Grab your kids! – 60 Seconds

60-second warning before the bombs drop! Hurry- grab your kids, grab your wife, they’re dropping bombs up in here! Quick, grab some water, grab some canned food, grab your grandad’s rifle. You’ll be dead in a week if you don’t! No time for hesitation! Where is Timmy?!?! He is in the garage, throw him into the blast shelter. We need…. Bombs about to drop! Quick in the shelter or I’ll be toast as well. It is a good thing this was just a test, there were so many more things I could have grabbed. Well, that is until the tutorial is over. Can you survive a nuclear catastrophe?

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When a real bomb drops, who knows who will make it? You may not even get your whole family to a place of safety. Now not only would you have to survive in a cramped metal coffin, you’d have to deal with the loss of a loved one. In one minute, could you have all of your needed supplies to a place of survival? What do you grab? Even the simplest thing could lead to your demise, like a map. I mean in today’s world of smartphones, who has a map? With all these different things on your mind, “60 seconds” brings these aspects into a presentable format. A scary one at that.

Day one. All of us made it down to the shelter. In a distant life, we barely remember stocking this place with a radio and some other gadgets. It smells like mold and it’s tight. Some of us will be sleeping on cans tonight but at least we’re all safe. We barely had time to grab all of our necessities, but we have some cans of food and some bottled water. No need to worry about any robbers or the like, we have grandad’s shotgun. Now, at this point, the game has changed from a 3D grab everything run and gun to a still scene that is only narrated through a journal. The story is what makes this game replayable.

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However, after the initial rush is over it can be pretty dull after more than one play-through. The concept is great, attempting to survive in your fallout shelter. The rules are simple as well. Stay alive, and keep at least one adult alive. So in some regard, it is more worthwhile to send your children out to the waste because there is no penalty for losing them. If your adults die, then you lose. This aspect of the game can be pretty unrealistic because, in my mind, I wouldn’t want to lose my children.  Also, if you haven’t grabbed enough food, don’t fret, send someone to find some.

You can send one person at a time on an adventure that you don’t get to see but is narrated by your journal, and they can scavenge for supplies. The realism of the wear and tear on these members are shown when they return. There is also noticeable changes in members of your bunker as they need water and food. You’ll go days and days just continuing to maintain your rations, and hope that the military will save you. The radio and the map are the most important things for this to be successful. So which is it, will the military save you, or will you die?

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Gloriously Difficult – They Are Billions Review

Every so often a game comes along that is so fiendishly difficult, it consistently reduces you to the very ends of frustration. They Are Billions is such a game; so ruthlessly, gloriously hard, it never fails to keep you hooked.

They Are Billions places you in charge of a fledgeling colony in a future steampunk era where humanity has largely been wiped out by a zombie plague, with the roving undead being the titular “billions”.

It plays remarkably like a classic RTS game like Age of Empires II, Command & Conquer or Empire Earth; off-scale buildings sit on the main map alongside your own units, where battle is waged with the roving undead.

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As the leader of the colony, it is your responsibility to find more resources to harvest, fuel the growth of industry, and of course, prevent the zeds from infecting every last one of your citizens.

That last one is much, much easier said than done.

The zeds already on the map are usually manageable – the real trouble starts when one of the periodic stampedes pours in from a random direction in a relentless assault on your defences.

I’d like to think that I’m no strategy game novice, but They Are Billions is on another level. I have yet to beat even one game on the difficulty rating encouragingly, but perhaps inaccurately, described as “accessible”. Time after time, I watch, with my head in my hands, as zombies overrun my base, wiping out my command centre, and losing yet again.

All of this might seem as though I’m leading to a negative place, but quite the contrary. I can’t quite recall playing a game that provides such a tactical challenge as They Are Billions, to the extent that I just can’t tear myself away from it. And from an Early Access game, that’s quite an achievement.

The great thing about They Are Billions is that it is possible to tweak the difficulty, and much more than on a simple “easy/medium/hard” scale.

