Codeminion Released Phantasmat in Beta

Codeminion released Phantasmat in beta and they are looking for feedback on this horror adventure game. The beta build allows you to play for an hour and then asks you to fill a short survey. It also gathers some gameplay stats while you play, so don’t be alarmed if you firewall calls it out.

Download Windows Beta
Download Mac Beta

Phantasmat Screenshots:

Phantasmat Horror Adventure Game Beta Screenshot
Phantasmat Horror Adventure Game Beta Screenshot

Pre-Order Indie RPG Driftmoon from Instant Kingdom

Instant Kingdom has opened the Pre-Order doors for their indie RPG called Driftmoon for 11.99 Euros. Instant Kingdom describes this downloadable game as “an adventure-oriented roleplaying game, with focus on storytelling, exploring and quests. In the beautiful world of Driftmoon there are always plenty of things to find and people to meet, and instead of fighting everything that moves, you can sometimes talk your way through. Driftmoon features a unique combination of
adventuring, roleplaying and exploration elements with refreshing personal twists and surprises.”

The Pre-order includes the current version of the game, access to regular alpha builds, and the final version of Driftmoon, when it is completed. Preorderers also receive the powerful editor of the game, equipped with rich possibilities to create their own game worlds. Instant Kingdom plans to complete the game at some point in 2011.

Driftmoon Pre-Order-RPG -Screenshot
Driftmoon Pre-Order-RPG -Screenshot

Recettear RPG Game Download

By Matt Bird
Game Rating = 4/5

You should buy this game if:

– You like anime and anime games
– You enjoy RPGs
– You have a thirst to make a profit

You shouldn’t buy this game if:

– Anime makes you gag
– You don’t have a head for time management
– You want heavy amounts of fast-paced action

Recettear RPG Game Screenshot

Download Recettear at http://www.carpefulgur.com/recettear/downloads.htm
Buy Recettear for $19.99 http://www.carpefulgur.com/recettear/purchase.htm

Most RPGs put you in the boots of a sword-wielding hero who has to save the world from a diabolical emperor. Or an ancient evil. Or some world-changing event. Or all three. By now, RPG fans have seen ’em all several times over, and mashed them with the aforementioned hero.

But the hero doesn’t get where he or she is going on their own. They have help in the form of merchants, plucky, capitalistic men and women who provide all manner of goods and services to passing adventurers in exchange for coin. Recettear is the story of one such merchant, trying to make a couple bucks in a world full of heroes.

You play the part of Recette Lemongrass, a young girl whose father, a would-be adventurer, has disappeared into the world to become a hero. In the doing, though, he’s left his daughter at home alone and saddled with a massive debt that a faerie-run collection company wants to collect on. They’re not heartless, however, and they send the faerie accountant Tear to help Recette repay the debt by opening an item shop out of her house.

As a budding merchant and with Tear’s help the player needs to sell items. By carefully collecting new items (through purchasing or finding them in dungeons with the assistance of adventurers) and haggling over their prices in the store, the player gradually earns up a nice nest egg of money with which they can repay the debt. The blend of Legend of Zelda-esque adventuring with time-management and item selling gives Recettear a surprising amount of value for an independent title.

Recettear RPG Game Screenshot

What makes Recettear truly fun is the range of ways in which you can repay the debt. Like to haggle a lot? Go for it. Want to explore the town where the shop is based and look for secret opportunities? Give it a shot. Want to slay monsters for your wares? Sounds like fun. It’s an open-ended title that can be played several times, in other words, and though Recettear is forever replayable it’s definitely worth the $20 price tag.

It’s not a perfect game, however, and Recettear suffers a bit in presentation. It looks clean and crisp and the graphics are appropriately anime, but the portraits are heavily reused and a bit too static at times to properly convey emotion. The music is also a bit iffy, for though it’s not bad it’s quite repetitious.

