Wednesday 31 December 2014

Welcome to the Future!

2015 already? Wow. I was watching Back to the Future Part II yesterday, and if Hollywood is to be believed, we're less than one year away from consumer hoverboards, flying cars and cyberpunk costumes being mainstream fashion - so that's something to look forward to at least. I remember watching that movie at the cinema as a kid and thinking 2015 was so far away, and yet here we are. I also remember spending many a weekend in 1989 cycling over to a friends house to play on his C64 and I never would have imagined that now, 26 years later, people would still be messing around with these ancient machines - nor that I'd be involved releasing new games for them.

2014 was a pretty quiet year on the RGCD cartridge release front, with only 3 games published (Darkness, Phase Out and Powerglove), mainly due to real life issues such as moving house/office, redecorating, loads of DIY and other not-so-fun stuff. Of course, 2014 also saw the release of r0x (Extended Play) - our first in-house developed PC game since 2010 - as well as the founding of RGCD.DEV Ltd by myself and Jamie Howard. Sadly, the news/reviews side of RGCD has suffered as a consequence, and I think pretty much all our writers have jumped ship (although I'll try to find time to write a few things myself each month going forward).

Monday 8 December 2014

RGCD C64 Cartridge Development Competition 2014

Ok, so there was a bit of a delay due to real life issues, but I'm super proud to announce that the fourth RGCD C64 Cartridge Development Competition concluded at midnight on the 7th of December with a whopping 17 new games for the C64!

Featuring the usual mix of conversions, original concepts and genre favourites, the beginning of December saw a frenzy of activity in the C64 scene thanks to the hard work the entrants put into coding their competition games over the past few months. I've put together a brief introduction to each submitted competition entry below, listed alphabetically with links to their original database pages. Fire up your C64 or emulator and enjoy!

Announced and submitted just days prior to the competition deadline, Mark Hindsbo's 16KB, three-stage retro shmup more than makes up for the epic load time and over-familiar game design with pure fun and smooth gameplay. Running at a super-smooth 60FPS and featuring gorgeous artwork from André 'Redcrab' Högbom, Avaiator Arcade's deadly aiming enemies and ambush/boss battles are both challenging and satisfying to beat. There's even an option to turn on autofire and remap the smart-bomb to the fire button (which is automatically selected for GS users!) In all, a fantastic scene debut!

Sunday 19 October 2014

C64 16KB Cartridge Game Development Competition - Status Update #2

I'm currently at Sunspot (a shadow party for TRSAC-014), watching demo competition entries on the main screen and thought it was about time I typed up a new status update for RGCD's own 16KB C64 compo - so here it is! But before jumping straight into the entry write-ups, here's a quick word from one of our sponsors...

Remember the excellent C64 Visual Commpendium by Sam Dyer? Well, Sam has kindly offered to provide the top three winning entrants with free copies of his book! Oh, and in case you weren't aware, Sam is currently running another Kickstarter for a Commodore Amiga book with some ace rewards, so make sure you check that out!

If you missed out on the C64 volume, you can pick it up over at for £24.99. Ok, now on to the entries!

Competition Entry #3: P0 Snake
Developer: Antonio Savona
Status: In Progress

Antonio wrote to me today explaining that since we asked for help with the P0 Snake soundtrack he was "overwhelmed with proposals" He went on, stating that "the c64 community is just unbelievable! I got a great SID tune in the end. Too good for my game, but I'll use it anyway!" Good news then :)

Aside from that, Antonio is pretty confident that the game will be completed by the deadline, with 24 levels already complete and only polish and wrestling with compression to get the sampled speech to fit within 16KB! Good luck :)

Saturday 18 October 2014

Tsunami Cruiser (Android/Ouya/PC)

[This review was originally written by J. Monkman for, and has been reposted here with the editor's permission].

Released for Windows yesterday (and Android and Ouya last week), Boris Van Schooten's wavy-navy, Geometry-Wars-at-sea twin-stick shooter Tsunami Cruiser has come on a long way since the early prototype developed for Ludum Dare 29. With tighter controls, super-clean redesigned vector graphics and a new speaker-buzzing, arcadestep soundtrack from BitBurner, blasting away marauding sea critters and alien saucers whilst bouncing about on an increasingly choppy ocean has never been so much fun!

Friday 26 September 2014

Iron Fisticle (PC)

With a title like Iron Fisticle, one might suggest this is something they only do in Germany, or perhaps an obscure entry on Urban Dictionary. No, friends, you won't be hitting up the missus (or the mister) for an 'iron fisticle' any time soon. Unless you make it up. Rather, Iron Fisticle is the name of a fantastic new dual-stick shooter that harks back to the old days of quarter-chompers Gauntlet and Smash TV, developed by Confused Pelican Games (Amiga shareware-scene hero) and Tikipod (Rock Boshers DX, Aqua Kitty and of course r0x EP).