Each survival game lets you tweak the difficulty settings before you start, defining both the game duration and zombie population. A shorter game might seem like the more attractive option, but a higher number of zombies in a smaller timeframe means more frequent raids.

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Each combination yields a percentage score modifier, and beating each map over and above a certain amount unlocks the next one – for example, the first map needs over 20%, and the second over 60%.

Despite the scalable difficulty, even on the easiest settings, the looming threat of defeat lies in the grasping hands of just one zombie. This is truly the unique selling point of They Are Billions and the root of its insane challenge. Yes, there are billions, and if you let even one in, your colony is probably undead toast.

This is because once each building is infected, each human working or living in it becomes a hungry corpse. Before you know it, there’s a cascade effect where half your colony is now an infected husk, and it’s far too late to do anything about it.

And to make things even more difficult, buildings often only have to take two or three hits to become infected. It’s not like the good old days of C&C, riding the cavalry in to rescue a flaming building with 10hp left – by the time you’ve been notified your base is under attack in They Are Billions, it’s usually too late.

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This potentially crushing pressure is offset by the fact that the game strongly encourages you to make liberal use of the pause function, which you can do at any time. They Are Billions is in no rush; it’s not about memorising keyboard shortcuts to act in as few seconds as possible, it’s about thinking through a strategy and employing it in as much time as you need.

Just by looking at the global achievement stats on Steam, it’s clear to see that I’m not the only one being challenged by They Are Billions. And look at the graphics, with such a gorgeous colour palette

The game was a viral hit over the festive period, infecting thousands of Steam accounts faster than the in-game zombies. At this early stage of production, it’s exciting to consider that They Are Billions could mature into an even more impressive title. If you’re not a fan of difficult strategy games, you’ll hate it – but RTS buffs do yourself a favour and pick it up.

Check out the Game: http://store.steampowered.com/app/644930/They_Are_Billions/

One Strike Review – The Quick and Easy Fighter

Have you ever been playing a fighting game and thought to yourself, “this is way too hard?” Well, One Strike is the solution to that exact problem. The game is so simple that it only takes about two-three minutes to be a master at it. The game revolves around six characters who you have the option of playing as. With the character you pick, you will then face off against said six characters back to back. The main catch of the game is that if either player is hit once, they lose. So in the story mode, if you get hit you will restart back to your first fight.

There isn’t much story to the game, it is basically just a 2D, pixelated fighter where you go from fight to fight. The other game modes are a versus mode, which I personally believe would be more fun than the game itself, a tag team mode where you play with an AI against two other AI, a Tournament mode, which puts you into a bracket tournament with up to seven other players, and a “practice” like mode where you face off against the enemies from the story with five lives instead of one. The problem I see with the Tournament mode is the ability to have seven players playing at once. There is no online interaction with the game so it would have to be eight people clustered around a computer with only two playing at a time. And if you do not have eight people for the mode, it replaces them with bots.

The story mode has three difficulties, which are easy, medium, and hard. Easy is in my own opinion far too easy, so once beaten I moved on to medium difficulty, which ramped up the difficulty a little bit, but not enough for it to be a challenge. Finally, when I reached hard mode I was expecting a huge jump in the difficulty of the AI, but alas, I was wrong. All in all, it took me about an hour and a half to beat every difficulty on the main story.

In my personal opinion, the game is not that great, it’s not even that good, but I still gave it a shot and it kept me busy for a while. A few things that could help it out would be to increase the number of characters, thus making the story longer, and have a custom control setup. The controls were kind of tight on the keyboard. The game isn’t inherently bad, it just lacks a story and seemed too easy to master, which is why I did not enjoy it.

With some changes made, I’d love to revisit this article and give it another shot!

EnomView Score 4/10

Liked this review and looking for more cool games? Check out our Steam games section, here!

