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Attack of the Unstoppable Gorg!!!

At the farthest reaches of the Solar System scientists have discovered a mysterious tenth planet! The legendary Planet X! But unfortunately it turns out to be inhabited by the terrible Gorg, hell bent on eradicating the human race with the aid of flying brain monsters living on Jupiter. Sound like a plot from a cheesy 50’s B-movie? Good, because that’s largely the inspiration behind Unstoppable Gorg from Futuremark Games Studio.

I, for one, welcome our new tinfoil overlords

A lot of narrative is presented to you in the format of old cinema newsreels and robots frequently look like cardboard boxes or toasters with eyeballs. UFOs hang very obviously from fishing wire. Terrible special effects abound. If that sounds like something you’d watch over a takeaway pizza with a few cans of beer, this game might just be for you.

At it’s core, Unstoppable Gorg is a variant of the now (in my humble opinion) slightly stale genre of Tower Defence. A few hundred creeps are on their way to your base and you must build armed towers to eradicate them before too many get there. But wait, there’s a twist! Your ‘towers’ here are orbital satellites around the planet you have been tasked with defending. You’ll get a few different orbital rings at different radii and each has a few pre-set locations to build at. However, the entire ring can be rotated about the planet to reposition your satellites. In most tower defence games, strategy usually consists of forcing the creeps to take the longest path by blocking their routes and countering their individual weaknesses. In Unstoppable Gorg, you’ll find yourself having to deal with continually moving all your units to deal with your enemies constantly changing angles of attack. One creep slipped you by? Move your orbit to chase it down, but at the cost of opening up your defence elsewhere. It makes for a much faster paced game; very rarely is the occasion you’ll find yourself holding down fast-forward to make things happen.

Oh no! They got K9!

Unstoppable Gorg still has a lot of rock-paper-scissors type stuff going on: brains are weak to physical damage and resistant to energy weapons and other enemies have their own strengths and weaknesses so you’ll need a well balanced armament to counter them, especially if they team up on you. Tips learned from Plants vs Zombies seem to be relevant, too. That is to say, generate as many resources as possible because then you can buy the big guns fast. That’s actually pretty difficult early on and it does make some of the early levels a little more challenging than some of the later ones, but with practice, patience and persistence you’ll overcome most of your difficulties in this game.

Visit sunny Mercury!

The soundtrack isn’t extensive, nor is it the kind of thing that’s catchy enough to have you singing it days later. Nonetheless, it fits the cheesy sci-fi bill extremely well and will certainly have you grinning like a loon alongside the flying brains.

If, like me, you love finding the absolute worst films available just for a good laugh, and if you’re also not entirely sick yet of building towers to fend off creeps determined to march along a predetermined path until either they run out of guys or you don’t defend hard enough, then you should probably check out Unstoppable Gorg. If it had been the same old format I might not have enjoyed it quite so much, but the orbital format provides a fresh spin (gettit?) on the genre that stands it out from the crowd.

Unstoppable Gorg is available on Steam for both PC and Mac, iPad, and is coming soon to XBLA.



A Stackingly Good Adventure

Take a dash of silent movie, a pinch of theatre, mix well with a Dickensian and Borrowers-esque world inhabited solely by Russian Matryoshka dolls and blend it all together with Tim Schaefer’s classic style of humour. Bake well at gas mark 6 and you’ll get Stacking, by Double Fine.

Oh, you wanted me to elaborate more than that? Fine, here goes. Set in the industrial age, you play Charlie Blackmore, the youngest child of a large family. Charlie’s father mysteriously disappears and the family falls into debt. In order to repay it, all the children are taken away to be put to work, with the exception of Charlie, who is considered too young to do any real work. You must set out into the world to reunite your family and as a convenient aside, put an end to child labour.

Shoestring budget productions presents...