Shovel Knight (PC/Mac/Wii U/3DS)

I normally lead into these reviews by setting the theme or laying the foundation for a punchline, but this time this time I'll cut the (now traditional) waffle I'm famous for by simply saying that Yacht Club Games' Kickstarter-hit Shovel Knight is an absolute work of art. It's not the kind of indie game that wants to be famous for its 'message' or 'deepness of expression', it's instead the kind that polishes an established set of formulas and delivers a diamond-solid package.

Boson X (PC/Linux/Mac/Android/iOS)

Being a physicist never looked so exhausting. Or so death defying. Mu and Heyo's Boson X is a runny, jumpy platformer of the breed that has been made world-famous by games like the viral leviathan that is Temple Run, and like all of its brethren a spiritual successor to the modern classic Canabalt.

This particular endless runner takes a graphical style begging to be described as 'Super Hexagon meets Another World' and sees the player in charge of a miniature scientist taking a really hands-on interest in particle-colliders. Simplicity and ramping difficulty are key players in this game, which eschews the bells, whistles and fripperies of bonuses and rewards in an appropriately scientific just the facts sort of way. This is gameplay pared down to a pure and simple form; Occam’s Razor taken to the run and jump genre.

Duck Game (Ouya)

[This review was originally written by J. Monkman for, and has been reposted here with the editor's permission].

Remember back when everyone used to call the Ouya a $99 TowerFall box? Well, it's time to unofficially rebrand the indie-friendly console that everyone loves to hate, because a new challenger for the local-multiplayer throne has entered the arena and powerslammed the competition into the floor. Matt Thorson's magnum opus might match it blow-for-blow in the ring when it comes to fast-paced player vs player combat, but with a wonderfully unbalanced array of ridiculous weaponry, devious level design and twisted humour, Landon "SuperJoeBob" Podbielski's Duck Game ultimately delivers a K.O. every round. So, if you have both (a) friends and (b) a $99 Duck Game box gathering dust in the corner/on a shelf/under the bed, dig it out and get ready to fall in love with local multiplayer all over again.

Dynablaster Revenge (PC/Linux)

[This review was originally written by J. Monkman for, and has been reposted here with the editor's permission].

When it comes to party games, few can top Dynablaster (or Bomberman, depending where in the world you are) - so it's no surprise that Titan and Haujobb took first place in the game development compo at the Revision demoparty with Dynablaster Revenge. What is surprising however, is that hardly anyone outside the scene has yet taken notice of this fantastic tribute to Hudsonsoft's incendiary magnum opus. When I tested the game on Titan's server earlier this evening there were no other players other than myself and a few friends I'd hooked up with, but hopefully that's an issue we can resolve following this write up.

Saturday 13 September 2014

Powerglove Available! (PC/Linux/Mac/Commodore 64)

Initially released as an entry in the RGCD 2013 RGCD 16K C64 Game Development Competition (where it placed 3rd out of 15 entries), Lazycow's acclaimed 8-bit run 'n' gunner Powerglove is finally available to buy on Commodore 64 cartridge! This specially enhanced post-compo version features a revised five level map complete with Powerboots and Energy Doors, faster room-change transitions, slicker player controls, a map overview display, bug fixes, game balance tweaks and a (much-requested) shot sound effect!

But that's not all... In addition to all this awesomeness, over the past few months Matthias has also ported the game over to Windows, Linux and Mac OSX, making Powerglove the first game to be simultaneously launched on the C64 and modern-day systems since, well, ever! Exclusive to, this port of the game is completely faithful to the Commodore 64 original (despite featuring some minor enhancements such as parallax scrolling and optional pimped spritework). And the best part is that it's completely free!

If you enjoy playing Powerglove on your modern-day PC and have a Commodore 64, or maybe you're already familiar with the already-excellent competition build, you'd be a fool not to grab a physical copy of this all-new-and improved C64 version. Similar to last year's Super Bread Box, Powerglove is offered in multiple formats, coming either as a downloadable .CRT image for emulators or hardware such as the Ultimate 1541-II, on a real, physical cartridge complete with a 12-page printed manual and a bunch of ultra-cute vinyl stickers (available with standard cardboard packaging or a deluxe plastic case, the latter also including a double-sided A3 poster/map print). There's even an A2/A3 poster set bundled together with the .CRT download.

