Tag Archives: Msi / Gtr / Jms (Developer)

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? 

REVIEW: Legend of Max

Say what you will about developer 3T Games, they sure know how to keep cranking out those indie platformers. Legend of Max ($1.00) is just the latest to join the club. Quality may take a dip with that harried development cycle (less than a week after The Blaggers and three months since the oh-so-underwhelming Unreal Land), but hey, quantity has to count for something too, right?

Legend of Max - Screen

Well, yes. More of something, which in the case of 3T’s platformers, is a lot of same-y looking (and playing) games. For the canine hero in Legend of Max, I guess you could say it’s ‘new dog, old tricks‘ (…Damn, I’m just too clever for my own good). The move towards a pixel style is much appreciated after the Microsoft Paint-look of Unreal Land, but really, you could swap design and protagonists and wind up with almost the same game.

Here, you’re a dog in search of its master, collecting bones for points (as opposed to balloons, as was the case in Unreal Land) and generally moving from left to right in order to reach the exit. The eclectic cast of enemies mirrors the rosters from other 3T games, including its bizarre set of rules; larger animals like cows and camels are fair game to be jumped on, while diminutive types such as bees and bats are not, and take away one tick of your doggie life reserve (which you’ll want to hang on to, with no continues or saved games).

Levels themselves play out a little bit different in Max, allowing you to jump into the pits that would normally kill you in other platformers (water is still off-limits). Searching these subterranean rooms will often net you extra lives or loot, some of it required— certain stages ask you to find a key or throw a switch in order to progress. Most of the objectives can be competed by following the standard route, but if you’re not a thorough adventurer, you’ll do some backtracking.

Legend of Max - Screen2

Oh Max… only you would sail into a swarm of bees.

Otherwise, you know the drill. The game does deserve an honorable mention in trying to break up the monotony. It shoehorns other genres into a the mix at certain points, like adding a basic shooter during a boat sequence (see above screenshot), switching over to a poor man’s Space Invaders in the next moment, or in finding puzzle pieces to unlock an exit gate. All nice ideas, and you have to appreciate the effort, even as some frustrating bits with enemy placement strike a sour note later on.

So in the end, I find I have no strong feelings either way regarding the game. I’m squarely in the middle. Of course, you might be thinking ‘I’d buy that for a dollar’, though you have to consider the particulars. Legend of Max isn’t broken or all that bad, but it is lightweight, economical development ready-made for quick consumption; no real risks, and thus, no real rewards in playing it.

REVIEW: Unreal Land

Once you get past the amateur visuals (and it takes some time), you’ll find that Unreal Land ($1.00) is a platformer with a sunny disposition— full of non-threatening baddies and rainbows, drawing from a bright color palette. There’s something strangely-comforting in that…

Unreal Land - Screen

…and just plain-strange, when you consider the protagonist is sporting one of the loudest hairdos this side of the mushroom kingdom. Those dirty blonde locks / curls are rocking, sir. As unreal as that head of hair seems, the title pertains to the world our hero winds up in when chasing down his lost his balloons (which look like flower petals, and which shouldn’t float, but whatever, go with it!).

Perhaps befitting the look of the game, standard platforming rules apply; you jump, you collect, you throw nuts (!) at bizarre-looking enemies, you throw switches to open pathways, you ride moving conveyances, you bounce on spring platforms (that can be moved to gather flower-balloons and / or otherwise advance), and then repeat until done.

Unreal Land - Screen2

No double rainbow, man? Missed opportunity.

Simply said, it’s only the bare essentials of game design at work here, and, with no interesting sections or new wrinkles to unearth, just not very fun. Even more telling, it’s partially a re-purposed game, with little bits (enemies and art, mostly) taken from the developer’s last two releases, Lazy Caverns and Pablo’s Fruit.

Needless to say, this new experience is entirely underwhelming. With copy-and-paste art, lackluster gameplay, and lazy design that you’ve seen (and possibly purchased) before, Unreal Land is a shoddy effort that’s not worth your time.

REVIEW: Paper Galactica

Of all the trends I’ve noticed in indie gaming, whether it be the shoehorning of zombies into every available game type, or avatars for everybody, the one that fascinates me the most is the idea of ‘paper games’. I use ‘fascination’ here to mean ‘odd’, as other than going for a visual edge in design, I have no clue who is behind the phase or who is clamoring for all these paper-based games to be made. Paper Galactica ($1.00), you intrigue me.

Paper Galactica - Screen

And I use ‘intrigue’ here to mean ‘baffle’. Paper Galactica is a Frankenstein of several classic shooters where your ship moves only horizontally at the bottom of the screen. I use ‘classic’ here to mean ’simple’, as outside of the distinction of appearing on paper, it plays exactly in that classic sense; no frills, no new wrinkles.

Enemies drop down, singly and in packs, in numbers sufficient for the challenge. Nothing taxing, though the size of your ship means you’ll have to keep on the move to avoid fire. There’s your typical allotment of powerup shots (triple, quadruple, missiles, mines, etc.) and score bonuses, and a handful of boss fights that differ only in appearance.

The whole thing is dreadfully underwhelming, phasers set to stale just a few minutes after you start. Waves go on for too long, the enemy art is bland. With no additional modes, no extras (more ‘paper’ choices doesn’t count), and no fun, this game equals no sale.

Paper Galactica - Screen2

There’s nothing to recommend here. Unless you’re a fetus, it’s impossible to get excited by a game you’ve undoubtedly played a hundred times over in some form or another. Paper Galactica may move the action over to a ‘sheet of paper’, though developer 3T Games should’ve just saved some digital trees and recycled the idea at conception. And I use ‘recycled’ here to mean ‘destroyed.’