written by Blain Newport on Friday, 16 December, 2011
Public Service Message
I probably should have mentioned these earlier, but the fourth Humble Indie Bundle is available for the next ten days. I've usually owned the games I cared about in the bundles already, but they're a good, cheap way to try a lot of indie stuff.
Pay what you want, and if you pay above the average (which was $5.33 when I wrote this) you get a couple extra games. This particular bundle also includes soundtracks to all the games. Also you can decide how much of your money goes to the game developers, bundle organizers, and / or charity.
There are other bundles trying to cash in on the success of the HIB, but they tend to include inferior games. Buyer beware. Public service message over.
Orcs Must Die
I want to like Orcs Must Die. It's got personality and looks. But it never gels. When I succeed, it's often boring. When I fail, it's usually because I made a bad decision picking abilities at the very start of the round, and that's the worst kind of trail and error gameplay. And the progression of the maps, abilities, and difficulty never seems purposeful. Nothing builds on anything else.
That's Limbo. It's got good art. The gameplay is pretty much designed to have you die in different ways as you learn what you're supposed to do to progress. The dying is often more fun than succeeding, and there's not enough variety, but it's okay.
NightSky is a physics based platformer. I do not like every other physics based platformer I have ever played. I would never have played NightSky either, but it came with the HIB.
NightSky is simple and varied and joyful and mostly easy. I recommend it for everybody and everybody's kids. :) Actually, that's not entirely true. People who enjoy soul crushingly difficult physics games like Trials 2 might not get much out of NightSky.
And for no reason, here's how silly it can look when you pull an enemy into barbed wire in Bulletstorm.