Every single character in the game, including both people and animals, take the form of russian stacking dolls (hence the game’s title). Charlie, being so small has the unique ability to stack himself with any larger doll (which is pretty much everything but mice) granting him special abilities. Every character has a unique action; these can take the form of a wide range of things, from punching things, to sipping tea or breaking wind or shouting loudly. By combining the relevant abilities correctly you will solve puzzles allowing you to progress. Every puzzle has multiple solutions and whilst only one is needed to be found in order to progress the story, and it’s usually straightforward to manage at least one, half the fun is in going back and attempting to solve it via all of usually three to five different ways. For example your very first challenge is to break into an exclusive club. (MINOR SPOILER ALERT) This can be done by stacking with a nearby woman, seducing the guard then unstacking and quickly running behind him and into the club while they are occupied. Or alternatively, find a mechanic carrying a wrench, stack with him and use his wrench to remove the cover to an air vent then walk inside via the air ducts. There’s one more but I’ll leave it out here in order that some mystery should be preserved. (SPOILER ENDS) For the truly dedicated there are further challenges beyond the main story arc and a set of lesser challenges described as hi-jinks usually involving using a character’s action on specific other characters around the world. The cynical may say this is a cheap way to drag out the length of an otherwise somewhat short game, but I find they’re a fun little diversion.

Visually, Stacking is very charming and original. The Dickensian world is complemented by everyday objects like matchboxes and spoons making up the scenery making it feel as though it is all taking place within The Borrowers’ world, or perhaps more appropriately, an elaborate dolls’ house. Cutscenes are rendered in the style of a silent movie, but with theatrical backdrops and scenery being flown in from above and spotlights picking out characters as though one were watching it on a stage. So ultimately, yes, there’s quite a number of different themes and styles in there but they all work together to make this game something really unique.

I think he plays a key role somewhere

As with any title associated with Tim Schaefer, Stacking is also backed by an eclectic sense of humour. Anyone familiar with the likes of Monkey Island, Psychonauts, Grim Fandango or Brütal Legend will be right at home. The game is one of a number of titles to have been conceived during the development of Brütal Legend. The Double Fine team, in order to alleviate burnout from working on the title for so long, were given two weeks to work independently on anything else they wished. This seems to have been a very positive process as a great deal of originality has come from it.

At £11.49, it’s not the cheapest indie title you’ll ever find but the extra DLC mission, The Lost Hobo King, is thrown in for no extra cost in the PC version, which is always a nice bonus. If you burn through the story only bothering to solve each puzzle one way (which isn’t too hard) there’s a chance you might not feel the title’s worth the asking price, but for those who enjoy exploring and finding all the secrets there’s plenty to keep you entertained for a while.

Stacking is available on Steam, XBLA and PSN. The official site is here.



All Zombies Must Die! Aka Resident Rising 4

I hate zombies, but only in the sense that I love killing them. There’s nothing I enjoy more than putting the dead back where they belong. So you can imagine a title like ‘All Zombies Must Die!’ doesn’t take much to persuade me to buy it.
I am however, picky about what constitutes a good zombie game. I believe there must always be an element of cheese and humour, some gripping no-hope suspense, a massive array of creative weaponry and mutant zombies of all shapes and sizes.. The plot doesn’t necessarily have to be original, it’s just has to not suck..

All Zombies Must Die! attempts to encompass all the major features of popular zombie games, with a tongue-in-cheek sense of humor thrown in. It focuses on aspects such as the levelling and crafting system from Dead Rising, the way zombies like to swarm at you from Left4Dead and mutations from Resident Evil. And it has an Alien! So, from the outset it’s already got my attention.

The title comes from a mission that’s unfortunately not very common in the game. All Zombies Must Die! is the mission you get when you have to move your base to a different section of the map. It just involves killing everything in sight, any way you like. It’s definitely a simple pleasure.
And now that you’ve cleared that section, you’re free to use it as your base. This is where you craft new items, spend levelling up point, choose your primary weapon, get more missions and swap characters.

They should have just called it that.

Enemy types are pretty basic, there’s standard Fodder Zombies, SWAT, Enraged, Joggers, Mad, Exploder, Electrified, etc. They’re all self explanatory. The biggest change is when they come into contact with radiation, then the mutations kick in and they become giants. And depending on status conditions, say if they were maliciously set on fire or electrocuted, they will also have different status effects.

