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1001 Spikes: Of Death and Love ⊟
[Guest writer/TinyCaster Francesco Dagostino shares why he loves a game that hates its players so much, judging by the lengths it goes to kill them.]
This might sound like a very bizarre statement, but 1001 Spikes has some of the best sliding ice block puzzles I’ve ever had the honor of attempting to solve. They don’t appear until the second half of the game, but when they do you just get this sudden feeling that the people who made it (these people being 8bit Fanatics with the help of Nicalis) have a grasp on the puzzle-platformer genre that is waaaaaaaaay above average.
Every action that the main character Aban Hawkins can perform, from shooting knives to pushing boulders (or, in this case, ice blocks) has a lot of depth, and variables to take into account. Basically, to solve these stages, you don’t have to just push or break ice blocks, but also run behind them, jump ahead of them, use them to reach higher ground or run back and forth on top of them to avoid some of the game’s titular, deadly, and omnipresent spikes.
Of course, it’s not just the ice block puzzles that drove me to sit in this chair and start writing an article about this fantastic game instead of playing it some more: pretty much every single level is built to amaze and surprise the player. The focus being on the word “surprise” here. “Surprise” meaning “kill.”
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At first glance 1001 Spikes is just another retro-style platformer (a very pretty one!), but try jumping around, shooting, falling and dying, and you will realize this is actually a very modern game! The controls are ultra-responsive, and the action flows just beautifully. The collision detection in particular is pixel-perfect, which helps a lot with an action title like this, in which a single pixel can make the difference between life and death. Nicalis and 8bit Fanatics know exactly what players want from video games like this, and it shows clearly in 1001 Spikes' execution.
The main mode of the game, simply called “1001 Spikes”, offers a collection of elegantly designed death traps. Spikes, darts, pits, explosions, scorpions, lava balls, deadly penguins — there’s a huge amount of things that can kill you, and they are all well-hidden in seemingly safe corridors and on apparently stable bridges. You won’t know they’re even there until it’s too late.

If I gave you the impression that Aban’s adventure is a hard one… well, it means I’m doing my job right. One quick Google search will show you how many people use the title of this game together with Dark Souls’. And that’s saying something — about both its difficulty and its quality.
Playing 1001 Spikes really feels like exploring some incredibly dangerous ruin, especially when you’re doing so with friends, (1001 Spikes supports 4 players locally, but only on the home console and PC versions!) when you can feel the tension in the air. If someone makes a mistake and dies, the shock immediately hits other players, snapping them out of their concentration and leading to another premature Game Over.It’s hard not to laugh all together when something like that happens.
Despite the difficulty, 1001 Spikes is not annoying or frustrating at all. In fact it’s so well balanced and paced, it’s greedily consuming of your attention. Assimilating and conquering the masterful design of every locale is, in my opinion, the real purpose of this game — the right way to play it, if you will. Every time you die, the screen turns black, and in chunky white type tells you that “YOU ARE DEAD!”, but it’s so easy to read it as “ONE MORE DANCE?”
Completing the levels will, of course, give your self esteem a huge boost, but what makes 1001 Spikes something you absolutely MUST play is the feeling you get by dying right next to the exit of a stage, of seeing yourself robbed of another victory just one second away from the goal by a perversely placed trap. The best part? You were expecting something like this to happen, but you were too scared to acknowledge it. And then you feel motivated to try again, to go back to that specific point that took your life to claim it back and move on. Or, more realistically, die again just one step further.
Sometimes you’ll die because the levels are tough and the people who made this game sadistic, evil creatures, but most of the time, you’ll die because you’re hasty, because you don’t have patience, or because you’re not fully focused. When you make those kind of human mistakes, it’s easy to just press a button and continue, sacrificing one of the 1001 lives you start with. … I wonder what happens if you lose them all!
1001 Spikes is a pudgy lil’ game. It offers a crazy amount of content for the price it asks. Over 100 levels, four different and equally amazing and addictive modes (including a Smash Bros.-style battle arena) and over a dozen unlockable characters! Most of these are cameos from other titles, such as Curly Brace from Cave Story, Nyx from NyxQuest, Commander Video from the Bit.Trip series or Jonathan Blow from… the real world?!?

