Merchants of Kaidan is a game of buying and selling. If there's action—say you lose a finger in a bet, or a winged beast is pursuing your ship—it's only part of the inherent risk in bringing goods to market. People out there have money to spend, and you can't be timid if you want your share of it.
That's the sense of purpose that guides players through Merchants of Kaidan, a trading game with RPG elements that may get some players thinking back to Sid Meier's Pirates!, only with merchants and less combat (along with noticeably fewer eye patches).
Today's gaming machines allow for experiences that we could only dream of decades ago, but nevertheless, the early years of gaming were a time ripe with innovation. While gaming at home was no longer a new concept by the time the 80's came around, the decade was still a time of creativity as developers experimented with genres and art styles that wouldn't hit their heydays until years later. Others were just weird by design, such as Deus Ex Machina, an interactive movie released in 1984 that has now found its way over to Android.
There's something magical about trading places with game developers, getting to apply your own creativity to produce levels that put all others to shame (and preferably without having to know a single line of code). LittleBigPlanet has provided this thrill on PlayStation platforms for years, letting players create their own two-dimensional stages and share them with others. Mario Maker will give Mushroom Kingdom lovers their own chance to thwart their favorite plumber's efforts to rescue Princess Peach.
The original Gunslugs' mix of bullet-filled, NES-inspired, platforming nostalgia attracted hundreds of thousands of downloads. Now, two years to the day since we covered the original release, developer OrangePixel is back with a sequel, the creatively named Gunslugs 2.
In Gunslugs 2, the Black Duck Army returns to take over the world in an adventure that may be as impacted by 80's action films as video games of yesteryear. In both cases, the moral is the same—there's no such thing as an evil plan that can't be overcome by overwhelming quantities of hot lead.
In Worms, sheep are used as suicidal explosives. The helpless animals run in the direction they're released in, turning around only if their path is blocked. Seeking freedom, their plans are inevitably thwarted when the automatic timer runs out or a player triggers their detonation, bringing their life to an end.
In Flockers, a Lemmings-style puzzle game from Worms-developer Team 17, the sheep have had enough. Rather than continue this hopeless existence, they make a break for it.
Spoiler Alert begins on the last, and paradoxically easiest, level in the game, where you defeat the final boss and then rescue the princess in familiar but not quite copyright infringing fashion. At that point you play the game in reverse, going backwards through hundreds of levels that the tiny chili pepper hero has played, but you haven't. It's an odd approach to a platform game, and one that has to be played to be fully understood.
Originality comes in many forms. One of them is to create a game world or control scheme that catches all who play it by surprise. Another approach is to take a familiar genre and offer an engaging twist on it. Then there's taking an existing game (Frogger), mixing it with the art style from another one (Minecraft), while naming it similar to a big hit everyone can recall (Flappy Bird). That last one appears to be the formula behind Crossy Road, and—okay, maybe it's not so original after all.
When gamers first met LEGO Star Wars: The Video Game in 2005, it was a multi-platform title available for the PlayStation 2, Xbox, Gamecube, and PC (along with an isometric 2D version for the Game Boy Advance). It applied the virtual toy block treatment to worlds and events from the three Star Wars prequels, and sprinkled on some of the humor we've since come to expect from LEGO over the years.
Grand Theft Auto: Chinatown Wars, perhaps surprisingly, began its life on a Nintendo platform: the original DS. Over half a year later, a version made its way over to the PlayStation Portable, and an iOS version appeared only a couple of months after that. Since then, nearly five years have passed, and Rockstar is finally sharing the game with the millions of Android users roaming the globe. The title can now be found in the Play Store.