Play Mobile: Futuridium EP

It seems the only gaming I get to actually do as of late is during those snatched moments on my iPhone and when I buy a game I want to get my money’s worth. Futuridium Ep definitely makes you work for it.

Futuridium on iOS

On their site the developers of Futuridium describe the game as a “retro fast paced shoot’em up with a modern twist” and to be “insanely fast, [with an] insanely hard difficulty level” and boy are they right. I’m not going to lie, if like me you think you can breeze through this game, think again. The difficulty curve on this space em up is steep enough to make you pass out from the G-force, but if you persevere the reward is a definite draw to play on.

The art style of Futuridium for reason makes wonder if this is the creation of some unholy carnal act between the movie Tron and the PS1 classic Wipeout, all polygons and sharp edges. It’s pretty pleasing to look at with its Technicolor palette and could never be described as dull. Not the most graphically refined which I think was the intention this title as just enough polish to make it nostalgic rather than dated.

The touch based control scheme took me a bit of time to adjust to, unintentionally banking into the dreadnoughts below numerous times, I think this partly may be down the to the responsiveness of the touchscreen being a little lacking. However once you have had a couple of test flights so to speak then the challenge really begins – The premise is to fly your ship and shoot the blue cubes, when all are destroyed then you unlock the core and away you go to the next level. All the while you energy is sapping down only to refill at the end of each level, so efficient gun play is essential. Continues are given dependant on your score, but if used your score is wiped and you continue from where you left off with nothing to show, great if you just want to see what the next level looks like but if you are looking to set a high score this game is unforgiving with your shortcomings.

The soundtrack itself should be quite pleasing to fans of glitch hop and electro, jazz flute fans less so, regardless the soundtrack goes really well with game play and if you want to listen to the tracks sans space flight the option is there in the menu. Another nice little feature not really seen on the iOS store that can also be found within the menu is the ability to gift the game friends who co-exist in the Apple ecosystem, if you can’t persuade your friends to buy and you think they must play then buy it for them! I do think a slight trick was missed here would be if the game was multiplayer, then this kind of gifting would mean more but still, nice nonetheless.

Overall if you can get used the ever so slightly awkward controls and the punishing progression mechanic then this should keep the hardcore gamer and the masochist in you both entertained. Its available on iOS now for £1.49 or your currency equivalent. Insert coin and get blasting.

Perfect Cell Reception

Thought to keep this post relatively short because 1) No one likes rambling in a review and 2) I have spent far too much time being pleased with myself over the title of this post. It’s dark now. Anyway since my last post on mobile games I have moved on from both Blockado Desert in which I made a pitiful attempt and ultimately got stuck somewhere in World 2 and Robot Unicorn Attack which I pretty much rage quit for the same reason. My new flavour of the month plays easier and unlike Robot Unicorn Attack actually has an end and because of this I bought this nice little title.

Perfect Cell on iOS £1.99/$299

Perfect Cell

What initially grabbed me about this game was its premise. A meteor crashes to earth and a secret team of scientists are sent to investigate and what they discover is a microscopic alien organism. So they squirrel it away in some super top-secret base under water and the life form turns out to be a total dick to any other living thing it encounters and begins to grow and eventually busts out of containment. This is where the you pick up the controls….as the Perfect Cell.

Looking like a cross between a squid and a bouncy ball your goal is to escape the clutches of your captors by evading lasers, solving puzzles and destroying every puny human you come across. The levels are as linear as they come so there is only way through them, but the well honed difficulty level presents you with increasingly moreThe professor never did like calamari challenging obstacles for you to glide and dash past. I don’t mean to go on about it (I do really) but personally I’ve found the steady ramp up of difficulty throughout my play time so far pretty much spot on. The tutorial pop ups are ‘at-a-glance’ simple and easy to digest delivering just enough information so you can get to grips with playing the game very quickly.

So how does it scrub up in the sparkly department? On my iPhone 4 the HD graphics are  pretty tasty looking and I imagine it can only get better on an iPad. The loud colour of your organism is a stark contrast to the moody kind of 80’s industrial lab environments you find yourself in. The whole presentation is quite old school sprite’esque all wrapped in shiny HD polythene, very palatable on the old eye holes. My one gripe would be that in the game description it states you will travel “across 5 different worlds”, I have currently just finished the 3rd world and the total number of “worlds”  I have encountered is precisely 1. I am certain I will see daylight eventually but just not nearly enough of it.

"on the head son.."On the plus side though each level takes between 5 and 10 minutes to slither through as the difficulty increases, so with 35 levels in total it gives you more than a couple of hours worth of play, which if you think about it is quite some time given that most people will pick up and play one or two levels at time. That and the fact your cell unlocks some pretty awesome abilities (no spoilers) as you progress which become more vital to your continued success, again adding to the feeling of how well paced the learning curve of this game is.

For those who are wanting a bit of replay value the developers recently brought out an update containing some extra colour skins for your extra terrestrial that only unlock once you have killed all the humans and collected all the hidden prisms, which are either hard to spot or I suck at spotting secrets. I personally would like to say a little from column A and column B but in my heart I know its 92% of the latter. Given the price tag on it I would expect a new batch of levels to be released at some stage too.

Overall this has definitely got enough quality to keep you coming back for more when you have a spare few minutes. So if you are sick of drawing the same 13 ‘somethings’ for your friends over and over give this a shake.

P.S. Kill the Humans.

-MS Dosser

Random Access Memory Lane Part 2: The fizzy drink diet.

Just before we get going on today’s nonsense I thought I would mention the new banner emblazoned across our blog, it was designed by one of the powerful chaps over at the emperors of design Me and Alan, I think it looks epic so please visit their site to see just how mint they are. Cheers.

If you haven’t read our part 1 you can find it here, if you have then lets crack on.

