PEGBRJE: Atomic Heist and Naughty Elves

To boldly go where none go. Usually.

Atomic Heist is a top-down roguelike action shooty made by Live Aliens, a solo dev based out of the United States. A fighter pilot tasked with a dangerous mission, players need to escape the Hyperion-Six station with the atomic core before the hostile alien race shuts the entire station down, locking the core within.

As the only remaining fighter pilot not of alien origin, players will be fighting for their lives to escape through multiple floors of the station to reach the exit with every floor being procedurally generated so there is no ‘optimal’ pathing. Since players are carrying the atomic core with them, their health bar will slowly shrink as the radiation level consumes the maximum health that can be acquired; there are stations to clean this, and thankfully health regenerates over time, but being wary of one’s health is crucial as the enemies become thicker and more deadly. Some enemies will drop anti-radiation pods to lower the effects as well, but relying on RNG is usually a surefire way to lose early, especially since it doesn’t take many hits for an enemy to rip through the hull of the player. To continue with the roguelike flair, players will also find upgrades dropped by enemies such as fire rate and strength that can augment a specific weapon, and consoles with ship upgrades to grab each run usually containing a trade off that negatively effects a different stat.

Each level doesn’t require players to destroy every enemy to leave, merely reach the hatch that exits the level; but this always carries the consequences of not acquiring better weaponry on the way. This is doubly important for Atomic Heist, as the weapons have effectiveness against specific enemies. Those that are ‘stronger’ against a bullet type will flash yellow when hit to indicate that this weapon won’t do as much damage so that players can make the necessary switch, but there’s a catch: players can only carry two bullet types. This forces players to make the tough decision of whether or not a bullet type will be more useful against certain enemies, or if the current type does the job well enough to not change. Once players leave a level everything left behind is gone, so making sure that the two weapons are useful in various situations while still being ‘niche’ is critical to go far.

Atomic Heist is definitely an intriguing title thanks to its blend of twin stick shooting and roguelikes, and with its focus on weapon effectiveness it makes each round almost like a mystery box of possibility. Will there be slug shells that can pierce so that I can get past that pesky ship, or will I only get fire rate upgrades and hope I don’t run out of ammo constantly? The possibilities are endless, especially considering that there is a daily run as well for everyone to participate in. If this style of gameplay suits your tastes, then give it a whirl.

Someone’s been naughty…

Naughty Elves — Christmas puzzle game is, well, a Christmas puzzle game made by gurkenlabs, an indie duo based out of Germany who are also making an open source Java engine and a bunch of different maps. For this little title, however, players are not making maps; they are Santa, who is fed up with the fact that some of his elves have decided to steal presents. So he’ll get them back with the power of the snow.

For some reason, Santa is unable to enter the buildings that the elves have locked themselves in, but it is no matter; Santa can still throw snowballs at them through these gaps. By charging up a throw, players will be able to hit the elves as they wander around, with each hit resulting in one present returned to Santa’s sleigh. The elves aren’t the brightest, so they won’t see Santa outside, but their erratic behaviours can make their walking patterns a bit hard to read if not paying attention to a specific individual. Plus, Santa isn’t the fastest so getting around for a proper vantage may result in there being no elves there anymore. On top of ensuring that the throws are good, some of the elves are a bit… larger than the others, making them less susceptible to snowballs unless they are distracted. Thankfully Santa brought candy canes that can distract whomever wanders past them and make any elf a one shot, but there are some downsides. First, any elf can pick them up, meaning that if the average elf grabs it then the intended target will wander by. Second, they are limited; Santa didn’t bring that many, so if they are all used then there’s a lot of snowballs that are going to be needed to take some of those larger fellows down.

Combine that with angsty gingerbread men and switches and you’ve got a Christmas puzzle game for all ages in Naught Elves. Sure, it takes a bit to get used to thanks to the wandering patterns, but once that is down nothing will stop you from helping Santa get those presents to their rightful owners. If you love Christmas and testing your aim and timing, this might be what you’re looking for.

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Just a Game Dev who decided to take on the monumental task of giving an overview of all 59 pages in the bundle for Racial Justice and Equality. We keep going.

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Jacob Vorstenbosch

Jacob Vorstenbosch

Just a Game Dev who decided to take on the monumental task of giving an overview of all 59 pages in the bundle for Racial Justice and Equality. We keep going.

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