Exploding Rodents – Tooth and Tail Review

It’s time to rally your troops! We need a fighting force. A team of soldiers that know how to use their weapons and defend the base. They need to be fed, so it’s time to farm up some resources to suit their needs. We’ll need proper defenses and the leadership needs to know how to bring it all together to take the fight to the enemy! We’ll need all of the ferrets and rodents we can gather, and don’t forget the warthogs!

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Yeah, you’re using animals to fight a war full of pistols, mortar cannons, and strategic structure building. Sounds normal to me, what’s your deal?

“Tooth and Tail” is a real-time strategy game that is very reminiscent of the Red Wall Book series by Brian Jacques. The artwork for the game is quite beautiful, and the graphics are nothing special, but they do work for the game quite well. The gameplay is quite simple and very fast-pace. As soon as you start the game, you are treated to quite the simple tutorial that goes smoothly and easily without over-explaining anything. Given the fact that there have been so many tutorials out there that grate against your face like a brick full of holes and interrupt your gameplay constantly, it is worth taking the time to appreciate these pregame sessions that do it right.

Compared to the normal RTS, this one is pretty simple. It has its high points, and simplicity is definitely one of them. One thing that this does entail, however, is that the gameplay is extremely fast-paced. Sometimes a little too fast-paced. There are levels where the enemy comes at you with a decent attack every so often, then there’s a stage where the opposing team will charge you with copious amounts of suicide bombers one after the other. There comes a time where kamikaze attacks just cannot be repelled. Your troops and defenses can only shield you against so many explosions. These stages get especially frustrating, and just downright impossible.

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Unlike your normal strategy army games, this one has you controlling a single unit that acts as a commander for the rest of the troops. The controls are extremely simple, and the tutorial captures that simplicity very well. However, the vulnerability that this presents is concerning, as it means that a single wrong move could kill your leader at any point. Still, on the flipside, it’s a good bit of challenge overall and adds the need to maneuver your character to the list of unique mechanics. It keeps you actively involved, as keeping your protagonist safe is imperative.

Still, despite its shortcomings, this game is highly addictive. Like any good army building game, you want to push your army as far as it can go. The battle sequences are satisfying in their simplicity and you will relish each victory as your furry friends take down more savagely cute animals. As you may have noticed, if you’re an animal enthusiast, this may not be the game for you.

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As stories go, it’s kind of lacking, but at the same time, it doesn’t get in the way of the enjoyment of the overall game. There are times when the game can be mercilessly cruel and unfair, but it is a lot of fun, especially if you are a fan of strategy games. Be sure to give it a look!

Enomview Rating: 8/10

Dead in Space – Space Pirates and Zombies 2 Review

If there’s ever a game that delivers exactly what it says on the tin, it’s Space Pirates and Zombies 2. You’ve got your pirates, and you’ve got your zombies. Dozens of each. And they whizz around space blowing holes in each other until one wins.

It almost seems like it could be the result of a crazy drunken conversation, like the answer to who’d win in a fight – a caveman or an astronaut? Space pirates or zombies?

But once you get past the initial incongruous premise, there’s a surprising amount of depth that the apparently silly name belies. The unfortunately abbreviated SPAZ2 delivers a persistent galaxy containing 200 unique space captains, each with their own ship and equipment, who can all do exactly what you can as the protagonist.

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This ranges from simply flying around the galaxy map, picking fights and evading stronger rivals, to building starbases and harvesting resources. You can issue bounties, gather allies, and eventually defeat the zombie threat that rears its ugly head again.

I say again, because of course Space Pirates and Zombies 2, as the number at the end there signifies, is a sequel. Not being familiar with the first title, I occasionally got a bit lost with the cast of characters that kept reappearing, and past events being alluded to.

However, the plot is structured in a way that playing the first title isn’t necessary. And there’s a great lore system that lets you unlock historical facts about the background of the franchise and familiarise yourself.

But enough about idling on the galaxy map and the historical facts – the real star of the show in Space Pirates and Zombies 2 is the combat system, paired with a rich and diverse catalogue of parts to customise your perfect mothership.

