I have a new batch of homebrew games reviewed. We have more than just alphas this week. My pick of the week is LinesCS, a simple but addictive puzzler. Duke3d was the one I looked forward to the most, but suffers one major problem.
Byook: Horus–I’m not sure what Byook is and how it differs from Horus, but basically this is a story that is an adventure game. You have to hold the DS sideways, like a book for this one. You tap the lower corners of the screen to turn the page. The creators acknowledge this is a prototype, but the idea is that the reader/player makes choices in the story and finds out the consequences, but it also will include riddles and other word games.
However, the game and the story are in French, so unless you can read the language, you won’t be able to really play this one. My French is poor so I could only play for a short while. I think this game has a lot of potential and would like to see it offered in English.
Duke3D–GPF has ported Duke Nukem 3D to the DS. He provides most of the required files except for Duke3d.grp. You can use the file from the official game or the shareware version [which you get from 3d Realms]. My problem is that the DOS game would not install on Vista because of a problem with the full screen mode. So, I found a workaround and was able to play the game. I have read that 1.4 or later is best to use.
It loaded and played, but it had at least one significant problem: when I used the d pad to move, at times, I would see changes of what looked like 45 degrees, making it very difficult to move in a direction that I wanted to go. I sometimes just had to wait for the monsters to move into my line of fire. The arc of the directional movement was somewhat unpredictable: Sometimes it was about 5 degrees while at times, I got the 45 degrees arc. The framerate, on the other hand, seems at the very least acceptable, if not good.
I also noticed some glitches in the graphics. For example, the fire in the dumpster on the first level was static. The sounds were also a bit distorted: the pistol fire, for instance, sounded like a subdued explosion.
It’s not unplayable, but it can be somewhat frustrating at times. Unfortunately, this prevents the game from being a keeper for me. It might be the duke3d.grp file that I’m using. But at least, the game is worth downloading, especially if you have the duke3d.grp file handy. If you don’t have Vista, you can use the .grp file from the shareware game. If you have Vista, well, let’s just say you’re already accustomed to frustration and inconvenience.
Jetfighter–Cid2Mizard has been a prolific DS homebrew developer lately. This is a two-person game with no solo option. Player 1 moves a ship with the d pad and fires with the right shoulder button while player 2 uses abxy and left shoulder button.I find the DS two small for two players at the same time. My son and I tried it and just didn’t care for it. However, the game itself is decently done. It is a basic shooter that is well done.
Laser Hockey–Team Mouse has released a work in progress game that is much like Pong. In its current state, it suffers some significant problems that, I’m sure, will be corrected in time, such as a lack of scoring, a lack of acceleration on the puck, and an AI for the opponent [which at this point just moves back and forth across the screen in a regular speed and pattern].
Wait for a more developed version before downloading this one.
LinesCS–Frozenjazz describes his first homebrew game as something of a joke, but it is actually a fun, addictive little puzzle game. You play on a board of squares, and the object is to remove all the colored tiles that appear on the board. However, you must have at least 5 in a row to remove them. And they must be of the same color. You click on a tile and then on the empty square to move it to. But you must have a path of empty squares to move the tile to that destination. Plus each time you move a tile, new tiles appear on the board.
This is a simple but addictive game that I ended up playing far more than I expected. I look the look of it, too. It’s bright without being too cartoony. I definitely recommend that you try the game.
Motus–Orionjones has updated this homebrew game. Unfortunately, it is in French only and it is a word game. I can’t say much about it, although it looks well presented. It seems to be based on a French tv show of the same name.
Platdude’s Retro Collection–Jayenkai has a new game homebrew . . . rather, a collection of classic arcade games. Jayenkai has plans to add games with each release, and this first release includes 6 games:
- Light Cycles
Like other Jayenkai games, these have a familiar retro look but a little different. They felt to me compact without being cramped, which is a good thing, I think. The games all seem complete and playable, including difficultly levels. The games include sounds, though no background music.
I’m not a fan of these arcade games because I’ve already played them enough. But these are pretty well done, although I think sometimes, objects move a little too fast. Nonetheless, this is a nice start to a game collection. If you’re looking for a good arcade collection, this is one worth downloading and keeping an eye on. I’m reminded of Puzzlemaniak, which improved significantly with each release.
Super Mario Galaxies–Another game from Cid2Mizard, this one doesn’t come close to cloning the gameplay of its Wii namesake. Instead of another Mario platformer, this SMG is actually a shooter.
You play Mario in a spacesuit which can shoot stars (only downward, not to the sides or upwards) to destroy the goombajets. Two bullets are indestructible, and, if you touch them, you die immediately. Contact with the goombajets decrease your health a llittle and eventually they can kill you. You get only one life. You can move Mario up, down and sideways across both screens.
In terms of presentation, the game looks very good, but it appears to use graphics and sound from other games, although I’m not positive.
The game is a work in progress, and Cid2Mizard plans to add other things. [I'd prefer that he'd finish a project, though, before starting another.] It has no pickups or boosts at this point, so the gameplay in this version is very simple but promising.
I find the graphics somewhat too large for the screens: the ground Mario can cover is not that extensive because of the size of the sprites. But I also thought the controls and movement speed was a little slow, given the speed of the goombajets in particular.
This game has limited features, but it is still something of a challenge in its current state. While I think a more complete version will be worth waiting for, this one could be downloaded for some fun.