Tag Archives: RicolaVG

REVIEW: Indiemon VS Zombies

Speaking of nerd cards in need of being revoked, I’ve avoided developer RicolaVG‘s Indiemon series on XBLIG for various reasons, tops among them being that I’m not a huge fan of Pokémon… …I know, it’s heresy, right!? Semi-adorable creatures battling other semi-adorable creatures, with you collecting them1 like a packrat and sending them to endless war; what’s not to love? But… throw some ‘undead’ into the mixture… label it Indiemon VS Zombies ($1.00)… and now you’re speaking my dead / slightly-decaying language, friend!

Indiemon VS Zombies - Screen

That ‘language’ I speak of takes the form of that ‘old reliable’ videogame fallback, the twin-stick shooter genre. The game features twelve Indiemon slaying mobs of zombies, each with their own unique attacks and special moves. And just as reliable (i.e. predictable), those zombies are fought in a pair of rather bland arenas, in a wave-based format according to difficulty. In other words, it’s like every twin-stick zombie shooter you’ve ever played.

Well, somewhat. Indiemon VS Zombies attempts to mitigate some of its me-tooism via upgradeable skill trees, giving each indiemon access to his or her— or its— secondary attacks, in exchange for XP earned during each wave, natch. Some of these ancillary weapons are better suited to the game than others (like say, a gun that can shoot through multiple rows of zombies at once), but they do inject some much needed variety. You can also tweak movement speed and XP gains, or buy additional lives and ammo, which again, helps to give the proceedings a little more depth than just ‘shoot ALL the things’.

Indiemon VS Zombies - Screen2

It still boils down to just that in the end, of course, and it’s a familiar fight. Even the A.I. phones it in. Being surrounded is never good, but you can always just strafe around the edges of the map and do just fine, or have a friend tag along as a second character and gun (there’s local co-op, if you insist). Though short of unlocking some additional indiemon for good play (outlast all waves on a particular map, collect a certain amount of extra lives in reserve, etc.), there’s not much else to it beyond the first hour.

And that makes Indiemon VS Zombies just so-so. Fans of the Indiemon series will undoubtedly be happy with the game, while twin-stick enthusiasts can probably find a favorite character to run through it with. Granted, it’s a fairly generic shooter underneath the Pokémon-ish paint job, but come on… Semi-adorable creatures battling hordes of the ravenous undead; what’s not to love? Eh, you’ll have to answer that one for yourself.


  1. Personally, I’d call it some form of slavery. Not to mention the inhumane storage conditions, being trapped in a tiny ball until your master calls upon you to fight on his / her behalf. 
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REVIEW: RetroBoy V1

Ah, that new console smell!— coming from a faux mobile device invented purely for the sake of shoving yet another XBLIG ‘classics collection’ down our throats, of course, but I digress. Yes, your fancy new RetroBoy V1 ($1.00) system is in fact a Game Boy brother by another mother, and yes, that means you’ll get your interactive fix in two or three splendid shades of puke-covered green. Assuming you dig your games in that color of not-so-awesome sauce.

RetroBoy V1 - Screen

RetroBoy V1 comes in one of six assorted flavors for you to try, including such ‘classics’ as Pong, Snake, and Flappy Bird1. Here, all of them play exactly as you remember, with no new twists or changes of any kind. That kind of renders the whole thing moot from the start, but it does serve as a convenient gathering of games in one place, should you be of the 1% of the gaming population that hasn’t played a version of these ‘classics’ at some point in your life.

While the requisite ‘brick breaker’ and Space Invaders types still have their easy-going, arcade-ish gameplay to fall back on, the rest of the titles somewhat show their age in comparison. Pong is drab-looking and boring against the simpleton AI, while Snake‘s antiquated dot-eater mechanic pales up against the slicker, present-day stuff like qrth-phyl.  Sucking the color out of everything to fit RetroBoy V1‘s forced aesthetic certainly doesn’t help the presentation.

RetroBoy V1 - Screen2

The odd man out in this collection is Adventure, a pseudo-RPG, pseudo-Zelda button-masher that sees you blazing through fights and leveling-up in order to face off against the four ‘bosses’ of each land (don’t get excited; the entire game is three screens long). The look of it is certainly ‘retro’, though the gameplay itself is frenetic and forgettable. You can mow through it in about five minutes.

It’s hard to fathom who the audience for this collection would be. It comes down to basic sense: I’ve played these games before, you’ve played these games before. Hundreds of times. For anyone that hasn’t2, you can find a free flash version of these titles nearly anywhere on the internet. As such, there’s little or no point in even downloading RetroBoy V1. Skip.


  1. Flappy Bird‘s status as a verified ‘classic’ is debatable, but I don’t write the news, kids, I just report it. 
  2. Get out from under your rock; the world can be an exciting place. 

REVIEW: Super MechaMan

Your natural inclination is to read Super MechaMan ($1.00) like ‘Mega Man’, thus assuming you’re getting yourself into some kind of very colorful and kiddish Mega Man-inspired platformer. That wouldn’t be wrong of you to assume, either, especially when some of the screenshots show off a character in a blue, mechanized suit, firing off blaster shots at snails1. Yet, you’d be wrong.