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There are several types of part – cores, wings, noses, weapons, knees and toes…maybe not the last two. But each part provides different bonuses to shield strength, armour, turn speed, acceleration, and other factors. Weapons operate in a similar way, but different types causing various damage types to enemy ships.

All of these different modules make for an extremely robust and varied system to construct the perfect ship for your playing style. Personally, I opted for a speedy little number that could close in to point-blank range, quickly blast the opponents’ shields away with front-mounted shotguns, and then ram their hull into oblivion.

But equally valid would be a long-range sniper, an artillery ship, a carrier fielding dozens of smaller craft…the variations are extremely diverse. Combat is really fun, and put me in mind of Rebel Galaxy, with the added benefit of being able to skip all of the long haul journeys by switching back to the galaxy map after combat is over.

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Even better is that there’s an arena system that lets you try out pre-configured ships with different styles. And of course the other 199 captains in the galaxy can each upgrade their own ships.

The result is a constantly evolving mass of faction politics, betrayals, and sectors changing hands from one group to another as combat rages across the galaxy. And that’s even before we throw the zombies into the mix.

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The undead menace in Space Pirates and Zombies 2 are presented as a mutation of flesh and technology, but essentially, whenever the zombies beat another captain, they join their ranks as per the classic rule of the dead rising again with a hunger for flesh; or biomatter and technology, in this case.

They can be healed by spending a large amount of the game’s sparse and precious fuel source, Rez, or repeatedly battled. Fortunately for the captains of the galaxy of SPAZ2, being defeated doesn’t necessarily mean death; as a last resort, an escape pod takes you to the nearest starbase, or for their vanquished undead counterparts, a spore pod.

The main story will take about 15-20 hours to complete, and there’s a sandbox mode to extend the fun indefinitely. Space Pirates and Zombies 2 is a fun game that balances humour and peril adeptly; it’s pretty to look at, and offers a rich and diverse combat system. You could definitely do a lot worse with a name like Space Pirates and Zombies 2!

EnomView Score: 8 out of 10

Cooperative Madness – We Were Here Review

Co-op mode has been pervasive in video games for as long as we can remember, tracing back to the dawn of modern gaming back in the 80’s. Although there is a smattering of game titles that do this mode justice, cooperative modes often seem tacked on and insignificant. A lot of times a game’s design simply wasn’t built around the experience of multiple players. Not so much for We Were Here, an indie game by Total Mayhem Games that’s built around pure co-op and is not playable alone. While the game is rather short, clocking just over 40 minutes for us, it feels refreshing.

After connecting with a friend through a lobby (you can play with strangers, but a close friend is preferable) and watching a short cutscene where you and your friend travel through a snowy valley into an ominous looking building, the game sets you down into either a library or a medieval-looking dungeon. I say ‘either’ because you don’t actually start out together. You only get to meet up again at the very end of the game, and up until then, you’ll have to communicate through a walkie-talkie, guiding each other through a variety of puzzles looking to escape.

The beauty lies in miscommunication, the difficulty in communication truly creates a bond between players. If you start out in the library it’s your job to help the other player solve their puzzles so that person can, in turn, open doors for you to progress. Neither of you has all the pieces to the puzzle, so the game quickly turns into a game of 20 questions where you are both frantically describing your surroundings before one of you meets an unfortunate end.

Some of the puzzles are quite ingenious. They’re hard to describe without spoiling too much, but one puzzle has one player blindly grasping for levers that move theatrical set pieces on a stage in the other player’s world. That player has to listen to a narrator describing the story and communicate with the other player to move the set pieces in the right position throughout a five-act play. Be fast though, because a shadowy figure is moving up through the audience to kill you.

The back and forth puzzles between two players are fun and engaging. Too bad it doesn’t last too long because it’ll all be over in about 40 minutes. But it’s hard to fault the game for this since the game is free! Do you have a friend and some time to spare? Try out We Were Here!