For prices and further information, head on over to our online store and order your copy today!

The Dungeoning (PC/Linux/Mac)

Roguelikes are the hot thing these days, so much so now that as even a die-hard, long term fan for the genre, I'm beginning to roll my eyes when I see the term being thrown around. Especially when it's used loosely - "contains roguelike elements" (as in, not a roguelike) or some such. Don't think I'm a purist, but there's no doubt that these days it's being slapped on decidedly non-roguelike games in an effort to cash in on the genre's newfound popularity. Thankfully, The Dungeoning is not one of those titles.

Continue?9876543210 (PC/Linux/Mac)

Indie gaming has a reputation of being deliberately opposing the the ideals of current mainstream gaming, and to some measure this is true. Some choose to subvert the 'norm' deliberately, choosing to single themselves out believing it to increase their weight in their own shallow end of the fish bowl. However, some have no agenda other than the simple need to express themselves in what amounts to a fleeting burst of human experience that we all share, perhaps an attempt to truly connect - if even just for a second - with another soul.

Ninjajar! (ZX Spectrum)

Once again it's time to give the old Speccy a dusting off and inject a fresh infusion of life into the tape deck courtesy of the ever-prolific Mojon Twins! Stalwarts of the ZX Spectrum scene, the Mojon's output over the years has varied in quality from great to not-so-great, but their latest release Ninjajar! has undoubtedly set a new benchmark for the much-loved 8-bit home computer.

Janosik (ZX Spectrum)

Host to many legendary puzzlers, adventure games and cracking arcade remakes both new and old, the humble ZX Spectrum continues to surprise its loyal followers even today. However with a software library of over 25,000 titles and growing, the old 8-bit has its fair share of lame ducks. Janosik, seemingly an unofficial Spectrum port of an early 90's game for the Atari XL, sadly falls into this latter category.

Tuesday 19 August 2014

r0x (Extended Play) Post-Mortem

Well, here we are, just shy of two weeks after launching r0x EP onto the unsuspecting public, so I figured that it would be a good time to type up a brief post-mortem about how the game has performed out there in the big wide world. To be honest, I might have to revisit this at some point to add more info, or at least write a follow-up, but for now this will do. Grab a coffee/tea/beer and let's get down and dirty with the numbers!

Monday 11 August 2014

C64 16KB Cartridge Game Development Competition - Status Update #1

Whoops. Our 16KB C64 game competition has been live for a few months now, and here I am in August typing up the first update. Contrary to what you might think from the absence of posts, cart-compo veterans and newcomers have been smashing away on their keyboards to produce another batch of ace 16KB games in time for the winter deadline. So, without further delay, let's take a look at what they've been working on.

Competition Entry #1: Tiger Claw
Developer: Matthias Bock & Saul Cross
Status: In Progress

Oh yeah! Leave your laser-firing powerglove at home folks, because it's beat-em-up time! Ahem. Sorry, but I have to confess I am pretty hyped about someone finally making a new platform brawler for the C64. And look at those cute enemy sprites! I just want to smash them!

To be perfectly honest, I have no idea who the player is supposed to be in the above shot, nor have I received any back story info, but with Matthias at the helm I am sure that it'll be a super-fun little game. I suspect you play as the Bruce Lee type guy, but damn I have my fingers crossed you are the mean-looking Ninja. I like Ninjas.

Looking forward to seeing/hearing more!

Thursday 7 August 2014

r0x (Extended Play) Available! (PC/Ouya)

Those of you who follow RGCD's activities on Twitter and Facebook may recall that Jamie Howard, Dugan Jackson, Ian Ford and I released a cute 1-4 player shmup/avoid 'em up at this year's Sundown demo party in June. A sequel-of-sorts to r0x, a game developed by RGCD and NoExtra for the Atari STE back in 2009, r0x (Extended Play) was developed initially for the Android-based Ouya console - and here we are, just over a month later with a final(!) version for both Ouya/Android and PC (Windows).

More avoid-em-up than traditional shmup, r0x EP is a simple arcade game where ammo is scarce and you are rewarded generously for taking risks and flying dangerously. Graze rocks, bullets and enemies to recharge your cannon and thrust at breakneck speed through the deadly meteor storm to rack up an epic score!

Developed over the course of two-and-a-bit months by a core two-man team, r0x EP improves on the original r0x game by introducing a wide range of Proximan renegade scum to battle, nine objective based 2-4 player vs modes and brutal zero-g cosmonaut wrestling!

r0x EP features:

  • Thrusting!
  • Grinding!
  • Two single player modes with separate high score tables, and nine local multiplayer modes!
  • Achievements system and player statistics!
  • Algorithmic level generation!
  • Seven track user-selectable OST composed entirely on an Amiga 1200 by demoscene musician h0ffman!
  • Awesome artwork by Tikipod and Vierbit!
  • Xbox 360 controller support!