Standing between you and every section of the map, are Gates. Each gate has a little robot that’ll ask things of you every time you want to cross into the next area. They’re like mini-missions on the way towards your more plot driven goal. These get very tedious but by mid game they do start to let you bypass them. Although this feature is frustrating, they’re there to encourage you to experiment with and make use of the environment or elemental conditions. Because without these, you’re not forced to try out the many variants of Zed killing you have at your disposal. In between missions it’s easy to stick with your weapon of choice, but killing is nothing without variety!
Missions aren’t the most demanding. Generally if you can stun your opponents en masse, like with the standard shotgun, you can dance around your foes fairly easily. I’m biased, shotguns are my staple weapon in every game they’re available. Fact is, whether you like it or not you’ll be confronted with enemies close up and you’ll need stopping power. Rapid fire doesn’t stop your foes. It’s weaker, you’re only damaging one Zed at a time and you have to be more accurate. In other games where accuracy is key to cause extra damage to the cranium, fair play. But without the option of a head shot rapid fire hasn’t yet proven to be a viable option in this game, unless your trying to achieve status effects without destroying the weaker Zed.

No respectable zombie game is complete without chainsaws.

Crafting is a great way to up the stats and add status effects to your favoured weapons. It’s not a very imaginatively executed system, but then again, you do get the impression that the game is largely a piss take of the genre. An SMG and Fire Sticks are crafted together into an ‘Inferno Rager SMG’. Other materials you can craft with your weapons include; Spark Plugs, Megaphones, Paynekillers and My First Science Kit.
Finding materials for crafting involves being in specific sections of the map and killing pre-set numbers of Zed, usually with specific status conditions. This is fairly annoying if you haven’t been paying attention to where you find the items, or what status effects they need. Even worse when you don’t bring along the right character or gear, forcing you to back track. But it is something you’ll quickly become accustomed too, I certainly didn’t make this mistake more than three or so times..

Despite this game trying to break the fourth wall with humour, it doesn’t have me in stitches the way Dead Rising 2’s Chuck Greene in a ‘Mankini’ does. I don’t get the same satisfaction of mowing down masses of Zed running at me like in Left4Dead. And no zombie game can ever come anywhere close to Resident Evil’s creative variety of mutants.
But it is certainly an entertaining go-between while you’re waiting for your next major zombie title.

Play it here!



It’s 3am & I’m still dying in Limbo.

This week I bring you another game to make your eye sockets salivate. A fantastic noir styled 2D puzzle platform from Playdead, it’s LIMBO. This game is made of soft focus, black and white, silhouette amazingness.

There’s very little plot to this game, and I gather that what little story there is to tell is mostly implied subliminally. Instead it excels in suspending you fully in it’s shadowy atmosphere. A nameless boy wakes up in a forest (give him a nudge or he will lay there for longer than is awkward) and with only the motivation to survive, he must work his way through a darkened and unfriendly world.

For most of the game you’ll find yourself alone, which is fine because any other living thing in Limbo wants your boy dead. From giant spiders and mind controlling larvae to trap setting children. But mostly you’ll be alone, very, very alone. With an unsettlingly minimal soundtrack (Fans actually requested that it be released on iTunes!) you will find yourself regularly in a state of suspense, even more so when you’re sat playing in the dark, which of course is the only way to play horror games.

Like with most 2D platforms you have the simple choices of left, right, jump, and interact with push and pull. This game doesn’t need complex controls to make it challenging, so very little time is needed to get to grips with actual playing.

Limbo is a world full of horrific ways to die. It does not fall short on impalement, drowning, decapitation, crushing, grinding, bear traps, electrocution, being burned alive.. Chances are, if it’s got pointy corners or you can fall in it you’ll have to figure out how not to die that way the next time. Because every time you make a mistake in Limbo, you’ll pay for it with your boy’s life. Thankfully, to ease frustration, you have an infinite number of lives to discard and the convenient check point system means you’ll never be more than a short jog away from where your boy was last brutally mutilated! So don’t be disheartened.

Explore the environment. The way forward isn’t always just running to the right, and it’s seldom ever backtracking left. Although the game has a beautifully seamless flow in the environment, the puzzles themselves are sectioned into very small, numerous challenges and obstacles, giving you enough space to figure out everything you have to work with to move on. But of course part of the challenge is figuring out exactly what you can and can’t interact with, and since everything’s in silhouette, finding that elusive mechanism for moving forward becomes less and less obvious as the game progresses. And also the order in which events have to happen in each puzzle become more and more elaborate, especially when changing gravity is involved..

