Wednesday, April 25, 2012


Today I got a game that just got out of beta and is open to public. Its an arena shooter and its all about going fast. It will also help prepare you for the sci-fi wars of the future.
Its your basic Red verses Blue
Tribes Ascend is the latest game in the Tribes series, which always had game play that was based heavily around team work and momentum, especially for Capture The Flag. You’re basically going skiing with a gun and a jet pack, but its not an awesome future biathlon.
Or a James Bond movie
The older games are considered by many to be among the best multiplayer shooters of their time, and had dedicated fan bases that stuck around for years.

The same main game design points carry over into Ascend. The maps have next to no cover so the best way to stay alive is to go fast and bob and weave, since the shooting is mostly based around  leading your target, aside from a few “hitscan” weapons that don’t need to be lead (which are considered cheap by some of the player base). 
Not an example of good Tribes game play, he clearly needs more speed
There are three different weight classes that generally determine what sort of role you will play as. The light armored players go fast and are typically the ones trying to capture the flag but also have less health than other weight classes. The medium armored  players are obviously the middle of the road in terms of speed and health. While the heavies are the slowest and the hardest to kill, and typically stick to base defense, they don’t have to though.

The game uses a class system that dictates your weapon load out and weight class, rather than letting you choose whatever you want. There is a kind of perk system that you can choose for yourself. However, this leads into the most important part of this post.
Tribes Ascend uses the Free-To-Play model where you start with default classes and gear but you need to unlock the rest. Thankfully, you don’t need to spend money to buy things, you can earn everything you need through game play, nor does Ascend enter Pay-To-Win territory. Obviously this involves some element of grinding, but it never hits “Korean MMO” level. And if you actually find the game enjoyable enough to play consistently it should be that much of an issue
Tribes Ascend could be a game you pick up for one game then forget about entirely, or you could get sucked in and get turned into a massive fan that sticks around for years. Really the only way to find out yourself is to give the game a shot, but watching some game play wouldn’t hurt either.

The proper video starts after about two minutes of nonsense. This video is also a good example of how Tribes falls under the category of "E-Sports", complete with commentators.

Tribes Ascend is available for download at
You need an account though.

Monday, April 16, 2012

From Covered Wagons to Station Wagons

You ever play Oregon Trail? If  “No”, then get the hell off your parent’s computer. If “Yes” then you might want to take a look at this right here
That 8-bit dog looks way too calm
A throw back to Oregon Trail, Organ Trail sends your party on a cross country trip towards safety. Of course its obviously not as simple as just jumping into the car and driving there, you need to get and ratio food, fuel, bullets, medical supplies and car parts to make it cross country. And that’s just the basic necessities.
No, you're car isn't as awesome as this, have fun with that Station Wagon
It gets worse. The zombies are an ever present threat, whether you’re driving, scavenging, or trying to hold up in a particularly paranoid survivor stronghold when you have an infected person in your party. Road blocking hordes of zombies replace rivers in Organ Trail, and just like in Oregon Trail you have a couple of options in how you approach the problem.
Pictured: The MANLY way
The game also has the classic Oregon Trail random events that go off as you drive along through the apocalypse, such as poor weather, thieves stealing your stuff, found food and injuries.
He should have
Being based off of Oregon Trail, you shouldn’t expect much in the way of HEART STOPPING ACTION. A lot of the game revolves around scavenging, trading, and husbanding resources so you can make it cross country, because it your car’s battery or tires give out and you don’t have any replacements your stranded and stuck with either scavenging for replacements or trading for them with people passing by.
It only seems easy before the zombies really start coming in
If you’re looking to kill some time, I’d say Organ Trail is worth looking into. If nothing else you can practice trading for food for when society collapses. It also recently did one of those kickstarter things to get an advanced edition working for touch phones, but that probably wont be free so this isn’t about that.

You can play Organ Trail right from your browser at

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Cavern Tale

When you think “free”, you probably think there’s a catch somewhere. That the game was half assed or it’s actually pay-to-win. I’ve tried to avoid putting those kinds of games up here because they’re typically garbage and not that fun to play. What I’ve got for you today though, goes way past everything I’ve put here so far. Something you NEED to play.
Skip to the bottom for the download link and play it
Cave Story has been described both as a metroidvania style game and a platformer, and it manages to play very well in both respects. You play as a guy named Quote who cant remember how he got where he was at the start of the game, and I’m not saying anything else about the story in case you’re one of the five people on the internet who hasn’t heard of Cave Story. Go play it.

You playing yet?
Over the course of the game you are given a number of weapons to use, and while you’ll obviously find one or more you prefer over the rest, none of them are useless or broken. The bosses are well designed and fun to fight, definitely among the game‘s highlights.  Even fighting the generic enemies is still fun, and the platforming can be challenging but its never truly frustrating, gameplay is undeniably solid.
You playing yet?

The art and music for this game is terrific, each area of the game has its own feel, which becomes more impressive in light of the fact that this game was made by one guy. Cave Story actually got a (poor) port to wiiware, and a better port to the DS. The most recent port is a version on Steam that has a bunch of extra stuff added to it, however the ports aren’t free so its not the subject of this post.
You playing yet?
Everything from start the finish is well put together. From the characters to the music. Even the plot and backstory to the game is interesting, and there's even a True Ending to get and a secret final boss to fight, which is HARD to pull off.  Its hard to properly convey how good this game is without sounding like its all brainless gushing or the same drummed up hype that developers use to advertise their latest generic AAA title, so throwing around words like “masterful“ is a waste of time.
In the end all I can really say is that this game is awesome and that you should be playing it by now, so why arent you?

The original, free version of Cave Story can be downloaded from here

Monday, April 2, 2012

Lunar Installation Beta

Today I’ve got a shorter post for you, but to make up for that it's something really weird!: MOON BASE ALPHA! And as a bonus, it was made NASA, and that’s awesome.
Your tax dollars at work!
Basically, the point of the game is to repair the various broken things around the lunar station before it runs out of air. You and preferably some friends control astronauts walking around outside the station repairing stuff such as solar panels and power cables.
Your astronaut even moves like he would in a low gravity environment
Much like Façade however, that’s just the “official” part of the game. While you can go about repairing the station, or you could screw around and find out why this is also called “Text to Speech: The Video Game”. Unlike in Façade you don’t even need to pick between playing regularly or fooling around, you can do both at the same time!

That more or less shows why this game is significantly more fun with friends, or even random internet people than it is to play it alone. You can tell that the programmers meant for this to be completely straight and serious space simulator, but even when doing the admittedly repetitive repairs, the text-to-speech can make anything funny.
Pictured: the exciting adventures of a SPACE MECHANIC
If you and preferably some friends feel like killing a couple of hours doing stuff on the moon, or maybe you’re just into stuff about space then Moon Base Alpha might be for you. Even if the game itself isn’t what you’re looking for the text to speech might be funny for awhile.
Gotta learn about living in space before this happens
Moon Base Alpha is available on Steam at