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Author: Rob Page 3 of 64

I write about videogames for human beings and I also write videogames for human beings. I run Punching Robots.

Hyper Meteor

I know Playdate touching folks have had their grubby mits on a version of Hyper Meteor for a good while now but given my hand cramps up just looking at pictures of the thing*, it’s been a case of waiting it out for me.

Which is another way of saying “Yay, a Switch version” because I can use one of those comfortably and I get pretty colours and everyone knows by now how much I love pretty colours.

(There’s a Steam version too if that’s your bag.)

Long time readers of my nonsense will no doubt be aware that I’m a fan of Vertex Pop’s stuff, pretty much every single game they’ve released has been solid gold so far, from the twin stick brilliance of WE ARE DOOMED (I still stand by the quote on the game page there too) to the excessively, wonderfully, pink Super Crush KO, just a bunch of fantastic games and I absolutely adore them.

So, Hyper Meteor. It’s Asteroids. Kind of. Sort of. It isn’t really.

Ok. Let’s try that again, it has asteroids and at first glance looks like Asteroids but there’s no fire button (there’s a smartbomb, thassit) so to clear the asteroids off the screen you have to smash into them. So, it’s the bit in Asteroids where you would normally die except you don’t die and instead that’s how you get points.

Whilst throwing you into an arena and just letting you crash through asteroids to make a number go up would be entertaining enough for me, it probably wouldn’t make for the most challenging arcade game ever so enemies have areas you can hit safely and areas you can’t. The trick, obviously, is to collide with the safe bits so you don’t explode yourself. As you’d expect, this is easier said than done.

As the game progresses, more fiendish enemies find their way into the arena requiring a bit more cunning to take out, causing the arena to gradually flood with enemies and bullets. Combo up with the fragments from the asteroids you’re smashing up and oof, it certainly keeps you on your toes. Sure, it’s typical arcade stuff but it’s very deftly done leaving the game sitting somewhere between the quickfire restarts of something like Super Hexagon and your more traditional coin-huffing videogame.

As ever with Vertex Pop’s stuff, what could be a far more throwaway game in less practiced hands turns out pretty sweet and one I’ll definitely be keeping round to play fairly often. Oh, and the bloopy chip disco soundtrack is a stonker too.

HYPER METEOR for Nintendo Switch – Nintendo Official Site
When your ship’s weapon systems malfunction in deep space, surrounded by hostile forces, your only hope for survival is to fly head-first into danger! Ram your ship into enemy weak points to survive, keep the hits coming to maximize your combo, and get a high score!◼ Four Game Modes, each with its own unique twist!◻ Endless mode: Classic arcade-style survival mode with three lives◻ METEOR mode: Trigger detonations to survive the meteor storm!◻ Countdown mode: A rush to maximize your combo in 3 minutes◻ Waves mode: 40 hand-crafted waves of enemies◼ Two Player Co-op (local only) for every game mode!◼ A bold audio-visual experience featuring minimalist pixel art, 25+ vibrant colour palettes, and a pulsing electronic soundtrack◼ Extras & Unlockables: 50 achievements, online leaderboards (worldwide and friends), detailed stats, and more!

*No shade on the Playdate here, I have terrible cramps and tremors and that thing would be accidentally flung across the room in no time.

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Play This: Annalynn

Annalynn is a few years old now on the PC but I’ve only just got round to it now it’s got a Switch release.

This past year or so has seen a handful of really nice arcade homages make their way on to the Switch so I’ve been feeling a bit spoiled rotten of late, all of them – Annalynn included – have been absolutely gorgeous looking too.

I certainly don’t mind games looking as scrappy as all get out (in fact, I can’t get enough of scrappy or strange looking games!) but I’m certainly not going to complain about something looking too nice either, right? I like pretty games!

Annalynn isn’t the hardest game to pick up either, it’s pretty familiar stuff all told. Jump between platforms, don’t get caught by the nasties, collect all the gems to get to the next stage.

Having spent quite some time with it now, it plays a bit more like an earlier home computer game than the kind of game that started life in the arcade (there’s definitely a bit of the old “imagine if home computers could have matched the look of arcade games more” to it, and that’s kinda nice, really.), it doesn’t quite have the immediacy and flow of a coin gobbler, settling instead for a more sedate and measured pace.

Difficulty wise, it’s tough enough but not too taxing or brutal either. In the words of Goldilocks, “this one is just right”.

Which is a pretty good summary of how I feel about the entire package, I guess — Annalynn is just right. It looks great, sounds good, plays well. That’ll do me.

Annalynn | Nintendo Switch download software | Games | Nintendo
Chills! Thrills! Test your skills! Summitsphere presents… Annalynn from Cruise Elroy!

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Link: After 23 years, Starfield’s ancestor Noctis is still a vision of the future (Eurogamer)

Sometimes thick cloud cover plunges you into total darkness, and sometimes you’re treated to mountains and valleys chopped and chiselled by a sun that resembles a huge mural on a temple wall. Having touched the earth, you slide through the lander’s glass walls and head towards one of the terrain features you’ve identified, glancing back now and then towards the light beam rising from your landing site.


I always have time for people writing about Noctis, it’s an incredible feat of videogame making years ahead of its time, a breathtakingly singular and wonderful thing. A game of pure exploration and community logging, a gem that’s really unlike anything else still.

Nearly a quarter of a century on and it remains an awe inspiring videogame for me, much like Dwarf Fortress it’s one of the finest arguments there is for accessible and affordable routes to making and distributing games.

It’s hyper niche but all in, completely committed to its vibe and just so much the kind of thing that could never land out of a big studio, it’s just too weird, too intensely focused.

Ok, you caught me — I don’t just like Noctis, I’ve spent years admiring the fact that it ever came to exist at all and that it’s so uncompromising and focused on being what it is.

After 23 years, Starfield’s ancestor Noctis is still a vision of the future | Eurogamer.net
A retrospective article about PC and MS-DOS videogame Noctis, created by Alessandro Ghignola, in which players explore …

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