Link Dump Friday №227


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Link Dump Fridays

DoraTake heart, good people! For August has arrived, and that means we're halfway to Christmas, with stops along the way for such awesome holidays as Halloween, Thanksgiving, and the month-long street celebration that is my birthday. (In Canada, there are figure flattering floats, parades, and costumed Doras that hand out Reeses Pieces... and then snatch them back and eat them in front of you.) To celebrate this milestone, this week's Link Dump Friday is... exactly the same as any other! Which means it's full of awesome little games made by talented developers! Yaaaaaay, consistency! It's the gift that keeps on giving... literally!

  • FlurFlur - In Ninja Kiwi's latest, you play as a lovely young student at Beauxbaton Academy where you are chosen to represent at the Triwizard Tou... what? Oh. OH. Flur, not Fleur. Well, that changes things! In this arcade game you play a beautiful glowing fairy collecting orbs of light so you can go compete in the Triwizard TOH FINE... glowing orbs of light so you can collect more glowing orbs of light, only faster and shinier. Sounds like a good evening to me!
  • EctologyEctology - I ain't afraid of no ghost, and you won't be either after you play this haunt hunting game. You job is to track down glowing orbs and other supernatural beings in various spooky locations, and then absorb them for study without killing them... somehow? I mean... how does that even work? You can't kill something that's already dead unless your last name is Summers or Hellsing, right? Man, this is some heavy metaphysical stuff... I think I need to go lie down...
  • IntrudedIntruded - Playing this strange little... sneaky... adventure... avoidance... ish... type game kind of reminds me of playing early Resident Evil games way back on the PSOne, in that the camera hates you and wants you to die. Navigate yourself through a tricky environment where your only point of view comes from the security cameras that track your every move and delight in your disorientation. If you think walking a straight line along a wooden plank is tough, wait til you get to the room with the swingy camera and disappearing floor. I dunno about you dudes, but if this is the sort of thing thieves put up with, you can count me out. Guess I'm not cut out for intruded-ing.
  • GreyGrey - I'm grey aba-dee-aba-die... what, isn't that how it goes? In this artsy platformer you play a blocky little fellow who must explore his monochrome environment looking for colourful items to bring back to his curiously emotionally distant girlfriend, as well as brightening the world in the process. You know us ladeez, always with the bling bling, amirite?! Now get out there and bring me back a whole buttload of diamonds!
  • Cuboy Hot PantsCuboy Hot Pants - Hey good lookin'! Whatcha got cookin'?... oh, whoa, that's your pants I smell burning? Well, guess I shouldn't have expected any less from Cuboy, who it seems this time is racing down a rocky (cube-y) slope ahead of lava in this arcade game, trying to avoid being burnt to cinders. It's highscore arcade action, starring everyone's favourite blockhead... assuming you're not a Peanuts fan, of course.

36 Comments

Shinkstor August 5, 2011 1:22 AM

Pretty sure grey is about

how the character you play as died and you are trying to make the world better for that girl.

[Please remember to use spoiler tags when discussing potential plot points. Thank you! -Dora.]

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Gray was an entertaining little game. It seemed to me that there was some sort of message that maybe I was supposed to get about life or love or some other deep topic like that, but clearly it went over my head. A great way to end my day however.

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Anonymous August 5, 2011 5:19 AM

You what games totally worth playing for hours to get all of the achievements? Not Flur.

Don't get me wrong, it's a fun little game, but inside of a half hour it becomes a grindfest, and for what?

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Flur is potentially enjoyable, but not at present, since, although it contains many achievements that you could gain if you spent some time playing, and ever more complex and enormous constellations of things to collect, the game doesn't save your progress. Each time it crashes (and it does crash occasionally, or mysteriously reloads itself mid-play), you lose all your progress and access to more interesting gameplay. You also don't get any information on what constellation is what if you are trying for different targets, except for learning-as-you-go, which is not possible because of the save issue. So I am giving up for the moment, but have lots of practise to put into effect when the very clever people at NK sort this one out a little bit more. And thanks anyway NK, it was still quite fun.

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Playing Cuboy gave me optical illusion!

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Grey is...great. Definitely worth playing through.

It was slightly sluggish in places, but this didn't give me any trouble.

I read the theme as

losing your identity when you are in a relationship with someone else, or alternatively, as the girl looking back on her memories of a previous relationship.

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Er... guys, didn't you see

the grave

on the right of the Gray world?

She's mourning for her dead companion, and he's using the remnants of his life force to bring her, as a ghost, all the things she loves (memories of the things they did together, I guess) in order to brighten up her world and free her from the sadness. Once she sees again the world in its natural beauty instead of a grey tomb, his mission is done and they can move on to whatever their destiny is.

I think.

[Please don't forget to add spoiler tags to things like this. I've taken the liberty of adding them to your comment. I was trying to be vague and sneaky in Grey's description so people could discover things for themselves. :) Thank you! -Dora.]

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baramburum Author Profile Page August 5, 2011 9:23 AM

Intruded - crazy cool. so scared, but i very love a technology used.

