'Tis the season to be jolly (so they say), but 'tis also the season to be incredibly busy with little time for reviewing, so here's an early Christmas delivery of stuff that we haven't had time to feature over the past couple of weeks.
The festive period always delivers a stocking bursting with new retro releases, and this year is no different with some exciting games, freebies, previews and bundles. So without further a-do, here's the news.
Super Puzzle Platformer Deluxe (PC)
Our original review of Andrew Morrish's Super Puzzle Platformer is still the most viewed post on this blog - and with it's gorgeous low resolution visuals and maddeningly addictive game-play it's easy to see why. A mash-up of Mr. Driller and arcade shoot'em up, Super Puzzle Platformer's design was pure genius and far too much fun to be wasted on a simple browser-based prototype, so myself, Simon from Pixel Prospector (and quite possibly many, many others) begged for a further enhanced version - and now several months later Andrew has announced a fully-fledged deluxe version is in the works. With multiplayer, new levels, new obstacles, unlockable characters and "lots of other shit", Super Puzzle Platformer Deluxe could well be the Super Meat Boy of 2012. Yeah, it looks that good..!
The Humble Indie Bundle 4 (PC/Mac/Linux)
...and talking of Super Meat Boy, if you haven't picked that up yet (whaaaat?!) then The Humble Indie Bundle 4 is an essential purchase. Pay what you want over the next 13 days for Jamestown, Bit.Trip Runner, Super Meat Boy, Shank and NightSky HD, and if you offer higher than the average price (currently just five and a half US Dollars) you'll get the epic Cave Story+ and Gratuitous Space Battles added for free. It is an insanely good offer and for a good cause, so don't miss out.
Kobo II (PC)
The much-loved cross-platform 80's Bosconian-style shmup Kobo Deluxe is receiving a sequel in the form of Kobo II, a downloadable tech-preview of which was recently announced over at the game's official homepage, Pixel Prospector and IndieDB. As a massive fan of the original (which in turn was actually an enhanced remake of the Unix-based xkobo) this has really made my Christmas, despite being a very early build and sadly lacking (for the moment) the chain-based destructible enemy space stations that made Kobo Deluxe so much fun to play.
The game has been given updated dual analogue controls and the final version promises a more sophisticated physics-based revision of Kobo Deluxe's classic arcade game-play, with multiplayer, new enemies, splash damage, multiple player ships, tonnes of weapons and quite possibly "lots of other shit" (deliberate misquote). Check it out and pre-order for just $3 now.
Johnny Platform Saves Christmas (PC/XBLIG)
It wouldn't be a Christmas update without at least one Yuletide 'em up, so please join me in raising a glass of mulled wine to Ishisoft for releasing the formally XBLIG exclusive Johnny Platform Saves Christmas as a free PC download. It's a clever little puzzle/platform hybrid with retro aesthetics, robots and Christmas hats and certainly worthy of your time.
Hyper Princess Pitch (PC)
Nothing quite says 'Merry Christmas' quite like a brick-throwing, train pile-driving Princess and a screen full of bloody explosions, making Daniel's Hyper Princess Pitch the perfect gift for the more sensitive loved ones in your life. This tribute to Midnight Synergy's DOS 'classic' Operation: Carnage (which MS have kindly made available for free download, DOSBox users) might look crude but it's massively enjoyable and probably the Christmas game of 2011. Deck the halls with blood and entrails...
Mayhem (Philips Videopac/Magnavox Odyssey2)
...and now for something retro. Revival Studios are back with another game for a system that I know very little about, Mayhem for the Philips Videopac and Magnavox Odyssey2 (what?). Available to buy on cartridge (but not for download) for 44 Euros (including shipping) from the trailer, Mayhem looks like a frantic little avoid 'em up with ultra cute low res sprites and high-speed action. Hopefully our very own Videopac/Odyssey2 expert Flemming Dupont will be ordering a copy in the near future and writing up his opinions of the game.
Protovision 4-Player Games Compilation (C64)
Our good friends (and kind sponsors) at Protovision have compiled their four four-player games and four-player adapter in a superb strictly-limited C64 bundle for forty pounds (should have been forty-four just for the sake of saying four an extra time). Including their classics Bomb Mania, Hockey Mania, Team Patrol, Tanks 3000, this is a great collection and well worth picking up (as long as you have three friends to play them with). Sadly there is no download option available, but Milo has assured me that they will send the disk image to any customers upon request. (I need to get myself a copy of this in the new year...)
Virtual Jag Update (PC/Mac/Linux)
The Atari Jaguar is a notoriously complex piece of hardware, to the point that only recently has emulation reached a level where it can actually play some of the more complex games - and more importantly, support homebrew - on modern day hardware. Virtual Jag has recently been kicked back into life and in the past few months has seen not one, but two updates and now fully supports the collection of games released by our Atari pals at D-Bug (*cough*) err, Reboot. So if you've got an up to date PC, download it and give their awesome Time Pilot-apeing Kobayashi Maru a blast.
Anyway, there's probably a whole lot more news we should have included but this will hopefully keep you going for a little while :)