🕹️ orbs and dice

Orbs, farms, strangers, knights, and some slicing and dicing! Oh my!

🕹️ orbs and dice

James is back with the second edition of Sandbox Victory. A ton of awesome and fun looking stuff this month. Be sure to check it out!

👾 PICO-verse

🔮 Orb of Aeternum

#PICO-8 #roguelike #platformer

More people need to know about the PICO-8, and so I'll be introducing a game from this platform each month. If you didn't know what it was already:

PICO-8 is a fantasy console for making, sharing and playing tiny games and other computer programs. It feels like a regular console, but runs on Windows / Mac / Linux. When you turn it on, the machine greets you with a commandline, a suite of cartridge creation tools, and an online cartridge browser called SPLORE.

This month we have a premium game (in that this one is a purchasable game compared to the many free, open-source games that exist on the PICO-8 forums) from one of the best and most experienced PICO-8ers in the business: Johan Peitz. Johan has created a bunch of free games from shooters to roguelikes, which you can find on his Itch.io page: https://johanpeitz.itch.io/, so take a look!

Onto Orb though: Orb is one of the rare(?) games that uses the mouse input abilities of PICO-8 as the main control. Think "Command and Conquer," "Cannon Fodder," or "Starcraft" as you select units and put them to work in building/expanding your base.

The game reminds me of Dwarf Fortress in that you have minions mining and exploring in a dark cave, but clearly not the same level of depth (or steep learning curve that Dwarf Fortress has!)

From the itch.io page:

Short and action packed sessions requiring new strategies every time
Mine your way through the randomly generated mountain
Build specialised rooms to upgrade your units and dungeon
Fight the never ending intruders
Crisp pixel art and sweet chiptune music

🆕 On the Shelves

🔫 Stray Shot

#shmup #arena #Punkcake

This one is a really interesting concept of an arena game like Smash TV where you are in the center of the screen and mobs come at you from all angles.

Monsters come from missed shots! Learn the monster's behaviours, shoot wisely and balance the difficulty to maximize scoring!

Yes, that is the unique point here. If you miss a shot, that bullet turns into a mob and comes at you...! So you control (to some degree) how many mobs spawn on screen. Miss a shot and that missed shot becomes a new mob. A really fast paced game with loads of juice (a term mentioned in Zero Stranger below).

This team of game designers really is incredible. This is the first of many games of their's that I hope to feature on Foofaraw. Every game they create is unique, and wonderfully creative. Subscribe to them on Patreon to get all of their games for a very very reasonable price.

🧂 Pepper Grinder

Pepper Grinder is an action-packed 2D adventure blending traditional platforming with an alternate drilling mode that allows you to dive in and out of the earth like a dolphin swims through water."

A Celeste-like, fast-paced platformer where the main character uses a drill to zip through the earth, just like the official description says!

Tight movement, fun characters, speedrun-able for days. Worth the price, I think.

🧑‍🌾 Rusty's Retirement


Just found out about this one (at the end of April). It runs on your desktop as a kind of background.

Grow crops. Produce biofuel. Automate with robots.

It seems like a work distraction to me, but it appears to have a "focus mode" to stop you from playing with it. And people are saying that it actually helps them focus or at least, stay at the PC.

It's actually very cute and as someone with ADHD who spends a lot of time studying/working from home, it's pleasant and unobtrusive enough to be a nice little dopamine hit between tasks.

🚕 Yellow Taxi Goes Vroom Vroom

#driving #platformer

Think "Crazy Taxi" meets "Sonic" meets "Mario 64."

I've only played the demo so far, but its a wild ride (pun intended) as you dash about collecting gears whilst being bombarded with sugar-sweet graphics and mouth-watering beats.

The graphics are reminiscent of the N64 era, and I agree with this Destructoid review:

Its retro 3D stylings and obnoxiously bright colors are appealing in a Katamari Damacy sort of way.

📡 On the Radar

📃 Picotron

Picotron is the new Fantasy Workstation, as opposed to the Fantasy Console "PICO-8" which is designed by the same developer.

PICO-8 is a wonderful (really, really wonderful!) tool for exploring game design. It is a self-contained platform featuring code, sound, graphics, and music (I'll do a feature on PICO-8 soon!). It also has a very lively, wholesome, knowledgeable community which helps each other develop games.