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hothotpot Author Profile Page August 5, 2011 9:54 AM

I agree with the interpretation of those who say that in Gray you play as

someone who has died and is trying to bring happiness back to the person he loved. This makes total sense, especially given the way your character grows more and more transparent and then disappears altogether at the end. Lovely little game, though. Wish it had been longer.

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I agree with most everyone else about Grey:

You think you're alive through most of the game and that the girl is ignoring you, but as you play on you realize that you're a ghost and she can't see you.

You need to help her recover after your death--once you bring color back to her world, you are free to go on to whatever may come next.

Beautiful game, with a lovely twist at the end.

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Oh, Flur is nigh-impossible for those with red-green colorblindness--no way to tell the "enemies" from the rest of the dots.

(C'mon, NK, you can do better than that!)

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Anonymous August 5, 2011 1:01 PM

Ectoplasm is very entertaining, but I have one request for the programmer: Please make an option to change the controls. For example, space to shoot the gun instead of clicking, and arrow keys to move the camera.

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ForeverIndie August 5, 2011 2:44 PM

Grey, a new game to put on my "Candidates for Best of 2011 list"

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alisonofagun August 5, 2011 3:31 PM

Grey was wonderful, a beautiful sad little story. And the music- wow, just perfect for the mood.

At first I thought it a bit cheerful, encouraging music as I search for things to make my love happy, but as I started to realize the story, though the tune never changed, I felt the melancholy in the notes.

. Well done.

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Wildbreeze August 5, 2011 3:35 PM

"Oh. OH. Flur, not Fleur." Hee. You're awesome, Dora.

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NisSandpaper August 5, 2011 4:30 PM

Cuboy was too cute

I would intentionally kill him just to hear what he has to say

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Czaerana Author Profile Page August 5, 2011 5:38 PM

Grey was so beautiful. It brought tears to my eyes.

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ARGH!
In Grey, you play someone who *HAS* (whatever it is).
HAS HAS HAS!
Not AS!

Grey made me cry. Sweet and then bittersweet.
I liked how collecting the pink sky-color made you see a little dove near her and how orange put fish in the water and blue made some little butterflies appear.
As a very visually-oriented person, I found the gradual restoration of colors to the world fascinating.
Memory Of Colors was similar in this aspect.

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Hint on Flur:

Those red orbs? Don't touch. To *release* them, snatch up the orbiting green ones. Wait. Red will turn green and *burst* into many green. Now collect.

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zbeeblebrox Author Profile Page August 6, 2011 2:09 AM

Regarding Grey:

I was a little disappointed when it turned out your character was merely a ghost. I was hoping that after giving all those things to her, seemingly sucking the life out of the player character, that he would in turn become the withdrawn and listless one, and the player would then take control of the girl in a vicious cycle of giving with no end. An infinite loop of tragic altruism, if you will. Eh, oh well. This way was okay too I guess.

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I absolutely love art games, and Grey was no exception. While I think along similar lines to others, I got a slightly different viewpoint on it.

Right away I could see that the girl was not just sitting there, but lost in thought. Since the character you play was moving around and active, I could see his world wasn't the grey one, it was hers. The first item I found was the one by the grave, which told me the character I was playing was dead, thus explaining her grey world. I didn't see it as you playing a ghost, though, but rather looking at the world through her eyes.

At first, all she can think about is him. Everything else is stark and immobile, but he is still so very real. Gradually, though, sparks of colour come back as she sees there is still joy. He fades out of her mind, slowly, as other things begin to come into focus. By the end, he disperses into everything around her, because even though she isn't overwhelmed with sorrow anymore, everything she sees has a hint of him in it. She could never look at a blue lake without thinking of the necklace he gave her, or see an orange sunset without thinking of the teddybear he had.

This game captures amazingly, to me, the feeling of losing someone you love, moving on, and yet never having them be truly gone.

Perhaps this is just my point of view and I'm reading too far into it.

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@Jonny_s
I don't think that was what I was thinking as I played, but I would have to agree with you. Since I didn't *get it* until beating the game *AND* reading the comments, I didn't have thoughts like that as I played.

But yes, I think you summed it up very well.

Flur is so addicting!
Ah, good. It saved my game.

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Flur Powerups (there are 3):

Blue - pulls green spritelings to you.
Purple - seeks and destroys red spritelings (dangerous). It will also pull powerup orbs to you.
Yellow - causes you to go into stealth mode. You cannot be harmed by red spritelings, but you still attract green ones.

Enemy Names: The names of the enemies (in achievements) correlates to the number of green spritelings orbiting it. Packs/Swarms refer to several enemies of the same type rotating in a circular formation. You must free all of those for the pack/swarm meter to increase. But you can always return to what is left later for it to count.
But you do *not* need to collect all of the released spritelings for it to count. Just destroy the red ones.

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Loved, loved, loved 'Grey'. Simple and effective gameplay (the use of the directional arrows really helped me keep track of where I was), excellent use of graphics and music... and a bittersweet theme.

I feel like this has been dumped in Friday's 'trash', rather than given a decent spot in Jayisgames reviews.

Love to see more reviews of this kind of stuff than yet another Bigfish promotion.

