Tag Archives: Chris Antoni (Developer)

REVIEW: Magnet Man

Not to be confused with the Mega Man 3 boss by the same name, Magnet Man ($1.00) is yet another game by developer Chris Antoni1, a simple platformer using the power of magnets to fuel its type of predictable (yet occasionally smart) puzzle-solving. The idea isn’t exactly novel on its own— magnetized platformers being rather common— but when done right (on XBLIG, the excellent Magnetic By Nature comes to mind), it can attract2 an audience.

Magnet Man - Screen

Like MbN before it, this one’s similarly a platformer, albeit one starring a shirtless gladiator(?). I think. And yes, he has a magnet surgically-implanted on his arm, which he (of course!) uses to attach to and repel from the changing polarity of magnets that he can control (via switches). Or maybe he’s just carrying a magnet. It’s hard to tell, and doesn’t really have any effect on the game at all. There is no story or text of any kind, no motivation or impetus, just the ‘Job well done, sir!’ of setting a high score.

Save for the later levels, where some tiny penguin-like enemies show up (one hit equals death, so you simply avoid them), it’s just you and the magnet cannon. And a bunch of same-y looking stage designs between you and each exit. Your cannon is versatile, allowing you to attach yourself to ceilings or pull yourself straight across the length of the level, provided you are ‘lined up’ with said magnets, and on level ground. While that’s not exactly a twist on the formula, Magnet Man‘s insistence on those conditions does create some clever traversal puzzles and the occasional ‘how do I get there?’ moments.

Magnet Man - Screen2

This generally requires you to swap polarities, time your moves to disappearing bricks, or push a ‘boulder’ (sort of looks like a Transformers‘ head) with your cannon in order to create stairs or safe havens from spike pits. Expect to make a few mistakes, but the level of difficulty’ rests more on your patience than actual challenge; you have a limited amount of lives, but given that you can save at each new level, you’re never in any danger of losing your place.

That said, starting from the title and all the way to the graphics, Magnet Man is not very interesting. The gameplay is decent, but it’s all visually and tonally bland, lacks any sort of personality (sorry, Magnet Gladiator), and feels rough around the edges. With a little more time in the developmental oven it might fare better, but with far better (and far more inviting) magnetic platformers out there, there’s no real reason to invest your time here.


  1. I should really just change the name of this site to ‘theANTONI’, seeing as how I’ve been strictly reviewing games by him. It seems that way, certainly. 
  2. Only bad ‘magnet’ pun I’ll do, I swear. And I stick to my promises…. okay, fine. Just those two. 

REVIEW: Appease the Spider

As the sort-of sequel to surprise hit One Night Two Crazies1, Appease the Spider ($1.00) is a speedy follow-up to the original’s brand of cheap (albeit creepy) jump scares. ‘Speedy’ as in just two weeks ago. I mean, my tears for fears— ahem, tears from fears— have barely dried on my shirt, and already I’m being asked to do it all over again.

Appease the Spider - Screen

The epitome of ‘low budget’ horror. 

Appease the Spider keeps the amateur look and feel, as well as the cheesy dialog and inexpensive props (if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it). Your objective, too, is largely the same: survive the night while intruders roam the halls and rooms of your house. You still keep tabs on said costumed horrors via cameras placed around the home, but the big change to the formula this time around is the ability to manually explore the rooms on foot. Well, with preset movement prompts and button presses, that is.

That travel is necessary, as you’re also on a bit of a fetch quest. As the title implies, you’re not just surviving; you’re fulfilling orders for a very needy (and increasingly-demanding) spider2. With each new night comes a new mission, like retrieving a snack from the kitchen, or bringing back a Chess piece. Later on, you’ll be tasked with gathering multiple items. As you set off on your scavenger hunts, the intruders move about the house, forcing you to keep watch over their movements, …and hope they don’t overlap with yours.

Thankfully, there’s no time limit, and the layout of the house isn’t overly complex3 or massive, but knowing where to look for some of the required items can be. To complicate the search (and dial up the tension), Appease the Spider limits your defenses. You can only hide in pair of places, and there’s no last-ditch move to avoid being caught. Like One Night Two Crazies, you have to constantly be aware of the intruders. And perhaps hope for a little luck.

Appease the Spider - Screen2

You’ve always got the option to retry, although the inherent trial-and-error of that might turn off some. Even the ‘jump scares’ can get more annoying than unnerving as the retries pile on, and the series’ reliance on pseudo-FMV, still shots, and half-animations (that may cause motion sickness over long periods) means you’ll be staring at the same hallways and death scenes over and over.

There’s no denying that Appease the Spider is very much a one-trick pony, but it’s (once again) timely, and the added mobility and new gameplay elements elevate it a bit beyond what One Night Two Crazies offered. If you didn’t like that one, this game probably won’t convert you. Yet if you’re in the right mindset for cheap scares and even cheaper production values, you can turn off the lights and get a decent amount of enjoyment out of Appease the Spider.


