Game mini-reviews

Post: #1
I am really surprised by the quality of the games in this contest. Very impressive.

I've gone through several games. I hope to try all of them. Here are some mini-reviews of the ones I've tried so far:

World To Conquer
I was confused by the controls in this game. It took me a little while to figure out what to do. Even after figuring out how to play, I found it too easy to waste a unit's turn using the control system. The game's opening was nice, although I was a little unsure what to do when presented by the map screen. Some guidance or ordering of the country battles would be handy. The map looked great and the battle graphics were ok, but the "floating hex platform" gave the game an unfinished look. The sound effects were fun and the music really fit the mood of this type of game.

Tower of Tears
The opening screens were gorgeous. I liked the concept, too. However, the game was too slow to play on my poor 300 Mhz G3. I am disappointed.

Lightning's Shadow
This game had a high fun factor for me. Probably because my friends and I loved to play scorched earth. This looks like a polished game. The lightning effect was just plain fun to watch. I haven't played a two player game, but I plan to. The individual rounds are a bit disconnected. Scorched Earth used a weapon store in between rounds to connect individual rounds into a whole game. LS could use something like that. I would buy a jazzed up commercial version of this game. My old scorched earth buddies all have macs now.

Very professional looking. The explosions are amazing. The effects like the rain looked good. The music was good. At first I thought the game play was boring, but it turn out only to be that way on the easy level. The helicopter controls could use a little more work. A very promising game. I used to play Armor Alley all the time.

Bubble Blast!
It took me a while to figure out how to start a new game on the first screen. I really liked opening music and zoom in effect. I found the game a bit confusing at first. I think a little more animation of the bubbles loading into the paddle from behind would help. Also, at first I was unsure whether I could catch an oncoming ball with my paddle or if getting hit by a ball was harmful. A little animation would help that, too, I think. Single player play didn't really click with me. I suspect that the two player version would be more fun and plan to try it next weekend.

Beach Pong
The water effect is cool. Its pong. What can I say? (BTW, I am old enough to remember the original pong.)

This game had a high nostalgia factor for me because I used to play sinistar alot in the mid 80s. I liked the game, especially being able buy powerups between levels. The controls were a bit frustrating, but for this type of game, that is part of the game. I'd play it again.

Primate Plunge
This one had a high fun factor for me, too. I liked that you could unlock the levels and return to last one. I liked the music. (stereo!) The obstacles were fun. I liked bouncing on the trampolines and hitting the crumbling ledges. Visually, the game is good, but the game play area is small on my sized monitor. The game would work better in full screen mode at the appropriate resolution. Also, the because of the vertical nature of the game, some artwork or animations in the dead area on either side of the game play area would give the game more polish and a more immersive feel.

I am looking forward to trying more of the games.
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Hugh Rayner
Post: #2
It's OK to post impressions right?

Don't forget to vote, Selkirk, I'm sure the authors of Chopper, Primate Plunge and Lightning's Shadow will be glad for your votes.

Some feedback from me:

Classic derivatives:
Beach Pong: It's pong. Pretty, but... it's pong. There's nothing new/interesting in terms of gameplay.

Gaichu: This pacman derivative adds a number of interesting elements to the game, most obviously rotating walls. The graphics and sound are good.

Detox: The other pong variant is much better than beachPong, if only due to extra flavorsomeness, and the multiball and interaction elements.

CY: A fairly plain tetris clone. The wrapping adds something to the game, but the fact you can only see half the field at once takes more away.

Yoink: Very original. The graphics are effective, the gameplay is fun, if a bit weird (weird is good Rolleyes ).

Tank World: The graphics on this one are very good. Unfortunately I never had a chance to try it properly.

Argonaut: When I first played it I thought it was an asteroids clone with snazzy graphics. But once you get past a certain point, it becomes clear there is more to it than that. Awesome.

WMD: The impression I got from this was one of random clicking all over the world. The goal was to take over the world by nuking it, but I wanted to nuke that damn plane :ouch:. Nice concept, but it just didn't work for me.

Chopper: Very professional. I didn't play this one as much as I could have, so I can't tell how it gets like in later levels (i.e. if we get interesting stuff or if it becomes repetitive etc). I like the way you aim by accelerating.

