With your host, Rob Remakes

Tag: Ratalaika

Zeroptian Invasion

You know, I was absolutely convinced I’d put words down on Zeroptian Invasion some time back but perhaps I should have double checked that one sooner because no, no, I had not.

I am really fond of Zeroptian Invasion.

I’ve long nurtured an appreciation of the single screen shooter, from Space Invaders, Galaga and the usual suspects through a whole bunch of home computer games, PD, homebrew and indie titles. In my old age, I’ve lost none of my love for the things and Zeroptian Invasion is no exception.

The opening stage presents the player with a really quite lovely Space Invaders-esque game in a gorgeous 70’s arcade meets ZX Spectrum style. Over the course of a fair handful of stages, it adds a wee bit more complexity to the mix, not a great deal because the game stays wonderfully true to its aesthetic and videogame inspirations, but certainly enough to ensure that it keeps the player on their toes.

Think a modern Gorf, you know? It’s that sort of deal.

It’s the kind of game that had it actually existed in the eighties, I’d have fallen in love with it pretty easily and would probably bend your ear off over even now. Given I’m still every bit as awed by similar games today as I was then, it was pretty easy for me to fall in love with it now, nevermind.

It helps in no small part by it being an absolutely gorgeous game! The sprite work is often wonderful and I’m a real sucker for the bezel artwork too.

I’ve been playing it on the PS4 and Switch. Other formats are available.

Super Destronaut DX 2

I’m not saying I really enjoyed the first Super Destronaut or anything but the time from spotting Super Destronaut DX2 had launched on the PlayStation store to me scraping together a few quid to buy it could be measured in minutes.

I can’t say I was disappointed either.

A chaotic scene from Super Destronaut DX2, amidst a shaking screen and chromatic aberration, the player's spacecraft destroys one of an incoming wave of colourful glowing enemies.

You can probably see why, right? It glows.

It’s a game that doesn’t need much of an explanation, it’s a very traditional shoot ’em up, think somewhere between Space Invaders and Imagine’s Arcadia (you can pick which format) – waves of enemies find their way onto the screen, you shoot them. That’s the deal, that’s as much brainpower as you’ll need.

Because everything is super big and super chunky, it looks absolutely fantastic in motion. It’s far, far, far from the most challenging game ever made (the other one, really) so it very quickly turns into a game of sitting back and enjoying the light show as the firework-like explosions tear across the screen.

A screenshot from Super Destronaut DX2. An almost Factory Records yellow border surrounds a play area, the play area is a wireframe landscape with wireframe structures in the distance. At the forefront, waves of very colourful, very chunky simplistic pixel enemies are blown apart by the player's chunky rocket ship.

Much like other Petite Games stuff, Super Destronaut DX2 manages to hit a lovely sweet spot of just enough challenge to feel like I’m in control of the action and way more than enough shiny to satisfy my flashy-light addiction. It rarely demands too much of my skills but really appeals to my love of glowing pixels.

There’s a couple of modes to mix things up a bit, nothing drastic (best score possible in X minutes and the like), more than enough to stop me getting bored and I am, as anyone who has played stuff I’ve worked on before now, certainly a fan of that sort of bite size arcade gaming so it works for me.

All told, it’s a very Rob-will-like-this game and indeed, I do like it. A lot.

As usual, I’ve been playing the PS4 version. Other formats are available. I can’t really see there being much difference between them.

Micetopia

Not too far into Micetopia on the PS4 at the mo but it’s such an absolutely lovely looking videogame*. I really, really, really detest “metroidvania” as a term and probably due to both being British and old, find little meaning in it as a touchstone, but that’s the term the publishers want applying to Micetopia so okay. It’s one of them.

Note to self: come up with an 8 bit home computer related term next time I’m bored.

A forest scene from Micetopia. A mouse leaps from a platform in the woods, a rabbit with a spear waits across the other side of the room.

Micetopia is bloody hard, mind. I’ve met my maker a few times already.

Not that I mind too much though. There’s not really that much of a penalty for it — getting dropped back to the hub might be a problem in a bigger game but that’s not Micetopia. It’s got a really old game feeling to it too as it resets rooms once you leave them, so if you’re so inclined you can always do a bit of grinding for coins or (if you’re anything like me) just replay the room for no discernible reason.

A cave scene from Micetopia, there's a dragon in there.

Anyway. The most important thing you need to know about Micetopia is the town hall in the village has a bell on it that you can ring and seriously, it makes a really satisfying ding. I hit that bell quite happily for five minutes straight and yes, that’s it, that’s the stuff.

Ding!

*yes, that’s also the sole reason I bought it. Look at the pretty meeses.

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