Anyway, all these gals and boys come with different abilities and their own music theme, obviously inspired by the game they come from! Neat, huh? There’s a lot of of respect for great games of the past and present in this project, and a lot of effort to create an experience that feels new, fresh, innovative, despite all the nods from the past.
I don’t joke when I say 1001 Spikes is a game that deserves to be treated as a masterpiece alongside gems like Spelunky or Cave Story. It will awaken you, it will make you love video games like you forgot you could.
A few lines above I said that the people who made this game are sadistic and evil, but you know what 1001 Spikes has a lot of? Spikes! … Just kidding. I meant to say heart. A game like this can only come to be when people really love what they’re doing and want to share their ideas with the rest of the world, so that as many people as possible can see their love, and love what they did with it.
It’s easy to forget, with console wars, AAA stuff and cinematic experiences in the way, but that’s pretty much the best thing you can hope to get.
1001 Spikes is out on pretty much every existing system. PS Vita, PS4 (they’re cross buy!), Steam, Wii U, and 3DS. On some systems, you can also get it at a discounted price (10.01$, ahah) if you have previously bought other Nicalis titles! The home console versions are the best ones in my opinion. I’m playing it on WiiU — mostly because I love posting silly screenshots and doodles and I can share the experience with my husbando and friends!
[You can follow Francesco Dagostino on Twitter at @franpaccio. The GIFs featured in this article were pulled from videos uploaded by Playstate and EliteAssass1n.]
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1001 Spikes: Of Death and Love ⊟

[Guest writer/TinyCaster Francesco Dagostino shares why he loves a game that hates its players so much, judging by the lengths it goes to kill them.]

This might sound like a very bizarre statement, but 1001 Spikes has some of the best sliding ice block puzzles I’ve ever had the honor of attempting to solve. They don’t appear until the second half of the game, but when they do you just get this sudden feeling that the people who made it (these people being 8bit Fanatics with the help of Nicalis) have a grasp on the puzzle-platformer genre that is waaaaaaaaay above average.

Every action that the main character Aban Hawkins can perform, from shooting knives to pushing boulders (or, in this case, ice blocks) has a lot of depth, and variables to take into account. Basically, to solve these stages, you don’t have to just push or break ice blocks, but also run behind them, jump ahead of them, use them to reach higher ground or run back and forth on top of them to avoid some of the game’s titular, deadly, and omnipresent spikes.

Of course, it’s not just the ice block puzzles that drove me to sit in this chair and start writing an article about this fantastic game instead of playing it some more: pretty much every single level is built to amaze and surprise the player. The focus being on the word “surprise” here. “Surprise” meaning “kill.”

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Mercenary Kings coming to PS Vita ⊟
As are Ninja Senki DX (another game with a Tiny cameo!) and Tribute Games’ next project Curses n’ Chaos, according to a report from Destructoid. Mercenary Kings is expected to have Cross-Buy with the PlayStation 4 version. The console and PC versions are great, but obviously we feel like the game will work even better on a handheld.
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Mercenary Kings coming to PS Vita ⊟

As are Ninja Senki DX (another game with a Tiny cameo!) and Tribute Games’ next project Curses n’ Chaos, according to a report from Destructoid. Mercenary Kings is expected to have Cross-Buy with the PlayStation 4 version. The console and PC versions are great, but obviously we feel like the game will work even better on a handheld.

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Mercenary Kings out March 25 on PC, Mac, April 1 on PS4 ⊟

Mercenary Kings, Tribute Games’ awesome run-and-gun-and-craft will bring the Tiny Computer to life starting March 25 on PC and Mac (where it’s been available in Early Access for a bit) and April 1 on PS4.

If you’ve got one of those things, you should probably look into this game, as it looks bonkers. And the team at Tribute has a hell of a track record (Scott Pilgrim, Wizorb)!

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  • Source blog.tributegames.com
Nintendo’s new eShop hub page for indies ⊟
Nintendo’s new, nicely designed, eShop hub page has a space to highlight a few (rotating, I hope!) indie games available on Wii U and 3DS, systems you maybe don’t think of as indie destinations.
Nintendo’s systems are surprisingly rich with indie content, and the list is growing especially on the Wii U, where developers can get free Unity licenses from Nintendo – which can then be used to develop multiplatform games.
There could be even more games on 3DS and Wii U from small teams, if Nintendo was a bit freer with devkits, as Vlambeer’s Rami Ismail notes in this Ask.fm answer:

Essentially, letting a developer make a game for a console is not doing us a favour. We’re spending months of our lives getting a game to work, adhering to strict technical standards and going through yet another launch just to achieve a fraction of the Steam revenue.
At that point, I feel it’s super reasonable for a platform to not charge for the ‘honour’ of being allowed to do the above for them. As such, we’ll only start seriously considering developing for Nintendo if they get us 3DS and Wii U devkits without any time limits or similar restrictions.

