Freeware Focus: Leaf Me Alone (PC)

Leaf Me Alone began life at the Ludum Dare 26 Challenge by two very talented and passionate developers: Mark Foster and David Fen. What the duo created in a mere 72 hours was something special; so much so, that continued work found the game to be one of the most polished and charming minimalist RPG-lite platforming titles found most anywhere. The best bit, it’s a freeware browser game that’s available to most anyone with a decent Internet connection.
There’s few times that I’m instantly captivated by a game from its onset, yet Leaf Me Alone found a way to do just that. Pausing for just a moment at the game’s opening screen finds a few small butterflies fluttering about on what appears to be the side of a lush cliff face on a beautiful Summer day. The elegant use of pastel colours finds a harmonious, soothing balance as the gentle chirps of birds sound off in the distance. Nature is beautiful; nature is bliss to the senses – to step into Leaf Me Alone is to step into nature.

Click here to play the expanded version of Leaf Me Alone at Nickelodeon’s Addicting Games.

Continue reading Freeware Focus…

Review: Croixleur Sigma (PC)

 

The gaming industry today is filled with a vast array of indie games, and they offer unique alternatives to major AAA releases. The recent indie movement has not only disrupted the industry, but has fundamentally changed it for the better, because now a talented development team can find great success, regardless of its size.

We’ve become accustomed to the indie scene in the west through such games as Gone Home, Dear Esther, Proteus, and so forth – but have you ever wondered about the indie scene in Japan? Lock your eyes to Nyu Media, a specialist in bringing quality Japanese indie titles outside of its native shores for the world to enjoy. And then take a look at its latest; Souvenir Circ.’s Croixleur Sigma.

The majority of DDNet readers are well-accustomed to the differences in Japanese and Western games. A lot of Japanese retail titles have niche appeal here, because they tend to focus on appealing to a specific niche group through excellence in design for that specific group, instead of the mass appeal and accessibility that’s the typical western game aims for. Croixleur Sigma falls right into its niche then. It delivers 60 FPS of glorious high-speed hack-and-slash action right to your fingertips and it’s okay with the fact that not everyone will love it. [Review Score: 3/5 Stars]

Continue reading Review…

Freeware Focus: Undercroft (iOS)

Undercroft might have started its life off as a paid app on the iOS Marketplace, but it’s absolutely free today. It’s one of the best apps on the marketplace and entirely worthy of anyone’s time. Coming from the talented team at Jagex Games Studio – the same team who brought the wildly popular RuneScape to life – Undercroft harkens back to the days of old, bringing forth an old-school first-person turn-based RPG dungeon crawler game play style that’s sure to scratch any genre fans itch.

With notable titles in the genre that many assumed would die creeping up over the past few years (i.e. Legend of Grimrock, Paper Sorcerer, Might and Magic X), maybe you’ve wondered what these games are all about, and haven’t wanted to take the risk? Tile-based RPG titles are not a norm in this modern age of the industry and when gamers today think of “old-school” and “hardcore” games, to many these games are instantly near inaccessible due to the extreme difficulty in their game play. Undercroft is a solid entry point for today’s gamers, as it does a superb job of easing the player into the world and its unique play style.

Continue reading Freeware Focus…

Review: 2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil (PS3)

FIFA World Cup Brazil PlayStation 3

The excitement is in the air, as soccer (or football, depending on where you live) fans around the world eagerly await the World Cup kick-off in June. To capitalise on the hype, EA Sports has done the inevitable and released 2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil. Given how good FIFA 14 was, the big question is whether this World Cup title has what it takes as a standalone game… or should fans simply wait for FIFA 15 to drop on store shelves later this year?

Even from the game’s title screen, 2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil is simply bathed in the kind of fresh, colourful aesthetic that you would expect people to think about when they hear the word “Brazil”. Yellow and orange warmly dominates everything in the interface; from the lights on the field to the menu screens, and the soundtrack moves from Pitbull’s thumbing beats to the drumming native Portuguese tracks from the Cup’s home country. Combined with the little nuances like the thundering drums and chants of the crowds during a heated match, these combined bits of flare do a fantastic job of immersing players in the World Cup spirit. [Review Score: 4/5 Stars]

…. Continue to DDNet to finish reading review.

Review: Trials Frontier (iPhone)

RedLynx is no stranger to the iOS Marketplace; the fantastic port of its WiiWare hit MotoHeroz, Monster Truck Nitro and its DrawRace games have all been found in the top rankings of the charts throughout the years. As an avid fan of its Trials series though, it’s a little disheartening that the team hasn’t brought its trademark game play style to touchscreen devices to test not only our skills, but our nerves as well.

