Tag Archives: Direst of Muck

REVIEW: Recall

Looking past all the various skin on display in the image above (and throughout the entirety of the game, for that matter), Golconda‘s latest, Recall1 ($1.00), is actually a comprehensive treatise on lost memories and the connections we form with other people… … … Yeah, I can’t take it serious either. The premise is wacky stuff— super smart (and, naturally, super fit) ‘alien beings’ wearing human costumes and pulling the strings of the universe behind the scenes. Oh, and there’s this whole ‘implied Lesbianism’ thing going on in some of those memories. Legitimate relationship that fits the plot? Absolutely not. Pandering to a teenage audience? You bet.

Recall - Screen

Yet with all those vacant eyes and awkward contortions, it’s hard to see anyone getting a thrill out of this. It still smacks of the ‘uncanny valley’ awkwardness from the developer’s previous effort, Vixenized. It keeps the running theme of under-dressed women from that game, but thankfully turns Recall into an actual first-person shooter with movement, rather than the ‘stationary shooting gallery’ the first game represented. Recall sets you loose in three different ‘time periods’, to do battle with other, meaner aliens, zombie vixens, and, of course, the regular, bloodthirsty vixens.

Granted, those environments constitute an unexciting space station and a pair of equally-boring caves, hallways that lead to other hallways, occasionally impeded by a door or… some kind of laser trap2? Points are awarded for kills, and for shooting ‘bombs’ that drop from the ceiling, which then explode, piñata-style, into more bonus points.  All this to go with terribly stiff movement and shallow gunplay, though none of it is the focus. It’s simply a means to an end; by reaching certain scoring milestones, you get access to these aforementioned ‘memories’; typically girls in bathing suits / other revealing outfits3, outlining past interstellar events, as if anyone playing the game is interested in those events.

Recall - Screen2

One of your many ‘lost’ memories. Bet you wish you could remember a little less clothing, eh? (nudge, nudge) Eh? ….. sinner.

The rest flows unenthusiastically from there, a glitchy (you can walk around outside the ‘space station’ level; not very realistic for the supposed ‘vacuum’ of space), unrefined mess of disparate pieces and vague objectives (‘orbs’ of some kind are required to unlock certain memories). The gameplay suffers for it, with enemies / bombs popping up randomly, even spawning directly on top of you in some cases, draining your health and any patience you might have had up to that point. The icing on this terrible cake? Your progress isn’t saved upon exit, so you’ll have to amass all the points in one sitting if you want to see how it ends.

Not that Recall is intended for serious first-person shooter enthusiasts, or even gamers in general. It’s candy for virgin eyes that have never glanced upon the treasure box of goodies that is The Internet. The developer knows what you came for, and puts enough skin on-screen to fulfill that promise …and nothing more. It should be no surprise to anybody that the ‘game’ underneath that flesh is woefully underdone, a distracted attempt at cheap extortion, a substandard product that should be totally recalled.

  1. This review is also featured at Indiepitome
  2. It’s basically the slowest-firing laser trap in the universe. You could run past it, back up, and run through again before the laser shot would reach the other end of the wall. I’m not joking. 
  3. Hey, you’ve got to be comfortable. 


It’s not the most glamorous job, and the stench has got to be unbelievable, but certainly garbagemen have to be considered among the unsung heroes of the world. They’re not curing diseases or inventing new forms of space travel, sure, but consider this ‘what-if’ for a second; a world without garbagemen. Huh? Huh? Yeah, we’d have a world that looks and smells a whole lot like Delhi. And no offense to India, but that would be bad. Really bad. So that’s why I always give a wave to to those guys when I see them. Partially out of respect, but mostly to clear the air1.

G-Men - Screen

While praise for their contributions is always in short supply, it’s even rarer to see garbagemen represented favorably in the media. Sure, we were blessed with the Charlie Sheen / Emilio Estevez gem Men At Work2, but video games have largely been overlooked. That is, until now.  G-Men ($1.00) makes it possible for everyone to experience the joy and the wonder (and the questionable ‘juices’ that reside in the bottom of the bin) of being a garbage collector.

Sort of. G-Men is more of an MS Paint-style arcade collectathon than a simulator or ‘thank you’ to garbage folk. The game starts you out on foot, walking down the street to pick up bags while avoiding some obstacles and passing motorists. You’re on a time limit, of course, and are tasked with collecting a set number of bags. Meet your quota, and you’re given a pickup truck to haul trash with. The process repeats, adding a few other hazards / enemies, with you eventually building yourself up to a full-fledged garbage truck— the crown jewel of waste management! How exciting!