This game prides itself on forcing you to think differently about each puzzle you encounter. Even in the early stages of the game you’ll be presented with challenges that seem bleak and impossible when first attempted, all because you didn’t notice you could interact with that scraggy vine or that small piece you could’ve move over there. Again, persistence is key.

I found it helps to gauge the distance your boy can jump, don’t let the game fool you. During your journey the camera will pan in and out, under the guise of letting you view more of the area, but being so absorbed in the surroundings can throw your judgement when it comes to the distance you think he can jump. If you’re not sure, take a running leap of faith.

Despite the sometimes horrific trials you’ll have to endure in Limbo, I’d recommend this game for people who don’t usually enter into the genre. It’s bold and different, it’s challenging and innovative and also it’s just plain fun. And even with its difficulties you can just put it down for a week and come back to it exactly where you left the room to find a corner to cry in..

So I say, enjoy the ambiance and animation, be daring with your jumps and above all, enjoy the wet squelchy noises when you inevitably run into something you shouldn’t have..

There’s even a free demo on Steam, you have no excuses. Play here!


~ Scribble

Well I meant to die there: Chapter 2- Tomb Raider Underworld

Tomb Raider. Possibly one of the most iconic gaming series to have ever been released on a console. Even if like me you aren’t really a gamer, you will have at least heard of both Tomb Raider and the series’ main star, Lara Croft. Revered by hardcore gamers and hardcore perverts everywhere, Lara is without a shadow of a doubt a pop culture icon. So really as a new game in the series is scheduled this year, it was no real surprise the mystical being Roberto lobbed this onto my lap for me to try. I tried not to let the fact he was cackling unnerve me. Or the fact he wasn’t wearing trousers while he stroked the cover.

Now I do have to confess here, I have actually played Tomb Raider before. It was a simpler time, where HD televisions were a thing of fantasy and the use of 3D was merely constricted to those dinosaur magazines (remember those?). Yes, I played Tomb Raider 2. And yes, I remember absolutely nothing about the game. apart from the fact you could lock the butler in the fridge. Potential homicide aside, Tomb Raider 2 left no real impression on me. Thankfully its latest incarnation, Tomb Raider Underworld, did.

The story is basically this. Lara is trying to find out what happened to her mother, who went missing in a plane crash, when she was a child. Along the way, she fights octopuses, mercenaries, giant spiders and viking zombies. In terms of the story, I’m a huge fan of Norse mythology so I found that aspect of the game very enjoyable.


To be frank, like Uncharted before it, I found myself enjoying the game immensely. However, unlike Uncharted, I actually found Tomb Raider more challenging. Indeed, the RPG format offered a lot of flexibility within the game, combining aspects of shooting, puzzle solving and action adventure.  The puzzles, assuming you’re not cheating and using walkthroughs (like I would never do…*awkward cough*), will require some thought on your part and will keep you pretty engaged for a while.


The controls are pretty straight forward, meaning a non-gamer can pick it up fairly swiftly. For example, if you despise shooters, the game offers auto lock on your enemies. To a non-gamer like me, it made the challenge of shooting the bats hell bent to chew my face off a mere formality. As a whole, there’s plenty to like about this game.

That being said, this game is far from perfect. Namely, there was one main culprit of why I was unable to finish this game, and no it wasn’t the janitor in Scooby Doo. No, the mask was ripped off to reveal the true mastermind, the god awful camera angles. You see, gentle viewer, somewhere in Eidos, the man in charge of that aspect of the game got terribly confused. He made the somewhat understandable mistake of confusing the command “close up of where I want to jump” with “I want an extreme close-up of Lara’s arse”. Now I understand the idea of appealing to your market. However, when you’ve died for the 50th time and all you have to console you is the image of Miss Croft’s backside on your screen before she hits the floor because you jumped in  the wrong direction again, it can become somewhat tedious.


