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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.”

Read more

1001 Spikes pointed at Vita June 3 ⊟
…and PS4, Mac, and PC. Strangely, there’s no listed date for the 3DS release, though I’m guessing it’s that Thursday. I’ll ask Nicalis!
Anyway, the game retails for $14.99 – with a $5 discount on Steam if you have Cave Story or NightSky, and a Cross-Buy deal on the PlayStation platforms.
BUY PS Vita (PS Vita Slim / Borderlands 2 bundle), upcoming games

1001 Spikes pointed at Vita June 3 ⊟

…and PS4, Mac, and PC. Strangely, there’s no listed date for the 3DS release, though I’m guessing it’s that Thursday. I’ll ask Nicalis!

Anyway, the game retails for $14.99 – with a $5 discount on Steam if you have Cave Story or NightSky, and a Cross-Buy deal on the PlayStation platforms.

BUY PS Vita (PS Vita Slim / Borderlands 2 bundle), upcoming games

New challengers for 1001 Spikes ⊟

I am usually not into masacore platformers at all, but 1001 Spikes makes it look so fun with its hectic multiplayer (not on the portable versions unfortunately) and variety of playable characters — many from other popular indie games. Here we can see heroes and heroines from Cave Story, Tempura of the Dead, the Bit.Trip series, Nyx Quest, and Knytt Stories.

What’s great about these characters is they all play differently, something I’ve been down for since Super Mario Bros. 2. This all seems so Super Mario Bros. Crossover-y1001 Spikes will release for 3DS, Wii U, PS Vita, PlayStation 4, PC (Steam), and Xbox One this summer.

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Rad 1001 Spikes multiplayer trailer ⊟

Every time someone mentions this game, or I see footage, I get excited. OH YEAH this is coming out! I want to play this!

The 3DS and Vita versions won’t have this multiplayer, but I’m pretty confident they’ll still be fun. Maybe it’ll be one of those situations where you play a portable version for “practice” and then play a console version with other people…

Man, and look at Curly Brace jetpacking around!

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End of Serenity on PSN this summer, Grinsia on 3DS May 8  ⊟

Yeah, a new PSP game! Natsume, following the success of Mystic Chronicles, picked up another Kemco RPG for release on PSN this summer.

Throughout history, mysterious objects known as “Atomigems” have existed all over the world. The people of the world have used them for many things, from simple family heirlooms to even objects of worship. However, recently, a gang known as the Underworld has been going around collecting any and all Atomigems they can find. What exactly is their aim?

Meanwhile on 3DS, Nicalis will publish an updated version of Grinsia on 3DS May 8. When did Kemco’s mobile RPGs become such a hot property?

Here’s that Cave Story you ordered, Europe ⊟
On May 1, Cave Story will finally arrive on the 3DS eShop, an occasion commemorated by the amazingly Kool artwork above, tweeted by Nicalis.
Personally, I’ll commemorate this announcement by replaying Cave Story, like I do too often. Or not often enough. I’m still not any damn good at Cave Story.
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Here’s that Cave Story you ordered, Europe ⊟

On May 1, Cave Story will finally arrive on the 3DS eShop, an occasion commemorated by the amazingly Kool artwork above, tweeted by Nicalis.

Personally, I’ll commemorate this announcement by replaying Cave Story, like I do too often. Or not often enough. I’m still not any damn good at Cave Story.

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  • Source twitter.com

Here’s ’90s Arcade Racer’s Wii U version ⊟

Looks super Sega-blue-skies and fun, and runs at 60fps in 720p, according to Nicalis’ latest blog post. The game is expected sometime in mid 2014!

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  • Source blog.nicalis.com

Circle Entertainment, Renegade Kid eShop games on sale ⊟

A bunch of games from under-the-radar publisher Circle Entertainment will be on sale until an. 8. I don’t have details of the sale prices right now, but these games are already pretty cheap! Here’s what’s discounted (for NA and EU):

I’m pretty curious about Witch & Hero, myself! And whoa, Sweet Memories Blackjack! “Simply face your friend, and the memories will return. The time you spend playing blackjack together, increases the connection between the two of you, and you will find out that she is the perfect match for you.”