Make no mistake, Recettear is fun. It’s not the greatest merchant-based game in the world, but it’s certainly one of the better ones, and a good introduction to adventure and haggling titles in general. So long as you can put up with Recette’s sugar-sweet personality and a few anime stereotypes, you’ll get a lot of mileage out of this downloadable game. 4/5

Bumpkin Bros release The Machine

Bumpkins Brothers released The Machine, a downloadable puzzle simulation game. Here’s the information from the Bumkins Brothers: “The Bumpkin Brothers, independent game developers from the UK are inviting players to take control of ‘The Machine’ with the release of their contraption building simulation puzzle game via the Impulse Digital Distribution platform.

The Machine invites players to move and process units of Calibrated Unifying Bonded Energy Storage (also known as CUBES). Sounds like a simple job to begin with but it soon turns out you’ll need all your logic and puzzle-solving skill to build the right Machine. However, foreman Bob is available to lend a helping hand and he’s sure there’s always a way to get the job done.”

Download Free Game Trial

Buy The Game $7.50 at Impulse Driven

The Machine Screenshot

The Machine Screenshot

Download Free Game Trial

Booster Troopers Game Download

By Patrick Stephen Baker
Game Rating = 3/5

Game Review Summary: Moderately entertaining On-line First Person Shooter

Three Reasons to buy Game Booster Trooper

# 1 Available practice mode
# 2 Various weapon loads for different tactics
# 3 Jetpacks

Three Reasons to avoid buying the Game Booster Trooper

#1 Steep Learning Curve
#2 Unbalanced AI and Bots
#3 Not much new for a FPS

Booster Troopers Action Game Screenshot

You can download the demo and buy the game at Steam.

Full Game Review:

The downloadable game “Booster Trooper” is yet another entry into the online multiplayer First Person Shooter genre: with jetpacks.

Like all First Person Shooters, game play is relatively simple. You maneuver around a battle space and kill your enemies, using a variety of weapons that you can select. Up close go for the combat shotgun, far away use the sniper rifle; there is also the chain mini gun and a rocket launcher. Oh and who could forget the grenades, very useful if you get too close to the bad guys. Also jetpacks, the one new device in the game, are the use of jetpacks that allow the player to jump high and far over otherwise difficult obstacles.

In the single player mode the player really finds the limitations of the game. The AI seems to almost always stick its bots into inescapable positions, like shallow caves or under other obstacles, making them pretty easy to find. But that doesn’t mean they are easy to kill. The bots are incredibly tough, often taking several rounds to put down. Also they have great targeting skills, being able to wack the player before they are even in sight. By the way the player seems relatively fragile in comparison, needing only about half the damage to “die”.

Booster Troopers Action Game Screenshot

Using only the WASD keyboard set up and the mouse, “Booster Trooper” should be easy to master, but it is surprisingly hard to get your character to do what you want and think you are telling it to do. Also the mouse control for the shooting is very confusing, the player can find themselves shooting over their backs and running blindly forward.

The graphics work pretty well, with the maps having great details and nice texturing. The character animation is pretty and smooth if not innovative. However the weapon effects are underwhelming, whereas the blood fountains look great. The sound is mediocre, the weapons all sound the same and the music is so annoying that the player will soon be turning it off.

This downloadable game is low on creativity and on innovation. Besides the jetpack feature “Booster Trooper” is pretty much like every other FPS on the market.

For $9.99 “Booster Trooper” is a low cost option if you just want to shoot some stuff but unless you are just a huge fan of 2D shooters, skip this one.

Mystery PI Stolen in San Francisco

by Patrick Stephen Baker
Game Rating = 1/5

Game Review Summary: Spectacularly boring hidden objects puzzle game

Three Reasons to buy Game: Mystery PI Stolen in San Francisco

#1 Great looking
#2 Really like hidden object puzzle games
# 3 Easy to learn

Three Reasons to avoid buying the Game: Mystery PI Stolen in San Francisco

#1 Bores quickly
#2 Not much of a Story
# 3 Low replayablity

MyStery PI San Francisco Screenshot

Download and buy the game at Popcap.com

Full Game Review:

You know the instructions on the shampoo bottle: wash, rinse and repeat. The downloadable game “Mystery P.I.: Stolen in San Francisco” is the hidden object puzzle game equivalent of those instructions.

