Weekend Download №35


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Weekend Download

JohnBIn addition to an utterly superb isometric adventure game, on this edition of Weekend Download we'll be teasing you just a bit. Teasing how, you say? Teasing with a Mac-only demo and a preview build of a game that isn't complete! Yes, we're cruel. But you'll love every minute of it.

returntodarkcastle.jpgReturn to Dark Castle (Mac, 70-84MB, demo) - Return to Dark Castle is a reverential sequel to Dark Castle, the classic and much beloved platforming adventure released for the Macintosh in 1986. The new levels are huge and beautifully illustrated, but you also get all the original levels from Dark Castle and Beyond Dark Castle, plus four difficulty settings and a veritable cornucopia of secrets. Hurling rocks at bats is just as great as it always was. (Thanks, Psychotronic)

fig.jpgFloating Islands Game (Windows, 2MB, preview) - By popular demand, Hempuli has released the first five levels of this action-based puzzle game as an early teaser. FIG plays just like Rob Allen's Hapland games, but with a distinct Lemmings slant to it. Guide the rather dense main character around by switching signs and such on the landscape. Solve puzzles by having quick reflexes and an uncanny ability to peer three moves into the future.

theyore.jpgThe Yore (Windows, 16.6MB, free) - A strikingly haunting and beautiful isometric horror adventure game by Crobasoft. You play as Colin or Amy trapped in a strange house with creepy things crawling out of every ethereal corner. Use the [arrow] keys to move ([left] is NW, [up] is NE, etc.) and [enter] to check or use items. This game has such a great atmosphere and is one of those little nuggets that compels you to play to the end.

frozzd.jpgFrozzd (Windows, 16.6MB, free) - A game made for YoYoGames' first competition in which the theme was "winter" and it took 1st place. Jump from planet to planet as you guide the Mubbly creatures, and use them as an army to defeat the Frozzd. 12 levels, a boss, many different enemies, and great music. Simple fluid gameplay with Super Mario Galaxy style gravity.

35 Comments

mac-only demos aren't cruel, they're considerate!! I think it's about time for our piece of the gaming pie, especially since macs have better graphics anyway.

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How many hours of my childhood were spent trying to kill the Dark Knight in Dark Castle?
Excited to try out the demo. DC has always been one of my favorite games.

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The Yore was nicely atmospheric for about five minutes, though the voice acting was kind of shoddy. Then I got downstairs, found a locked safe behind a painting, and now my character is stuck looking at it. I can't turn away from the safe, nor can I move elsewhere. It's only a three digit combo lock though, so maybe I'll just try all 300 different possibilities.

Moral of the story: when in a haunted house, beware of fascinating safes!

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dotcomlarry Author Profile Page April 5, 2008 9:58 PM

I agree with Allegra... thank you for finally giving Mac users something to play. Boot Camp and Parallels are not viable options *just* to play games. I would love to see you guys actually recommend games that are playable (natively) on both platforms.

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A viable option is one that is capable of working successfully.

Boot Camp (and Parallels if there is no graphics hardware acceleration required) is most definitely a viable option, in fact I use it daily to play games that are only available for Windows.

The trouble with Mac-compatible games is that the market for them is so small compared to the Windows market. That is the primary reason why only a small fraction of games are available to play natively on the Mac.

We will continue to highlight Mac games when we find them, but don't expect those numbers to be very significant as long as Windows commands the lion's share of computer users' desktops.

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What a gorgeous safe...

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I am stuck in "The Yore." I can't seem to

get down the stairs.

Any suggestions?

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Sever_the_ties Author Profile Page April 6, 2008 12:07 AM

I beat the yore in ten minutes. Somehow it seems that it would have been ruined if it were any longer. It was fun though.

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I can't get the haunted house game to down load properly.

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Sever_the_ties Author Profile Page April 6, 2008 12:09 AM

oh and Amy, just hit enter to get down the stairs.

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"The Yore" - Downstairs, stuck at safe. Tried all combinations 000 through 999. Still stuck.

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:OMG I loved Dark Castle! I don't have a Mac - so I can't play the new one. How sad.

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Let the Yore be a lesson to all game developers, independent or otherwise.