So what was my final impression of this game.? Overall, I think there’s a lot for the casual gamer to enjoy. However, for a first time gamer new to this series, I would seriously recommend playing an older Tomb Raider (particularly Tomb Raider Legend for this series) before inserting this game into your console. As this game can be picked up at your local CEX for less than a fiver, I firmly believe its worth the investment.

The upshot is this: you’ll be able to do it, and you’ll probably enjoy it, but be prepared to be frustrated. You’re going to die. A lot. But lets be honest, for a gamer overcoming the challenge is all part of the fun.



Tell Me Why I Ought to Buy Mass Effect 3

Forewarned is forearmed, I’m about to do my ranty indie hipster thing.

I’m not sold on Mass Effect 3. There, I said it. A very unpopular opinion, of that there can be no doubt. Don’t get me wrong, I adored Mass Effect 1, and played through Mass Effect 2 at least three times before grinding to a halt about halfway through insanity difficulty because everything took so long to kill. This is not a series I’m predisposed to disliking. I adore space opera. Alastair Reynolds and Isaac Asimov are my two favourite authors. This should be the ultimate thing for me. The thrilling climax to a series I thoroughly enjoy in a genre I can’t get enough of. But every single time anyone mentions 3 now, all I can muster is a huge feeling of “meh”. Why?

Yes, I tend to steer clear of the major AAA titles these days. I’m not denying that. I won’t touch Skyrim or Deus Ex, much less anything like Call of Duty or Battlefield. It’ll tell you the last title I paid more than £10 for: Halo CE Anniversary. A big title, certainly, and ultimately if we’re frank little more than a glorified map pack, particularly when you consider I already have Halo CE. The one notable difference between that and every other title I’ve mentioned so far? I didn’t realise the game was coming out until about a week before launch, at which point I ordered it off Amazon and forgot about it ’til it dropped through the mailbox. The others you saw coming several miles away with a horde of metaphorical heralds trumpeting to the entire world. Between advertising, previews, reviews, interviews and the mainstream masses clogging up every discussion forum with it I was burnt out on the product before it even shipped. I just didn’t want to know any more.

I know correlation doesn’t equal causation, I’m not an idiot, but I’d be lying if I didn’t say there was a link between how much you force feed me your marketing before launch and how much I will resist buying it.

So here we are. It launches tomorrow. £40 for a game I’m already of tired of hearing about. I do want to play it, really. I know I’d enjoy it, and I certainly don’t want it spoiling for me by some big mouthed internet-type person. It’s very hard to justify £40, as well, especially when part of me feels like I wouldn’t want to play it. I’m currently enjoying Sequence; that set me back all of £2. And then Spiral Knights, SMNC, and Realm of the Mad God; all of which are free unless I feel like going out of my way to drop money on them. Stacking just launched at £8 and that’s currently downloading.

That’s my stance then: Don’t tell me to buy your stuff, I’ll decide for myself and you pushing me will only put me off. And certainly give me a reasonable price point for the content you’re offering. When I can get 20-40 hours entertainment out of a game that’s 5% of the cost it certainly looks a lot more attractive. It also means I can afford to take a risk on it, I’m not out of pocket badly if it’s no good.

I do want someone to sell me on Mass Effect 3 though. That’s the point I’m belabouring. Give me a good reason why it’s totally going to be worth £40 (plus DLC). Someone needs to make me not entirely bitter and jaded. Otherwise the plan is to wait a year and pick up a GOTY edition with all the DLC built in for like £5 preowned, and that’s even if I still care at all by that stage. Go on, leave me a message in the comments as to why I should leave my comfortable indie bubble.



Let’s Play: Dejobaan’s Titan Builder

Right now, Dejobaan Games (of AaaaaAAaaaAAAaaAAAAaAAAAA!!! fame) are running a competition involving a prototype of their upcoming game, Drunken Robot Pornography.

The goal? To build a Titan (a kind of boss fight, I guess) for them. You then have the option to fight it in an Inago Rage-style arena. I’ve been playing about with the Titan Builder all week, it’s suprisingly fun, if a little buggy at times. Here’s how I’ve fared:

To try your hand at building your own and attempt to win the entire Dejobaan collection on Steam, get your clickage on right… here.