  1. I say sort-of, because a true sequel is already on the way. Called Fright Light, it’s probably available as you read this. 
  2. Yeah, it’s best not to give the plot too much thought. 
  3. The upstairs’ trio of doors can be a little disorienting, admittedly. Expect to make some mistakes there. 

REVIEW: One Night Two Crazies

Third time is the charm for developer Chris Antoni, so far as timing his new releases, that is. While Santa Slay missed the (calendar) mark by a considerable margin, One Night Two Crazies ($1.00) is rather right on target. With Halloween just over two weeks away, the developer’s latest is a pretty simple— and pretty scary— game that brilliantly preys upon some of our worst thoughts and fears.

One Night Two Crazies - Screen

Albeit in a very familiar way. The ‘FMV Horror’ genre is nothing new, and the ground it covers is well-tread. Put a bunch of creepy people and dimly-lit VHS scenes together, give your protagonist little to no means of fighting back against said creeps, and your recipe is nearly complete. One Night Two Crazies does just that, placing ‘you’ at a desk in a seemingly-empty house, testing out a newly-installed security system. This entails you watching the monitor and a series of camera feeds, as first one, then two, crazies, infiltrate your home and make their way to your bedroom. The objective is to survive each ‘night’, which lasts two minutes1 before security kicks in.

Your only means of tracking the intruders comes from spotting them on the cameras via still shots, either hiding in plain sight, or sometimes trying a little harder to avoid detection. Fail to keep an eye on them, or forget to periodically check the hallway, and you can guess how this ends for you. Luckily, you do have some defensive measures. And by some, I mean one. You can shut your door. That’s right. If ever you are faced with a life and death situation in your home, just close your door. The bad guys will just give up2.

Of course, it’s not that simple. While looking out into the hall and / or holding the door shut does grant you a temporary reprieve, peace of mind, and plenty of freaky ‘near-misses’, it comes with the unfortunate cost of losing a bit of your ‘sanity’ in trade. Visual cues on-screen will alert you of your deteriorating mental condition. Lose your mind entirely, and you’ll be ‘frozen’ in place, unable to move or protect yourself. This back and forth system of overwatch— and a bit of luck— is vital to your success and nightly survival.

One Night Two Crazies - Screen2

While it starts to feel like trial and error after awhile, the game does an effective job at creating unease, despite its ‘low budget’ acting and feel3. A man in a hockey mask, and another in a homemade spider costume are hardly scary on their own, more cheesy and campy than anything. That said, the way these two characters stalk you does create palpable tension, with you following their paths when you can, and trying to guess where they are in the house when you can’t.

Subsequent nights add to the challenge, taking out cameras, say, or adding a second assailant to the mix. And that’s the extent of it. One Night Two Crazies doesn’t do too much beyond what you’ve seen from the genre before, but its timely release, and the easy ability to create a sense of dread every playthrough, do more than enough to justify the cost of admission. Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’m off to check my locks.


  1. Two very long, impossibly-long, minutes. I mean, come on, hasn’t it been two minutes!? The guy could be right outside my— Gahhhh! Son of a— Don’t fucking do that to me!!! 
  2. Well, probably not in real life situations. In that event, you should probably run. Or hide. Or have Liam Neeson on speed dial. He seems to be good at dealing with undesirables. 
  3. One could argue that a ‘low budget’ is exactly the right kind of budget for games like these, and I would agree. Give me camp! 

REVIEW: Eternal Nightmare

Eternal Nightmare ($1.00) really, really, wants to be Contra. And why not; it’s generally pleasant memories that most of us have of that game. This one, though… not so much. Instead, it’s going about living up to its title. Developer Chris Antoni‘s second game— hot on the heels… er, I mean sleigh rails, of Santa Slay1— follows the basic path of Konami’s design, but veers off track. Oh, and simple visuals and ‘clip art’ be damned, we’re doing this whole ‘look’ again.

Like the title it borrows from, the action here is comfortably ‘Run & Gun’, with some light platforming. The stages flow from that viewpoint with little more than ‘kill everything in sight’ for an objective, moving left to right, right to left, up and over… you get the idea. Your character looks like he belongs in Contra, rolls into a ball to jump, lies flat to avoid fire. All the boxes are checked. Even a boss seems like you’ve seen him somewhere before:

As the title implies, the gist is you’re asleep and having a nightmare. You— and up to three friends locally— must battle your way out of that dream. Being a figment of your imagination (and yet so, so real), the enemies are predictably funky, some with exploding bodies (and heads that give constant chase), others that deflect your shots back at you (sometimes from off-screen, so you can’t see it coming). You get your assortment of mini-bosses and bosses too, all primed to get their shot at you. Essentially, you’re being set up to die. A lot.