As of now, I'm not sure exactly who is the target audience of Picotron. At first glance, it has a much more robust visual (more colors for a start) and sound (a very capabale tracker for music creation) capabilities, so I'm guessing more creative types rather than game-devs in general? Or perhaps writers that want a distraction free writing place? I'm not sure.

The platform is currently in alpha testing, so there is a long way to go before a final release. At the moment, we can basically messa round with the operating system, making it look how we want, as well as make some music and sprites. For a deeper look at what is currently possible, check this excellent video from Lazy Devs.

I am quietly excited that this platform will be as popular and successful as PICO-8, but with less constraints as its predecessor.... who knows?

🌐 No Players Online

#PS1 #horror #game #retrogame

Horror "meta" game. Graphics are reminiscent of PS1-era games.

🎮 In Rotation

🎲 Slice and Dice

#roguelike #mobilegame #payonce #pixelart

It was recently released on mobile, so I've been playing it on iOS. Writing this blog post though, I was searching for a link and found that it was originally a desktop game.

It's essentially a rogue-like which uses dice as the attack mechanic.

You have a party of five, and each character has their own die. Roll all five dice and if the spell that is on the top appeals to you, keep it, if not, roll again (up to two times). Once all the dice have been accepted, you carry out the action assigned to each character. This can be an attack, or a block, gain mana, heal, etc.

Characters can also level up to new variants who have different spells available to them. You gain items as you progress which can be assigned to characters, filling empty slots, boosting damage or healing, and giving general bonuses to health and attack power.

If the above text didn't make it obvious enough, it's fair to say that there is a lot of love and effort that has gone into the design of this game. However, on my first run through I struggled to understand some of the mechanics and systems (there are a lot at first glance), so I failed hard. However, taking my time to understand the very well designed visual clues, having some "a ha!" moements, and figuring out the interaction between characters and various enemy attacks, I managed to clear the easy and medium modes.

The purchasing system is really well designed, too. You get a single "campaign" mode for free, and upon completing the 12 levels, you get a pop up which promotes you to buy the full game featuring a whole heap of extras: modes, characters, items, etc. In sum: A wonderful ‘try before you buy’ experience!

0️⃣ Zero Stranger

#shmup #pixelart

Instant reaction – OMfG this is just absolutely gorgeous. So much polish. So much juice. Seriously incredible that this is made by a two-person team. They have absolutely nailed the bullet-hell feel. They must have researched all of the famous #shmup games, took out what they liked, and just turned it up to 11.

I've sunk about 5 hours into it so far, here is what I've found.

  • There are two different ships to choose from. One has a very narrow, fast shot; the other has a wider shot. Both are fine and don't substantially effect the play style...
  • There are two modes available – "Vanilla" and "Green Orange." From what I can tell, the vanilla mode is easier and gives more bonuses. You are limited to 5 continues on this mode. The Green Orange mode is harder, and has a #roguelike mechanic where each time you hit game over, your ending score is used towards generating additional continues. This pic shows the starting situation, but as you run, you fill up the empty orbs with crystal-balls which are then continues you can use in subsequent runs.

OK, some cool stuff:

        • Weapons -- each level you complete you get the choice of a new weapon.
          • Level 1 -- side or rear weapon
          • Level 2 -- homing or charge weapon
          • Level 3 -- TURN INTO A MECHA!
        • Bonuses -- keep hitting enemies to rack up multiplier bonuses
        • Bosses -- LOADS of them.
        • Colors -- The baddies are all from "Green Orange" and the whole game is themed this way. Generally: green for background, orange for things that hurt you.
        • Music -- just wonderful. Go listen.
        • Graphics and Sound effects – Did I mention juice? 🤤

🤴 Arknights

#towerdefence #mobilegame #gachagame

I've only delved into this a lil bit, so nothing to major to talk about here. I should also mention that this is by no means a new game. I just hadn't gotten around to trying it out until now.

It's a tower defence game (think: Bloons, Plants vs Zombies, Kingdom Rush) mixed with a gacha game that has a story (something that I generally avoid in games tbh, but that's for another month). Loads of characters to unlock although I'm generally not a fan of that type of aesthetic in games.

Loads of missions. Strategy seems to be a decent part of the game, but I haven't gotten that far in yet. You have different types of units (as you do with most tower defence games) and where you place them on the battle field is important. For example, you want defenders in front of ranged characters, and healers facing both those offensive units.