Asteroid Rally: Nice concept, works reasonably well (though I would prefer larger, less dense asteroids). Reminiscent of 3dblur from last year. Multiplayer would have been cool, but not strictly vital.

Mission Volcaner: A simple, solid shmup. It has a reasonable array of ships and weapons. I found the gun turrets to be a bit tough (read "damn near invincible"), which meant my usual strategy of "kill everything" in this type of game didn't work.

DigiKid: I'm impressed a game like this got made in the time limit (and the size limit). The graphics are solid, the gameplay good, though it gets annoying constantly aiming at your feet. The plot is interesting, though the demo-like portion of the game ends just when it gets going.

Primate Plunge: Very addictive (I actually went so far as to get the 5-star medal... I think boring subjects at uni contributed to that Bored ). Anyway, it ended up working like one of those optical illusions for me in that when the game ended my screen appeared to spin in on itself. The gameplay itself is a variant of games like NSShaft, but effective for all that.

sachs: Clearly the developer didn't have the time/inclination to finish the game. From what is there, I can see why (I've done the same kind of thing myself). Better luck next time!

Pirate Isle: A straight platformer, but attractive and solid. The gameplay is good. The pirate glider hero is cool!

ForceLink: [shameless plug]Try it![/shameless plug] (Needless to say this is my entry).

Water Tower: The water adds a nice element to the loderunner-ish play. The author has managed to get a number of interesting water-interaction things happening. The graphics are functional, but clearly the main concern with Water Tower is the gameplay, which is good and quite original.

Blork 2: I generally like RPGs, but usually I hope for at least one of two things: a good plot and/or interesting combat. Blork's plotline isn't that great (for as far as I got). The combat system is final-fantasy based, but without the interesting quirks of character development you get in final fantasy games (i.e. FF7's Materia or FFX's Sphere Grid). I guess an RPG is pretty ambitious in this type of competition.

WTC: I've always liked these kind of games (turn-based strategy). I agree with Selkirk's comment about the ease of skipping a turn. There are some cute things, like showing what each attack will hit. The map screen is somewhat less than intuitive, presumably will be replaced by a proper level progression if it is continued after UDG.

Terraforma: Nice concept. Unfortunately it isn't really a game per se, and try as I might, half the sliders (all the atmosphere components) refused to leave the 0% mark.

Lightning's Shadow: Very professional/polished. The gameplay is somewhat derivative of worms/scorched earth etc., but the game plays out well (though more weapons would be nice, maybe some with limits on use). The graphics in this one is also one of the best (out of what I've seen).
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Posts: 142
Joined: 2002.11
Post: #3
Rather than review, I'm just going to acknowledge a few things I love about the few uDevGame entries I've played.

Force Link - Very good concept with the cooperation between the two players. It's too bad I haven't had the chance to play it with someone else. Overall a good puzzler.

Yoink - Those graphics just have an incredible stylistic appeal.

Chopper - I once wanted to make a game like this, thanks for saving me the trouble! This game is awesome, polished, and has certainly come a long way since I tried to dissuade the author from using brushed metal. It looks like it worked! The weather effects, trees and plants, and story-line add a lot to this game which would already be stellar.

Tank World - I haven't played the most recent build of this, but I had a great time playing and chatting with the author across the internet. Its polish and graphics are sharp, and the mac just needs more games like this. I hope they are able to find a central server for this, that would make it phenomenal.

Adventures of Blork 2 - I hate RPGs, but I liked this cute little game. The dialogue and archetypal battle music are hilarious, and its originality seems high.

Water Tower - I haven't played the newest version of this, but I tested some old versions extensively. Very good puzzler, the various block elements make it quite interesting. Probably even better now.

Viral - I always want to incorporate some kind of textual plot in any game I build, unfortunately it's usually the last thing on my list and gets neglected. This author didn't neglect it, and I think it adds a lot to this shoot-em-up.

Beach Pong - The graphics are sharp, it's pong. Normally a contradiction of terms, but not in this game. I was really hoping to see Kaeru (spelling?), the other game in development, but perhaps we'll see this later.