EnomView Score: 8 out of 10

Check the game out: http://store.steampowered.com/app/582500/We_Were_Here/

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Chillingly Dark – I Fell From Grace Review

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So much of this game is spent running around. You hop out of windows, you jump at all sounds. Your job is turning to crap and you’re not scraping by. Your life is going down, your wife’s gonna die. You get into a mess to look for some keys, all you can think “SOMETHING HAPPEN PLEASE!” Strange things are afoot and people are talking, no time for that though, you need to get walking. Up and down and up you go, gathering stuff and buying some blow. Stranger dreams keep coming about, then something starts telling you that time’s running out. People are dying and no music is playing, it’s almost like the whole game’s delaying! I’m sorry for rhyming, but the problem is that the game does it too until you shout “Gee Whizz!”

Alright, done with the rhyming, but seriously, the game rhymes throughout its entire playthrough. The game is merciless in the rhyming and while it can be charming at first, it causes a lot of the dialogue to become stilted and bland. “I Fell From Grace” is a puzzle solving game where you play as Henry, a guy who is just simply down on his luck and seems to be taking quite badly, but who can blame him? Not only is his job on the line but his wife is dying and her medical bills are becoming a serious issue. So right off the bat, the guy is relatable.

Check out The Binding of Issac, a similarly dark, amazing game.

The game does set a good tone throughout it, that is, a very bleak and gloomy one. However, that doesn’t really save it from being a little too needlessly complicated in its set up. The big problem is that while the story is going on, you run into some of the most ridiculous roadblocks and detours from seemingly random directions. You’ll be on/ the job and you’ll need to do something, but hark! What’s this? An item for someone to get them to do something? Well, let’s just go downtown and get that item for them because we don’t have money to actually pay them. This game mechanic can work in a lot of cases, but not when it’s the core gameplay and you’ve already killed thirty minutes trying to decipher what’s on each floor of the building you work at.

 

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The story, however, is actually quite interesting. You start having strange dreams and start getting cryptic items from different people and the mail. However, after this happens, the story becomes extremely dark and very strange, which is a good thing. You start making some hard choices and doing some very questionable things to reach your goal. While it is nice that this guy is willing to do nearly everything for his wife, it starts to get a bit ludicrous after a while.

So to recap, we have a very dark and interesting story, a very devoted husband who we can identify with on some level, and a job we all can know and hate. These are all very good story elements, however, does it translate well into a game? The answer is a big huge shrug. There is a crowd for this type of game for sure. However, if you are not a huge fan of puzzle games nor are you a big fan of the story elements in a game, this is definitely not a game for you. There is a lot of backtracking and it kind of forces you to know where things are or else you will be wandering around for quite a while before it allows you to advance.

That is not exactly a strike against the game, though, as there are people who enjoy that type of game. There is an element of mystery that it builds throughout and starts to pull you in. You get items that change your luck such as medicine with amazing effects. People start coming up and talking to you, telling you that things are going to start happening. While you think that these are good things, the deeper you go, the more dreadful things are actually becoming.

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If you are in this for the heart-pounding narrative, you should probably just turn back now. The game has some things going for it, but a pulse is not one of them. The worst part of this game is how much it drags, especially at the very beginning before you start getting to the meat of the storyline. Some of the plot elements take entirely too long to develop and there is a risk of losing interest if you are not enveloped into it early on. First impressions do not do this game any favours. While the game does get to that amazing point eventually, the level of excitement is lacking. Some may consider it outright boring.

With a lack of music, for the most part, it is quite impressive that this game has the tone that it does. If you can get beyond some of its shortcomings, you can get some good gameplay out of this game. It’s only around 2 – 3 hours of gameplay and the price may make you cringe at the prospect, but it’s worth a shot if you find the premise interesting. Overall, I would recommend it for fans of the darker puzzle games or adventures willing to delve into the depths of this grim, virtual world.

