, Moths, Pizza & Chip!
Kicking us off for the first installment of GoPlayThese we have Greek myths for the modern age, moths and pizza from outer space, and a fiendish puzzle robot. Take a look!
A delicate morsel fallen from the larger meal that is Lands of Dream, A Postcard from Afthonia is a free addition to a world I first explored with The Sea Will Claim Everything. A hand-drawn point and click mini-adventure, Postcard is a comic tragedy that tells the story of the people of Afthonia as they prepare for the arrival of a baby in dark times of war.
Blending Pythonesque humour with philosophy and commentary on the current political situation of Greece is no easy task, but writer Jonas Kyratzes (The Talos Principle) and artist Verena Kyratzes achieve it elegantly. In other hands the occasional references to Douglas Adams, Lovecraft or Morrowind could seem clunky or forced, but here they are welcome little in-jokes. Music by Chris Christodoulou pulls the whole package together nicely.
If you haven't played The Sea Will Claim Everything, while not totally necessary, I recommend getting that first, as the characters and story here will make a lot more sense. If you have, then this is the perfect excuse to dive back into this weird and wonderful world. I would also recommend grabbing the special version of Postcard (for €3.33 it's still a steal) for the traditional moussaka recipe!
What can I say about Space Moth to make you buy it that the title doesn't?! It's called Space Moth fer chrissake! For those that are not so easily enamoured by cool sounding titles, Space Moth is a top-down vertically scrolling shmup like those from days of yore. Except, instead of piloting a World War Two fighter, you control a SPACE MOTH! The enemies of Space Moth are butterflies, stag beetles and other moths, and the aim is to kill everything that crawls in your way.
The game itself is pure arcade joy (in fact it was displayed in a cab in Heart of Gaming UK), a bullet hell experience rewarding superhuman celerity and the ability to analyse huge amounts of information at once. To increase the difficulty further, the best way to get points is to 'soul drain' enemies using a rapid shot before finishing them with your giant space moth laser. This leads to attempting to evade infernal quantities of bullets while switching weapons on the fly to maximise score. Add in enormous bug bosses (obviously with a time challenge to kill them) and mysterious pick-ups and you have a game to test even the most dextrous of pilots. Also, SPACE MOTH.
If space is your bag, but creepy-crawlies aren't, how about being a space pizza delivery person? Pizzarian has you doing just that, setting up your space pizza shop, customizing your ship, and busting moves around the galaxy, avoiding traffic and slinging the finest of Italian exports at colonists living on the surface of Jupiter's moons.
The game is split into two parts: racing to the moons and delivering the pizzas. The racing section is side scrolling, and the objective is simply to avoid the other traffic until you reach your destination. However, being a bona fide space pizza deliverer means that you get to increase your 'coolness' by near-missing and generally harassing other pilots. Upon arrival, the action changes to top down pizza slinging, basically throwing pizzas at the correct houses, while avoiding/outwitting rival pizza people who want to steal your glory.
While initially simple, the difficulty does increase a bit. The gameplay is not terribly deep, but it brought back good memories of passing time with a Game Boy and a simple but compelling game.
Don't let the cutesy graphics kid you, Chip is a fiercely difficult puzzle game. Especially for me, because I don't think my brain works as it should. Anyway, Chip is a very, very sleepy robot who has to be recharged to finish a level. This involves firing an electric charge in such a way that it rebounds around the level, finally hitting the titular automaton. Mirror panels, moveable objects and cannons are all necessary to help our little robot buddy, but beware the obstacles and the edge of the level!
Each level is rated in three ways. The first is to simply finish the level, which will earn you a lightbulb. The second and third lightbulbs are earned by beating the level in a set number of moves or in a certain (normally very tight) time limit. Getting all three lightbulbs on the first attempt is a hell of a challenge, and the later levels are downright evil!
Collecting coins for beating a level allows customisation of your robot, with a variety of silly hats on offer. This is all cosmetic though, and has no impact on the gameplay. While the cute graphics might put some people off, I'd recommend this for anyone who's looking for a serious puzzle challenge!
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