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Weekend Download №2

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JohnBIt's the weekend. You can download games. But you cannot download the weekend itself. Weekend Download contains less than 8% of the recommended daily allowance of niacin. Weekend Download knows what you did last summer. Do not taunt Weekend Download.

thingavore1.jpgThingavore (Windows, freeware, 35MB) - An inventive puzzle platformer by Texas Aggie Game Developers headed by Tower of Babblers and Alchemist's Apprentice creator Lars Doucet. You play a little blobby thing that can both pick up items and morph into them. Using an object and being an object are two totally different things. For example, picking up an axe and using it lets you swing to the side, while turning into the axe lets you smash down like an anvil. It's a little complex at first, but once you get the hang of the controls it's easy and unbelievably fun. There's even a crude but usable level editor included.

krank1.jpgKrank (Windows/Mac, freeware, 22MB) - A beautiful and atmosphereic game where you play a small snake-like critter trying reunite solo orbs with the revolving groups in the center. Move around with the mouse and use the snake's body to bounce the orbs around the screen. Each stage is a different environment with different sounds, so when you're on a pond the bouncing balls sound like a frog croaking. A very relaxing game!

penumbra1.jpgPenumbra: Overture (Windows, demo, 115MB) - The Penumbra tech demo released last year showcased a unique physics engine nestled inside a dark 3D horror adventure game. We ate it up, so developer Frictional Games promised a commercial version. In comes Overture, the first of three episodic adventures to be released this year. This demo gives you a good taste of what a creepy horror game should really be like. Better visuals than Penumbra (which were already stellar), more spookiness, and you can pick up and interact with every object in the game, just like in the real world! Overture is a bit heavy on the hardware, so check the system requirements before giving it a go.


A warning to those of us who want Thingavore but have older GFX cards - you will NEED a pixel shader, it will not run without finding one.


I gave Thingavore a try, and it seems fun, but extremely glitchy, most likely due to complexity.
Anyway, I enjoy immensely what I've played so far, but I think if it was polished it could be an unbeleivable game.

It's a real clever idea, anyway.


I'm trying to play Penumbra, but every time I get past the initial storyboard set-up, the game says it's loading, and then the screen goes black and nothing happens. Anyone else having this problem?


A 2D game that my two-year-old laptop can't run...that's just bad programming. Too bad, it looked like a fun game.


I thought Thingavore was pretty good. I definitely like the concept and the feel of the game. The level design could probably be improved a bit.

The second to last level on the hardest difficulty ("The biggest level ever") is cumbersome. Figuring out what you need to do to complete it is pretty trivial, but it takes 10 or fifteen minutes because you have to backtrack a couple times and each section involves waiting quite a while for the balloon to slowly, slowly rise.

The final level on the hardest difficulty ("Good Luck") looks outright impossible to me. Has anyone been able to complete it? Unless there's some trick involving the water, it looks like it must take some impossibly precise timing to get the magnet to launch you through the spiked area.



"Good Luck" was one of our team member's twisted Idea of a joke... You see, we had everyone in the club make levels for the game, and one of the guys decided that the last level had to be ridiculously hard (I wasn't consulted :P)

There's no trick. You have to use nimble fingers and the physics engine. You gravitate towards the ceiling with the magnet, then turn it off and use the momentum to fling yourself through the spikes just right. If you think it's frustrating: you're right. I tried it about 150 times before I finally got it. I then found the guy who made the level and told him he was a mean person :P
Then my best friend came over, played to that level, and beat it in three tries. So there are people who can do this, you and I just aren't among them (and I designed the game!)


Whoa... Thingavore seems nice. But it's way to buggy, half the time everything, but the walls remains white, about a quarter of the time all objects remain white, so you have no clue what you're doing, and the rest of the time it semi works, and I can't even get past the first tutorial level. (Magnet) I get to the top platform no problem... but there is no way in hell I can make the jump from the little landing pad under the metal ceiling, to the goal.


Ive looked at the system requirements for the Penumbra one and I have everything apart from 1gb of free hard drive space. Will the game run ok on my comp?


Lukex115: Since you don't actually have the space the game needs to run, don't count on it. The rest of specs are usually a bit flexible, but hard disk free space usually isn't. A game always needs a certain amount of space to be installed in, and usually some hard disk space as cache as well. I've enountered several games that refused to run if you did not have the free space it wanted, even if it never actually used all of it.


Lukex: If you've had the disk a while, chances are you can find 1 gig of junk you don't use on there to delete.


deadl0ck: If you hold the magnet (as opposed to mimicing it) and hit the Control key, you'll use the magnet if possible. "Using" a magnet makes it work horizontally.

Which leads to a small criticism for the designers:

When holding a magnet, the control key doesn't do *anything* unless you're aligned with -- and pointing toward -- a vertical metal sheet with nothing between you and the sheet. If you haven't satisfied these conditions, the USE key does absolutely nothing.

I'd strongly suggest, for a future build of the game, to have the USE key provide *some* sort of feedback with magnets, even if you're not aligned with a metal sheet. At minimum, the Use key should make the held magnet tilt to horizontal. That would probably be enough, but maybe adding small, impotent sparks would help, too. This matter because it guides your player toward understanding what the held magnet can be used to do.

Since I'm already making suggestions, this one's purely aesthetic: I'd suggest adding a level-ending animation upon reaching the exit-gate. Something as simple as the door closing behind you would do the trick. As it is now, the game simply freezes for a few seconds at the moment any part of your character touches the gate as the next level loads. Since the condition for completing the level is simply touching the gate, I suppose something like a vacuum gust sucking you in would work better than the door closing.

Thanks for the fun game!


Damn, I have nobody to thanks for that tip! Thanks anyway though! For some reason I missed that control key = use thing.

sunflower April 6, 2007 12:24 PM

I'm stuck in the demo... what do you do to get into that hole behind the steel cabinet?


For some reason, I have installed Thingavore on a disk drive, but it refuses to run. Whenever I try, it says "The application failed to initialize properly (0xc0000142)." Anyone else get this problem, or is there something I forgot?


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