1. Above all, have good dialog.

Listen to the ghost you encounter in the third room. It is painful.



2. Get someone else to review your voice acting. You wouldn't know if you sounded bad from the get-go. If you are working on a team, get somebody from outside the team. A forum member, a random stranger, anybody.

3. If you actually have a good voice, practice your intonation. Intonation is important for convincing emotion. Acting classes can help with this.

4. If you don't sound good, see if you know a real voice actor.

5. If you don't, stick with text.

6. Even with good voice-altering software and the relevant skills, it is hard to change bad voice acting into good voice acting. Your attempts at altering the voice will not help. It doesn't sound realistic, in fact it sounds funny.

Not only does it NOT add to the quality of the game, it actually reduces it. Just because Resident Evil could barely get away with it doesn't mean you can. Times have changed.

The isometric player models that seem to be light with a bright white light in the dark hallways are another sore point. The creator doesn't choose a graphical theme. First, the opening screen shows a cheap 3d render of a house, the insides are done very well, and the player models are blocky sprites. None of them really mesh together, its like all three were done separately by different people with no communication whatsoever.

Verdict: Worth the price.

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Xavirez Author Profile Page April 6, 2008 8:44 AM

I thought the Yore was an enjoyable piece of fun although easier than I would have liked.

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Amy

face the stairs and hit enter

And, is there a program that allows one to play mac games on windows? I'm not going to be surprised if there isn't, as Jay said, the market's not that big, but when you guys do post a mac only game it's usually one I want to try.

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What no comments about Frozzd?

It's a great little game, I just love it. The only bad thing I can say about it is that it ends just as it becomes interesting and that the final boss is ridicilously easy (in fact it's the only boss in history of computer games which you can beat by not even being near the computer). Oh, and if you run willy-nilly you can encounter a small bug where you get stuck inside a planet.

But putting that aside, the game is really cute and a joy to play. I'd be amazed if Nintendo didn't call up the designer soon - it is just the thing for their Nintendo DS system.

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lol... Dark Castle is pretty hard!! It's funny to remember the days when getting hit once or falling more than a height of one floor will just straight up kill you.

I'm trying to decide whether it will be worth it to buy the whole game. Anybody who has played it want to weigh in with an estimated figure for hours of gameplay... whether there is or is not a plot... etc? It's fun, but I don't want to pay 30 bucks and have it be over too soon :)

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Groogokk Author Profile Page April 6, 2008 1:04 PM

God knows how much I depend on JIG, so please don't get me wrong when I say this: The Weekend Downloads are great, and I wait for them every weekend, but when it went online this weekend, mine was practically over. I reckon that the timing of the Weekend Download is intended for it to be available to Americans on Saturday night, but JIG also caters to an international audience, and, well, here in Old Europe it is Saturday night and by that time, most people are either already out partying or too tired to bother. Is there any way (short of bribing you) I could persuade you to put the Weekend Download online just a couple of hours earlier?

@ Einar: Afaik the number of possible safe combinations with three digits that can range from 0-9 each is 1000, not 300... but anyway, I got stuck there too.

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Thanks for the feedback, Groogokk. It's a very good idea.

We really should move up the Friday link dump and post it Thursday evening, as well as begin the weekly downloads on Friday evening to better accommodate our international audience.

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Groogokk Author Profile Page April 6, 2008 1:34 PM

That would be great, Jay! :)

About "The Yore": I liked the game overall, especially the superb background graphics and the music. Yes, the character sprites didn't quite fit in with the background, but I don't think they stick out too much. The puzzles were easy enough to not get stuck, which is very important for my motivation. I do have three complaints, namely the shortness of the game, the invisible inventory... and the fact that the ghost's "test" wasn't really much of a test. In my opinion there should at least be a hint of danger (beyond a puddle of blood on the floor).

I sense a game making engine at work in this game. Can anyone confirm this/tell which one it is?

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frozenfloes Author Profile Page April 6, 2008 2:00 PM

Groogokk, I think it uses Clickteam.

As for the game, it had a good atmosphere but it was rather short. For those who want the combination:

376

I think you have to enter it multiple times.