G-Men - Screen2

Too bad the game is the digital equivalent of it’s chosen subject; pure trash. The idea behind G-Men is thin, the gameplay even more so, but neither is what condemns the game to be metaphorically dumped in a metaphorical landfill. Rather, it’s the completely ridiculous hit detection. Even when you’re clearly out of the path of an oncoming car or obstacle, you will take damage. On foot, it’s instant death and especially annoying, but even in a truck with semi-limited health, avoiding hits is a matter of luck instead of fair spacing.

As such, the game makes it essentially impossible for you to get anywhere consistently. That glaring fault, taken together with the child-simple visuals and rock bottom basic gameplay, and you’d have to wonder why developer Generation Why Studios3 even bothered to release such an untested, unwarranted mess on the marketplace. I can’t see the reason. G-Men is outright terrible, and should be taken out to the curb and disposed of.

(EDIT 9/1: An update for the game has been released that fixes some of the hit detection problems. While objects that pass over your ‘head’ no longer cause damage, the range of cars / obstacles that run near your ‘feet’ is still ridiculously out of whack.)

  1. Sorry. There was really no way I could resist that old joke. 
  2. It’s a guilty pleasure, and Keith David is hilarious in the film as well. Look, a wild trailer appears! 
  3. And really, why create such a terrible game, Generation Why? 

REVIEW: The Party

The Party ($1.00) is dreadful stuff. I probably could have used a better lead-in to that statement, but I figured it was best to get it right out there in the least amount of time, ‘time’ being something that The Party doesn’t do too well with. Team Shuriken‘s newest pseudo text adventure drops most of the requisite tits and / or any semblance of character development, and instead focuses on a college party that quickly gets out of hand. Sort of.

The Party - Screen

Oh, if I had a nickel for every time this happened to me…

You see, as soon as this party is, quote, ‘getting started’, it ends. That’s right, the game just ends, ten minutes in. All you get is a smarmy / smug ‘Congratulations!’— as if you’ve accomplished some great task— and an invitation to drop another dollar if and when the second chapter is released (and given the developer’s track record for finishing what it starts, you could be waiting indefinitely). I could leave things right here and let us both get on with our lives like The Party never happened, but I suppose I should give some specifics.

After Bro’s1 computer gets fried, he decides to give his buddy Spencer a call to lament the loss. Spencer’s solution is to throw a party, but Bro isn’t feeling it. Also, they know like zero girls between the two of them. Doesn’t matter. Spencer is hell-bent on throwing this party with— or without— Bro’s approval. To do so, he needs to assemble a group of ‘babes’ by guilt-tripping them into coming, and this sets up the primary ‘guesswork’ in The Party. It’s the same trial-and-error stuff you’ve come to expect, mixed with some light animation work and the obvious choices that will instantly ‘game over’ you, even if they might be worth a chuckle.

The Party - Screen2

Once Spencer has gathered the girls, he goes to Bro’s apartment, only to have a group of college dudes show up. Turns out they were expecting hot chicks at this party. The group is instead dismayed to find out they’ve come to a full-on sausage fest, so Bro and Spencer get themselves tossed out of their own party. You skip to a ‘few hours later’, after Bro has supposedly been The Hangover2-ed (new ‘haircut’ and all), and this is when the game ends.

Lucky for you, I’ve essentially laid out the game in abridged form here, so there’s no reason for you curious types to even download it. Sadly, it seems that for every small step Team Shuriken takes forward, it has to take one giant leap backward3. The Party certainly resets any recent progress I’ve given them credit for. Ugh.

  1. I’m sure he has a name, but ‘Bro’ is the only title that Spencer ever calls him by. Also, ‘Bro’ is the same dude at the desk from Venus Explorer. In fact, maybe that’s the ‘game’ that fries Bro’s computer in The Party. I don’t have any clever remark for this, I just like the possible continuity and thought you’d like to know. 
  2. And if we’re talking The Hangover films here, Part II is clearly the best one. It beats the abysmal third act by miles and miles, and it’s funnier than the original because it uses those same jokes from the first film to better comedic effect with already-established characters and situations. This doesn’t have anything to do with the game, by the way, I’m just sayin’. 
  3. Did I just use the Neil Armstrong quote to describe Team Shuriken’s game catalog? Sorry, Neil. 