Its 1992 and shit is going down. For the adult world at least.

It is announced that a third of our coal mines are to be closed, which contributes to a record high in unemployment. A spate of IRA attack occur throughout the year across the nation of which Manchester suffers the worst of it. Windsor Castle is severely damaged after a proper massive fire. The economy is in tatters, so much so that it was decided the Queen is going to have to pay taxes.

For me it was a different kettle of fish, for me 1992 was all about my football team Newcastle United signing Alan Shearer for a record 15 million quid, watching some wicked telly including some particularly epic cartoons like X-Men and Animals of Farthing Wood and experiencing my first beat em up on a console. The glory that was Double Dragon

Now I know that technically Double Dragon had several iterations but I played the one on the Mega Drive which the internet tells me released in this year. This seminal game considered to be the progenitor of the modern beat em up. Taking on the role of either Billy or Jimmy Lee (twin brothers obviously) you are tasked with applying the fictional martial art with some ridiculous name, which incidentally was inspired by Jeet Kune Do and is one of the many references to the great Bruce Lee, to smash the snot out of innumerable enemies as you make your way through each level.

When I think about it, this game’s co-operative was probably the first time I felt that multiplayer buzz which would become the dominating force in my adult life as a gamer. Sure co-op was nothing new in the industry but to be 9 years old and to take on the role of a kick ass, muscle-bound Chuck Norris type with your best mate being every bit as ninja whilst to punch and kick your way through as many hapless bad guys whose skulls are standing in the way of you and justice, well that kind of experience will stick with you.

As a kid you wanted to be a hero, preferably one with granite hands and fly kicks up the wazoo (TMNT was huge at this point) and this game gave you that in buckets. To poach a phrase a friend of mind used to describe Dizzy when he read our last post, Double Dragon was ‘the tits’. End of.

As with my last post that offered up a link to play Dizzy, the generosity continues and this time it’s for you hipsters that have an iPhone. Here is Double Dragon for the iPhone for when you get sick of sketching out the same pictures in Draw Something. You will have to pay for it like I’m not made of money, probably due to the fact I’m always distracted playing or writing about games to achieve any true modicum of success on the career front.

– MS Dosser

Cast your mind back to the previous year. It’s ’91 and none of Dossers depressing issues have come to the fore as of yet. Operation desert storm is over, Mario and Sonic are locking horns in the battle of the consoles, Link has a new quest on his hands and Terminator 2 is out at the cinema surely you’d think there would be no reason for tiny green haired blue smock wearing animals to throw them selves off the nearest edge? Well you’re wrong.

Lemmings
(Atari ST ’91)

Lemmings box art

Blocker, Builder, Basher, Climber, Floater if these words bring to mind seven Dwarves for you then a) you didn’t play Lemmings and b) you don’t know much about Snow White. No these names were not those allocated to the Hi-ho chanting little fellas from the classic German fairy tale, they are in fact some of the skills which made these tykes into the lovable (if somewhat frustrating) stars from one of the most popular video games of all time.

Wiki tells me that Lemmings throughout the years has shipped over 15 million units and honestly I can’t think of a title that deserved more success. The thought and care that went into the level design of this game make modern puzzle game creators cry into their coffee every morning. It was a simple idea taken to monumental levels by DMA design, who it is worth noting are now the amazing Rockstar North, sometimes it would feel as though a level was impossible but once you figured it out it would leave you wondering how on earth you failed to spot the correct path through.

lemmings level

Diggers will be necessary.

So this bunch of ludicrously cute little sprites drop down from a trap door in the sky, screaming their trade mark “let’s go”, and it’s up to you to guide them past the various pitfalls, traps, spikes, lava, fire and whatever other devious little tricks the developers had hidden along the way. Through various typical video game sets such as desert, dungeon, ice land etc.

a gif of the two competing walking animations

This gif actually shows the original competing designs for the walking animation.

Originally an Amiga title its instant success led to multiple ports and sequels (it has even seen a re-release on PSP) and soon people all over the world were scratching their heads and smashing their mouse’s (mousai? mice?) in frustration as the poor little chaps met their grizzly end time and time again.

lemming jumping artwork

Let’s go!

So enamored with the artwork as a child I actually wanted a pet Lemming and I’m not ashamed to admit I would’ve dressed him in blue and dyed his hair green had I ever had one but alas I didn’t so I made do with an imaginary one that lived in my watch (I know, I know but I already told you I was a weird kid.). I even used to spend hours sketching crude Lemmings having fun little adventures, driving cars, fighting monsters and so on.

falling lemming

not one of mine

One of the main things I remember about this game was the music. Slightly akin to being stuck in a lift listening to pan pipe versions of classic pop songs the tunes on display here were midi versions of classical music and various random school yard tunes (I may be imaging this but I’m pretty sure one of them is ‘how much is that doggy in the window’) rather than adding to the infuriating nature of this puzzler I find them somewhat calming but that might just be me. Take a listen to one of the more memorable tunes for yourself and you will (hopefully) see what I mean.

So what is essentially an epic puzzle game becomes without a doubt one of the most phenomenal titles of all time. Don’t believe me? Well some clever so and so has ported it into your browser so you can enjoy the original game in all of its glory.(albeit without the fantastic sound effects.) YIPEE!

– Elth

P.S you ever get to the end of Double Dragon in co-op MS-Dosser? I did with my cousin….. it doesn’t end well.

Hope you enjoyed the second part of our trip along nostalgia avenue. Did you love Double Dragon? or were you more of a Streets of Rage kinda guy? Did Lemmings cause you to punch a hole in the nearest wall/person/screen available or were you lulled into a deep calm by the weird ass music? Let us know in the comments and subscribe to keep up with the continuing recap of the games that caused us to be hopelessly addicted today.