EnomView Score: 8 out of 10

Cuphead: “But I can’t!”

Image resultIt seems the further down the line we get from the golden days of the video game consoles, the more we forget where our roots lie. After the video game crash of ‘83, the entertainment systems were brought to homes across the country with a brand new look and idea of how games should work. The idea was to make the games difficult to cause the player to want to play it more, and thus play it longer by both length and hardship of the game.

This is why the current dilemma of Cuphead is puzzling. Suddenly it seems that some players are voicing their opinion that the game is too hard and not open to the vast populace of gamers to play. They say that it should have a version that is easier so that more people can play it and beat it. Where’s the fun in that? Isn’t the point of the game to play it and enjoy the challenge of it? If you were able to binge play it in one sitting, where is the satisfaction? Challenge is a good thing. The point of it is that you get better as you play, and your hand-eye coordination improves as you do. Yes, it can get frustrating but that just makes the experience that much more worth it in the end once you actually manage to beat it.

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There are so many games that are considered great that are so devilishly hard, they have earned great infamy over the ages. Well, guess what? They are still remembered today as icons of their time. Games like Castlevania, Dark Souls, Contra, Ghosts and Goblins are all considered difficult, yet still have a place in the consoles with both classic gamers and new gamers alike. Cuphead should not have to compromise its overall level design for the sake of covering a bigger demographic. The difficulty of the game is part of its identity and the reason so many people love it.

There is a very old and widely spread quote that hits the nail on the head on this subject: “If you try to please everyone, you’ll end up pleasing no one.” Say the game does set up a “very easy” option. There will be crowds of gamers out there disappointed for the developers selling out. You pleased one crowd of people, but now your demographic are all disheartened, maybe even feeling betrayed. Once you get right down to it, the crowd that you end up pleasing won’t be completely satisfied either. You decreased the hard parts, but it may not have made the game easy enough for them. Instead of slapping the plate off the table and demanding the developers “make it again!” How about we all be thankful that such a game exists in the first place. Seriously, these people have worked ever so hard to make this game already. The creation of this game was not a cake walk, it already had several delays and frustrations in the production that they almost, an irony of ironies, rage quit themselves. People don’t understand the process of making a game is vastly more difficult than they think. A game like Cuphead would need to dig into its very core to reduce the challenge, and would it really be worth it? After all is said and done, no.

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The solution? Stick to your guns. Cuphead has already broken the multi-million copies sold in such a short amount of time. It did that on its own volition and game mechanics. With its unique art style, fantastic gameplay and control, Cuphead is already an up and coming classic in the making. Compromising the integrity for something so trivial as a lower difficulty just would not be worth it. The game already took forever to create as it was. It was created with an art style that has not seen the light of day for some time now, and these people are expecting them to go out of their way to change it to satisfy a demographic that may or may not buy it in the first place? Let’s face it, probably not.

The main point is to be happy with what we have. If the game wasn’t already amazing to begin with, no one would have even heard of it in the first place. Cuphead has already garnered its own following, gotten rave reviews across the board, and raged true blue gamers with its extensively difficult but amazingly gorgeous methods of play. If you need to, take it with a grain of salt, and drink your water.

 

An Interview with Veetorp – Legend of Zelda Randomizer (ALTTP)

The Legend of Zelda A Link to the past Randomizer grew big in a short time. Today we will be having one of the developers of the program in for the interview. It is Veetorp, one of the lead programmers of this project. Without his dedication, this would never have become as good as it is today.

From several people I have heard that you are the one behind the randomizer code, who first started working on it. What pushed you to make that randomizer?

I rewrote the randomizer code to what it is today based on code that Dessyregt originally wrote in C#. He had written a Super Metroid Randomizer and adapted the ideas from that into A Link to the Past. It wouldn’t be fair to say I first started working on it, but I certainly made it what it is today. For me personally, I love this game, and I love the logic puzzles of all the ways the game allows you to get different things. I am a programmer by nature, so once I got my teeth into it, I couldn’t stop writing code and making it better.