[Big Fish titles are ONLY reviewed on Friday afternoons and the weekend. If you create an account and log in with us, you'll see much less ads and "promotions". Grey didn't meet with much enthusiasm from our review staff when we originally looked at it, but clearly that's subjective, and I'm happy to see it enjoyed here. - Dora]

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Sorry, that was wrong. Packs are a circle of regular enemies. Swarms are a circle of packs.
And some enemies are named according to what they look like. Orions have 3 red ones and the middle has a circle of green.

Wow. I *beat* the game, but kept on playing. Addictive. And hard.

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chibidani Author Profile Page August 6, 2011 11:23 AM

I loved playing through Grey, and the music was (and still is) awesome.

The only problem I have is that

once you collect the last color (purple for me) you don't get a chance to see how that last color affects the world. Though I suppose that may be intended to make you play it more than once.

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Anonymous August 6, 2011 11:26 AM

With regards to Intruder:

Why has "running into the side of a spike kills the hero" become an intentional game mechanic, rather than a bug? In one of the rooms the character dies repeatedly by bumping into the sides of spikes that are clearly only sharp at the tip.

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I had a different initial impression of grey.

I did the yellow flower last, so I had the impression that I started out alive, and then as I worked to enrich my partner's life, my own life was depleted, until finally, on the last item, I was "used up", and she was restored.

I found this kind of annoying, it read to me as "guys kill themselves trying to impress girls", and I wondered if the game author maybe just needed to get over her, whoever she was, and move on.

But, in retrospect, it's actually nice example of how the same environment can impact you differently depending on how you interact with it -- if you don't do the yellow one last, you don't get the impression I got at all, it's a lot richer than I initially gave it credit for.

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chibidani Author Profile Page August 6, 2011 1:49 PM

Regarding Flur, does anyone know why sometimes I'm smaller and the orbs are smaller, and then other times we're both bigger and therefore its harder to control?

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Intruded. 1/5
The controls are so bad...and I think they were specifically designed that way.
And the graphics. I don't have epilepsy, but the static was hard on my eyes. I couldn't see anything.

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Carny Asada Author Profile Page August 7, 2011 12:36 AM

Flur is Flow with fairies. No, really, even the pulsing circles look the same. I kept waiting for my fairy to evolve.

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Grey was a fun little artsy game

I do find two points interesting that no one else has mentioned:

1) The character you play literally has to go to the ends of the world for a girl. Whether this was intended or not, it can play to the do anything for/because of love themes.
2) There is some effort, although made mild for enjoyability, in actually retrieving the items for the sake of someone's happiness.

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Reply to Dora:

Even discouting those ads and promotions, Jayisgames spends a lot of time reviewing stuff that is downloadable at Bigfish. I don't particularly care one way or the other about promoting a company/their wares; my point was that it would be nice to see more games reviewed that are 'unknown'. We all know about Submachine for instance: but are there any game designers out there with similar quality who don't get noticed? I'm willing to bet there are.

One of the reasons why I visit other games sites. There is more variety in who or what is promoted.

But I understand that it's subjective picking which games to review and there is limited time/reviewers. Honestly I do love this site, but sometimes I wish there was a little less reliance on whatever happens to be newly released over at BF.

Anyway, my 2 cents and this is your site to do with how you please. *Shrugs* Sometimes it's nice to get feedback though...

Thanks for your feedback. Back in 2003 when I first started the site, web games and download games were few. And there were even fewer websites that covered them. Finding a diamond in the rough was difficult, but it happened a lot more frequently and more easily back then because web games weren't as popular and the website competition wasn't as fierce as it is today. Since web games have become such a lucrative business, you just don't see many games anymore come around that are "unknown". Word travels fast and the better games are getting picked up by all the sites in a matter of hours. As for BFG games, we have an affiliate relationship with them and we earn commission on games sold through our reviews. Without that revenue, I wouldn't be able to afford to pay the JIG writing staff and this site would be just another link blog like so many other sites. Besides, the 2 or 3 BFG reviews we publish each weekend are outnumbered over 5 to 1 by free games the remainder of the week. And we use a variety of methods for finding games before they appear elsewhere, but again, writing thoughtful, interesting reviews takes time (and money), so you may find a link blog that's able to post something quicker than we are. Our quality filter, though, should be better than most sites out there, including the BFG games. -Jay]

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Carny Asada Author Profile Page August 7, 2011 5:34 PM

On the other hand, Intruded... Grrr. Who designs a house like that, anyway? Some sicko, that's who.

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Think Grey is terrific. Is the music original? If so, that is very impressive. It reminds me of one of my favorite composers, Erik Satie. If not original, what is the name/composer of the piece, I would like to find it.

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About Grey...

I found the flower last, so that's when I discovered that he was dead; at first I thought that the point was that she was depressed and couldn't see the colours of life, and he wanted to make her happy again to the point of disappearing because after seeing the coloured world again she would not need him anymore and he would just "disappear" from her thoughts.

But then I saw the grave, and suddendly understood. For this reasons, it really gave me the chills at the end.

Another darker possible interpretation could be that SHE is dead and he invests so much in "bringing her back" that eventually loses himself.

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