Although originally designed as an Ouya title, it's worth noting that r0x EP also runs on similar spec Android devices, but requires a controller to play. The Windows version supports keyboard controls in addition to Xbox 360 joypads.

r0x EP is available for FREE over at, but if you can afford to support us by throwing us some digital loose change then we'll be incredibly grateful.

If you enjoy the game, please give us a thumbs up on Steam Greenlight! If successfully greenlit, we'll release Mac and Linux builds in addition to making further enhancements to the game.

Oh, and I should probably mention here that we're working on a collectors edition physical release of the game too, limited to 100 numbered copies. There'll be more news on that in the future, but for now get out there and blast some Proximan scum!

Sunday 27 July 2014

Darkness Cartridge Available! (Commodore 64)

Achim Volkers, Trevor 'Smila' Storey and & Sascha 'Linus' Zeidler, the team that brought you 2013's The Vice Squad, have joined forces once again and have produced the stunning arcade adventure Darkness for the C64. Featuring a huge map comprising of 100 screens to explore, Darkness takes the character of Adventurer Stan on a perilous journey through a dense tropical jungle, hazardous mountains and ancient temples as he battles to rescue his beloved Megan!

An epic 8-Bit arcade adventure with stunning graphics and atmospheric audio, Darkness is a modern day C64 classic. Explore lush locations, uncover and collect power-ups, exterminate savage wildlife, duel with otherworldly denizens and take on the mighty Dark One himself at the climax of your quest!

Another collaborative project between Psytronik Software and RGCD, this specially presented cartridge version of the game is strictly limited to 100 copies (similar to the Ultimate cassette and disk versions sold by Psytronik). These won't last long so grab your copy from our online store today!

Darkness has been tested on both PAL and NTSC machines, and works on the C64, C128 and C64GS (there is no keyboard input required to play). Although it runs on NTSC hardware, it does play fractionally faster and will be harder as a direct result of this. As such, the game is labelled as NTSC compatible, but designed for PAL systems.

Featuring box and poster artwork by Trevor Storey, the 64KB PCB is housed in a classic black cartridge shell and the game comes complete with a double-sided poster/map print, a gameplay booklet, soundtrack CD (with bonus tracks) and a Darkness keyring.

Darkness is presented in a modified plastic Universal Game Case complete with custom made foam insert (as with the rest of our deluxe range), specially packaged within a old-style black box featuring full colour front and rear prints. The map is packaged rolled, but there is a polythene zip-lock back within the box so you can either stick it up on your wall or fold it and keep it safe within the box.

The cartridge version of Darkness is priced at £39, and shipping is £5 for UK/Europe and £7 for the rest of the world. A digital version of the game will also be sent out to all customers following receipt of payment.

Please note that Pystronik Software are also selling Darkness in various formats (disk, cassette and download) via their Binary Zone Retro Store.

Tuesday 29 April 2014

C64 16KB Cartridge Game Development Competition!

The fourth RGCD C64 16KB cartridge game development competition concluded on the 7th of December at midnight with 16 new games (and one cartridge re-release) for the C64.

BulletWaltz (Ouya)

By now I think most people will know I am a big fan of simple concept games, So when James told me to check out Rocky Hong's BulletWaltz late one Tuesday evening I immediately added it to my console via Ouya's handy 'send to console' feature on their web site. I got myself a few hours shut eye and fired it up first thing the next day.

...I really am glad I got some sleep first.

Antichromatic (Ouya)

In these golden days of independent gaming we have many ways of getting our fix of self flagellation - it's almost a hallmark of indie games in general to be harder than mere mortals can comprehend. On some occasions they cross the line a little too much and make us question if the game is to blame for our unending torture or does it come from a dark, primal place within us that begs for punishment that forces us to persevere?

My first play-through of Antichromatic was going at a fair pace initially, I had beaten a good 80% of the game with only a handful of lives lost. The scar tissue on my thumbs from Super Meat Boy & N+ went a long way to prepare me for the punishment I was now enduring but all my prior 'hardcore indie badges of honor' went flying out my window thanks to one particular room.

That one evil room. An unrelenting, hate powered, and utterly detestable pit of despair just 3 rooms from the end...