Super MechaMan - Screen

Broken down into its ‘no bullshit’ purest form, Super MechaMan is nothing more than Mario with a Mech suit. Furthermore, once you have that Mech suit (via a powerup doled out like mushrooms), you really need to do almost nothing else to win the game. But that comes later. The game starts off with a kidnaping kidnapping, as most of these things usually do. Bad guy takes your chick for no apparent reason, you take offense to it, and storm off after him, an army of foot soldiers and themed worlds between you and the inevitable climactic fight. Surprise, Super MechaMan takes no risks with the formula.

Gameplay is similarly lifted from its inspiration; you move from left to right to reach the exit, can stomp enemies on their head, and you bop bricks to acquire coins (a hundred earns you an extra live, natch). Super MechaMan comprises a total of ten levels, split between four world ‘types’, including a luscious greenscape (so nice we gotta use it twice!), a moonlit ice level, etc, each with their own enemy re-skins and soundtrack. The music is actually quite good, which counteracts the otherwise basic platforming and combat ‘rinse and repeat’ stuff.

Super MechaMan - Screen2

A simple boss fight concludes each world, but none of them will tax your skills. Particularly if you have the Mech suit. Sans suit, one touch kills you, but getting hit while in the suit merely demotes you back to human form. Which kind of stinks, actually, considering you’re basically a God when in Mech form. The ‘arm cannon’ makes all enemy / boss encounters a breeze. Sure, it takes more shots to maim a critter than the old ‘jump on the head’ routine, but it saves you from having to get up close and personal, eliminating any and all challenge the game might have presented.

You’re not missing much anyway, unless you enjoy really generic platformers2 you can complete in a half hour. Like Croc’s World before it, the whole thing seems ready-made for phones, the ‘copy and paste’ stuff that chokes off originality and just clogs up the marketplace out of spite. The colorful worlds are nice, but the lack of difficulty makes Super MechaMan ‘a curious glance’ at best, with ‘a skippable bore’ being the more likely outcome.


  1. Which, for the record, seems a little ridiculous. Snails? Really? I’m not telling anybody how to make their game, but ‘snails’ are not what I think of when I hear ‘threatening foot soldier’. What’s the worst they could do? Chase me really slowly, leaving a slimy trail behind? Oh, great, a mess I have to clean up? I’m shaking in my little Mech suit. 
  2. You shouldn’t. Please say you don’t. 

My Big Flappy, Feathery Weekend

I know what you’re thinking. Most of the Flappy Bird ire and / or love has died down by now, so why bother with the (literally) hundreds of clones spread across every possible videogame medium? Like 2013’s flash-in-a-pan Harlem Shake videos, there’s only so many videos of ‘somebody humping something to a soundtrack’ that you can watch before the police get called. Such is the case with Dong Nguyen and his Flappy Bird phenomenon. Well, minus the humping, at least, although I wouldn’t be surprised if a video like it exists somewhere. This is the internet.

And like any good internet-driven bandwagon, XBLIG and its eclectic cast of developers has seen fit to grace the channel with seven ‘clones of a clone’ thus far, with many more to follow (I hope not, but hope is just a band-aid you put over despair). There’s undoubtedly a group of people that are still interested in the phenomenon. So, it falls to me to steer you towards the better versions and guide you away from the worst offenders.

Since this is less of a review, and more of a catch-all ‘impression’ of each game, I’ll simply label the results with a PASS (not worth the time), TRIAL (okay), or BUY (good). Of course, if any of these games strike your fancy, you’d do better to download them and see for yourself. For everyone else watching from the nest, on with the show.

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FlappyAvatar - Screen

FlappyAvatar ($1.00), from AztecGames has one thing going for it that all the other ‘Flappy’ clones (but one other) do not; the ability to use your avatar. If you ever wanted to see what your Xbox doppelganger would look like flying through green tubes, FlappyAvatar is that chance personified. It’s also one of the ‘easier’ clones to control, as even though the gaps between tubes get smaller and start to move, you can maintain pretty effective control over your Flap-atar (bad joke, I’m aware).

Verdict: PASS. It has Online Leaderboards, and follows the ‘Flap’ formula slightly, but its lone mode is unexciting.

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Flappy Feathers - Screen

Flappy Feathers ($1.00), by developer RicolaVG, is one of the more ‘authentic’ Flappy-likes, in that it looks and plays similar to the original format. That’s both good and bad, the bad part being you’ll feel the same frustration when crashing into the obstacle mushrooms (no tubes here). The full version features an ‘inverse’ mode, but that’s ridiculous. Who would want to invert the controls and run the course backwards? No one’s hands are raised? I thought so.

Verdict: TRIAL. Authentic look and feel to the original game, but no Online Leaderboards or other (serious) modes.

