PEGBRJE: Come Back: Chapter 1 and Dimension Drive

Look at that little froggy.

Come Back: Chapter 1 is a point and click episodic narrative by Team NoLan, an indie team based out of France. Within, players are an unknown individual awaking on a beach, unsure of where they are and how they got there. There is, however, a note; hopefully this can at least give some idea of what is going on.

In this title, players locate puzzles and tools through the tried-and-true method of clicking on them. There are different areas to explore, each with their own puzzle that requires an item to solve, an outside influence from another area or a piece of crucial information possibly hidden elsewhere. The puzzles aren’t meant to be mind-bending as far as I can tell, and are more focused on the player’s ability to understand what item/information is most appropriate to solving a certain situation. Every solution can open a new one with whatever is found, and will help to unravel the story via small notes left hidden throughout. These notes are the only way to uncover the plot of the title while containing clues about different puzzles they may come across. Some may give codes, others hints of where to go next or what the item found may do. All while talking consistently about the author’s ‘love’ whom we know little about.

Come Back: Chapter 1 is very short, as can be the case with an episodic medium, clocking in only about 10–20 minutes depending on the player. It’s aesthetic is easily my favourite part, with the piano playing different medleys as the green and white art loads into place. It’s not the happiest of tales, and leaves on a mildcliffhanger; so if you are looking for a short adventure to explore in the hopes of a Chapter 2 being released someday, this might be the tale for you.

Time to dimension the dice. No? Nevermind…

Dimension Drive is a space arcade shoot-em-up made by 2Awesomestudio, an indie studio with a large repertoire of different titles. In this one specifically, players follow Jack as she pilots the Manticore, a dimension hopping ship, in an attempt to stop a dimension hopping empire from taking over the entire galaxy.

Upon first glance, Dimension Drive looks relatively similar to most arcade shoot-em-ups with a co-operative feature. Players control a ship that moves in 4 directions, utilizing the energy they have to fire lasers at the enemies as they swarm forwards and fire their own weaponry. Destroying enemy ships leaves green energy drops to consume, allowing for players to gain back energy upon kills and rewarding restrained firepower. There are checkpoints to reach to save one’s progress, a combo meter that is reset upon taking damage and a final bossfight at the end to test the skills gained along the way. So why does the ‘co-op’ screen still there when I boot up single player?

Well let ask a better question: who’s ready to play a co-op game solo?

Dimension Drive’s main draw is its ingenious usage of ‘dimension hopping’, in which the screen is permanently divided in two with each half representing the other dimension. As players move on one half, so does their position in the other dimension, indicated by a magenta dot. When players wish, they can switch to the other dimension at the press of a button, allowing for a dimension hop to destroy the enemies who are operating in both simultaneously. The kicker is that energy is split between both dimensions, and whatever half the player isn’t in will passively recuperate the energy lost. This creates the effect of playing two different versions of the same game, as players need not only focus on their current dimension, but where they will warp to when they hop over. Focusing on a single dimension can lead to dangerous side effects as players try to be as stingy as possible to retain energy while the second dimension is casually full. Power ups are also found in either or dimension, sometimes in inaccessible areas of the map that can be hopped to by being in their respective location on the other map. It’s truly genius, splitting up the attention of the player in such a way that forces them to be even more mindful of their surroundings and the surroundings of the other region at the same time. I always felt like I was being torn apart as I would look over at all the enemies that weren’t being destroyed, yet knew that if I switched sides, I’d get caught off guard and soak a hit, losing a piece of my shield and destroying the combo I had worked so hard to achieve. It’s a game of balancing risks, between hopping over to maximize score, or only warping when absolutely necessary.

Add in a rocking soundtrack, stunning visuals and a simple upgrade system to allow for some customization, and Dimension Drive truly delivers something special. I wasn’t expecting to enjoy the switching mechanic as much as I did, for I feared that I would be too stressed out by double the amount of bullets. Thankfully, it never came to that as the only issue I would come across would be understanding the dual-dimension boss fights and forgetting which button reversed the Manticore. If you are wanting a shoot-em-up that pushes the boundaries and creates a new way of thinking about the genre, then I’d encourage grabbing this one and trying it for yourself.

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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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