Friday 25 April 2014

Play Blackpool Indies (Part Two)

Following on from my previous article, here's an update on the indies showcasing their games at Play Blackpool next weekend. There is still space available in the main expo hall (tables with power costing between £150-£250 each), so drop me a line if it sounds like something you'd be interested in :)

TL;DR? The list of indie exhibitors now consists of Megadev, Ludophobia, Retroburn, Pixel Trip Studios, Ben Bradley, Cake Collective, Force of Habit, Clockwork Cuckoo, Psychotic Software, Boneloaf, Sinister Soft, Adam Nasralla and Rumpus Animation.

Tuesday 22 April 2014

Psyboarfunk / The Game Is Apaw! Poster Set Available!

The first of a planned series of posters from a variety of C64 artists, RGCD present two stunning limited edition A2 prints of Ilija "iLKke" Melentijević's recent artwork; Psyboarfunk and The Game Is Apaw!

Originally released in an unfinished state at the Syntax 2013 demoparty in Melborne (where it achieved 2nd place in the Mixed Graphics compo), Psyboarfunk is a C64 multicolour rework of an old four-colour piece by Ilija. The final version used here was completed a week after the party.

The Game Is Apaw! was Ilija's entry in the 2013 Plain PETSCII Graphics Competition held over at CSDB, where it achieved 5th place out of over 100 submissions. The Game Is Apaw! was composed entirely using the standard CBM ASCII character set, and is based on an 8-colour cat avatar he pixelled back in 2011.

This set includes both A2 posters (420mm x 594mm in size), created from screen captures then optimised and converted into CMYK format by Steve Day. The posters are numbered individually on the reverse side and are sent rolled together in a reinforced poster tube. Only 100 sets will ever be available for sale.

The Psyboarfunk and The Game Is Apaw! set is available now from our online store, priced at £15. Shipping is £5 for UK (because of the crazy parcel-size rules), £4 to mainland Europe and £5 for the rest of the world.

Rubble 'N' Strafe (PC/Android/Ouya)

[This review was originally written by J. Monkman for, and has been reposted here with the editors' permission].

Based on an ancient Amstrad CPC 'classic', Rubble 'N' Strafe from one-man studio Far From Sleep is a near-perfect example of rose-tinted nostalgia done right. An endless flier/shmup hybrid (yet refreshingly NOT a Flappy Bird clone), RNS clearly draws its inspiration from Durell's Harrier Attack, bringing the 8-bit gameplay up to date by adding the unpredictability of procedural generation and some heavy duty explosive action to the mix. Oh, and the crashes are awesome, almost to the point where you'll want to nose dive into the enemy troops to see how much destruction is caused by your hopeless plane as the wreckage tumbles through watch-towers, skyscrapers and ... flocks of incendiary sheep.

Monday 21 April 2014

FTL: Advanced Edition (PC/Mac/iOS/Linux)

We already reviewed the incredible FTL (Faster Than Light) a while ago so there is no point in waffling on, safe to say it was incredibly well received and if you don't own it already then go and see the ships medic. Immediately.

FTL: Advanced Edition is an expansion to the original release with new technologies, story elements and music. To sum it up so simply does the game a huge disservice. Subset have given the content to their existing customers for no additional charge (take note EA), in fact if you have Steam installed and you have this game in your list it has most likely already updated to this version (take note EA). Should you have purchased this game elsewhere simply download the latest version from your account page, and well... it's not rocket science.

Aqua Kitty: Milk Mine Defender (PC)

It's fair to say that if you put something cat-centric on the internet people are going to go absolutely nuts for it. Combining the notoriously arrogant yet loveable pets with the gameplay of Defender makes for a game that I'm surprised hasn't already taken over half the planet and made us its slaves.

Aqua Kitty: Milk Mine Defender is shockingly cute. Throwing all "man's man" tendencies to one side I just want to fuss its fur ALL DAY LONG. Tiny little kitties underwater mining milk while a kitty submarine fighter-craft zips overhead flying topcover and blowing the shit out of robotic fish submarines? It's up there with unicorns puking rainbows over each other in the "d'awww" stakes.

Sunday 20 April 2014

RGCD Easter Eggs: Hidden Games, Screens and Glitches

Happy Easter! Today not only have we announced the launch of a new game, but we're also giving away the secrets to activating the many Easter Eggs we've hidden on our cartridges. Here at RGCD we love hiding stuff in the last few remaining bytes of ROM space at the end of a game release, so expect more of these to come in the future. Previously only known by a select few and never officially published before, here is a full list of them all!

Saturday 19 April 2014

Phase Out Cartridge Available! (Commodore 64)

"For countless aeons you've waited in exile beyond the limits of the universe, but now your time for revenge is at hand. In your possession are the ancient stones of the Eternal Ones - and with them the power to overthrow the Gods and eradicate all of creation!

