New Humble Bundle entertains, wows

ULTRA FISHBUN, THE SECRET CHARACTER IN SPACE HUNK , PERFORMS his victory pelvic thrust dance two times over. This rare double victory screen can be achieved by having both players die simultaneously.

James’ Take

Though Humble Bundle Mojam 2 is officially over, it can still be purchased until March 2, with all the money raised going to charity. In this bundle, you will find ten indie games produced over a three day session, including those talked about by my fellow reviewer and the ones I will discuss: Endless Nuclear Kittens, Wasteland Kings, Space Hunk, and 3918.

Endless Nuclear Kittens, developed by Mojang’s Giraffe Macka team, takes place on a small grid in space. The player character runs about on this grid, shooting at the kittens that spawn. Killing kittens gets you points, and touching them hurts you. When your health reaches 0, it’s game over. In addition to the starting blaster, you can pick up secondary weapons that are randomly dropped by enemies. Enemies can also drop Hugs Boxes, which restore some of your health, and nukes, which can be used to destroy all enemies within a short distance of your character. Picking up more than one of the same weapon will cause it to upgrade, doing more damage and firing faster. Weapons can be upgraded to 16, as can the blaster. Getting hit reduces the level of your blaster by one, however. Once the game is over, you will be returned to the main screen, where it will display your score and the message “Oh no! Too many kittens!” I greatly enjoyed the game; despite its simplicity, it’s intense enough to provide a fun experience every time.

Wasteland Kings was made by Vlambeer, and was probably my second favorite game in the bundle (after Nuclear Pizza War). The game asks the player to choose one of five characters before taking you to a randomly-generated map. The characters were all fairly balanced with each other, which I enjoyed. The Fish character gets more ammo and can roll out of the way, the Crystal has more health and can shield from enemy shots for a short time, the Eyes can see in the dark (which is relevant in later levels) and can mind control an enemy, the Melting has less health but gets more experience and can explode enemies’ dead bodies, and the Plant runs faster and can snare enemies in place. I liked playing as the Crystal and the Melting the most.

The game features a multitude of enemies, including bandits with guns, scorpions who shoot poison darts, maggots, rats, frogs, and more. The random maps can be either forgiving or punishing—if you spawn in an open area, you usually die from lack of hiding spaces and being surrounded by enemies. Killing enemies and opening green jars gets you experience, and at the end of any stage in which you level up, you can select a “mutation” to improve your character.

Wasteland Kings was a blast to play, if a little annoying in that many of my games ended prematurely because the map I spawned in was full of enemies and offered nowhere to hide. In fact, I was not able to beat the game, only making it to the fifth or so stage.

Space Hunk was a take on two-dimensional fighting games which involved scantily-clad, muscled manly men tethered to spaceships flying around and trying to hit the opponent’s ship. The Asteroids-esque controls took some getting used to, with up and down moving the ship forward and backward and left and right rotating it.

The game was both terrifying and hilarious because of the different characters you could choose from, as well as the powerups you could collect. There was Mark, a golden-haired pretty-boy; Master Muscle, an aging Asian martial arts master; Muscthulu, a wrestler with Cthulhu’s head; Manicorn, a four-legged man wearing a unicorn hat with a rainbow mane; Father Russia, a stereotypical crazy Russian; Strongman, a caveman with a monocle; and Cowman Rider, a shirtless cowboy. Playing a game with each of these characters unlocked Ultra Fishbun, a giant, blue, anthropomorphic penguin wearing a pink thong. Different powerups included “rainbow power,” which made your character giant, flash rainbow colors, and do tons of damage; many types of missile-shooting powerups; pills that made your character big and deal more damage; and a weapon that shoots beams of explosions in the direction your ship is facing for a short time.

3918 was a game involving two warring factions, Mojans and Daisies, in the far future—the year 3918. The player controlled a spaceship with the mouse, which was somewhat awkward and took a long time to get used to. The ship would move in the direction of the mouse pointer, and the farther the pointer was from the ship, the faster the ship would go. When the ship was accelerating, it would use up fuel, which regenerated when not being used. The ship’s weapons—a blaster and missiles—also used up fuel, which made for an interesting, if irritating, mechanic.

The goal of 3918 was to destroy the opposing faction’s base. This could be accomplished in one of two ways. First, you could fly your ship over to the enemy base, shoot at the shield until it went down, and then destroy their launch pads with the ship’s weapons. Second, you could fly your ship into space and destroy a few asteroids to collect the plutonium they dropped. Taking enough plutonium back to your base (which had to be done quickly, as it would explode after a time) would result in a nuke being fired at the enemy. Once their base was destroyed, the game was won.

While interesting in idea, 3918 was clunky and awkward in execution. The ship was annoying to control, especially when turning around, and was very hard to get back down to your own base, which made collecting plutonium quite annoying. That said, the game, like the rest of the bundle, was developed over only 72 hours, and is essentially still in its alpha version.

Overall, the Humble Bundle Mojam 2 was a ton of fun. Most of the games were great to play, and I can assume if the groups continue to develop them that they will get even better. As the bundle can only be purchased for a few more days, I urge anyone interested to get it now. You definitely won’t regret it—I know I don’t.

Nicholas’ Take

Nuclear Pizza War is definitely the best game in the entire Mojam Bundle 2. A 2-D combination tower defense and Galaga-like waves of enemies game played on a pizza, Nuclear Pizza War is a blast. Despite still being in alpha stages, the game works quite well, with only a few glitches, such as having issues when clicking outside of the window. I look forward to picking up Nuclear Pizza War again and again in the future.

Tektonik was among the games that were not so good. Tektonik is just too difficult to play. It might theoretically be a cool concept, but the controls are clunky and the game does nothing to make up for this. It also is programmed in flash and suffers majorly as a result. I’m not expecting Tektonik to improve.

Nuke the Dinosaurs is a prototype, pre-alpha version of pinball. Again it is quite difficult to play, but this time for a different reason. The game’s shape is forced to be more than twice the height of a regular RPI laptop screen with six inches of width. The graphics are practically nonexistent, and the controls are miserable. I’m not sure why it was included in the bundle.

Battle Frogs didn’t work on Windows and showed why it didn’t work (Java exceptions) in Linux, I was rather frustrated. It seems that it needs a special controller or some sort of bug fixing. I shouldn’t have to do that. This was a complete flop. That said, watching a video of this, the game looked okay. Not great, but okay.

Particular is more of a physics demonstration (of Thomson’s model) than a game, but it is certainly kinda cool. You get to input protons and electrons to an encircled vacuum. It’s a nice app.

Low-light is a game that was obviously not completed. You can walk or jump around in a very glitchy area and turn on a flashlight or laser pointer. That’s about it. The graphics are okay, but the game does some really stupid things sometimes, especially when one tries to interact with water.

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