A programmer by nature is a good thing to be these days, and that definitely made the randomizer into a piece of art already. I have seen many runs of this game and played a few randomizes as well. I can agree this is a great game for this. Yet while making the Randomizer, I am sure you have run into many hardships. Like changing the item location would require a lot of work. What was the hardest thing you have encountered so far in making this? 

We have a great team of guys around the project, really brilliant guys. A lot of the time, if something seems impossible, just talking it out with them or asking help has gone a long way. From a randomizer perspective, one of the hardest things has been working out a fill algorithm that is both fast and achieves the most varied results possible, as well as the logic involved in some of the more “interesting” dungeons. Palace of Darkness has had its logic overhauled countless times, including an eight-hour call between me and ChristosOwen, where we tried to figure out every possible way someone could key-lock in the dungeon.

The game itself was almost originally designed to handle moving around items around. Moving 1 item from a chest on one side of the world to another chest is surprisingly easy, but when you modify some of the more interesting item locations, that becomes harder. Bombos Tablet is an example of this. Karkat had to rewrite large portions of the item draw code to enable randomization of the standing items locations like that.

So the normal items itself were easy to move around. Were all item locations found already by the time you started, or did you have to dig deep into the code to find them all?

A fair amount of them were found or created. Most of the recent deep digging into the code has been for all the extras and added modes we have been working on currently and recently.

One of your recently added modes is Key-sanity. Was it easy to implement that, besides changing what the maps and compass do in the game? I can imagine it harder to make sure the keys and dungeon items stayed in their own dungeon.

For Key-sanity we had to create 58 brand new items to the game. The keys, maps, and compasses were tied to their dungeon. The game only had generic versions of these and based the item you got on where you got it. We also had to completely reimagine our randomizer to understand what it meant to find keys outside their own dungeon.

So it required a lot more work after all. Did this reimagining give you any new insights? Any possibility for new game modes or variations?

Very Much so, we have 2 larger variations we are working on right now. It also made the logic a little easier to maintain, although it is a little more complex.

Anything you can reveal about the two larger variations, or is it all a secret for now?

One involves a more Zelda1-esque key situation, currently named Key-Sanity-b. The other one will be a fun surprise.

Sounds interesting, and a possible new article as well when the surprise has been released. But to the other point, today in the daily race, I noticed that Christmas has arrived to Hyrule. While many online games nowadays do something for this season, what inspired you into doing this?

The whole team has thrown around ideas of special randomizers at different times: April Fools, St. Patricks Day, Valentines Day. It struck me this season to really just push for it. It certainly helped that many of the hackers of AlttP could help out with their specific areas of expertise. Plus, it is always fun to spice up the game, it is what we do.

The ice mechanics in the overworld is annoying, but the fact that you don’t need flippers to access several areas also changed the locations you can visit earlier. Did you account for this while making it?

Annoying? Festive! We had a discussion about having the logic account for iced-over lakes and rivers but decided the time would be spent better making all the features we did. I believe in the future we will adjust the logic when we make adjustments like this. The sequence breaks for not having flippers is mostly harmless.

It was an early decision to keep the Ice Physics only on the overworld. Dungeons would have been way too hard, and there would be countless bugs to solve.

And we are all glad that it stayed in the overworld, well maybe except Moldorm. With this festive edition, there is a poem on the site and at the ending as well. As a poet myself, I am wondering who thought up the poem.

That is our very own walking_eye, one of the newest members to the team. I asked for a short description of the mode without giving him too many details, and that poem arrived. It was like getting a gift myself, so amazing.

I can say he has talent. How long will people be able to enjoy the festive randomizer?

Currently, we are planning to keep it available until the new year.

That will give our readers a chance to try it out on the release of the interview. One subject that we did not touch yet, however, are the custom sprites. From what I know of trying to change sprites of SNES games, this is a hell. How did you overcome this?