Argonaut - My game, I like it...sometimes. Its my baby! :kiss:

If I didn't comment on your game, it's just because I haven't played it enough.
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Posts: 460
Joined: 2002.09
Post: #4
I'll jot down some comments. I'll stick to mainly what I liked.

BeachPong: I love the look, and adding the computer opponents makes it a playable game for those of us without ready human opponents. Without a way to speed up or slow down the ball, and with a fixed paddle speed, the "vocabulary" of the computer opponents is very limited though.

Tower of Tears: I like what it does to try to convey a creepy mood, both visually and aurally. Not many entries try to convey an actual mood other than the most basic feelings of excitement or curiosity.

Yoink: so smooth! And the visual style is very appealling. Gameplay less fun for me because I find to get a good stomp, the opponent I'm aiming for is off the screen so I often miss. Would like a little more variety. But this was the first game I tried that just plain impressed me.

Garden Pests: sort of average, but good enough to make come back a few different occasions to try it again (many games were not.) Sound and slightly better graphics would have taken it to the next level, IMHO.

Water Tower: Gameplay is good; I'm a sucker for puzzles with a rich vocabulary among the available pieces.

Volcanis: not as bad as I feared given that it was done in a very short time period, and the developer certainly spent a lot of time helping other folks in the forums, so I won't dwell on it. :-) Pure abstract arcade action is always welcome; some instructions would be helpful though.

Chopper: very polished and fun.

Gaichu: nicely done, one of those rare entries that is pretty evenly balanced across many categories, even if individual games may beat it in indiv. categories.

Blast Sector 6: straightforward shoot-em-up. In any reasonable 3-months-to-make-a-game contest there'd be a lot more entries like this one but somehow uDG has taken it to the next level. I hope the author is encouraged, not discouraged, by their participation in this contest.

DigiKid: wow, I'm impressed with much of this. Shadows, lighting... But the training level should be easier, methinks. The movement feels kind of slow-mo, except that the little tiny robots keep kicking my a**. So, frustrating to have to keep starting over.

Viral: nifty. I haven't finished any of the three paths yet but I find myself wanting to go back and try some more. Could use some feedback when I am getting hit with enemy shots; it's using a bounding rect to decide hits and I often lose health without realizing it, thinking a shot missed me and then evaporated.

Lightning's Shadow: needs instructions, though I figured out most of it except whether I can switch weapons, and why the computer opponent sometimes does. Overall impressive and polished. Did David really do this in 3 weeks? Even assuming he had a good code base to start from I'm just humbled by this kind of effort.

Asteroid Rally: I like it, but I'm biased. :-) 3 months of my life that I'll never get back. On the plus side, I don't think anyone will ever beat my fastest time. (But will anyone like the game enough to want to?)

So many games, so little time! Hopefully I can fit a few more in before the end.

Measure twice, cut once, curse three or four times.
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Posts: 5,143
Joined: 2002.04
Post: #5
Well, I squeaked my votes in on time. As I was doing so, I wrote down a few short comments, so I figured I might as well post 'em here. They're almost all negative -- think of them as constructive criticism Wink

My test machine is a dual 867 MDD G4 with 256MiB of RAM and a 64MiB Radeon 9000, running Mac OS X Panther 10.3.1.

My personal rules for voting -- everything got voted on, since I met the system requirements for all games. All games were voted on the single-player experience, except Tank World and Lightning's Shadow (which had server trackers). I tried to disregard previous experience beta-testing games and play them in a fresh light. I didn't read any readmes. Any game that required me to install software got all 1s.

In the order I played 'em:


Seafare: race outcome seems to be totally influenced by random choice of boat type. main view is mostly redundant; should probably be zoomed out.

The Adventures of Sachs: hung on level 2; couldn't even start a new game.

Bubble Blast!: don't understand the gameplay; can get jerky even on my system.

Asteroid Rally: crashing into asteroids is just frustrating, and seems inevitable when the play area is this crowded. Might actually be more fun with fewer obstacles.

Water Tower: levels could use an easier difficulty curve. Easy 7 seems to be entirely random whether you can push the ball off the moving platform; 8 seems totally impossible.