50 Phase-Out sequences are all that stand between you and the end of the universe, your one and only chance to undo all the work of your ethereal oppressors and to rebuild the Cosmos to your own design..."

Developed by Ernst Neubeck and Simon Quernhorst, Phase Out is a game that will put your puzzle-solving skills to the ultimate test. Play the role of a vengeful banished deity and bring an end to the universe by completing the 50 ancient stone challenges of the Eternal Ones. Fail and you'll remain in exile for ever, succeed and unlimited power will be yours!

Limited to 50 individually numbered cartridges (each box bearing an RGCD COA sticker), these won't last long so grab your copy from our online store today!

Friday 4 April 2014

End of Line for Unlimited Edition?

This past year RGCD was involved in two of the highest profile C64 game launches for over a decade (Super Bread Box and Bomberland). We've continued to build up an awesome back catalogue of releases, including new titles for the PC, Jaguar and AmigaOS.

Yet this is also the second year in a row that RGCD has made a net loss, despite the fact that 2013-14 saw us selling more units than ever before. Admittedly, compared to 2012-13 the loss was only marginal, but still - a loss is a loss, no matter how small.

So what went wrong? Well, the simple answer is this: dead stock.

Tuesday 1 April 2014

Commodore 64: A Visual Compendium (Micro Hexagon Exclusive!)

I don't normally get enthusiastic about Kickstarters, but when Sam "MrSID" Dyer dropped me a line asking if RGCD would like to be involved in the production of his C64 coffee table book, I was hyped. Not only was this an opportunity to be involved in a book about my favourite 8-bit computer, but it also helped solve an internal dilemma here at RGCD towers – to release, or not to release a limited cartridge version of Micro Hexagon.

You see, following the announcement of the competition results Paul Koller emailed me saying that there was no way he could enhance Micro Hexagon any further. There was no CPU time left at all, no possibility of additional wall patterns and the only feasible improvement would have been additional in-game music and sampled speech before and after each play – neither of which would have elevated the game enough to warrant the price-tag of a more expensive 64KB cartridge. So, Micro Hexagon will only ever exist in its 16KB form - and we were both on the fence regarding whether or not people would buy it on cartridge, despite coming second place in the 2013 RGCD compo.

Saturday 29 March 2014

Ninja Twins: Going to Zedeaks (ZX Spectrum)

[This review was originally written by J. Monkman for, and has been reposted here with the editors' permission].

Genuine 8-Bit conversions or remakes of modern indie releases are always fun, but even with the best-known examples of backwards-ported games there are always design sacrifices that have to be made due to the limited target hardware. For this reason an indie game running on a retro platform that actually improves on the original is a real rarity - yet that's arguably what the team behind Ninja Twins: Going to Zedeaks have seemingly achieved with their unofficial ZX Spectrum tribute/clone/sequel of KronBits 2013 freeware puzzler.

Friday 28 March 2014

Play Blackpool Indies (Part One)

If you're a UK-based indie developer, then the chances are that you've received an email from me in the past few months, inviting you to exhibit your work at Play Blackpool on May 3-4th (TL:DR? Low cost table rates! £150-250 a pop!). If you've not heard from me, my mail is probably tucked away in a spam folder, or perhaps something terrible happened like I put an underscore instead of a hyphen during my 'email crunch' sessions - either way, if its something you'd be interested in, drop me a line :)

But hey, I'm jumping ahead here. This story begins at GameCity 2013 after a drunken 'C64 versus Spectrum' curry night (where I met and chatted with Ed 'Proteus' Key by all accounts - and totally failed to recognise who he was). After gorging on curry and watching in horror as the C64 lost the debate, I ended up drinking with Andy and old-school RGCD-discmag contributor Gordon of Replay Events in some random drinking establishment with particularly dreadful karaoke. We discussed all things indie and retro, and when the topic came up regarding attracting indies to their own events (Play Blackpool in particular) I enthusiastically offered to volunteer for them as their 'indie-liaison' and to help nurture and develop their indie profile.

Sunday 23 March 2014

Protocol (PC)

[This review was originally written by J. Monkman for, and has been reposted here with the editors' permission].

You've got to hand it to Deviever/Pixel Eyes for organising the Cyberpunk Jam earlier this month. With a single rule stating 'must be cyberpunk related', backed up by an illustration by Filipe Andrade for reference, the resulting 268 games are a chaotic, neon-coloured, retro-future celebration of marauding cyborgs, hacker punks, evil corporations and abstract vectors.

