Thursday, April 24, 2008

This Post Was Not Created Using Only One Button

I usually don't go for arcade type games, but browsing through the Tome, I came across one that looked too interesting to ignore. Fishie Fishie is an arcade game with a novel concept: you control it using only one button. Initially I was thinking to myself, "How fun can it actually be if you're only hitting one button?" It turns out the answer is "pretty damn fun."

You hold the space bar to turn left, and let go of it to turn right. That's it. Tapping the key at the right speed results in mostly-straight travel. The goal is to eat up smaller schools of fish while avoiding larger ones - if you don't do it fast enough you starve. The game is intensely simple, but it turns out to be much more than the sum of its parts.

The presentation definitely helps: the wonderfully drawn sprites, quirky music, and goofy sound effects all come together to give Fishie Fishie a lighthearted atmosphere and a definite charm. It's one of those games where kids would probably love it, but there's plenty of room for adults to enjoy it as well.

The only flaw isn't really a flaw at all, it just comes from being the type of game it is: games like this, for me at least, tend to get old fast. It's pure, undiluted fun, and a lot like pure sugar, I can't take too much of it at once. That goes for the entire genre for me though, so it's no fault against the game.

Being around a 3 meg download, it's definitely worth checking out for a quick burst of fun, whether you're a fan of the genre (arcade games, not fish-gobbling games) or not.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Linux Free MMO Roundup, Addendum: Auteria

It's easy to say that I just plain forgot about Auteria during the course of the roundup, but I have the feeling that subconsciously I might have been excluding it on purpose. Mentioning Dark Horizons Lore: Invasion a few weeks back got me to thinking "What was that other Torque engine based game I came across recently?" I remembered, then promptly wished I hadn't.

Auteria just feels so damn... weird. The control setup takes some getting used to: half the time the mouse is directly locked to the camera, almost like an FPS, until you hit a toggle key which puts the mouse into cursor mode, like most MMORPGs. This setup isn't particularly bad, it just takes a lot of getting used to. On the plus side, it does help with autorun, and believe me, you're going to be using autorun a lot.

When you start up Auteria, the tutorial sequence has you running around the town (which consists of three identical looking huts, nothing more) trying to find a specific building, which takes about one minute if you go to two wrong buildings before finding the correct one. You then repeat this, although the process of elimination ensures that it's shorter each time. At this point you may think to yourself "well, at least that's done with." If only it was.

You'll find yourself basically repeating the " go to this place/person, then return to me" task over and over - the only thing that changes is the distance you travel gets longer and longer. Each time you might think "this has to be the last one", and each time you'll probably be wrong.

Now I've got another problem with Auteria, but this one is probably much more exclusive to me: everyone is so damn outgoing. I couldn't go three feet without someone saying hello to me, or speaking a line of a language I don't understand with a question mark at the end, presumably asking me if I spoke their language.

Now, I understand, most people will probably like the friendly playerbase, but part of the appeal of an MMO to me is the ability to disappear in a vast ocean of similar looking characters, and the relative anonymity therein. I want people to know who I am when I want them to know who I am, and not a minute beforehand. With Auteria's currently super-small community, that's just not possible.

I can't say I recommend it, but if you think you can tolerate a molasses-slow start, it may be worth a look. Just bring a book to the computer so you can have something to do during all the autorunning.

Thursday, April 10, 2008

First Apology Of The New Season

Sorry about last week's no-post, but I'm afraid it's going to be the same this week. I've started a new job and I'm still trying to figure out how to make time for A.Y.E, so please bear with me for a bit. We now return to your regularly scheduled lack of posts.