Archives for : Running Pixel

Bouncing Avatars Review

Bouncing Avatars another Xbox Live indie game by Running Pixel with the objective being to climb as high as you can. If you liked Avatar Ragdolls you’ll love this. In most ways they are very much the same, there are some differences worth note, so lets get to it.

Your no longer flinging your avatar around, it’s in a bubble and bouncing its way up the top. Much about the game feels like a rehash of Avatar Ragdolls, but the differences it has I feel make for a better game, although there is still room for improvement. You start to play by picking how many players there are, the more the merrier. Once the all the local players have joined it’s time to start bouncing.

You start with a rocket to get you some good height. You will continue to bounce your way up on the many platforms, attempting to reach and beat any previous height you’ve had not to mention beat the other players who are also bouncing on the same stage as you. Yes, you can be malicious and bump them off a platform to watch them fall. This tactic can even make it impossible for them to get back up. You see not all platforms are the same.

You have falling platforms which once someone has bounced on it they begin to fall. This is how you can trap someone below you. Knock out a falling platform and you can potentially remove their ability to reach the next platform. It works, it happened to me. You have spring platforms to send you soaring and bomb platforms that explosively do the same. That isn’t all though, there are instant death platforms you have to avoid bouncing on. You also have rocket pickups along the way. So if you use up your rocket don’t worry you’ll have chances to get some more.  These are really helpful if some one attempts to block your path by taking out the falling platforms. One last thing to worry about besides the other players bumping you is falling black balls that have pretty much the same effect as a falling player.

The game ends when all players have fallen into the rising water level. Once again this can be a horrible situation if you fall into it early and the other players go for a long climb. If only once you died you had a way to drop something on the people still playing to make it harder for them. It would sure prevent a player who isn’t very good or just to young to really keep up with their older siblings from getting bored.

Now in all honesty I enjoyed this game a little more than Avatar Ragdolls, but I was met with a terribly unexpected glitch. This glitch rendered the leaderboard useless because it counted my gained height as legitimate and that means others have probably done the same. Now your wondering how this glitch effected me, I’m sure. Well as I hit 500ft I noticed it had a checkered finish line look, but what happened as soon as I crossed it I was launched into the air as if gravity was reversed. I just kept rising, I knew it was a glitch because the ignorable music became a horrible screeching static sound. If that wasn’t enough, I ended my climb manually by ending the match and it kept my height of 3000ft and placed it on the leaderboard.

Knowing I could have kept going and potentially got the highest height ever if I really wanted to watch my avatar just fly upward with no help from me, is upsetting. Simply put I know there are cheap players who think they are all that when they can get on the top of a leaderboard even if it was by taking advantage of a game glitch.  Any ways I would have easily gave this game a 3 out of 5, but with it’s primary focus on climbing to great heights and a glitch this bad within the game that renders that point useless.

I have to give it a 2 out of 5 until this bug is fixed and the leaderboards cleaned out.

Avatar Ragdolls Review

Have you ever pictured your avatar as a ragdoll and just want to throw it? Well thanks to Running Pixel’s new game Avatar Ragdolls, you get to do just that. With the extra twist of throwing your avatar up versus to the side or downward. So grab your floppy headed avatar ragdoll and lets get throwing.

The concept of Avatar Ragdolls is very simple. You must throw your avatar up, onto higher crates and keep climbing as the floor below starts flooding. If your avatar goes under the water its all over. The objective is to be one of the few on the top 15 leaderboard for having the highest height. Once you begin you will keep throwing from one crate to the next to keep your height increasing. There are a few things that will slow and can halt your progress to the sky.

Boxes will fall from the sky as you climb sometimes knocking you right back down. There are also crates that once you land on them they will drop so you only have a few seconds once you land on of these to launch off it. Another crate is the exploding crate, when you hit one of these it will explode and send you flying back the direction you hit it from. This can be a good thing and a bad thing. There are also crates that when you touch them, the crate will begin to float up, the bigger the crate is seems to determine the speed it will rise at. No you can’t memorize any pattern to the stage, it is randomly built every time you play so you never know where the next crate you need to land on is until you’ve launched yourself upwards.

You have a few things that can help you though. When you are in the air you can launch again, but it doesn’t nearly have the same force as a launch from a solid surface. You can also control the direction your avatar flys and falls to help you to make those landings on a lower platform after you miss the higher one. You also have a little boost option that can actually knock some boxes out of the way as it pushes you up just a bit. You can also cartwheel your avatar while he’s flying though the sky.

Avatar Ragdolls does support local multiplayer. Which plays on split screen, but you can see each other. So it’s a little like a race and a who will mess up first. Just so you know though in multiplayer mode if you’re really good and they aren’t once they fall to their doom and you’re that last man standing it might be a considerate action to fall to your death. Otherwise they will have to sit and watch you keep climbing until you do. It does count your height in multiplayer towards your highest height though, so you can get a better height for the leaderboards while playing multiplayer.

Now don’t think I’ve told you everything about this game. There is a little something special waiting for you at 2000 ft. I remember fondly how I found it, as I yelled “oh crap!” at the screen. In the end I say the game is fun and the multiplayer option is a great thing for it to have, but it does get a little slow at times.

3 out of 5 definitely worth a trial run.

Kozu Review

Running Pixel‘s Kozu is described as an graphical and musical experiment on a twin stick shooter. I found the experiment to be successful in my opinion. With so many twin stick shooters available on both Xbox Arcade and the indie game marketplaces they all start to blend together. So you need something to set them apart.

How many times can you be content with the little person shooting zombies or the little ship shooting neon geometric shapes? I find the genre fun, but a bit over-saturated. Kozu offers something different and shows that you can still make a twin stick shooter that doesn’t make you feel like your playing the same game as all the others.

If you are wondering what is different about Kozu, lets break it down the music changes and each track is very different. No techno blend here which is refreshing. The other difference is the graphics, this is something I really got into. The play field is designed to look like paper with Asian writing on it. Some of the symbols are moving, whether it is spinning or moving at an angle. As you play the backdrop changes regularly as does the music. The differences do not end there though. You play as a person shooting at the enemies with different types of weapons, but the person you are looks like it was drawn with a calligraphy brush and the enemies have that same look to them.

The enemies and player are larger in this game than they appear in other twin stick shooters. Making everything more visible. The enemies poof into existence all over the play field. Many times popping up right behind you as you are walking backwards. This offers a nice challenge to the game since it appears that where they appear is based on where you are.

The game supports; no, encourages online play as that Quick Game(Live) is the top option. Sadly I couldn’t find a match online and although I created a match, no one joined. So I had to play locally with my girlfriend and it was fun but a little difficult running two people on the same screen even though it zoomed out when we got farther apart. On this I can only hope more people will realize that this game is worth getting and an online game will be easier to start up in the future.

For its solid gameplay and unique look and feel I give this a 4 out of 5.