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mixedmetaphor Author Profile Page April 6, 2008 2:54 PM

ummm... maybe the yore is just too dark for my computer screen, but

i'm stuck with a key i can't seem to be able to use, a picture i've taken off the wall that i can't do anything with, and the need to "prove myself" to a very unconvincing ghost. if i keep turning up the brightness, will i be able to see something i couldn't see before?

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Groogokk Author Profile Page April 6, 2008 2:59 PM

@ mixed: No, the key may well be for something in your starting room.

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mixedmetaphor Author Profile Page April 6, 2008 3:07 PM

that's what i thought, but all i get is "it's locked."

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Groogokk Author Profile Page April 6, 2008 6:16 PM

@ mixed: Then that means you missed...

the diary with a rusty key in it in the ghost's room.

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waldo mann April 6, 2008 8:29 PM

hey,um,did anyone have trouble with getting the blue star thingys in the fig game thingy? I really enjoyed the demo version,but i just want to know how to get the blue star!pls help!

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ThemePark Author Profile Page April 7, 2008 6:35 AM

waldo, I got all the stars in FiG. In which levels can't you get the blue stars?

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Groogokk Author Profile Page April 7, 2008 3:23 PM

"Frozzd" is really cool (HA!) and deservedly won the game making competition at yoyogames. What I like best is the Mubbly's cheerful character, how they whistle and sing when they are happy and how they go gung-ho when you change into attack mode. Sometimes the astronaut landed awkwardly and was flailing about while standing on solid ground, but that never stopped me from having fun. The moving mechanism is heavily inspired by Nitrome's "Space Hopper" (was that in turn inspired by some other game, btw?), but "Frozzd" is funnier and more forgiving than the flash game.

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Groogokk Author Profile Page April 7, 2008 3:27 PM

Ah, so Super Mario Galaxy is the ur-planet-hopping game. Sorry for asking & double posting.

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Elemeno and anybody else wondering if Return to Dark Castle is worth buying:

Once you know what you're doing, it doesn't take very long to beat the game. All you have to do is collect 10 orbs from a total of 25 available, and then beat the last section. Speed runs are probably going to come in at less than an hour.

But the game is entertaining for much longer than that, because there's so many secrets. About a third of the orbs are hidden, and there's more than a dozen secret treasures you can collect as well. It keeps track of your completion percentages in each of the 4 difficulty levels, so getting 100% will take quite a while. Some of the best levels are really hard to find.

Plus, the game is designed so you can take lots of different paths to the final encounter, so you can challenge yourself by trying to finish it without certain magical items, or as fast as possible, or whatever. It's like a big playground.

And there are rumors of a level editor (that supports custom graphics!), so the rabid community may start supplying even more levels at some point.

I think it's probably worth the money, although there's definitely games that will give you more guaranteed play time for $30. I bought it the day it came out, and I haven't regretted it once. I played it a lot at first, but now it's one of those games I can just pick up and play for 10 minutes once in a while, since the individual quests are nicely bite-sized.

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i've gotten the safe open but i can't figure out what to do next

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@J You need to

go into the room to the right (according to the arrow keys

Then:

right into the basement, you find the code you're looking for

If you get really stuck:

There are some rooms that don't have doors try walking round the edge & clicking enter

.

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"The Yore"

Personally, I found this to be really simply and way too short. I though there was so much more that could have been done with this game. The puzzles were pretty obvious and could have been a bit more challenging. Visually, I thought it was looked great, but I have to agree with others that the voice acting and even the written dialog was sub-standard.

On the other hand, I did enjoy the game. I'd give it a 3 out of 5. I'd be interested to see a longer version of this game with more rooms and more puzzles. There is a lot of potential here.

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I'm stuck at 68% in Dark Castle. Is there a weapon or arrow I need to hit the bulls-eyes? And what is a merlon?

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Dave the Llama May 8, 2008 11:39 AM

AARRGGHHHH how do you stop the damn character being bounced around the rooms?!?!? nie on everytime i try to go through a door i get bounced across the room likewise when i try and examne certain objects (like the safe) its almost impossible to access due to being bounced back.

utter waste of time

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