REVIEW: Flappy Monkey

Were you compiling a checklist of things to include in your forthcoming indie release, the list for Flappy Monkey ($1.00) would read entirely like a game’s postmortem for ‘What not to do’, unlimited (facepalm)1 included. Release a Flappy Bird clone months after the fact, and when so many other better (and free) versions exist? Check! A terrible impersonation of the original’s gameplay? Check! The bare minimum of animation and art? Check! The ability to shit on everything you see as you flap past? Resounding check!

Flappy Monkey - Screen

That’s right. Developer Awesome Enterprises‘ whole big ‘It’s like Flappy Bird, but different’ bit is the chance to take a dump on teachers with chalkboards, birds, and banana-wielding vegetarians. Because… I don’t know. Because juvenile humor is all we’ve got left, dammit! Because shitting, that’s funny2, right!? For your sake, you better hope so, as minus the copious cornucopia of defecation present here, Flappy Monkey does nothing else worthwhile.

The typical scenario applies— you flap your arms (or rather, your monkey jerks up awkwardly), flying through obstacles, avoiding crocodiles that lie in wait mid-snap, protruding from the top and bottom of the screen. You use that momentum to navigate through the level, collecting bananas and, um… shitting on people to improve your high score. And that’s it. What, you wanted more?

Flappy Monkey - Screen2

Well, you’re not going to get it. Sure, you can buy into the game to save your high scores, but I can’t think of a single reason or scenario that you would be proud to show off your achievements in Flappy Monkey. The shoddy setup, the over-reliance on shitty humor, and the total lack of variety doom it from the start.

If you’re one of the three people left on Earth that somehow haven’t played a version of Flappy Bird by now, you probably have no interest in it, and you have nothing to worry about. Though if you are interested, you could do infinitely better than playing Flappy Monkey. It’s less of a game, and more of a metaphor for shitting on indie gaming in general.

  1. Set phasers to Picard facepalm
  2. Hell yeah!… If you’re like… seven. Even then, some seven-year-olds would be offended that I think they’d laugh at a shitting monkey. This is like 50% of Adam Sandler’s comedic catalog, so that should tell you all you need to know. 

REVIEW: Logan’s Treasure

If you read this site on a semi-regular basis, you might recall the partial compliment1 I paid to 3T Games on their ability to release games quickly. I say partial, because in that same breath, I chastised those games for a lack of creativity and phoned-in design. Now, I’d like to rescind every bit of that compliment entirely, as Logan’s Treasure ($1.00) is further proof that the developer needs a lengthy ‘time out’ from releasing uninspired platformers.

Logan's Treasure - Screen

Honestly, who uses their menu as a promotional screen? 

Forget for a moment that the developer has used (and re-used, and re-used again) the same characters, enemies, and vague art in previously-released games2, and just judge Logan’s Treasure for what it does (or doesn’t do) all on its own. A platformer with Atari-era graphics, the game asks you to retrieve forty keys from a series of inter-connected rooms. The ceilings, floors, and sides of any given screen lead to another, with platforms and ladders (climbing a ladder in this game is one of the most awkward non-animations I’ve ever seen. Want to climb down a ladder? Forget it.  Not possible.) allowing you to reach new perches and previously-inaccessible areas.

With no means of combat, enemies in Logan’s Treasure are in the ‘strictly avoid’ category, with one touch equating to instant death. You’re given only a handful of lives to achieve your objective, but most of your foes follow easily-recognizable routes and patterns. Save for some tight corridors (which really aren’t, since you can jump through floors) and temporary platforms that ‘melt away’ when you stand on them, it’s all very basic and repetitive.

Logan's Treasure - Screen2

Having one screenshot of gameplay is never a good sign.

It also doesn’t help that the game has some of the worst sound effects ever conceived; the loud, grating kind that occurs each and every time your character takes a single goddamn step or jump. Their inclusion is beyond baffling and potentially trolling, especially since you have the option to turn them off at any time. And you should, you really should. Of course, you’ll be playing in silence after that (there’s no soundtrack), but that silence is golden compared to the mind-numbing noise you get by default.

Faced with bland platforming, terrible sound effects, and reused game assets, I’d rather dig up a moldy E.T. cartridge— and replace it with this game3— than suffer through the rest of Logan’s Treasure to find out what’s in the chest after finding all the keys. Unless it’s my dollar plus tax being given back to me (with a sincere apology), I want no part of this dreadful wreck.

  1. See the beginning of the Legend of Max review for that. 
  2. See The Blaggers or Lazy Caverns for that. 
  3. Being a digital game, I suppose I’d have to bury my Xbox 360 in the New Mexico desert then. Didn’t think that one through, did I?