Gun Girl: Freeware Review

I’ve been on a bit of a platform binge this month. Allot has to do with the fact that recently I was without a desktop PC and was forced to use a Laptop, Which, due to the small screen size I didn’t play any shmups on it, just indie plat formers. Anyway, one of the games I played at that period was Gun Girl. Like the other couple of games ive covered this month Gun Girl has been out for awhile and is quite well known in indie gaming circles. Still those facts doesn’t make it not worth covering in my blog. I played it so I’m gonna write about it! That said, I will be moving onto lesser known games soon.

 For those who don’t know (and couldn’t be arsed watching the gameplay video, GG is a freeware run ’n gunner that has all the hallmarks of a great game. A hot chick as your avatar, zombies, guns, heavy metal, plat forming fun and best of all Bruce Willis, who you encounter repeatedly as you progress through the game. He’s there to flesh out the story and tell you what you need to be doing next. In GG the dead have risen and the world has turned to pot. Its your task as one of the few remaining people alive to escape from where you currently are and hunt down who ever is responsible for this mess.

 Playing Gun Girl I quickly discovered that this game is more of a plat former then a shoot ‘em up, as many of the more common enemies like the zombies are easy to take out and are in the game just as a nice relief from the plat forming (blowing zombies away is always great fun). Later in the game some new enemy types are introduced and the shooting aspect of GG gets more challenging and more akin to a Mega Man game. The platforming also starts off abit too simple for my tastes, but unlike the shooting it doesn’t take too long for the plat forming to get to a more enjoyable level. Similar to I Wanna Be The Guy your character is able to double jump over the loads and loads of spikes that make up most of the traps you must traverse over which now and again I found myself accidentally missing a double jump due to gun girl controlling badly. Well to be fair she controls very tightly in everything else except the double jump which didn’t seem to like it if you jump while moving left or right and continue to press the same direction on the controller. I found she double jumped a lot better if I stop walking and jump.

 As you see straight away in the video there are boss fights which are allot of fun and well done. The later Bosses are very hard to beat with the end of game boss been a real tough cookie to kill. The second to last boss is unlike the others. As you must run from a massive one-eyed demon, who’ll kill you if he touches you, so you must make you way across some tricky plat forming which is ten times harder since you must do this as fast as possible and with a buggy double jump. It is this level that I can imagine many people will of given up on the game. I almost as well, but I found out by myself that its possible to cheat and make short cuts in one or two areas where its possible to jump on to blocks at the top of the screen and miss some of the normal route out. Its worth nothing that you can just run to the end of the level as you must still trap the boss in each of those spike traps to kill it.

 Like I said before the game is a bit on the easy side at first but you will find if you stick with it that the game gets very challenging in the later stages. And that’s just not the boss fights either, although the bosses are by far the most challenging thing in the game. Thank fully like many difficult indie plat formers nowadays. Losing all your lives and starting all over again doesn’t happen due to the fact that even though you can run out of lives and get a game over, you can restart at the beginning of the stage, which is the same as losing a life in the game. The only difference is that you lose any cash (used to buy ammo and med kits) and other collectables that you collected in the level you are playing.


 So if you like your plat formers to be have something extra then just jumping while the jumping still a challenge. Then I highly recommend giving this game a play. Even if you like your games to be abit tamer then I still say its worth giving it a go, as long as you don’t mind possibly giving up when the difficulty gets too hard. Its worth noting that there is a sequel will be out soon, looking at the you tube videos Gun Girl 2 improves on the original in every way. Best of all is that instead of there just been the odd zombie to kill, you must shoot your way through hordes of them. Which is something that is sorely missing from the original. A link to the site for Gun Girl 2 is HERE, a link to download the first game is found there also. 3 out of 5


Love, Love +, Love Custom: Freeware Game Review

 Here is another masocore triology of platformers called Love (classic), Love + and Love Custom. All three are nearly the same as each other just with changed levels. Because of that I’ll be mostly writing about classic Love. Programmed by Fred “Trunks” Wood who is one half of the creative talent behind the web comic The Wild Adventures of Trunks and Soto. He is currently at collage studying game design. Given that Love is his first project, it will be interesting to see what games he’ll make in the future.

 The aim of Love is simple, get to the exit of each of the 20 levels without fully depleting your stock of 100 lives. A hundred lives may seem like a hell of allot, but they don’t last long with all of the tricky jumps you need to perform to reach the levels exit. Since you will be dieing so much the programmer has been kind enough to give you a button that lets you create a respawn point anywhere you like as long as you’re not in mid air. This feature can be a double edged sword if you create a spawn point in a trap or next to one making you lose many lives in quick succession due to there been no invulnerability after dieing. I can see this frustrating players but I think it add a element of risk and strategy that I very much like. Also how some of the stages are designed you might find yourself setting a spawn point in a dead-end trap with no way of getting out. Luckily you can both kill yourself and reset your spawn point to the start of the level with a press of a button.

