Tag Archives: NeuronVexx

REVIEW: Freestyle Football Trials

If you disregard the fact that here in the U.S., the ‘Football’ nametag is already taken by another, vastly more popular sport, why my country continues to call it ‘Soccer’ has for years bothered me. Some researching cleared that right up. You Brits did it to yourselves, it seems, so there’s no use now in getting upset at us Yanks for using the word. Well, there is the whole ‘Fahrenheit’ versus ‘Celsius’ thing we cling to, but hey, I digress. Freestyle Football Trials ($1.00) is the age-old game of keeping a football in the air for as long as possible.

As another quick release by developer NeuronVexx, one that uses the same character models and individually-controllable appendages from the studio’s previous drunk mankini disaster, it is a marked improvement over the last’s implementation. Your flailing now somewhat resembles a sport, and less a, say, drunken bar fight. The controls can still be frustrating to work with and adapt to. Fortunately, as the theme is California Games, hacky sack-esque, you use only your legs this time around, shuffling your feet to move and volley the ball.

You get two modes of play here, the literally-named ‘Keepy-Uppy’, and a freestyle setting that scores you based on the tricks you perform and the variety in the routine. While the first mode eschews any strategy beyond keeping the ball going, ‘Freestyle’ does introduce some skill in how you play, allowing you to pause and balance the ball on different sides of your foot. It takes a little practice (‘Timed’ and ‘Endurance’ options let you choose the pace), but you can get some decent combos going.

Freestyle Football Trials - Screen

Unfortunately, there’s just not enough to Freestyle Football Trials to warrant your time (even the original California Games had other events to keep things interesting). Online leaderboards for each mode help to promote replayability and a sense of competition, though there’s only so many ways to dress up the same thing. Whatever you want to call it— Soccer, Football, Footbag— the one constant here is boredom.

REVIEW: Ultimate Drunken Warrior

That old saying, how you always hurt the ones you love? Well, it works both ways. The developer of Ultimate Drunken Warrior ($1.00) is NeuronVexx, the same man behind the Terraria-like, create-a-world indie Dinora. Despite some flaws, and the not-exactly-original idea, that game gave you a pretty expansive sandbox that you could literally still be playing now, and not ever build the same world twice. It was impressive, another avenue that opened up to show what XBLIG developers could do.

And now, we get Ultimate Drunken Warrior. Eh… Dinora this ain’t. On the completely opposite end of the room, wearing a bright green (and oh so controversial) mankini and baiting you with its pseudo-edginess, UDW is nothing special or inspirational. Letting you choose your level of drunkenness (i.e., how annoying you want your controls to feel) after a night of pub crawling, it’s a bare-bones tournament fighter for up to 16 intoxicated souls, locally.

Both the playing style (direct control of each appendage) and art recall Mount Your Friends, which I have to admit seems like it should be on the leaderboard compared to Ultimate Drunken Warrior’s offering. Both games use ‘ragdoll’ movement to control their respective men. In UDW’s case, it’s to move the feet one at a time, or stumble around the screen in a slow shuffle. Fights are remarkably dull, swinging your character’s arms around in a stupor until someone eventually wins.

Ultimate Drunken Warrior - Screen

That is, assuming you can rope a friend into joining you. There’s no AI fighters to spar against, and the game is just barely playable alone, only in smashing crates in a vague reference to ‘training’. Your score isn’t kept, and there’s no penalty or reward for even attempting it. It’s simply there to provide meat for the demo. Considering the competitive side isn’t much better, the whole thing feels like a lost cause from the start.

Ultimate Drunken Warrior is the sort of juvenile amusement that might entertain some for a few minutes, were it not constructed in the cheapest way possible and costing you a dollar. As is, it’s a low-rent idea the channel could do without.

REVIEW: Dinora

A million years ago, in a land very unlike the one I currently reside in, I had a wife. Children. A modest house, a valued trade. I was making a living. I was living, well, sort of. The truth was a barely-passable life on a rock I’d chose to call home for no other reason than it had plenty of trees to chop down when I first arrived. Between that first chop and my final breath in the land of Dinora (80 MSP), I was witness to a great many things, several highs and lows, the laughs and frustrations. I know my life, as I refer to that digital existence, the temporary abandonment of my mortal coil, was not in vain. I was, at varying times, a miner, blacksmith, wizard, fairy, knight, a shepherd, farmer, alien hunter, a rescuer, a doctor—  such are the possibilities (and then some) present in the game.

Even so, it is plainly obvious that Dinora is a $1 Terraria. One look at the visuals, which, while simple, have an understated charm to them, and you’ll reach the same conclusion. Playing it, a 2D crafter that sees you from such humble wood-chopping beginnings all the way up to the ruler-God of a great city, if you so choose, will be immediately familiar to those that have played Terraria. There is no getting around it. Both games, with the exception of some interface upgrades / downgrades and options, play the same. The opening is the same, battles are the same, mundane tasks are the same, everything is saaaammmme. For the sake of keeping the review manageable, I’ll skip some of the finer details of the setup, as if you’ve played Terraria or have an interest in it, you’ll know the routine. Basically, the world of Dinora is yours to mold and craft as you wish, with plenty of optional quests and events if your own creativity starts to stall.

The original angle that Dinora takes is in its ‘relationships’, your interactions with the various NPCs across the land. After building a Bar (alcohol is the genesis of human interaction, of course) and several furnished homes / rooms, you can befriend and enlist the services of the men and women you meet, setting them up in various professions and teaching them skills, which will pay dividends to you once they start producing goods. You can also find (and woo) a husband or wife, and start a family of your own (they’ll even be dependent on you for food / shelter), watching them take on your features and age accordingly. There’s several options in how you can converse, and each denizen in Dinora has changing moods / needs that you must pay attention to if you want to foster a relationship. It’s surprisingly well-done, and stacks even more hours on top of the hours you’ll spend building / tearing down / fighting / casting spells / leveling up, etc.

Dinora - Screen

Building scenes like this requires a massive amount of time, resources, and dedication.

There’s some nitpicks here and there. Despite some well-handled tutorials and reminders, building / crafting can be a pain to figure out, and the controller can’t match a keyboard & mouse setup. Inventory can be tough to manage, and most enemies are too strong for your initially weak character, though all of these things should be expected in a game where you can literally be doing a dozen different things at any given time. And as a crafter, you should know that the game will be lengthy, though it bears repeating: Dinora is NOT pick-up-and-play, it is a MAJOR time-sink. Expect to put in several hours before you’re anywhere near a stable existence, and triple that time if you want to see some of the more fun aspects of the game, or reach its ‘Darkness is coming’ endgame.

Dinora may be a carbon-copy of Terraria in most ways, though it’s hard to argue its worth when you can get every bit of enjoyment out of it as you would playing the original. All of that game’s tally, and even a little more here, due to the relationships you can forge, essentially unlimited playtime, for 80 MSP. How you choose to live your life on Dinora is entirely up to you, and the game provides an excellent template from which to draw ideas. Original or not, quirks and nagging issues considered, a game with this amount of choice and variety can’t be ignored or dismissed.


Review on Indie Gamer Chick