Hey Indrah! It's been a while, good to see you're still roaming about and doing cool stuff. If you'd be interested, I'd like to hear your thoughts on my game for this year. http://contest.gamedevfort.com/submission/657 I took your advice to heart from last year's Peace of Mind and tried to polish up the gameplay quite a bit this time around, working in a more proper action format rather than the clunky mash-button-to-win. I think the story suffered because of it, though...but, well, I'll leave the final judgement to you and the rest of the squad here. But, well, I don't want to just be a leech. I've been doing streams of my own, showing off different games and what they're like as well. So I figure I might as well contribute. (Note that for the stream videos, Twitch is known for its crazy and sometimes extremely colorful userbase. I always try and keep my criticism fair and I want to give games a fair chance, but I don't always keep track of everything everyone says, so if someone says something particularly nasty/unfairly insulting...well. Sorry about that!) Xintana Legends (Stream video) The first thing you'll notice about Xintana Legends is that it's gorgeous. It's got incredible spritework, lush scenery, majestic music, and everything has been spit and polished to a sheer shine. It's magnificent in every single possible way. The artists on this game were at the top of their game and everything looks professional. Hell, beyond professional, even. Unfortunately, the second thing you'll notice about Xintana Legends is when you pop in-game and notice that the aforementioned beautiful scenery is kind of a pain to navigate. It's all too easy to get caught on the edges, to collide with something that you never wanted to, and get stuck in a position because of it. You'll either get locked in an animation, or get locked in place in a single specific frame, or more. For as much thought and effort was put into the aesthetic, some of it probably should have been spent on the coding front--the beautiful artwork just simply goes down the tubes when you're trying to do a jump and end up stuck on a walls, or need to do a leap of faith down a chasm, or get stuck in another infinite loop. For gamers, there's always a constant battle going on between graphics and gameplay, and which is more important. Is a game that looks pretty irrelevant when it handles like a tank lubed up in a bathtub? Or can a well thought out and designed aesthetic help polish up some of the flaws? This game is exemplary of this, as you either love the game because it looks gorgeous, or you hate it because it handles like a Chinese bootleg. Unfortunately, I'm in the latter category. Sorry, guys, I wanted to like it, but I Don't Recommend. Planterra (Stream video) The idea behind this game is the coolest. You play as a plantman that traverses platforms by magicking plants out of nowhere. You get to play a fricking Power Rangers villain. Except he's not a villain. This is easily one of the more original concepts and ideas I've seen in a long time, and it executes it...kind of well? The story is simplistic and, honestly, it doesn't really need to be more than that. You are a plantdude and you have a friend. A storm happens, and using your magic you lock your friend down. Storm blows you away. Now you have to get back to your friend (ostensibly) because you like him. At least, I assume. Maybe he owes you twenty plantbux. Or maybe you wanna do him. Whatever motivation you choose to subscribe to, now you gotta run and jump through levels. And honestly, the game works despite (or perhaps because of) its simple set-up. It's pretty solid; the running runs and the jumping jumps, and you run and jump through a variety of worlds. The trick comes primarily in creating platforms, either via magicking out vines or by planting seeds and then magicking out blocks. It doesn't aim to be anything more than a fun and silly little endeavor and it doesn't need to be, it's got a clever gimmick and it uses it for some fun run-and-jump times. If I had to pick nits (and I do, that's the name of the game when it comes to criticism), it would be that there's no way to access a continue from the main screen. In my playthrough, I ended up accidentally falling through the floor into oblivion, and shutting off the game forced me to restart. dayum. Despite this, I would heartily Recommend. A Fading Dream (Stream video NSFW) If only one vice could be said about me, it's that...well, I'm immature as can be. I'm foul-mouthed, I'm not shy of low-brow humor, I'm flirty, I'm often quite contrary, and I tend to dance around subjects most people don't like dealing with. But if I had another vice, it would be that I'm a sucker for a good harlequin. It's perhaps not "appropriate" of me, but I can't help it! I love me a cheesy, feelgood, romantic X-meets-Y story. A Fading Dream is supposed to be a tragic twist on this, with a story of two madly-in-love young adults, their best friend, and a heartfelt beginning with a cruel twist at the end. I'm not going to spoil it here, but you really should already be able to guess what the cruel twist is. I went in hoping I'd be able to sate my palette with some LEWD AS sheep HAND-HOLDING but unfortunately was left hanging. The story tends to bounce back and forth from plot point to plot point, as we go from romance to police duty to low-stakes adventure to ancient ghost fantasy to heartbreak to one of the three endings, which each cover a different genre spectrum depending on how you play your cards. There's some neat ideas here and a few dangling plot points that seem like they could go somewhere (what's going on with the mysterious shadows? What about the crazy bandits?), but they're never really expanded on. I'm all for flirtin' back and forth with a pretty lady, but once we kissed we just kind of knocked our teeth together and that sheep ruins pretty much any mood. Don't Recommend. Nido Force (Stream upload) Bloody hell this game is cute. Adorable artwork, adorable artstyle, adorable character and enemy design, hhhnnnnggggghhh. A third-person platformer, story is mostly minimal--Nido is just jumping from island to island, throwing fireballs and shooting ice bolts at enemies just because. The wildlife, in turn, takes offense to all of this and starts feebly trying to nibble on her shins, which if done enough times will cause Nido to expire. Works for me. Let's go. Gameplay is definitely extremely interesting, even if it's composed with familiar elements. Run and jump through levels, check. Collect tchotchkes to unlock further levels, check. Fight recurring boss multiple times, check. Maneuver character with keyboard and control camera to position jumps, check. Collect powerups to shoot enemies, check. And yet, all of them are blended together in a way that's both unique and compelling. While both of the starting items can only be charitably described as conditionally-useful (less charitably as "utter sheep"), thankfully it's pretty easy to maneuver around the world without being forced into combat. Plus, it won't take long to grab an extra fireball or ice spell, and then it's actually kind of fun to maneuver around attacks and line up a critical shot. Though there's some extremely critical game-breaking bugs (dying to the final boss forces you to console and requires you to load up an earlier game) and some extremely questionable design decisions (what use is the shield? Why would you ever swap from the ice powerup? Why doesn't Nido have a shadow to make platforming more precise?), thankfully the rest of the game more than makes up for it and, in my eyes, is does not stop me from slapping a Recommend onto this game.