PEGBRJE: Inkanians and StarFighters R&D HD

Temple diving feels different

Inkanians is a puzzle game made by Kronbits, a Spanish indie dev and asset creator with dozens of asset packs in various styles and kinds. For this game, however, players will be assuming the control of a tomb brick, one that must utilize its powers of movement to acquire the treasure.

In reality, players are entering the world of tomb sliding puzzles where the rock is controlled by our inputs to cleverly figure out how to acquire all of the gems without meeting an untimely end. If this sounds familiar, that’s because it is: players have control only over the inputted direction the block will move, but it will always travel the full distance until it hits something that can stop it. I got familiar with these puzzle styles thanks to Pokemon, but there are quite a few added obstacles that need to be taken into account. Some blocks upon being hit by the player block will automatically be destroyed, while others can be moved if hit from the direction they have arrows pointing. Some blocks even bounce players back to punish movements, especially if they get bounced into the skull blocks. These are one of two ways to die, blocks that reside within the tomb that when touched cause the player to violently explode. Avoiding them should be priority number one, as having to restart a level so close to completion is annoying to say the least. The other way to die, however, is by colliding player controlled blocks together as some levels involve two blocks instead of one. They are both controlled with the same inputs, leading to worrying about what instructions apply to both at the same time.

Successfully completing each level will continue players forwards, with only their ‘turns’ as the way of keeping score of how well one is doing. Restarting a level simply resets the number of turns back to how many were started with, so if there is a faster solution found right before winning it might be a good idea to press ‘r’ and start again. Wrapping it up is a monochromatic colour scheme set in a pixelated world, with portals and spooky possibilities in every level. It’s not lengthy, but anyone looking for something to distract themselves for an hour or so while solving puzzles will definitely want to look into Inkanians.

MISSILES 4 DAYS

StarFighter R&D HD is a spacefaring combo of arcade shmup and simulation made by Gord Games, an indie dev from Canada’s glorious (and only half-time zone) province of Newfoundland. Following the player’s sudden inauguration into the head of the R&D department of StarFighter Incorporated, it’s up to us to get our fighters back into top shape after slumping for so many years. How do we do this? With tests.

Players will be splitting their attention between two different sets of gameplay to focus on. As head of R&D, research and planning are required to build new new fighter ships for deployment, but due to economic hardships StarFighter is now a ‘has-been’ company. To rectify this, the ships will be sent out on test missions to gain Fed Creds to fund the research, while also gaining research points during the live testing sessions. These tests play as an infinite arcade shooter, with players avoiding bullets and ensuring every ship attacking is destroyed before it escapes past them and they lose. Somehow FedCreds have gotten loose and are falling towards the player as well, and ensuring that these are collected are imperative to funding the operation. The first iteration of ships players work with cannot even more vertically, so expect to not last very long before mishaps occur and players are sent straight back to the main screen.

It is this main screen, however, that comprises the entirety of player’s second form of gameplay: management simulation and research development. Players have an entire base to build on a secret asteroid (which, now that I’ve said, isn’t very secret) that houses the entire R&D division, which must be maintained by ensuring that there is enough power, food and employees to keep active. Those FedCreds are necessary to purchase and upgrade these buildings as well, so making sure to gather as many as possible is important. These buildings then unlock the great research trees, large arrays of possible features for the ships to upgrade them. These include, but are not limited to, ship body upgrades, different weapon types, destruction orbs, wing types, and even passive upgrades to enable the ability to move or shoot in different ways. This is where those research points are used to acquire any and all upgrades, scaling the more complicated the upgrades become. Now, all of these ship parts can be equipped at the ship menu, setting weapons to certain upgrades of the ship to give three sets of weapons to fire at the enemies. Of course, the better upgrades are what players are aiming for but to ensure the longest ‘run’ possible it is also important to focus on upgrades that work well with player playstyles. Some like to play fast and loose, others tanky and slow.

Finding your style and customizing the ship to your liking is the name of the game now that you control the entire R&D of StarFighter Inc. Being able to manage an entire base while upgrading ships and testing them out is way more satisfying than I was expecting, and coupling that with the great soundtrack creates just a fun experience to have. Now, unfortunately the soundtrack does get muffled out the more guns you acquire, so do keep that in mind (they loud). Regardless, if you are looking for some more depth to your arcade shooters and want to create ships for a few hours, then this is definitely a game worth looking in to.

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