By Mento 0 Comments
|01/12/12 - Ballistic||05/12/12 - Mutant Mudds||09/12/12 - Slydris|
|02/12/12 - Band of Bugs||06/12/12 - Oniken||10/12/12 - Soulcaster|
|03/12/12 - Escape Goat||07/12/12 - Outpost Kaloki||11/12/12 - Squids|
|04/12/12 - MiniFlake||08/12/12 - Reprisal||12/12/12 - UnEpic|
December the Second
The source: The Ninja Lightning Pack (Indie Royale Bundle #10)
The pre-amble: NinjaBee's a prolific creator of Indie games. If you've been buying games off XBLA since the service began, it's likely you've played one, if only for a few minutes. The Ninja Lightning Pack, one of the many developer-focused Royale bundles, provided a batch of their more well-known games - A Kingdom for Keflings, Cloning Clyde, Ancients of Ooga - as well as this one, Band of Bugs.
The playthrough: Band of Bugs is a straightforward enough strategy RPG, but with insects. So less Fire Emblem than Fire Entomology (or Final Fantasy Tacticks, if you'd prefer). Though it seems less in-depth than those games, it does still retain FFT's rules for causing more damage by flanking or by attacking from higher ground, which is more than can be said for Final Fantasy Tactics Advance at the very least.
It all seems fairly perfunctory and charming enough in small doses, much like NinjaBee's other games in fact. However, I'm not sure the NinjaBee model - producing games that provide an iOS-bait compact experience of much grander (and much more expensive) console and PC equivalents - is still the archetype of what we interpret the Indie game to be, considering the way that market has grown and expanded over the years since Steam and XBLA first started out in the middle of the last decade. It's not terrible, but it has this unfulfilling banality to it which won't keep one satisfied like a fully-fledged Disgaea or Fire Emblem game. Its A Bug's Life (or maybe Antz if I'm being unkind) story of a colony in peril doesn't seem particularly riveting either and so far characters just kind of appear, announce their role in combat in a loose tutorial fashion and let you get on with it. I'd say if you wanted a decent strategy RPG with playable bugs, try Dark Sun.
In all fairness, it could well be a similar case as the intro of the first GBA Fire Emblem - the first part of that game has you follow Lyn through a series of deliberately simple tutorial battles without much in the way of deeper characterization or anything of that nature because the real game is waiting to begin after you have delivered Lyn to where she needs to be and the player joins the army of one of the other two protagonists. As is the case there, it may well be worth sticking around to see if it gets any better once it's done explaining how everything works. Hell, I played Assassin's Creed III to the end, so torporific introductions won't scare me off.
The verdict: I'll stick with it. It was pleasant enough, ant anything this off-beat ultimately moth bee worthwhile. I think something just broke inside me.