If you played MotoHeroz on either WiiWare or iOS, you’ll know that RedLynx took its Trials game play and dipped it into a fun-filled world packed with cutesy super deformed characters, colourful environmental aesthetics and forgiving physics, instead of the tyre treads, dirty paths and rusty warehouses we’re accustomed to from other RedLynx titles. Trials Frontier flips us into a (American) Western themed game world that’s loaded with wacky denizens, death defying courses and a host of new game play gimmicks, courtesy of the built-in F2P mechanics. There’s a lot of fun to had here, especially for Trials fans, but you’ll have to work for it – and not just on the track. [Review Score: 3/5 Stars]

Continue reading Trials Frontier review…

 

Hittin’ the Open Road, Indie Style – Euro Truck Simulator 2

 

Buy the original base game

Guess what? I’m still alive and kicking – yes, I know that it’s been far too long since my last post here at Tired Gamer. A mix of life and minor narcolepsy issues over the past few weeks, as well as my acquisition of an ASUS gaming laptop – courtesy of my younger brother – have kept me doing a lot more updating drivers and tweaking settings in my spare time than, well… writing. Excuses, excuses, I know.

Being an avid indie gamer, I’m not overly enthused with the current state of console gaming. I’ve not yet purchased a next generation console and have no intention of doing so in the near future. I had, however, planned to build a decent gaming desktop this year, as the vast majority of what I care to play over the course of the next year is indie developed, and therefore, finding itself landing on PC. Well, I’m in the PC game now, so there will be a drastic shift from console titles to PC titles here now; that means a lot more indie love!

The first indie title that I’ve stumbled across that really has taken me by surprise is SCS Software’s Euro Truck Simulator 2. I drove a Class A CDL truck for Pepsi Cola for about six years and I know very well what it ‘feels’ like to drive a commercial vehicle. I’m amazed at how well the team has replicated what it is like to drive a truck in a virtual environment. It isn’t perfect, of course, but it’s believable enough to keep my interest for hours on end, and I’m still truckin’. Hooking up to trailers, backing the into designated delivery docks and feeling the weight of the load on the truck’s engine on inclines, the game simply ‘feels’ right.

Yet, there’s another part of this game that’s completely shocked me, and that is that you can build a truckin’ empire. Yes, what starts off as simple contract deliveries, turns into bank loans, truck and garage ownerships and eventually hiring and managing drivers – all while you’re on the road yourself. It’s brilliant and something that you would never find outside of PC gaming. If you’ve not tried this gem yourself, I highly recommend giving the game’s demo a download on Steam and trying it for yourself.

Future Euro Truck Simulator 2 updates are sure to come.

 

Freeware Focus: The Plan (PC)

This is a new feature of my design for DDNet that I’ve had in mind for sometime, as I’ve always enjoyed freeware indie titles and I wanted to see them given a ray of light on the site. I thought about doing this exclusively here at Tired Gamer, but decided that DDNet is a much better place to do so, and well, I’ll always be dropping the links to my work there here for the finding. Enjoy!

 

The Plan
 
Krillbrite Studio’s homepage for The Plan reads: “Every word you read of this useless print is another second of your life.” If that doesn’t intrigue you, then feel free to move along. There’s truth in those words – how much time in our short and fragile lives do we merely waste to nonsensical ‘filler’? We think that our lives will be long and fruitful, but there is never any guarantee, really. It poses the question – Is there something else that I should be doing right this very second? Something, well, more important than this?

The Plan is a side project from the same team that’s bringing the psychological first-person thriller that puts you in a terrifying world as a mere two year old child: Among the Sleep – it’s quickly apparent that this isn’t your typical development team. From start to finish, The Plan took me six short minutes to complete. Within that small time frame, it created a multitude of emotions within me, and is yet another argument for why people would be more concerned with the quality rather the length of games.

Continue to DDNet to finish reading article…

 

 

Cast Your Vote for Ubuntu 14:04 LTS Additonal Wallpapers

What’s one of the first things that you do when you get a new OS? Oh come on, you know what it is that you do – you check out the new high-resolution wallpaper sets that come installed with it. If you’re like me, often times I’ll set-up a sideshow to display my favorites of the bunch for a few weeks, before switching to more personalized backgrounds.

Ubuntu 14:04 LTS (Trusty Tahr) is nearing its release and in appropriate open-source fashion, it’s up to the community to decide on the best picks for the wallpaper sets that will come installed in this longterm release.

You cast your votes through the link below:
http://picompete.com/contest/1311/lubuntu-14-04-community-wallpaper-contest/

 

Tutorial: Modifying the Run Command for Quick Access in Linux Kubuntu

linux

The thing that I love about Linux is the Run Command. This accessible shortcut changes the way that I use my laptop drastically from the standard Window’s interface, and tends to have that “Wow!” factor when people see me accessing my programs without touching an icon at such quick pacing. Ubuntu 13:10 (and Kubuntu, for that matter) now allows you to install things like Gmail, Facebook and an assortment of other applications, so you can now access your Run Command and jump straight into Facebook – through your Firefox browser – in seconds!

It’s a bit tricky to find the right place to remap the shortcut for Run Command if you’re unsure of its location, so I’ve decided to write-up this detailed little instructional to alleviate this small predicament. So, let’s get this show started – shall we?

Note: Run Command is accessible in all of the modern Linux distros, so this isn’t singly limited to Kubuntu.

