This week, let's smash words together with abandon, let's help hurt Hopp in a little game called 'Help Hurt Hopp', let's wake up from this collective nightmare, and you gotta have faith. You gotta have faith! In, um, Faith: Chapter II. Enjoy!
Chogue by Jonathan Lessard and Pippin Barr
That's me in the corner, vomiting into a bin at the sublime unpleasantness of the compound word 'Chogue'. It's Chess meets Rogue, and so that's the perfect name for it, but *shivers*. This is a smart, tactical, lightly scary dungeon crawl, which proves any two things can be mashed together, providing you think about it carefully enough.
After a traditional round of Chess, the game develops in a more Roguey fashion, but with Chess pieces instead of kobolds and rats. And they move like Chess pieces too, the knight jumping about in a distinct L-shape, for example. Spelunk as deep as you're able in a procedurally made dungeon, moving a full Chess army around rather than a single unit, while battling a similarly chessy enemy side. The AI's unforgiving, and the randomisation, the fog of war adds an element of the unknown to a game that has been mapped out for centuries now. Thoughtfully made, and highly recommended.
Help Hurt Hopp by Daniel Linssen
I didn't get the chance to test this properly, as you can't play it by yourself, and there really need to be three people around to make the most of it. But, if you have a couple of mates with controllers present, Help Hurt Hopp sure looks like a pile of fun. It's a platformer where one player, as is traditional, does the leaping about, but where two others join in to either help or hinder the little chap. It's like GMing, but with platforming, and with frequently shifting roles to keep things fresh.
Wake Up by Philisophic Games
I've played a few retro-style survival horror games recently, and Wake Up is the most impressive of the bunch. Despite the low-res, ouch I cut myself on the jaggies resolution, in motion it actually looks quite nice. This is down to the well-made, if slightly simplistic textures and 3D models, but mainly the effectively creepy camera angles, and the intentional camera movement that becomes more noticeable as you waltz your way around.
Tricksy spatial puzzles are the order of the day here, but my favourite part of Wake Up has nothing to do with all that: it's the run button, or rather the lack of one. Rather than making the character move faster, 'running' instead speeds up the passage of time, complete with a wibbly-wobbly VHS-on-fast-forward visual effect. Which is a fun, smart way to achieve the same thing.
The Child of Hagar by ghoulishkid
I didn't know that the groundskeeper from Harry Potter had had a kid, but here they are and, eek, they're a bit frightening: a Jabba-style creature demanding human flesh from the inside of a hut. In this sneaky game set in a 2D/3D victoriana town, you have to dodge the penetrating gaze of the Old Bill as you go from grave to grave, digging up body parts. The spotlight, rather than moving in a set pattern, darts about with seeming spontaneity in this novel little gothic stealth adventure.
Faith: Chapter II (demo) by Airdorf
You gotta have...oh, I did that already. Hey, remember Faith? The wonderfully authentic retro horror game that managed to be bloody frightening despite its garish colour palette and teensy resolution. This big demo for Faith: Chapter II is pretty familiar to its predecessor, but with a slight increase in visual heft, in its rural, corn-fed atmosphere, and with even more inventive, invisible scares from demonic creatures. If you're a fan of horror games, you really should play Faith, and then get stuck into this sequel, as Airdorf's priestly universe is one of continual unnerving surprise.