It’s not all lost. Weapon powerups drop from the sky periodically, giving a boost to your gun, like a faster fire rate or a spread shot. At the end of each level, you get a pair of skill points to assign, increasing your firepower, speed, or jumping ability. In theory, this should help. Still, you’ve got a target painted on your back at all times. With friends, you could probably spread out and do a little more damage that way, but you’ll also share lives from the same pool. It’s a trade-off. Yet no matter how you play it, the game never really ‘gels’.

So what’s it missing? The Konami Code2, for starters, more polish certainly. And that certain ‘je ne sais quoi’, that something that made Contra simultaneously maddening and fun? Addictive enough that you’d spend hours perfecting your moves, running through the game multiple times, just because? Well, Eternal Nightmare doesn’t quite have it. For every homage to the Konami classic, every character sprite or boss art that’s ripped from it, you have pain-in-the-ass enemies, tiny bullets that blend into backgrounds3, and not nearly enough lives (or patience) to see it through.

Nothing really wants to go Eternal Nightmare‘s way, ditto for the person playing it. Whereas Santa Slay had some humor to back up its simplistic looks, the presentation here is just lackluster and threadbare, made worse by the frustrating gameplay. ‘You sleep and dream this nightmare forever!’ the game says when you fail. No, Eternal Nightmare, I don’t. In fact, this nightmare ends the second you’re deleted from my hard drive. I’ll sleep like a baby.


  1. Yes, yes, it’s early for the Holidays, I know, but you know what? It’s not too bad year-round. 
  2. And really, we could use the extra 30 lives here. 
  3. Sure, Contra had the same problem, but that was the 80s, man. We’ve evolved since then. We know better. 

REVIEW: Santa Slay

Depending on when you’re reading this article… Happy Holidays! What? It’s not? Oh, I mean… er… well, you know. I’ve got a very narrow window of opportunity for this thing. Carry on, then. September is probably a little early for spending sprees and gift-giving (just don’t tell that to this consumerist economy of ours), but that hasn’t stopped Santa Slay1 ($1.00) from getting its holly-jolly party started before the credits have even started to roll on Summer.

Santa Slay - Screen

A side-scrolling shooter with South Park-ian2 visuals, Santa Slay has old St. Nick returning home from a test run of his experimental sleigh to find his entire workforce of elves and reindeer slaughtered, the apparent work of (maybe) terrorists hell-bent on the annihilation of the holiday spirit. That storyline, as ludicrous as it is, is humorous enough3 to carry the otherwise pedestrian shooting, with Santa and his chief elf taking on hordes of enemies from every walk of life, from aliens to bloated helicopters, and a giant snowman.

Fictional holiday figures fighting each other to the death aside, it’s the typical shooter setup— one hit equals death, kill everything that moves, a boss at the end of each level. Some strategy will be necessary. You can’t strictly hold the trigger down to ‘spray & pray’ throughout, as doing so overheats your guns, but you get the idea. Powerups come in the form of packaged presents, and include the usual staples of shields, advanced weaponry, and extra lives.

Santa Slay - Screen2

Boss fights are a highlight, and can be tough. And no, I have no idea what this thing is supposed to be.

Despite the simplistic hook, Santa Slay does hide a fairly significant challenge. Your pool of extra lives is shallow, and a lone sleigh drifting among a sea of very tiny bullets means you won’t see everything coming. There’s no continue system or saved game option either, though most shooter fans shouldn’t have too much trouble in completing the game’s half a dozen stages, including a multi-part finale against another holiday mascot, pissed that his holiday is relegated to being a ‘crappier version of Halloween’.

Humor may or may not be enough for you, and Santa Slay offers nothing you haven’t seen before. It’s rather short4, rather basic, isn’t going to make anyone’s ‘Best-Dressed’ list, yet it is strangely amusing. I realize that’s hardly a solid vote of confidence, but this is a Christmas-themed game released in August; I’m doing the best I can with the material. So… Happy Holidays! No? Still no? Ah well, one of these days it’ll be applicable.


EDIT 9.7: A recent update to the game now gives you the option to increase the amount of extra lives to 20 or 30. One could argue this would make the game too easy (and it does), but hey, at least we all get to see the ending now.


  1. I have no idea why the developer used these screenshots for the marketplace. The game’s actual display fills the entire screen, and the colors are not washed out, as they appear here. Still not much of a looker, but these shots aren’t helping. At all. 
  2. Formerly known as ‘Microsoft Paint’ visuals. Makes it an easier pill for Developers to swallow, less of me dumping on their artistic skills. Thanks Soosh! 
  3. At one point, Santa sounds more than a little bitter discussing his divorce from Mrs. Claus. Given how many varied opponents he faces throughout, Santa Slay really could have used a level where he faces down his ex-wife. DLC or a sequel, perhaps? 
  4. Twenty minutes, if you’re good enough.