Wednesday, August 21, 2019

Review: Mekabolt

I guess I could copy and paste the Gravity Duck review for this, since its from the same developer and publisher with just a slight tweak to the mechanics, but that would be rude.

Mekobolt offers a slight twist on the typical platforming challenge, where in some mad theme park (set across several types of terrain suspiciously similar to Gravity Duck), you need to get the batteries across a series of super-short 10-20 second levels.

The robots can be shot with the Mekobolt gun to pause them, allowing you to use them to spring, climb or to get them to fire their weapons in another direction to open up new parts of each level. It makes no sense, where's the theme park, why are the robots operating if their batteries have been removed? Who did it? Why and How? None of which get answered as we score another Platinum trophy in 20 minutes.

Things do get a little more exciting in the Command Center levels near the end with teleports and other tricks, but it still all feels remarkably similar. Still, this is a cute enough game with slightly brighter graphics than Gravity Duck, a modest spurt of challenge. But, again, no secrets, no clever tricks or dive into a hint of plot exploration, which is a big shame - the developer has got the mechanics right, but could easily expand their next projects to offer us a little more depth or challenge.

Score: 5/10
More Reviews
Price: £3.99 (PSN)
Developer/publisher: Somepx/Ratalaika
File size 49MB
Progress:  Platinum
(review code provided)

Legend of the Skyfish hooks the Vita soon

Having moaned a bit recently about all the very-similar puzzlers hitting the Vita, while being aware that we must take what we're offered, Skyfish looks rather different, with great art and a clever game mechanic.

Update: game out on the 27/28th August.

Legend of the Skyfish from Mgaia, ported to the Vita by Ratalaika, is an adventure puzzle game with a fishing twist. Originally a 2017 Steam and mobile game, it comes to console with the fishing rod as Little Red Hook's key tool to solving puzzles and making progress in her journey with the Moonwhale to defeat the monstrous Skyfish.

Porting work is complete according to Ratalaika, so hopefully we'll be enjoying the charm of this hook and line puzzle before summer ends.

Using her fishing pole as a weapon or a grappling hook, puzzles stretch over several islands, she can also upgrade it for new skills,

Legend of the Skyfish looks gorgeous and is made from beautiful hand-painted art, intricate action puzzles and unique enemies over a huge world of 45 handcrafted levels. Features include:

  • Unique fishing/grappling hook mechanics
  • Gorgeous hand-painted environments and creatures
  • Original music score by Sean Beeson
  • 45 handcrafted levels
  • Epic boss fights
  • Many items to find and use
  • Various puzzles to solve
  • Great for all ages!

Tuesday, August 20, 2019

Review: Gravity Duck

Gravity Duck offers a clever twist on the platforming challenge, where jumping puts you on the ceiling or back on the floor, and going through a gravity gate puts you on walls. With that in mind you need to navigate tricks and traps, bats, spitting vegetables and other threats to collect golden eggs at the end of each of the 140-some levels.

Set across a forest, underground, mountains and city backdrops, each puzzle adds a smidge of complexity or challenge, with the joy of doing it all again if you get it wrong. The Duck is on this mission, charged by a stone totem to collect the eggs, and that's about it for the plot but you have little time to worry as arrow blocks and laser beams start triggering to impede your progress.

The first few levels show you the gravitational ropes, and then its a matter of finding the solution to reach the end of each level. There's plenty of mistakes to make along the way as parts of the level can be obscured, or you time a jump just as the sliding block comes back at you. Still, its another easy platinum to the collection and the later levels to pack a fearsome challenge.

Gravity Duck is another neat challenge of narrow pixel escapes for Vita owners, but there are seriously too many of these coming thick and fast now, hot on the heels of Hoggy2, Awesome Pea and many more.  If someone wants to up their game, add some plot, add different routes, add secrets, add anything to make it just a little different.

Score: 6/10
More Reviews
Price: £3.99 (PSN)
Developer/publisher: Somepx/Woblyware/Ratalaika
File size 29MB
Progress:  Platinum
(review code provided)

Mekabolt riveting its way to the Vita soon

The Vita trophy listing for Mekabolt is up, there are signs of dev-types playing it on the Vita, so I guess another pixel-fun puzzle arcade game is on the way, likely to coincide with the Steam release.

UPDATE: The game is live now on the UK PSN.