Out of the games I've played so far, none have distilled the dystopian atmosphere into arcade purity quite as successfully as Nik Sudan's Protocol. Based in the same universe as his forthcoming adventure game Tercon Major, a self-aware legion of Lawbots has enslaved their former human masters, ruthlessly hunting down members of the rebellion who fail to comply with their strict protocol. It's a case of shoot-first, ask-questions-later, with the player controlling a pink-haired, laser-cannon wielding motorcyclist, fending off wave after wave of tireless drones whilst racing down an endless highway. There's no explanation as to exactly what you've done to deserve the Lawbots attention, but there's little doubt that this risky escape follows some turning point in the human-robot conflict.

Friday 7 March 2014

KiloBite (PC/Mac/Linux)

After the experience of extensively playing Hermitgames' amazing qrth-phyl I was convinced that I had seen all that the age-old 'snake' genre had to offer. qrth-phyl totally nailed it; ever changing gameplay, amazing soundtrack, visuals to die for - the game had it all. I felt as though I'd never be impressed by a snake clone again - and then I discovered KiloBite, a modest little debut release from Cake Collective, and the illusion was shattered.

I know that at first glance it appears to be nothing other than a clone of 'inner cube' sections of qrth-phyl - and in many ways I suppose that's a fair analysis. However, whereas qrth-phyl was all about the experience and atmosphere, KiloBite simply takes what was (arguably) the best part of the game, further distils the formula until it is at its most pure and simplistic level, then increases the tempo and gives it a quick-fire, high-score chasing arcade tweak. Add to the mix a dirty, distorted CRT filter and RGB splits, tight joypad controls and a neat scoring mechanic - and the end result is a lightweight yet intense little gaming gem.

Saturday 1 March 2014

Golden Scarab (Ouya)

Did I just get high on meth and LSD? Nope, but I did play Golden Scarab, a healthier alternative to psychoactive hard drugs, but perhaps just as adept at screwing with one's brain. It's a colorful dish best enjoyed tapas style - little bites sure to satisfy one's need for quick, intense single or multiplayer shooting mayhem. I want some of whatever Andrew Perry at OMGWTFGAMES had when he came up with this game.

At its core, the gameplay of Golden Scarab is quite simple. Left stick moves your craft, right stick shoots in the direction you point it in. There are six unique and brightly-plumed alien baddies to destroy, each with varying attacks. Some move slowly, others rush at the player, some fire and others don't. The player can collect small power-ups that increase the score multiplier - if he or she can last long enough.

Friday 28 February 2014

Nidhogg (PC)

Nidhogg, like its name, is really odd and almost indescribable because it genuinely is unique. The game plays similar to PSX classic Bushido Blade but in a 2D environment. You get stabbed once and your character dies but unlike the aforementioned Bushido Blade, another one pops up in his place to continue the fight. It plays almost like a brutal version of tag, the person who kills first becomes the one able to pass to the next screen, should the victim return the favour he can then proceed to the opposite side.

It's a tricky concept to get across verbally (or in written word at least) but basically you stab, run, hope not to get stabbed, throw your sword, arrive at next screen and repeat until you pass all the screens and are ultimately eaten by the titular Nidhogg - and all while the other player is attempting to do the same. As you can imagine this leads to some insanely quick matches - or ones that seem to go back and forth for ages, depending on how equally matched you and your opponent are - but this is all part of the fun as Nidhogg has such fluid and enjoyable mechanics that any drawn out battles are tense yet massive achievements when won.

Krunel (ZX Spectrum)

The ZX Spectrum is like the 8-Bit equivalent of one of those local punk bands stuck touring the toilet-circuit; it might not be the prettiest or the best sounding act, but the Speccy at least has a spark of independence, defiantly strutting about the stage with its garish palette, ludicrous colour clash and glitchy sounding soundchip. And hey, I love me some punk.

Krunel from, is a simple Puyo-Puyo style puzzle game that neither deviates from the classic formula nor has any stand-out features (other than being a new 21st century game running on arcane hardware). Really, there's no reason for it to exist, but this is a Spectrum we're talking about here - and Speccy developers just do whatever they like.

Ouya Console (Android)

The Ouya received a lot of press following its official post-Kickstarter launch last year, most of which can (at best) be described as a luke-warm reception to an over-hyped and often misunderstood product. Let's face it – the Ouya was never going to and never will change the world of gaming; almost a year down the line from the initial developer units being sent out, their 'revolution' is still no closer to happening.