Garden Pests: Don't really understand how it works. Key config dialog is horrible. Default controls are horrible. Was able to beat a few levels only shooting right...

Terraforma: Couldn't make anything happen

Y3K: mouse control broke on second game

Gaichu: does the color of the pickups have any significance? It seems to, but it's not obvious... Control can be flaky at times. Speed of enemies could be lower on earlier levels. What's with the ladybird chick?

Pirate Isle: Difficulty is too great, controls are too flaky, enemies are too invincible too early.

CY: Requires me to install SDL.

KTA Tennis: Can't figure out how to hit the ball or direct it

Yoink: Nice tech demo; love the style. Where's the game?

Pantheon: Can't figure this out at all

ForceLink: Won't run; pity, 'cos the earlier version I tried was very nice

Galamayo: multiplayer only, it seems. Game speed halves if I hold two keys at once.

S.O.L.A.: far too slow-paced; can apparently do nothing but move.

World to Conquer: I was inspired enough by this one to read the ReadMe. Control system needs boatloads of work. Tutorial missions are a necessity.

Argonaut: Best in competition. Moving backgrounds make me feel a bit sick. Pirates are absurdly difficult.

BeachPong: Difficulty is too great, even on "normal".

Retro Maze: Is there anything to do here?

Primate Plunge: Could do with an "even easier" first level. Window is way too small.

Tower of Tears: too slow once many monsters have been awakened. Need to be able to use two controls at once.

WMD: Suffers from MAFFia's click-outside-the-window-itis. Need in-game tutorial or instructions or briefing or something.

Druid: Can't figure out what to do or why I keep dying. Menu system is horrible. Yoink by any other name.

DigiKid: Difficulty too great; character greatly needs drop-shadow to provide jump feedback. Too easy to run out of ammo or health; health in particular should be reset on level change, death or both. Camera needs work -- the player character gets in the way of aiming too much. I'm left without a cursor on quit; I had to log out to get it back, not even switching users fixed it.

Daz the Dingo: Too difficult to fall off, difficulty ramps up too quickly; "-5 lives"???

Mission Volcanor: Difficulty far too great

MBattleship: Multiplayer only, apparently

Blockzilla: Is there a goal?

Blast Sector 6: Gun sound is really annoying. No apparent goal, no challenge.

Blork 2: unexpectedly quit in the battle after the guard runs away.

Chopper: All text is invisble; tearing is rampant in fullscreen.

Detox: Not all that much fun single-player

Dig It!: Unexpectedly quits on startup

DTTAH: I lost instantly at the garbage game, and got stuck in the basement. The water balloon game was too easy. Unexpectedly quit on exit.

GL Golf: 35 Over par!

Lightning's Shadow: Needs overall polishing up

Swarmed: Wait at startup after loading finished is too long. What's with firing aqua buttons? Need lives, powerups, &c

Tank World: Unable to join the only MP server available. Training is very boring. Makes me motion sick real quick.

Volcanis: What the heck am I doing? Training required!

eChess: WTF?

Viral: Music is very annoying. Screws up windows on quit.


If anyone cares, if I were the only voter, the prizes would go like this:

Best Graphics:
Tower of Tears

Best Gameplay:
Primate Plunge
Water Tower

Best Sound:
Tower of Tears
(my memory of the music is not sufficient to choose two more)

Best Originality:
Water Tower

Best Polish:
Primate Plunge
Tank World

Best Overall Game:
Primate Plunge
Tower of Tears

OSC's choice: (best unplaced game)

Fortunately, I'm not the only voter, and two or three more people than this get prizes Wink
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Posts: 268
Joined: 2005.04
Post: #6
Well, I know any comments now are pretty late, but then I did try to get as many comments as I could in before the voting started. Still, random comments on as many games as possible:

Adv of Blork 2: Nice to see a playable RPG. There's some definite humor in there, but you need to find a good artist for your next game.

Argonaut: Fun, but hard. The non-asteroid enemies are way too hard to beat.

Asteroid Rally: I actually really like this one. Reminds me of the asteroid belt scene from Empire Strikes Back, and is pretty fun to play. Framerate needs a boost big time.

