Each week our resident Indie Gamer Nicholas takes a look at a different Indie Game that you may or may not have heard about. Join him on his adventures as he sifts through the rubbish to find The Indie Game of the Week.
Today, we're going to shift gears a bit and profile something just a touch simpler. This week's Indie Game is called Jack Lumber; it's developed by the same fine folks who brought us Snuggle Truck. Jack Lumber is, at its core, a game about chopping wood. That might not sound all that exciting, true...but neither does cutting apart fruit. Fruit Ninja, anyone?
To be honest, that was the comparison I kept making while playing through the game- though there are a number of mechanics that separate the two titles from one another. When all the logs are tossed up on the screen, the player holds down 'shift' to slow time. At this point, the wood-cutting begins; this involves using your mouse to draw a line through each log to chop it apart. There are several different 'types' of logs, each one requiring a specific cut to break apart. a cross-shaped log, for example, will require you to chop first down, then across. Missing a log or cutting it in the wrong fashion will cause it to fall listlessly to the ground; you won't get points for it as a result.
Logs can also be 'chained' together if you manage to chop them in one continuous line. This provides a hefty bonus to your score, so it's something you're going to want to do as often as possible. Of course, there's a bit more to it all than this - but I'll let you figure out that part on your own.
Towards the end of each stage, an animal will be tossed up into the logs. Letting your mouse touch it will give you an instant game over, and force a restart. Avoid it, and you'll complete the stage. The furry little critter will be equipped with one of three different 'types' of banners based on your score: Bronze, Silver, or Gold. At that point, you'll find it back in your cabin. I've yet to figure out what purpose these animals actually serve.
Completing stages (and 'challenges,' structured as "Granny's Errands") allows you to gain lumber points. These points can, in turn, be used to purchase upgrades, including new stuff for your cabin, special items to help you better chop wood, and new beards. It's a fairly simple mechanic, and one common in these types of games.
In addition to the simple-yet-addictive gameplay, Jack Lumber has a rather amusing sense of humor. The whole premise of the game is that Jack's granny was killed by a tree, which, taunting him, made its way off into the forest. Using his supernatural powers, Jack decides to go on a roaring rampage of revenge, chopping down the entire forest (but not hurting the animals!) until either the tree that killed Granny is firewood or no trees remain...whichever comes first, really.
I'll admit, it's not a game for everyone - if you're looking for something with a bit more meat - an RPG or a roguelike - Jack Lumber probably isn't going to float your boat. If, however, you're looking for a simple way to waste a few hours, this one's just the ticket. You can pick it up for $5 on the Steam Store. It may be simple, but it's also masterfully done: a surprisingly deep, entertaining romp through a woodland filled with angry trees.
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Dungeons are a staple of the MMO genre; large-scale challenges requiring co-operation and co-ordination between anywhere from five to a few hundred players to adequately complete. Of course, not all are created equal, and some stand head and shoulders above their peers. Today, I'd like to tip my hat to those few legends, those instances that'll stick with us for years to come as shining examples of how to do dungeons right.
Ten Of The Best MMORPG Songs Ever Heard
In many ways, an MMO is only as good as its music. Many of the best and most memorable moments in an MMO invariably have a song associated with them; a piece of music which brings the memories flooding back the moment it reaches one's ears. Today, I'd like to pay homage to some of those songs - and some of those moments. Here, for your listening pleasure (and in no particular order, I assure you) is a list of some of the best songs ever heard in an MMO.
Facebook's Purchase Of Oculus VR Isn't The End Of The World
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Six Reasons You Should Be Playing Dark Souls II
I've been playing a lot of Dark Souls II lately - and you should be too. Say what you will about the game's flaws, it's still arguably one of the best action RPGs released in the past several years. If you're up for a bit of a challenge, it's well worth the buy. Don't believe me? Let's talk, then.
Eight Reasons The Elder Scrolls Online Will Be Awesome
As you're all no doubt aware, The Elder Scrolls Online - currently in open beta - will be launching in a few months or so. In light of both the new release date and all the hype surfacing around it, I've decided that, over the next two weeks, I'll be looking at all the reasons to look forward to it...and all the reasons we shouldn't.
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People are dicks - particularly on the Internet. While that shouldn't come as any great surprise, occasionally we come across someone whose level of sheer dickery reaches legendary proportions. As we move into 2014, let's take a look at a few such individuals from the previous year.
Censorship Spells Trouble for League of Legends Patcher
Internet filtering has been a hot button issue for the past several years. With the slow gutting of protective measures like Net Neutrality, and with governmental powers seeking an end to online anonymity, it's rather harrowing to see the slow progression of political and social policing of the internet. Recently, after about a year of lobbying, the United Kingdom enacted a piece of legislation that many have come to call the "UK Porn Filter." What the filter requires is for British ISP's to implement filters and controls, which are on by default, that will block access to "violent material," not imited to "extremist and terrorist related content," "anorexia and eating disorder websites," and "suicide related websites."