However, what has happened over the past nine months or so is this; a ton of system updates that have greatly improved the console. We've seen much needed proper USB support added, incremental optimisations, store redesigns, overscan options and many, many bug fixes. And most importantly, earlier this month the completely broken 'sandbox' system was removed and replaced with a far more sensible, ordered list of new releases. Finally, everyone launching a game on Ouya gets a period of exposure on the discover store – which is what the platform was supposed to be all about in the first place.

With these updates to the console considered, here at RGCD I've decided to give the Ouya a no-nonsense, honest review of how the console performs in its current state, and give an insight as to what it can offer – other than being a dedicated Towerfall machine.

Thursday 27 February 2014

Neon Shadow (Android/iOS/Ouya)

Neon Shadow was comfortably one of the most anticipated post-launch releases to date on the Ouya. Initially trailered before the crowd-funded console was even released, Ouya fans have been eager for a high-quality First-Person Shooter to hit their TV screens without having to resort to emulators and side-loading.

And coming with a two-player co-operative mode and online multiplayer, Neon Shadow is certainly packing a lot of heat for its generously low $4.99 asking price.

The Speccies (ZX Spectrum)

I do love a good puzzler. In fact, I am famous among friends for my penchant for puzzle games due to the fact that as a child I named my first pet, a diminutive Russian hamster, after Taito's 'Puzznic', a tile based logic game that I played for many hours on my Sinclair Spectrum. I am aware of how tragic this makes my life appear, but Puzznic did seem like a cute name for the little fur-ball at the time. It has been a while since I came across a really good brainteaser on the Spectrum, but this new offering from Tardis Remakes has definitely been testing the ol' grey matter.

It was probably worth Tardis porting this game to the 48k Spectrum for the inspired name-change alone. The Brainies, presumably so-called as the cute creatures are little more than massive heads with tiny feet stuck on, have been rechristened as The Speccies. Oh-so-appropriate for a Spectrum remake of a game that never made it on to the machine on its original release in the early 1990s. The little critters don't actually wear spectacles, however, which seems to me a missed opportunity.

Intake (PC/Mac)

Cipher Prime Studios has really carved a niche for themselves with their games that heavily incorporate bright, colorful neon-tinged design with smartly blended musical elements. For example, I'm a huge fan of Fractal, an exquisitely crafted, intense puzzler. The studio has really upped their game with their newest release, Intake, which hearkens back to the sweaty days of score attacking in the local arcade machine, if the local arcade machine housed a blend of heavy dubstep fused to a shooter on acid dressed up as Dr. Mario.

Meganoid 2: Grandpa's Chronicles (Android/Linux/Mac/iOS/PC)

If Gunslugs was Orange Pixel's take on the side-scrolling run 'n' gun genre, and Heroes of Loot their take on Gauntlet for the mobile generation, then Meganoid 2 is their reimagining of the Rick Dangerous franchise, updated for the modern age with many shorter levels rather than fewer, longer ones. Oh, and with a bit of Super Meat Boy masochism thrown in for good measure.

Taking place in an anonymous, cavernous underground location, each level challenges you to find the hidden treasure and make it to the exit alive as quickly as possible. The game is designed so that while you can successfully complete a level in just a few seconds, it will take many attempts to work out all the patterns of the traps to complete it with all three goals reached (completing the level, doing it within the time limit and finding the treasure).

Sgt. Helmet Training Day (NES/ZX Spectrum)

You have to hand it to the Mojon Twins, those chaps turn out more ZX Spectrum games than Ocean did in the 80s. The Twins have some seriously durable code magic at work as their engines seem to lend themselves to whatever devious design they throw at them.

Sgt. Helmet Training Day is a fine example of them rising to a challenge, as from what I can understand (via Google translate) this game is a direct retaliation to the claims the Mojon Twins 'don't do run n' gun'. I must admit when I think back through their titles I can recall plenty of maze games and floaty platformers, so some of my assumptions still stand but I'll go into that later on.

Wednesday 26 February 2014

Project '88 (Android/iOS)

Every once in a while I dig up some hidden, buried gem on the App Store that really glistens with gaming goodness. The sad thing is that many of these titles, especially the paid ones, will likely fade into obscurity faster than a Tesla blows up when driving over something. As such, I feel it's my duty to share apps like this from time to time, especially those that are chock-full of retro goodness like Project '88.

Routagames' Project '88 is at its core an endless runner, and admittedly doesn't bring much that's new to the genre. Players pilot a very polygonal little ship soaring on a brightly colored track that appears to be mounted in a psychedelic tunnel of sorts. The craft is controlled via the touch screen (or tilt mechanic), similar to Terry Cavanagh's Super Hexagon, with the addition of a 'jump' feature that allows the craft to flip vertically across the screen to traverse gaps.