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Flupp the Fish - Screen

Flupp the Fish ($1.00) from EntwicklerX throws traditional ‘Flappy’ conventions out the window and opts for fish-based flapping. In addition to the standard ‘Survive’ setting, you have a ‘Escape’ mode that requires you to avoid obstacles and not get eaten by a giant fish pursuing you, and a ‘Rush’ mode where you drive a car (a fish, driving a vehicle underwater, yes), collecting coins and jumping out of the way of stationary enemies and potholes. Hmm, unexpected.

Verdict: PASS. The additional modes are neat… on paper and in theory. In-game, they play roughly the same and have a terrible ‘feel’ to the controls.

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Flapping Avatars - Screen

Flapping Avatars ($1.00), from AwesomeGamesStudio, also uses your avatar as a stand-in for a bird. But not really a ‘bird’. You see, you’re not really flying here. You’re running, and jumping through obstacles. As such, the control scheme doesn’t match up to what you’d expect. So, that shouldn’t really qualify this as a Flappy Bird clone, right?

Verdict: PASS. Not exactly a clone, and the lack of additional options and online leaderboards makes this one a bust.

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Flappy Wrecker - Screen

Flappy Wrecker ($1.00) comes from Team Shuriken, makers of not-so-fine boob games and challenging boob platformers. Here, they use their voxel engine from the Uncraft Me! series to recreate ‘Flappy Bird’. It does contain a helpful ‘Fucking Destroy Everythiiiiiiing!!!’ secondary mode that gives you a wrecking truck to ram through all the obstacles and various birds. Not very polite or bird-friendly, but very therapeutic.

Verdict: TRIAL. Nice look and style, authentic controls. No leaderboards here, demolished by your truck’s ‘rage quit’ run.

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Failing Bird - Screen

Failing Bird ($1.00) by Gamefarm, carries with it a similar look and feel to the source material, as well as the not-so-subtle theft (Bullet Bills abound). There’s plenty of varied hazards here, giving it more of a refreshing challenge upon repeated plays. You also have to appreciate a developer that comes right out and tells you all the money you waste on this title will be spent on other, serious endeavors.

Verdict: TRIAL. Four player co-op (local) and online leaderboards puts this one on par with Little Flappers, making it the closest to a BUY from this bunch.

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So, what have we learned from this extended exercise? Only a handful of these Flappy Bird clones are really worth a trial, and even then, it’s going to come down to available features and which game feels the most ‘comfortable’ to you. For me, playing through all of these games reinforces my argument that Little Flappers (REVIEW) is still the best Flappy Bird clone on XBLIG, with Failing Bird coming in at a close second. Do what you will with these assessments.

At any rate, it’s been a long, lost weekend flying around (and boy are my arms tired!), so let’s consider the argument settled. You hear me, XBLIG? No more flying, swimming, or running birds… or bird men… or fish posing awkwardly as birds… please?

REVIEW: StarWings: Mission Command

The boys are back in town, baby! Star, Trey, and Lain return! I never thought I’d be glad to say that, as the original StarWings had a lot of issues, the CliffsNotes version being its short play length and unfriendly gameplay. Developer RicolaVG clearly listened to the criticism, as its sequel, StarWings: Mission Command (80 MSP), improves on the previous’ shortcomings at every turn (finally, auto-fire!), while keeping intact the campy and ridiculous (read: therefore entertaining) voice work.

The storyline is still mostly inconsequential, bringing back mercenary group StarWings and space policemen Galactic Defense (who may have swapped out their morals), though there are a few revelations and changes to make things more interesting to follow. Any excuse I’m given for my rampage through space is always appreciated, particularly when it’s being narrated by Star.

The guys are one short this time (Lain has left to join GD and its steady paychecks presumably, though he is an unlockable extra), but go on a galaxy-wide recruitment trip to fill their ranks. The new supporting characters are nothing special, though the options and formations they allow for are a welcome wrinkle. Another fix comes with those formations, as you are now able to fly solo (the other two ships act as ‘extra lives’) should you choose. It makes avoiding incoming fire a lot easier, though it definitely limits your output firing rate, creating an interesting dynamic as to how you’ll play. In addition, some levels will require a certain number or formation of pilots, further mixing things up.

While the gameplay remains side-scrolling, Mission Command has tossed the former’s linearity, doling out its stages two or three at a time, allowing you to focus on the story-based stuff or take the slow and steady route to build your roster and their individual firepower / specials. Both the difficulty and objective vary, from simply reaching the end of a stage, to avoiding hazards during a speed run (eh, more a pain than it’s worth), or fighting a boss ship. In fact, my only real swipe at the game would be the menu between stages, which is a tad unwieldy at first.

StarWings - Mission Command - Screen

Besides the money for upgrades you acquire for completing missions and side stages, you can spend tokens (occasionally left behind by defeated enemies or asteroids) to unlock other goods, like a throwback level & boss, or quicker recharge shot. Some extras are more beneficial than others (a credits screen, really?), but you can count on close to two hours if you want to play through and unlock everything.

The game’s not going to make anyone’s best-of leaderboard (maybe in my heart, …maybe), but I’ll be damned if I wasn’t entertained. I can honestly say it’s a dollar well spent this time. StarWings: Mission Command is proof that stronger effort and a willingness to learn from past mistakes can turn a formerly disastrous project into a worthy series.