Here is one of the 5 hidden screens found by pressing a
direction on the d-pad while changing between levels

 You will of noticed that the graphics are very simple, with only a colour palette of 2 or 3 colours in a level and a stick man as your avatar. The simple graphics go hand in hand with the simple gameplay of there been no enemies to fight or dodge, it's just pure and simple jumping. Games like this that are simple with no frills are in my opinion like electronic marmite. Either you’ll dismiss the simplicity as primitive and boring. Or if yor're like me, you will take the opposite viewpoint, appreciate the game for what it is: That is a game that while simple still retains at it's core enjoyable playability and good game design making a very fun and addictive little plat former. Titles like this, Jill Off, and the shmups Nomltest and Arcanacra all have it. To further improve on the simple style of Love, Fred Wood the programmer has enlisted the help of music artist James Bennett to provide the tunes and very good tunes they are. They’re a mix of blip, synth and funk, each song fitting very well to the theme of the level that it plays in. This shows Fred Woods talent as a indie game maker. As its ok to have simple looking graphics in a video game as long as there is a style to it, but good sounds and music are must and given that they stick to the flavour of the game as a whole can make for a enjoyable experience, more so then a game with good graphics and bad sounds.

The simple graphics you will either love or hate, kinda like marmite spread

 Love Classic is a great game but what about Love + and Love Custom? Well Love + is a still beta with only 10 levels made up mostly of refined stages from the classic version. Other changes include your character having slightly altered jumping especially on spring boards which don’t jump as high and are smaller in size. All the changes make for a harder game then the original which is in most aspects is a good thing. Although I do hope Fred Wood still uses some of those more powerful spring boards found in the classic game as it was allot of fun bouncing high into to air even if it was easy to bounce from spring to spring most of the time. The third and final game Love Custom is a different kettle of fish as it’s a simple tool that allows you to create and play you're own maps. It works by taking 3 picture files, one for solid platforms, one for springy surfaces and the other as traps where touching it means death. I haven’t made a stage myself and can’t as of yet find anybody else’s work on the net and the only example is the single stage included in the game, but it does look relatively easy to use all you to ensure are that all 3 pictures fit together properly. I really hope many people catch the map making bug and provide allot more content to jump through. The lack of stages between all three games is the only thing Love is lacking at the moment.

Like Mighty Jill Off, Love is freeware and a fun little game you can spend hours enjoying. Just remember to press Alt-Enter to get full screen in the classic version since the game in its original resolution is very small. 4.1 out of 5  Download the Love games at this site.

Mighty Jill Off - Freeware Game Review

 Hi chaps sorry for my absence for over a month which was caused by my PC biting the dust. Well I’ve bought a new PC and am back. First I would love to cover some indie platformers, this review been Mighty Jiff Off a tower climbing game by Auntie Pixelante aka Dessgeega. If you look at the video and screenshots you might remember the character looking very much like Bomb Jack which is a fun 80s arcade game (that had some great 8bit computer ports) and also Mighty Bomb Jack which took Bomb Jack and put him into a NES platformer. Instead of Bomb Jack, Auntie Pixelante has changed Jack into Jill, a rubber suit wearing dyke who enjoys S&M and licking her queen's boots! Hehe that’s quite a transformation, that with the games introduction makes the game very much tongue in cheek. (or boot)

 The object of the game is quite simple, climb to the top of the tower as quick as you can where your queen is waiting for you with open arms and err rope and whip. The controls are just like Bomb Jack where you can jump very high and if you tap the jump button Jill will use her cape to glide slowly down. Using glide you can dodge all the traps that fill the tower. Those been fire and spikes plus the games only enemies, that are spider like monsters that you encounter first as statues that if you get too close will turn into spider monsters that slowly home in on you. I like the graphics especially the limited colour palette that makes the game look just like an old NES game. The retro feel is further pushed across by the game's music that is a simple blip tune that fits well with the game's style.

 The game is known as a masocore (look up this definition) but I would say that Jill Off is a masocore lite due to the game been relatively easy. Things change if you reach the top of the tower in under 12 minutes (or donate a dollar to Dessgeega to get a code) you'll get to play Jill Off Harder which is a second tower that is much harder then the first one. He you will need to make pixel perfect jumps and will very much frustrate the player. The game is even more frustrating but in a bad non-masocore way due to there been a bug in the second tower. If you die in one area of the tower it will respawn you half way in the floor with no option but to quit the game and start from the beginning. And by that I mean the first tower as you need to climb the first tower under 12 minutes just to play Jill Off Harder every time you start that game. Also like most of the games I’ve reviewed there is no joypad support so JoyToKey or Xpadder will be needed. (If your a Windows 7 user like me, to use the free version of Xpadder you'll need to run it in compatibility mode otherwise the program wont run.)

The game has been out for quite some time now and if you haven’t yet played it you owe it to yourself to give it a go and see how quickly you can climb the towers. I can make the first tower in under ten and half minutes, and Auntie Pixelante can make both towers in about 8 or 9 minutes. So what’s 10 to 20 minutes of your time? Nothing that’s what. So there’s no excuse not to play. 3.9 out of 5.

 PS There is a mini game you can download from the same page as Mighty Jill Off. Its a simple game that only uses the jump button (along with the glide feature). Here you must try to stay alive as long as possible to entertain the queen.