BeachPong: It's Pong...Yup. I wanted Kaeru, oh well.

Blast Sector 6: Not much there, but could form a good basis for a SHMUP.

Blockzilla: Good graphics, but your standard issue remove-all-the-blocks-of-the-same-color clone

Bubble Blast: Didn't really like this one. The dev did the best he could with the idea, but the idea just wasn't very good.

Chopper: I think enough's been said about this one, but I do have to go on the record that the early versions with the unlimited ammo and tons of tanks were a lot more fun than the finished game. I've been saying from the beginning that all I wanted out of Chopper was a look at the particle code.

Cy: Blah. Tetris isn't improved by only seeing part of the screen at once.

Daz: Trying is half the battle. Smile Collision detection needs to be improved, as it's too cheap right now. Smaller sprites allowing you to see more of the screen would help. Easier jumps are necessary.

Detox: It's pong...with four people. Still, fun for a bit.

Dig It: For the life of me I could not figure this one out.

DigiKid: Surprisingly fun. This one just needs more time to become even better.

DTTAH: I think the several mini-game concept hurt this one. Focusing on one game-type probably would have been better.

Druid: Needs a lot of polish on the out of game interface. Moving my windows, an open campaign instead of just hitting new campaign, not allowing me to command-q. Bad calls. In-game controls need some work too.

ForceLink: Pretty nifty puzzle game. I gave it good marks for originality. Camera and ball movement controls could be polished up some.

Gaichu: Gotta thank everyone who's been saying nice things about my game. I've been writing everything down so I can improve it for an eventual shareware releasse.

Garden Pests: Meh. Didn't like the controls. Collision detection seemed off. Wasn't really obvious what you were supposed to do even with the read-me.

GL Golf: I've never played a game of golf in real life, but yet I always like computer golf games. Go figure. This one is about as good as you can expect with only three months to develop.

KTA Tennis: Fun after you get the controls down, which takes a while.

Lightning's Shadow: Worms clone without the humor or variety of weapons. I don't think David was too happy with it either.

Mission Volcanor: Hard. TNT roots *very* noticeable. I'm sorry, but BASIC sucks. Would be better written in one of the Cs methinks.

Pantheon: Couldn't figure this one out either.

Pirate Isle: Good, but Belt and Solace were better. Be interesting to see how the final version turns out.

Primate Plunge: Very good, but then I'm biased. Phish rocks. Might have deducted a point or two total because I'm still waiting for Unity. Smile

RetroMaze: Hello? Game? Good graphics and nice to see an update to a classic, but is there actually anything to do?

SOLA: Promising start, but didn't really go anywhere. Hopefully this one will get a good post-UDG effort.

Sachs: Um...ick.

Seafare: Another one that just needs more development time.

Swarmed: See Seafare.

Tank World: An early front runner that I think sort of sputtered to the finish line, but still very good. I'm sure a lot of people are looking forward to this source code.

Terraforma: Interesting concept that was just too ambitious for a three month time limit. This one looks to be a great "game" later.

Tower of Tears: Everyone knows the story with this one. Great graphics, but severly hampered by the use of Flash/Director/whatever.

Viral: Solid effort to use a football term. Decent enough graphics with decent enough gameplay to make an overall pretty decent game.

Volcanis: Fun and original. Could use better targeting. I expect this one will get a little bit of prize lovin'.

Water Tower: The early screenshots really turned me off, but once I played it I really liked it. Surprisingly fun and addictive. Throw in some better graphics and I think this one could have a good life as a shareware title.

WMD: Feels like a game that got worked on for a couple weeks and then was abandoned. Missile Command is still fun though.

WTC: Biased because I'm a huge Final Fantasy Tactics nut, but I liked this one a lot. Looking forward to it ever since I saw a screenshot, and it mostly delivered. Just needs more polishing.

Y3K: Don't think I gave this one it's due. Didn't feel there was a whole game here, but whether that was because I didn't play it enough or there really wasn't I don't know.

Yoink: Fantastic graphical style. My pick for #1 graphics (outside of Gaichu of course). Gameplay shows promise. I want this finished so bad.
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Posts: 164
Joined: 2002.04
Post: #7
Detox: Gameplay wasn't really there for me; it didn't really seem like there was much motivation to get a high score. The music, voices and sounds were very good though, it was neat how it all kind of mixed together. "PSYCHADELIC!!"