The player acts as an unnamed Private Investigator who is hired to find $250,000 dollars worth of gold that has been stolen off an armored car. The P.I.s investigative technique seems to be to go from random location to random location in the City of San Francisco and find a seemingly unrelated set of objects. Finding these objects is supposed to get harder as the game levels up, but it never presents much of a challenge since the “hint” option is always open regardless of difficulty level. The game does throw a mini-game at the player occasionally to break up the monotony. But even the mini-games have an all too familiar look and feel and ultimately pall as the player goes through them. “Mystery P.I.: Stolen in San Francisco” does feature actually San Francisco locations which is something a bit new in the genre, but the story doesn’t really do much with the location as such, so the game developer could have saved time and money by using generic locations. The game play as game play is just intensely repetitive.

Mystery PI San Francisco Screenshot

The graphics are by far and away the best part of the game, the locations are just gorgeous and the player will wish that the developer could have done more with them. The sound is good pretty, with minimal sound effects, but at least there is not the usual annoying music track in the background.

“Mystery P.I.: Stolen in San Francisco” rates very low on creativity and innovation, playing much like every other game in the series and not showing the player anything much that is new.

At 19.99 American, the downloadable game “Mystery P.I.: Stolen in San Francisco” is just simply not worth the money, unless you just feel compelled to own every game in the series. Otherwise, it should be avoided.

Tommy Tronic Platformer Game

Oasis Games created Tommy Tronic, an old school platformer trying to be… an old school platformer. Here’s the description from the game developer:

“an old-skool platformer that isn’t trying to be anything else! Jumping, shooting, dodging and exploring is all that’s required to help get Tommy to his destination and free his tiny puppy from the clutches of an insane genius school-kid and his brutal sidekick ‘Biffa’. It would be straight forward too, if it wasn’t for the fact that this journey will take Tommy through Gnarly wood; a twisted and eerie forest that adults avoid let alone tiny children! Imagination runs amok as Tommy confronts his childish fears head on, all in a bid to be reunited with his beloved pal ‘Yapz’!”

We found the game controls cumbersome to learn but we will publish a full review in the next few weeks.

Download Free Game Trial at this link

The full downloadable game costs $9.99.

Tommy Tronic Platform Game Screenshot

Tommy Tronic Platform Game Screenshot

Worms Reloaded Game Download

Game Review by Matt Bird
Game Rating = 4/5

You should get this game if:

– You enjoy multiplayer matches
– You enjoy military tactics
– You have a goofy sense of humor

You should not get this game if:

– You dislike extreme precision
– You get easily frustrated
– You hate the older Worms games

Worms Loaded Screenshot

Download and Buy Worms Reloaded at Steam.

Considering they’re spineless invertebrates, worms are surprisingly good soldiers. They can jump higher than the average human, perform back flips, fire heavy duty weapons at one another and still make time for witty sayings in a variety of languages and accents. Quite commendable.

Or at least they are in Worms Reloaded, another entry in the long-standing Worms game line. Building on the success of the older games and not changing a whole lot in the process, Worms Reloaded is more of the same blow-em-up action fans of the series have come to adore.

There is no story in Worms Reloaded beyond what you supply in the name of your teams and their ethnicity. The premise is as simple as games get: blow up the other side. To this end your worms receive an arsenal of dangerous explosives and projectiles and are sent against the enemy in the most brutal fashion possible. No explanation, just wormy violence.

The game’s mechanics are quite similar to an older game, Scorched Earth. Leading a squad of worms into battle you must wriggle your way across a variety of strange landscapes, circumventing ever-annoying terrain to reach the enemy worms scattered across the battlefield. Then you unleash any number of weapons on their butt, and surviving enemies get a chance to fire back.

Worms Loaded Screenshot

Download and Buy Worms Reloaded at Steam.