In more familiar games, Renegade Kid’s games are also on sale! Half off until Jan. 2. Check out that Bomb Monkey! Great old-school puzzle game that is, at the moment, officially hella cheap.

Nicalis also has Cave Story ($6.99), VVVVVV ($4.99), NightSky ($4.99) and Ikachan ($2.99) on sale until January 3, too.

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New Legend of Raven trailer ⊟

Now with PlayStation 4 (cross-buy with the PS Vita edition) and Xbox One versions! And online play!

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Are you pringles enough to commentate Legend of Raven?

Nicalis is building in-game color commentary into its PS Vita fighter Legend of Raven, and that color could be yours. Through September 20, the publisher is holding auditions for commentators. Here are their instructions for how to enter:

  1. Be awesome.
  2. Record your mind-blowing color commentary over the provided gameplay footage here: http://youtu.be/DL2U_msibuw or https://app.box.com/s/cstmiatj4aewqxlhdsli
  3. Upload your video to youtube and make sure it’s unlisted.
  4. Email us a link to your youtube video with the color commentary to: auditions@nicalis.com

Scoops! Scoops, Haagen-Dasz! Sorry, I’ve watched very, very little fighting game footage in my life outside of that one. I’ve never had time to watch or participate in “streams.” So this game, with its simulated live commentary, will be something of an educational experience for me!

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Another four indie games join the PS Vita list ⊟

We’re going to run out of indie developers to make games for the PS Vita by the end of the year at this rate — especially now that Sony has formed a Third Party Production group tasked with bringing new IPs, ports, and localized products to PlayStation systems. The PS Vita edition for Borderlands 2 is the first of that team’s projects.

Here are those four interesting games that were just announced for PS Vita this PAX weekend:

  • The first is Cosmic Star Heroine, which we have the trailer for here. We don’t have gameplay footage, but we know it’s a “Retro Sci-fi RPG” from Zeboyd Games, maker of Cthulhu Saves the World. There will be a Kickstarter for the PS Vita/PS4 project in the near future.
  • We also have a Nicalis port for Terry Cavanagh’s gravity-flipping puzzle-platformer VVVVVV. It’s great on the 3DS eShop and PC, so I’m sure it will be great on PS Vita.
  • And there’s yet another roguelike! This time a puzzle hybrid called Road Not Taken from Spry Fox (Realm of the Mad God, Triple Town). Watch the trailer at that link. Very interesting!
  • Hitbox Team’s sweep’em up platformer Dustforce is also making its way to PS Vita courtesy of Capcom.

You guys said you wanted more indie and PS Vita coverage…

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2D fighter Yatagarasu jumps from 3DS to PS Vita ⊟

Remember how Nicalis was going to bring Yatagarasu, that new and original 2D PC fighter from a few ex-King of Fighters/SNK developers, to the 3DS eShop? Yeah, scrap that, the publisher now plans to release it to PS Vita via PSN under the name Legend of Raven later this year.

It really is a shame — I played the PS Vita version at E3, and it was really fun, and the animations/sprites looked superb (it’s hard for anything to look bad on that system’s screen, though). I asked Nicalis head Tyrone Rodriguez what spurred the change, and he said it just made more sense considering the PS Vita’s hardware and community.

This news comes shortly after Nicalis announced The Binding of Isaac: Rebirth for PS Vita. Team Meat’s game was supposed to come to 3DS before, but there were issues on Nintendo’s end due to “questionable religious content” (though the publisher claims there’s still a chance the game will come to 3DS). That doesn’t mean Nicalis has abandoned Nintendo systems, however — it still has Aban Hawkins & the 1001 Spikes and other projects on the way.

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