Surprisingly, Link’s graphics are all in a single location and not compressed. With a few graphic editing tools out there it is actually relatively easy to swap them out for a different set. We also have a large active group of sprite developers that have been pumping them out like candy.

That is a surprise for a SNES game. And the large group is certainly helpful for that as well. What is your favorite sprite so for in this and why?

I really do like them all, laughably original Link is my favorite. It holds so much childhood nostalgia. I will say to try the updated Santa Link, he got a little spruce up for the season.

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Some of the sprites people can select for the randomizer.

Original Link because of the nostalgia is a good reason. Personally, I prefer to take the Touhou characters. While I will be waiting for more of them to appear, I heard that V28 of the randomizer will appear very soon. What can we expect in that one?

It certainly is getting closer, V28 is adding a feature on the site of a “Daily Game” where is pregenerates 1 game each day of different settings. This way people can play the same game at different times, or try new modes they hadn’t thought of before. We are also updating the link Entrance Randomizer to have some of the new features that Amazing Ampharos has been putting in, like Key-Sanity Entrance Randomizer. There will also be a slew of fixes for the Customizer we put in V27.

That would be very interesting to see. Do you have any tips for new runners of this randomizer? Anything they should begin with?

First I would suggest joining the discord, there are so many great people in the community that are very happy to help out. Then I would certainly suggest playing through the original game, getting a feel for the mechanics is very helpful. This also helps with the general knowledge of Vanilla locations. Then I would suggest watching a few people stream the game, they will give great tips on routing and how to get through certain sticky situations. Don’t get discouraged by your early runs taking over 2 hours, my first rando took me 5 hours. People who sub 1:30 randomizer regularly have played it a lot. And most of all, just have fun playing it.

My first 4 runs ended in unfinished runs, the 4th one sadly due to a crash of my console at Ganon. Crossproduct’s tracker did help me a lot in learning the different item locations and what is required for those. Would you recommend his tracker as well for beginners or do you have a different one in mind?

I would absolutely recommend Crossproduct’s tracker, that guy is both amazing and brilliant. The world map tracker is super valuable to new runners, just knowing where you can go is probably one of the most important things in item randomizer. He is also my roommate for AGDQ (Awesome Games Done Quick) this year.

That is great. We do plan to cover AGDQ as well, even if none of our team can be there. I did not check the schedule of it yet, but will there be a randomizer at it as well?

You’re in for a treat. Saturday night ChristosOwen and Andy will be doing a race.

Living in Europe, I guess I will miss the best stuff once again. Anyway, we are nearing the end of this interview. Do you have any last words to our readers?

Thank you all for your time, I hope you guys get a chance to try the randomizer and enjoy it as much as I do.


For more information about the randomizer, check our previous article where we cover the basics of it here.

5 Fun Games for Less Than 10 Dollars – Bitten Toast Games Bundle

Every one of Bitten Toast Games’ titles are currently on sale. That in itself is amazing, but what’s even more amazing is that you can get all of them at the same time for under $10. Pick up a copy of the famous game What the Box? alongside their newest title, Winter Warland.

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Winter Warland, a title similar to What the Box?, has you controlling a snowman hidden among a field of statues that look exactly the same as you. Play with your friends, also disguised as quirky snowmen. Sort through the endless amount of clones in search of your real enemies.

Keep fighting until you’re the last player standing. Utilizing your long-range snowballs and carrot-shiv, clear away your enemies one by one. The Christmas themed maps are perfect for battling your friends over the holiday. Winter Warland isn’t the only thing you get when purchasing this package though!

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You’ll also receive a title that I’ve been wanting to pick up myself: Rocket Fist. Alongside the Rocket Fist soundtrack, you receive a title that looks energetic and fast-paced. Use rocket-propelled fists in this wacky game to subdue your friends and claim victory.

You could find the whole collection of games and purchase the bundle here: http://store.steampowered.com/app/413500/Rocket_Fist/

Have a Merry Christmas!