HORA HORA HORA everyone! By now you should know that here at That Damn Pixel we’re not that fond of reviews, also considering our non-interest in scores, but sometime, some games, are worthy to be discussed a little further and this is the case of JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure All-Star Battle, released last year on PlayStation 3 and exclusively for the Japanese (and Asian) market.
Seems like Play-Asia has a re-stock of Sturmwind, in its beautiful Limited Deluxe Edition. We don’t know how or why, but they say that this unexpected re-stock is limited to just 100 copies. We know that the price is rather high, but given that it’s sold out everywhere in the world and this is gonna be pure gold for all the Dreamcast collectors in just a couple of years, maybe it worths it. Up to you. Here’s the link to buy it before it’s gone.
In case you missed it, here’s our (p)review of Sturmwind and below us playing the very first level in hard.
If you pre-ordered it (like almost 3 years ago), your long-waited copy should be on some truck or plane, travelling to your post box. But, as long we still got our press copy, we decided to record some gameplay video; and the one above is from the very first level of the game, played in hard. Enjoy.
The first thing popped up in our mind when staring at this (former) white blog page, trying to write a short review for this game, was: You run, jump, slide, dance and die (a lot). Than you throw your controller to the screen. THE END.
That maybe was a bit too short so we’ll try to explain why this game is so frustrating as much as addictive. Let’s start saying, as the title shown, Runner2 is part of the Bit.Trip franchise by indie developer Gaijin Games and sequel to the acclaimed Bit.Trip Runner released in 2010.
If you played it you know why we called it “frustrating” and not a single chance Runner2 is any better: the game is difficult, deal with it! If you didn’t play it shame on you, but we are kind and nice and ready to explain what is about. Unlike the others Bit.Trip games, Runner is a quite classic 2D rhythm platformer where the main character, Commander Video, runs through stages from left to right jumping and sliding due to reach the end. More actions has been added to this second chapter making the first one look nice and clear; you now have a shield to use against giant bouncing pixels, you can slide and jump at the same time to pass through very tiny spaces, and the funniest feature added: you can now dance to earn more points!
As we said music is again a very important part, every action, every obstacle will have a different sound helping to compose the main theme of the level which is, of course, 8-bit-ish. We totally loved it, and fits perfectly the frenetic feeling of the whole game. One of the most important new features (yeah, to dance is amazing but doesn’t help a lot to complete levels) are the checkpoints, miracle!! We do have fucking checkpoints!! This game is basically a trial&error kind of game, not having checkpoints was the most frustrating thing as you had to start over and over and over the same level. Now is your choice, you can simply pass the checkpoint or jump OVER it and risk to earn more points for the final ranking. Thanks Gaijin Games we are very grateful!
Also, do you like collectibles? If the answer is YES you’ll love Runner 2. The game itself is around 100 levels but you have so many collectibles like golds, new crazy characters to unlock, costumes and hidden retro game cartridges (each one unlocking other retro levels) that you will play it at least two or three times, plus the three difficulty levels makes it durable and replayable.
“Believe it or not. Not every game has to be brown” is one of the random tips showing up during the loading screen, together with “make sure to eat a banana every day”, and we can’t agree more. The sentence mocking the new realistic next-gen games all shaded in brown and grey, is just to underline what you can actually see in Gaijin Games’ style: a lot of brilliant colours, attention to details (apart for this little glitch) and a lovely game design that makes everything a pleasure for the eyes. If sometimes the background is so detailed to make difficult see what you are doing (and we suspect that is made on purpose, bastards!) you will soon forget about it and keep smiling because the moon has such a demented face or because that cloud has cute mustaches.
In the end, we really liked the game because it has that nostalgic feeling we are looking for together with the hardcore difficulty that makes you get VERY angry and swear in front of the TV but you can’t stop playing because you KNOW you are better than that.
Bit.Trip Runner 2 is out now on XBLA, PSN and Steam. But if we didn’t convince you already, take a look at the trailer!
Few weeks ago we received from Germany our press copy of Sturmwind! What is it? Easy, it is a brand new homebrew shooter game for the SEGA Dreamcast (obviously not an official release approved by SEGA) by Duranik.
Sturmwind is an old school shmup, a very traditional one indeed, where you don’t have to think a lot, just follow one simple rule: if it moves, shoot it!
Behind this little masterpiece there is Duranik, a German indie development team, known for its previous attempt to create a shooter game on a dead console: Native for the Atari Jaguar.
It is very likely that Sturmwind has born from that failure, trying to make a better game, more accessible even to modern players, but sticking to the great classics guide lines.
That’s why Duranik has chosen the Dreamcast, that despite its premature dead, it is more widely available and more powerful than any other cool retro-console (no, ps2 isn’t cool, nor powerful).
Sturmwind tries to take advantage of every bit of the Dreamcast hardware and supports a wide range of effects, indeed we can call it a perfect mix between 2D and 3D, leading to an astonishing visual impact.
We surely can’t hide out excitement playing a bran new game on our favourite console of all times, and it’s safe to say that Sturmwind could have been released on XBLA and PSN without any problem.
The game is pretty straightforward, you can play the normal mode with all 16 levels or the arcade mode with only 6 levels and no continues. In normal mode your progress will be saved with every finished level (obviously you’ll need a VMU to save your progress).
Speaking of pure gameplay, Sturmwind is very enjoyable (despite the CG intro with german voiceover or the unreadable german names of the weapons and levels) and once you start to play you’ll quickly understand every game dynamic, as the three weapon selection, the backfire and the point system. Duranik guys said that the game is designed for all Dreamcast fans, it is no hardcore maniac or score shooter. Even average players are able to see more than the first level. There is a good bit of memorization involved as with most of this type of games but that is part of the fun.
We said that Sturmwind is a game for everyone, so it’s not hardcore? Don’t worry, it is a highly addictive and a very challenging game; it could not be like a modern bullet hell game from Cave, but we prefer this way…even because on the Dreamcast we want to breathe a sort of old school flavour, and Sturmwind perfectly accomplish this job! (if you want to go crazy, just set the hard mode!)
And guess what? Sturmwind has also online leaderboards, but you won’t need to connect your dusty DC to the internet: in fact, your copy of the game will generate an unique code for your highest score, then you’ll just have to put that code with your nickname in this site…done! Online leaderboards!
So here’s some specs:
- 16 Levels
- 3 selectable difficulty levels
- configurable controls
- adjustable screen position
- different weapons selectable
- More than 20 large boss enemies
- Hundreds of different enemies
- FMV intro sequence
- Hybrid 2d/3d game engine
- Resolution 640×480
- PAL50, PAL60, NTSC and VGA (with Adapter) compatible
- Region Free
- Works with any MIL-CD compatible Dreamcast
- CDDA Sound
- Supports: Joypad, Arcade Stick (Analog/Digital), VMU, Rumble Pack
- Internet WEBcode Hiscore Tables
- Award Trophy System with unlockable content
If you got a working Dreamcast at home and you feel like this could be your next must-play (we feel it) you can preorder the game on Redspot Games, even if the release date is still set to TBA.
Check out the official trailer!
**UPDATE (14 March 2013)**