Crafted by solo dev and pixel artist Somepx, their first effort, and published by Ratalaika, it is described as a game where you "Use your trusty Mekabolt device to manipulate robots, solve a variety of puzzling levels and obtain batteries to fix the robots!" It looks like a pretty classy use of pixels, set in a theme park where the technician has to collect batteries to repair the haywire robots, over 100 levels of increasingly fiendish puzzles.

Friday, August 16, 2019

Pantsu Hunter brings love to the Vita

Pantsu Hunter: Back to the 90s is a fun adult visual novel about a retro love quest, ported by Sometimes You to the Vita landing at the end of August. Don't get too aroused though, as noted by the dev: "Warning: It's not kind of "18+" game at all so don't expect any nudity or sex scenes here (at least in console versions), but it's more recommended for adult players anyway. Especially if you're still remember 90s atmosphere."

Trophy listing here. Also be aware of a tech issue with the Vita port. "There's a known problem in Vita version with memory leaks which could happen if you'll try to play all of girls stories in a row. Highly recommended to play one chapter at the time and restart the game after."

Monday, August 12, 2019

Gravity Duck falls to Vita this week

The Ratalaika/Wobylware port of Ravenous' Gravity Duck hits the Vita this week on PSN, here's a video of the Flash/mobile original but I'm guessing not a lot has changed as there's been next to no posts or promotion about it. Jump between floor and ceiling (not too dissimilar to Hoggy2) and use the gravity deflectors to stick to walls, navigate the increasingly tricky spike-laden, cute monster-filled levels, etc.

Monday, August 5, 2019

Shooter Habroxia heads to the Vita soon

Artist/designer WanyoDos and developer/publisher Lillymo (Perils of Baking) are bringing a shiny new chrome-tinged pixel shooter to the Vita and PS4, and I love a fun little pixel shooter. Not much detail yet or a video, but the trophy listing (with a Platinum) is up, suggesting an imminent release and the screens reveal a mix of horizontal and vertical action, big bosses and plenty of power-ups.

Habroxia should be hitting the Vita early Autumn.

Friday, August 2, 2019

Review: Hoggy2

I've skipped reviewing a couple of recent Ratalaika ports like Bouncy Bullets and Toy Tanks, that have drably failed to grab my attention. But Hoggy2 has that look of class to it that makes it worth a deeper play.

What happened to the original Hoggy is my first question, and it turns out that was a 10-year old iPhone game. The sequel came out on Steam a couple of years ago. Which explains the bright and cheery graphics now doing the rounds on most consoles. Seriously, Hoggy2 is a splendid explosion of colour and fruity graphics on the OLED screen.

At first glance it appears to be a mix of match 3 games and a platformer, but as your Hoggy heroes see their kids swiped by snappish Moon Men, it turns into a more complex affair with skills, traps and challenges to overcome if they have any hope of seeing the little Hoglings again.

The early levels are pretty simple, your Hoggy, a jelly-like creature, has a main of skill of being able to stick to the ceilings, defying gravity, so floors and the undersides of platforms are all avenues to progression, replacing the usual jump mechanic.

Each level is broken down into a series of jars you jump into Mario-style, opening up a little section where you need to get all the fruit, to get a key or a bunch of them, to open up the next area etc etc. With sturdy progression curve along the way, it soon gets trickier than it looks with over 200 levels to play through.

Blocks and obstacles need to be overcome using your own powers (by eating acorns) or using the cute little nasties to do the work, with bombs, eight-balls and other power-ups helping along the way. Each puzzle is tightly designed, and constantly introduces new elements like bouncing clouds, flame pits and other things to navigate with different solutions (and ways to die) constantly on offer. Note, there is a kid's mode if you want to let younger gamers play at reduced difficulty.

If you do get stuck, a tap of the triangle button resets the level instantly, and you can try again, it should only take a couple of efforts to figure out the right way to win the key. Hoggy2 comes with a fun drag-and-drop level maker if you fancy a go at your own designs. In short bursts, Hoggy2 is surprising fun and a great little challenge. The levels become hectic with enemies, bosses requiring a basic strategy to defeat.

Looking lovely and providing plenty of quick-burst fun, Hoggy2 is one of the better recent ports to the Vita, and hopefully signs of uptick in quality.

Score: 7/10
More Reviews
Price: £3.99 (PSN)
Developer/publisher: Raptisoft/Ratalaika
File size 39MB
Progress:  A few jars downed
(review code provided)