Sorry to end this post on a sorta down note! Go get Attack of the Friday Monsters (that kind of counts as indie even if it’s Level-5-published, right?)! And good job Nintendo on promoting the eShop with a nice clean website!
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Nintendo’s new eShop hub page for indies ⊟

Nintendo’s new, nicely designed, eShop hub page has a space to highlight a few (rotating, I hope!) indie games available on Wii U and 3DS, systems you maybe don’t think of as indie destinations.

Nintendo’s systems are surprisingly rich with indie content, and the list is growing especially on the Wii U, where developers can get free Unity licenses from Nintendo – which can then be used to develop multiplatform games.

There could be even more games on 3DS and Wii U from small teams, if Nintendo was a bit freer with devkits, as Vlambeer’s Rami Ismail notes in this Ask.fm answer:

Essentially, letting a developer make a game for a console is not doing us a favour. We’re spending months of our lives getting a game to work, adhering to strict technical standards and going through yet another launch just to achieve a fraction of the Steam revenue.

At that point, I feel it’s super reasonable for a platform to not charge for the ‘honour’ of being allowed to do the above for them. As such, we’ll only start seriously considering developing for Nintendo if they get us 3DS and Wii U devkits without any time limits or similar restrictions.

Sorry to end this post on a sorta down note! Go get Attack of the Friday Monsters (that kind of counts as indie even if it’s Level-5-published, right?)! And good job Nintendo on promoting the eShop with a nice clean website!

BUY Nintendo 2DS & 3DS/XL, upcoming games

Volume 1 Remix Preview

One day left to put your money down for a Shortsleeves cassette! I’ve mentioned before that The Shortsleeves are one of my favorite chip groups, and they’re kickstarting a tape that will include all of its old materials, new songs, and remixes from friends. The audio embedded here contains samples from two remixes: Bear & Walrus with "In the Memory", and sylcmyk taking on "OceanSideArcade".

But lemme holla at you for a sec while you’re in a crowdfunding mood. These nice folks need your support:

  • My once coworker and indie games tastemaker Brandon Boyer got screwed over by Humana and cancer — help him pay some bills
  • Elizabeth Simins produces great comics about being bad at games
  • DB0 makes it possible for people to play one of my new obsessions, Netrunner, online through OCTGN
  • Anna Anthropy creates beautiful games
  • Merrit Kopas runs Forest Ambassador, which is like a Tiny Cartridge for free and accessible games

If you have suggestions for other Kickstarter/Patreon/Whatevers that you think should be highlighted, make sure to mention them in our comments! I’m sure I’ve forgotten some important ones — these are just what immediately popped up in my head.

  • Source SoundCloud / TheShortsleeves
Tinycast 023 - Bravely D - Tiny Cartridge

Tinycast 023 - Bravely D

Tiny Cartridge • TinyCast

TinyCast 23! The usual crew catches up on indie eShop/PSN games, Sonic Boom and the state of Sega’s flagship franchise, and Bravely Default (JC had to jet, so we recorded the “what have we learned” segment early, but make sure to stick around after that!). Fun episode, even though half of us were sick!

Direct download (MP3, 38.2 MB) / RSS
Follow us on the iTunes Store!  Leave a nice review! :o)

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Your new Samurai Gunn shirts ⊟

I can’t even play Samurai Gunn right now (so, so mad) and I still want one of these shirts from Attract Mode! Man, what a killer design by Jesse Tise, for one of this year’s best swordfighting games.

If, unlike me, you have a PC capable of running Samurai Gunn, get on that. And get on that Nidhogg. Both are totally excellent ways to have REALLY INTENSE battles with friends.

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3DS eShop will hold its own in early 2014 ⊟

It’s been slow on the 3DS eShop lately, but that won’t be the case for long. Today was a big news day for indies on the eShop! First we have Retro City Rampage's enhanced 3DS port coming out… TOMORROW.

And then we’re going to get Shovel Knight on March 31 and Moon Chronicles in the same month (I’m just going to link to USgamer’s previews for those two since I grabbed the above images from there). And some time in the first quarter of the year, we’ll also get 1001 Spikes? That’s where the top screenshot from our photoset comes from — Kat Bailey is calling its multiplayer mode “Mario Bros. done right.” Wow.

Then you have Treasurenauts in May, and Siesta Fiesta in March. The latter actually looks like a fun, Arkedo/Nervous Brickdown-esque Breakout game. And while it doesn’t qualify as indie, don’t forget that Sayonara Umihara Kawase, or Yumi’s Odd Odyssey, is supposed to come out this month too!

