Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Game Dev Story and Angry Birds Space

I recently got a droid smartphone, and thus have been trying out all the great Android games that I never had a chance to play before. And all the mindless ones, like Temple Run and Fruit Ninja, but those are topics for another post. Or maybe just not topics ever, since well, there's not much to say about Temple Run and Fruit Ninja aside from "they're addictive". Today, as you may have gathered from the post title, I want to talk about Game Dev Story and Angry Birds Space, so let's get started with Game Dev Story.
Game Dev Story places you in charge of a fledgling game development studio. You start the game by naming your studio, and then your secretary introduces you to the game. You need to hire a team, and then develop the best game ever. Fairly straightforward, but the path to the top is long and difficult. I'd go into more detail about what the process consists of, but it's somewhat long to explain and really quite simple to understand when you play, so I'm not going to. Pretty much: hire a team, work on a project, use research gained to level up team, use money earned to train team and start next project, repeat until success. Gameplay simply involves making the decisions in leading your studios along its path towards the top, and it's very addictive. You will always want to play through one more project, because this time you'll be able to pull off something even better. It's quite amazing how they managed to make the game so addictive despite not really having that much in the way of actual gameplay. In addition, if you have any desire to go into video game development at all, I think you should try out Game Dev Story. While it's not exactly a simulator for what working in game development is like, it might help you learn a few things. It definitely made me stop and think about my goals in life more than once.
Next up, Angry Birds Space. It took Mario over two decades to make it to outer space, but the Angry Birds have done it in something like two years. I've played through a fair bit of the original Angry Birds, and it was quite addictive (achieving 3 stars on every level is a practically herculean task). However, I eventually got bored of it and moved on to other games. The premise for Angry Birds Space is the same: use a slingshot to hurl angry birds at pigs for massive damage. The only difference is that the slingshot is now in space. Some planets have gravity, in which case objects will be drawn towards the center of the circular gravity field, but otherwise launching a bird will send it straight ahead in that direction until it hits something. It may not sound very significant, but the space physics change the entire feel of the game for me. I wasn't expecting much out of Angry Birds Space, but honestly it blew me away within a few levels. You start with some basic launching birds into the right orbit trajectory to smash into the pigs, but it quickly escalates from there, until I was bombarding the pigs with asteroids that I blasted into the orbit fields. Nothing short of addictive, and this time I feel like I'm addicted more to the mechanics of the game than the need to 3 star everything (not that I haven't 3 starred all the levels I've played so far anyway). I definitely recommend you give this one a try as well, you might be as surprised as I was.

That's all for Silver Asterism smartphone edition this time! Next up, a rundown of my impressions of E3!

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