 
1.) First, head into your System Settings.

snapshot1

 

2.) Once you’ve opened the System Settings menu, you’ll next want to locate and access the Shortcuts and Gestures icon.

snapshot2

 

3.) Once inside, you’ll notice the three separate tabs on the left-hand side of the screen, you’ll want to click on Global Keyboard Shortcuts icon.

snapshot3

 

4.) Okay, this is where it’s easy to overlook the Run Command interface, if you don’t know where to look. Towards the top of the screen, there’s a line for “KDE Component,” which is right above the Search bar. Click this to access the drop-down tab and click on “Run Command Interface.”

snapshot4

 

5.) This brings up the entire Run Command interface, for you to customize to your liking.

 

6.) We want to modify the shortcut for Run Command only, so locate the option that states “Run Command”.

snapshot5

 

7.) This opens the Run Command for customization. Select “Custom”, followed by the rectangular tab with the wrench, that’s found just to the right of it, of which also states: “None”.

snapshot9

 

8.) Clicking “None” will change it to “Input”, at which point we’ll want to press the Meta key, followed by the Space Bar.

snapshot10

 

Note: The Meta key is the “Windows” key, which should be located just to the left of the Left Alt key on your keyboard. I find this set-up to be an extremely fast and natural way to access my Run Command.

 

9.) Click the Apply button in the bottom right of the window to save your changes if needed.

snapshot11

 

10.) That’s it! To start using your Run Command interface, simply hold the Meta Key followed by the Space Bar and you see it drop down from the top of the screen.

snapshot12

 

11.) Type a few letters of the program or application that you want to access, and the Run Command will locate it for quick access, which you only need to press the “Enter” key to do so once it’s the top item in the drop-down tab below it.

snapshot13

12.) Enjoy!

Settling in with (Linux) Kubuntu 13:10 64-bit

I’ve been dual-booting Linux alongside Windows 7 on my Sony Vaio since November of 2013 and I’ve been a proud Linux user ever since. My first real Linux experience came when my Dad’s computer had a major “Windows” problem when I was over visiting this past Thanksgiving. There was talk of buying a new PC and I just decided on a whim that I give it a shot at dual-booting Linux onto his machine to save him a few bucks. I selected Ubuntu 12.04 LTS for the ease of use that it offers and within a few hours, I had his computer running like new once again.

Naturally, I came home and decided that I too wanted to dual-boot Linux on my Vaio, so I reached out to a friend that’s an avid Linux user and he recommended Linux Mint 13 LTS (KDE), for its customizability, support and speed. Within weeks, I had fallen in love with the Mint distro and when Mint 16 (KDE) released, I instantly upgraded. I’ve spent hours learning Terminal commands and shell scripts over the past few months, and I had my Mint 16 desktop all set up to my personal likings. There was only one hitch – my Vaio has Intel HD Integrated Graphics, which is poorly supported on anything but the Ubuntu distro.

A few weeks ago I decided it was time for a change. I downloaded the Ubuntu 13.10 ISO file and within a few hours I had it installed and running like a dream. Out of the box, I could instantly see that my graphics drivers were fully supported and when running Firefox (and a few extra open windows) my CPU was only using around 2-4% capacity, which is a good 20% decrease from Mint 15, due to my poor driver support. I was already very pleased with the change.

Now, I’m not crazy about the Unity desktop environment that comes pre-installed with the Ubuntu package. There’s nothing wrong with it, of course, but I just like to have full control of my desktop and I find Unity to be a bit limited. A quick Google search found that the KDE SC 4:12 desktop had released for Ubuntu 13:10, and without even thinking about it, I started downloading and installed it. The usual KDE set-up was performed and the automatic reboot took place, before my eyes came across a sight I’d not seen before: “kubuntu”.

Let me put this bluntly – Kubuntu is awesome! It offers up the KDE desktop environment that I loved about Mint 16 (KDE), but with better driver support and much better stability on my laptop. The customization features are all in place courtesy of Plasma, as well as the now standard software: music and movie players, the LibreOffice suite, disc burners, partition editor, a few basic games and quite a bit more. The great thing about the Linux distro is that there is tons of free software that can be downloaded right through the Software Center, but seeing that this is Ubuntu based, there is also paid/premium software available there as well. One nice touch is the free Ubuntu One service that backs up your files to a cloud server – think Google Drive – that can be accessed on multiple devices, including your smart phones and tablets.

Of course, Steam is a must download for any gamer and it runs great here, just as it did on Mint 16. Thankfully, the improved driver support means that my laptop can run games more efficiently now, yet I was a bit surprised to realize that I can actually run games in Kubuntu that I have issue with when trying to play on Windows 7. For the record, my laptop actually has decent specs, it’s just that major Intel HD Graphics problem (that I mentioned a bit earlier) that bogs me down.

Kubuntu is a fantastic distro that I highly recommend giving a try, especially if you’ve got integrated graphics. It’s easy to setup and the best part, it can be freely downloaded through this link:
http://www.kubuntu.org/