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Hotline Miami PS3/Vita for $2.49 ⊟
Aw yiss. Amazon carrying PSN codes again means Amazon is discounting PSN codes again — here’s Hotline Miami for a crazy $2.49, with Cross Buy so you get both versions. As Eric’s mentioned on the podcast a few times, the PS Vita release really is the best version!
So if you didn’t already get it through PS Plus, get it here! Image via KurkoBoltsi.
BUY PS Vita, upcoming games, our holiday gift guide

Hotline Miami PS3/Vita for $2.49 ⊟

Aw yiss. Amazon carrying PSN codes again means Amazon is discounting PSN codes again — here’s Hotline Miami for a crazy $2.49, with Cross Buy so you get both versions. As Eric’s mentioned on the podcast a few times, the PS Vita release really is the best version!

So if you didn’t already get it through PS Plus, get it here! Image via KurkoBoltsi.

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  • Source kurkoboltsi.deviantart.com
Interstellar Selfie Station ⊟
In case you didn’t see this blow up last week, Interstellar Selfie Station is a super cute app from Christine Love (Digital, Hate Plus) — Kill Screen calls it “Instagram meets Game Boy Camera”. Essentially it uses your computer’s camera to take photos/GIFs of you with lofi Game Boy-style filters.
Gonna post it here even if it’s late, though, because 1.) it’s coming to iOS/Android next Spring, and I want there to be an eShop version; 2.) I found that neat GIF from Drawings and Words; and 3.) this quote from Christine in a Daily Dot interview:

“What I like about the Interstellar Selfie Station is that it gives you just a little bit more control over how you look, and I’ve noticed this blowing up on my Twitter feed: Suddenly that makes people who are otherwise terrified to post pictures of themselves seem a lot more confident.
With my phone’s super-high resolution, high-colour 8-megapixel camera, it’s got enough detail to show all my pores and how uneven my complexion is and how messed up my hair is and whatever else.
Four colours isn’t enough for that. In four colours, every picture looks super flattering, and the weird outer-space colour schemes just add a little bit more distance, so there’s far less to worry about.”

Try it out here.
BUY Game Boy Camera, upcoming games, our holiday gift guide

Interstellar Selfie Station ⊟

In case you didn’t see this blow up last week, Interstellar Selfie Station is a super cute app from Christine Love (Digital, Hate Plus) — Kill Screen calls it “Instagram meets Game Boy Camera”. Essentially it uses your computer’s camera to take photos/GIFs of you with lofi Game Boy-style filters.

Gonna post it here even if it’s late, though, because 1.) it’s coming to iOS/Android next Spring, and I want there to be an eShop version; 2.) I found that neat GIF from Drawings and Words; and 3.) this quote from Christine in a Daily Dot interview:

“What I like about the Interstellar Selfie Station is that it gives you just a little bit more control over how you look, and I’ve noticed this blowing up on my Twitter feed: Suddenly that makes people who are otherwise terrified to post pictures of themselves seem a lot more confident.

With my phone’s super-high resolution, high-colour 8-megapixel camera, it’s got enough detail to show all my pores and how uneven my complexion is and how messed up my hair is and whatever else.

Four colours isn’t enough for that. In four colours, every picture looks super flattering, and the weird outer-space colour schemes just add a little bit more distance, so there’s far less to worry about.”

Try it out here.

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  • Source willjager

Samurai Gunn out for PC right now ⊟

It won’t release for PlayStation 4 and PS Vita until some time next year, but Teknopants/Beau Blyth’s “lightning-fast Bushido brawler” is out RIGHT NOW for Windows computer machines.

Why you should pick Samurai Gunn up posthaste:

  • It’s like a bloodier Smash Bros. with samurai (who also pack heat), with support for 2-4 players!
  • How awesome is this new trailer?
  • Duels by the sunset! Dudes getting beheaded!
  • Music by Doseone!
  • Logo by Maré Odomo and Cory Schmitz!
  • Other Tiny friends (Adam Robezzoli, Lamar Abrams, and more) lending their voices as dying samurai!

You can grab Samurai Gunn from the official site, the Humble Store, or Steam for $11.99 now.

  • Source maxistentialism.com

New Mercenary Kings trailer ⊟

If I end up buying a PlayStation 4 this winter, it will be because of Tribute Games’ run’n gun here. It’s more likely, though, that I’ll grab the final version (there’s an Early Access build you can buy/try now) that releases for Steam/PC. Whatever, the point is that Mercenary Kings will be mine.

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