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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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Play This! Murtop

Beautiful bum bombing bunny brilliance! – David Darling, probably.

I’ve been looking forward to getting my hands on Murtop since the press release landed in my inbox a while back. These days with only having a small audience and not much energy I rarely push to play something early but I’ll admit, Murtop had me tempted for a while. Luckily, I managed to distract myself playing Zaga 33 for a ridiculous amount of time so the wait for Murtop’s release could have been worse.

Good news though! I’m happy to report that Murtop hasn’t disappointed me in the slightest. I kinda love it.

It’s Dig Dug x Bomberman, not in an abstract sense or a tenuous comparison, it is pretty much that. If you’re familiar with Dig Dug, the stage set up is instantly recognisable, just rather than having a lead with an inflation fetish, the main character in Murtop is a bunny who craps bombs (this is canon btw) and the bombs explode as they would in Bomberman. Dig Dug x Bomberman!

It’s a crossover that really works for me. I like but don’t love Dig Dug because I find the inflation stuff slows things down a wee bit too much for my impatient tastes and I like but don’t love Bomberman because it’s a wee bit too chaotic (or at least it is playing it with my kids). Murtop finds a nice middle ground between the two by taking the bits of each game I like the most and cobbling them together, slowing the parts that are a bit too fast and speeding up the bits I find too slow. And putting a bunny in it, obv.

Took me a few goes to get used to the timing (it’s tight) and to stop blowing my bunny up with its own arse but now I’ve settled into a nice rhythm on it where I’m dying correctly now – by my own complacency and daring rather than my own exploding anus – I’m starting to chalk up more points as I go and we all know what points make, yeah? (Prizes, it’s prizes)

Also, it’s really gorgeous. I’m rather fond of additional palettes in new arcade games on the best of days but the ones in Murtop are especially nice. The first couple on offer are fairly standard inclusions but the latter half of the palette choices do a great job of echoing a bunch of different arcade vibes. Good enough that I’m finding I enjoy switching them up between games rather than settling on just the one favourite as I invariably do.

Look, I don’t get to say this often enough but this is Locomalito levels of fantastic new arcade fun. Honestly, I haven’t got any greater praise than that.

I’m playing on Switch, other versions are available. Go play.

Murtop – Flynn’s Arcade Publishing

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