I couldn’t come up with anything to write about directly related to the United States or Independence Day. The best I could think of is a recent event that’s vaguely related to summer weather. Maybe big gaming publications have already covered this, but the mobile version of Mighty Switch Force! Hose It Down! has made the switch to being a free, ad-supported game with a couple other changes. It’s one of a relative handful of “actually good” mobile games I’ve managed to pick up recently and subsequently neglect in favor of my 3DS, but I have played it enough to see what it’s about and recommend it for people who haven’t played it yet and can get it for free now.
It’s pretty much a sliding puzzle game with the twist being the sliding blocks contain pipes you have to connect in order to guide water to spaces that are on fire. Developer WayForward combines this neat concept with the time trial gameplay we already see in the main Mighty Switch Force! games. I guess the true mark of the game’s quality is how it has managed to get me to keep playing a sliding puzzle game. Me and sliding puzzles don’t really mix.
When they get even slightly challenging sliding puzzles can take me a ridiculously long time to complete. They frustrate me more easily than most simple puzzles in video games (or puzzles period I guess). It get’s especially frustrating when the puzzle tells me how many moves it should take me to complete it — like 12 or something, and I’m still clueless on movie 128. The way Hose It Down! times you feels pretty similar. The game will tell you a puzzle is solvable in 17 seconds and I’m sitting on three minutes. Games need to delay that time trial and rank stuff until you start replaying levels so you can just have fun the first time around.
That said, the game’s unique ideas make the whole thing feel fresh enough. Another thing that helps is its overall presentation. I imagine one of the things people like a lot about WayForward is how its games manage to maintain the aesthetic of classic 2D games both visually and in their audio. The nature of Hose It Down! probably didn’t require too many new art assets, but its soundtrack is really good. It somewhat reminds me of Mega Man X games which is a good feeling when I’m feeling frustrated from a sliding puzzle.
One thing WayForward added a while ago I haven’t checked out yet is the add-on pack containing new puzzles. I guess that’s the sole in-game purchase for the free version now along with the payment to deactivate ads. In case you’re wondering, if you bought Hose It Down! prior to this week you still won’t see any ads.
The other significant new development is the addition of daily puzzles kind of like the ones in Spelunky. From what I’ve seen these dailies are a lot harder than the game’s main puzzles, at least the earlier ones. Fortunately unlike Spelunky you seem to get unlimited attempts at the daily puzzles in Hose It Down!
Normally people hate it when their beloved game developers decide to release something no mobile, but WayForward seems to be part of an emerging trend of traditional game developers actually taking the right approach to mobile (another being Hitman Go). Sure you can get Hose It Down! on Steam, but this is actually one port that feels just fine on a touch screen.
- Some new big patch came out for Solarix. http://bit.ly/1KzJy0Y
- Microsoft and Bethesda are already using Xbox backwards compatibility for good things. http://deals.kinja.com/preorder-fallout-4-on-xbox-one-get-fallout-3-for-free-1715397381
- Some lessons on writing. http://www.baltimoresun.com/news/language-blog/bal-the-peeververein-canon-20150702-story.html
- This looks like a potentially good game. http://boingboing.net/2015/07/02/this-all-girl-team-of-kid-indi.html
- This too. http://www.rockpapershotgun.com/2015/07/02/objects-in-space-announced-trading-stealth/