It sounds easy enough, but Worms Reloaded is quite challenging. Weapons do not simply carry on forever as they would in most games; instead you must carefully gauge the direction and power behind your deliveries, aiming at just the right angle to catch an enemy (or perhaps even vaporize the ground below him). Worms Reloaded is full of careful, timed calculations, and consequently is rather tough.

And that alone will probably keep many players away from this title. Worms Reloaded is frustrating. Every shot counts, and if you mess up you may not get another chance. There is little leeway for new players, and though the campaign does wean you into the experience it’s still more than some can stomach. Worms Reloaded is for capable players with a lot of patience and a good eye for range.

The only problem with this game, aside from the difficulty (and it’s tough to call difficulty a problem), is its lack of originality. There’s not a lot different with this Worms and other Worms titles. Some innovation, maybe, but not a lot more. Still, it’s a good blast from the not too distant past for younger players who didn’t grow up with the older games, and the sense of humor inherent in the game’s warring worms should charm most challengers.

Worms Reloaded is solid fun. It’s not revolutionary, but it’s not meant to be. This game is a great option for lovers of multiplayer, and on the right system is an awesome party game. 4/5

Download and Buy Worms Reloaded at Steam.

Brixter Arcade Game Download

Game Review by Emily Hunter
Game Rating = 2/5

Why should you purchase this game?
Fun for all ages
Low learning curve
Great epic soundtrack

Why shouldn’t you purchase this game?
Lacks in originality
Shard graphics are same size as balls
Scary retro fonts

Brixter Breakout Game Screenshot

Game publishers have tried to capture the magic of Arkanoid for years. With such a simple concept, innovation within the field comes harder than for most subsets of the casual game industry. Brixter’s appeal comes from players designing better games, rather than the gameplay itself.

Download Brixter

This retro Brickout style game is reminiscent of the ’90’s style with its cartoonish style and laughable font selections. Cheapen the graphics from Arkanoid and you have Brixter. Of course, this is forgivable when playing a game whose plot is so compelling that it transcends eras. When your game is the first, you have every right to be nostalgic. Unfortunately, Brixter is not the first in this sub genre.

In order for a game to rise to the top, it must offer something unique AND interesting in gameplay or plot. Brixter’s plot was nothing to speak of: megalomaniac alien subjugating other aliens in order to control some resource of value. In this case, they’re rings. It honestly could have been anything, as the rings are an excuse to play a brick busting game. With no particular plot to pull from, the game needs to rely on distinctive gameplay.

The unique ‘twist’ on gameplay that Brixter offers is that your field of hittable bricks drops like in Space Invaders, so you are effectively timed without being timed. The table of bricks shifts from left to right so players do not end up in an infinite loop, helplessly watching the ball while wishing for a pinball’esque tilt button.

The player is responsible for hitting EVERY brick, a point on which recent game developers have been lax. This would not be such a point, except players can become extremely frustrated aiming for that last brick on a moving target. There is no way to simply blast the bricks with a laser. The bricks, when hit, burst into multiple shards, easily confusable with the ball that is also bouncing.

Brixter Breakout Game Screenshot

Download Brixter

The saving grace of this game came from an unlikely source: the sound. The background music is especially moving, reminiscent of an epic soundtrack. Such robust music does not need to be included with a mediocre brick-busting game. It fuels imaginations into believing that the world can honestly be saved with a pellet gun and a ball of twine.

Brixter is a Breakout style game which spurs the imagination into creating a better game. Some designers would have chosen not to make the ‘break’ of the game another Breakout styled game. Some might not have made the choice to have a plot so old that it is almost painful when people dust it off. Font selections could have been better. This game is worth playing for the few minutes that it takes a better game to download.

Grendel Games Release Diamond Dan

Grendel Games released their platform puzzler Diamond Dan on Steam. Grendel Game has tasked the player to guide Diamond Dan, an intrepid archaeologist through towers traps and pitfalls in Europe, the Middle East and South America.

Diamond Dan Platform Game Screenshot

Diamond Dan Platform Game Screenshot

You can download and buy the game from Steam.