Rick’s been playing games since before he could walk. I went from an NES to a PS3 with nothing in between. We love to game together, but finding games we can both enjoy can be tough. Indie Game Date is our quest to find great indie games that both of us will love.
Okay, it’s confession time. Although we usually pick $1 games for Indie Game Date, Rick and I decided to dig deep and lay down 240 credits (about $3) for this week’s game, Wizorb. Yeah, yeah, it’s only the second installment and I’m already breaking my own rules. But when you look at the price of a movie ticket these days, $3 is still a hell of a value when it comes to entertainment.
And how was it that Rick and I were lured into paying three times our allotted budget for an Xbox Arcade Indie Game?
Three words: Brick. Breaker. RPG.
I mean, look at how epic this concept art by Michael James Brennan is!
While I’m still comfortable calling myself a gaming noob, back when I was doing localization testing for that mobile game company I have to admit that the brick breaker games were the only ones I played to the end. Without cheats. See, for localization testing, all you really need to check is whether the text is triggered at the right place and whether it’s legible/English. All of which can usually be triggered by cheat codes if the devs are nice. And they always were for the brick breaker games. But I always insisted on playing through without cheats. You know, just in case.
Add in our combined love of old school RPGs and Wizorb just seemed like a no-brainer for Indie Game Date. It’s currently #23 on the Indie Gamer Chick Leaderboard, so we would have gotten around to it sooner or later…
Unfortunately, I’m not quite as great at block breakers as I thought I was. We started on “Normal” difficulty, but after restarting the first world of 12 levels for the 3rd time at level 5, Rick finally decided that I would have more fun if we played on “Easy”. I was getting very frustrated, not only because I wasn’t doing as well as I wanted, but also because I could tell it was getting boring and frustrating for Rick watching me waste lives and die over and over and over again. I think I was just self-conscious with Rick sitting right beside me. These types of games tend to stress me out on the best of days and imagining what sort of back seat gaming Rick was going to spring on me just ended up making it even worse. I started to get really upset, but he did his best to reassure me and kept repeating that the goal was to have fun.
I managed to loosen up a bit when Rick took a break to do the dishes and I was doing so much better that he just sort of left me to it. While I’m still not very good at it, I did manage to get into something of a groove and would definitely consider playing it again. Although probably not when Rick’s around.
The game itself wouldn’t really be that difficult for an experienced gamer, but parts of it were challenging even for Rick. It boasts a beautifully rendered 16-bit art style, full of colour and detail similar to what you’d find on the Sega Genesis back in the day. The music and sound effects were also similarly nostalgic, but only in the best way possible. We didn’t get a chance to see too many of the RPG elements in action, but the idea of having your power ups connected to your mana was novel and fun.
All in all I’d say Montreal’s Tribute Games have crafted themselves a real winner, perfect for retro gaming lovers, and those who like a little more challenge in their “casual” games. Although if you’re going to play with a mate, I’d suggest making sure your skill levels are comparable.
What should we play next week?