Asteroid Rally: Kind of fun, but the controls seemed a bit sluggish and it ran at a kind of low framerate. I think it would be very fun with a more maneuverable ship.

Pirate Isle: Didn't really like the weird mishmash of random pop culture (there is no spoon, rescuers albatross saying mine, etc.) Voice acting sounded like it was on crack. Random instant death vs. the boss is very frustrating. Cell-shaded clouds, some characters are cartoon, terrain and some characters are smooth-shaded, trees are 3d, caves are sharp polygons. Could really use a more consistent style. Not really sure why Slash would want to become small, or why he leaves full-size footprints when he is. When they're the right size, the footprints for the many different actions are kind of neat though. Crashed in OS 9 and on Windows for me. Very nice main menu though, and until the boss it's kinda fun.

Y3k: I couldn't figure out how to move.

Volcanis: Not really clear what you're supposed to do here either.

WMD: Nice concept, but seems like it turns into just clicking on random countries until you win

Tower of Tears: Excellent graphics (especially the trees, and poser 5 jacket), but seems very limited in various ways by its Flash-ness.

Argonaut: Nice graphics, good gameplay (though unoriginal), good polish, good sound and music. Really could have used customizable keys; My keyboard can't register up, right and space at the same time for some reason.

Blockzilla: I thought the backgrounds blended in with the pieces a bit too much sometimes, making it visually confusing. ( such as in this shot from the UDG page for it ) Surprisingly fun game though.

Blork 2: I like random weird RPG's like this.

Water Tower: Pretty fun, very Spacestation Pheta-ish. I think it might actually have been better without the water though. OS 9 support is a big plus.

Terraforma: Nifty idea; I don't think it was every really finished though.

Digikid: Nice lighting. Not sure if an Oni clone without melee combat or acrobatics is the best idea though...

Chopper: Pretty solid all around. I don't think bullets should make the same impact with people and buildings that they make with the terrain though. Also the people die very stiffly. I like how the levels all form a sort of consistent story.

Viral: Nice main menu and music. Pretty fun game, but could really use some feedback for when you and enemies get hit.

Yoink: Very original (as far as I know), very fun. I would change the camera so it's easier to see where you're going when flying around really fast, especially when flying downwards.

Primate Plunge: Kind of fun, though I would make the score dependant on how many branches you touch rather than the time, otherwise there's no way to speed up your progress.

SeaFare: The main screen was much too zoomed in to be really helpful, and the radar too zoomed out. If you zoom out the main screen a bit and animate the water somehow (!) it would be fun.

GL Golf: Pretty fun. This one could also use animated water though, and the golf swing speed should be proportional to the force of the hit.

Daz: This one was pretty neat, very original, but I would have worked on Daz's running animation a bit

Gaichu: I liked the music a lot; pretty good in all other categories.

World to Conquer: Sweet graphics. Could use more audio though, and more polished UI

KTA Tennis: Pretty fun once I got used to the weird control scheme. Kudos for OS 9 support.

Garden pests: Controls were a bit strange, I wasn't really sure why I could only move diagonally and shoot sideways.

Pantheon: Confusing.

Beachpong: Pong with water. Nice graphics, and it's good that the ball keeps speeding up, but as far as I could tell there was no audio.

Dig it: Looked interesting, but was too complicated for me

Lightning's Shadow: Kind of like Worms but with more of an emphasis on aiming and tactics than ninja-roping around and throwing sheep. Network support is sometimes flaky. Should probably have had more than three weeks put into it. Due to a really weird Mac OS X error, the readme was way off in a corner of the folder and hard to find. Otherwise, perfect (says the totally unbiased reviewer Cool)
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Posts: 1,141
Joined: 2002.04
Post: #8
As you may have noticed, I spend MUCH time getting this thread BACK to what the topic was -- "Mini-Reviews." If you want to post to this thread, it better be a Mini-Review and ONLY a Mini-Review. Other talk has been split into other threads.

Carlos A. Camacho,
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