Flash Friday: Drop Dead 2

Note: I’m trying out a new rating system in this Flash Friday Review as I don’t think the 1-10 rating system works as well for Flash games. Tell me what you think of the rating system in the comments so I can decide whether to keep it or not. If I do keep it then I’ll probably go back and convert the ratings of all my previous Flash Friday reviews to this new system. Anyway, onto the review!

The Ragdoll genre is a relatively new genre in the history of video games. Mainly taking the form of an online Flash game, ragdoll games have you control, well, a ragdoll. There’s just some kind of odd joy in controlling a puppet and messing around with it however you like. Somehow, the mere movement of such a loose, limping, flailing fish of a simple ragdoll is enough to evoke the strangest happiness in the hearts of pretty much everyone. Most ragdoll games challenge you to do one thing, and one thing only: damage the ragdoll as much as is physically possible. Drop Dead 2 takes this idea to the most extreme level and revels in the madness it creates.

In Drop Dead 2, you take control, albeit, very limited control, of a puppet. You can only do two things, pull the puppet along with your mouse like a puppetmaster manipulating the strings, or make the puppet character jump. Your intention in doing this? To deal as much damage to the puppet as possible before you either run out of pulls, or they inevitably die. There’s just something undeniably fun about sending a ragdoll hurtling into some saws or pulling them into some bombs or continually firing a stream of cannonballs straight into their chest. Drop Dead 2 provides the tools you need and invites you to find creative solutions to getting the highest score possible.

There are a wide range of levels, each with their own objectives for you to complete. Getting a certain score, beheading the ragdoll, getting the decapitated head to a certain point on the map and dismembering all the ragdoll’s limbs. Some levels have a puzzle-like structure, requiring you to navigate your ragdoll around the map to get to an area where you can deal some real damage. Most are quite open and provide you with a number of methods for tearing apart your toy. Almost all of the levels are brilliantly creative and it’s clear a lot of work went into designing them. When you get tired of the creator’s maps however, the game allows users to create their own levels and share them for your enjoyment.

It’s highly unlikely you’ll ever get around to the user-created levels however as the game is positively bursting with content. There are six worlds and well over twenty levels each with the four objectives mentioned above. As you play these levels, you build up your total score which unlocks new worlds, more pulls, new characters and new modes. Oh yeah, did I also mention that there are several modes? These modes all use the same levels, but have different objectives and limitations to challenge you such as a Time Trial mode and a mode where you only start with one pull. Unfortunately, I didn’t play too much of these modes. There are no kind of rewards or even an achievement screen for completing these objectives, and the game is so repetitive that you will eventually tire of playing the same levels over and over again.

The characters provide slightly different playstyles but over HALF of them are blocked by a premium content wall. You also have the option to buy the modes with Kreds but you can unlock the modes just by playing the game. There is no way to get all the characters without paying Kreds which ruins the game slightly. Another problem with the game is the pulling system. Although it works most of the time, it occasionally stops mid-pull before working again causing me to pull the ragdoll the wrong way or completely waste a pull. Finally, the difficulty curve is very sporadic. I had the most trouble getting a high enough total score to unlock World Three. This was mostly in part to the unfair difficulty of World Two which contains a lot of water, which drowns your ragdoll, instantly ending that attempt if they spend too long in it. On the other hand, I unlocked the final world in a matter of ten minutes, barely expending any effort.

Overall, Drop Dead 2 is a solid game in the RPG genre. Despite its repetitive gameplay, it can still be a whole lot of fun and the creative levels can keep you hooked for a while. It’s just too bad that most of the characters are locked behind a paywall because it really could of given the game the extra life and longevity it sorely needs. Whether you are going to stick around for an hour or ten hours, this game will definitely provide the raw, pure fun that so many Flash games wish to achieve. A well known phrase is: “No pain, no gain”, and never has this been more true than in Drop Dead 2.

Pros:

  • Free(mostly)
  • Lot’s of content
  • Lot’s of replayability
  • Creative levels
  • Many different ways to complete level objectives
  • Dark, humorous style
  • User-created levels

Cons:

  • Pulling system can be awkward
  • Game is very repetitive
  • Sporadic difficulty curve(looking at you Waterworks)
  • Paid extra content

Masterpiece   Amazing   Worth your time   Average   Meh   Waste of time   Horrible

Gotham Episode 21: The Anvil or the Hammer Review

Season One of Gotham is almost over. After this episode, just one remains. Yet Gotham still has a lot of plot points and character arcs to wrap up in the space of a single forty minute episode. There’s Bruce’s investigation into Wayne Enterprises, Fish Mooney’s return to Gotham, Penguin’s quest for power and Nygma’s still has a dead body to dispose of. Not to mention, The Ogre case still has yet to reach its end. Will it play into the finale or end here? Resolving all these conflicts in such a short time is no simple undertaking. Are Gotham’s writers up to the task? Or will we be left woefully dissatisfied? Let’s find out!

This episode marked the end of The Ogre arc just in time for the Season One finale and I have mixed feelings about it. On the one hand, I liked the much more threatening nature of the villain. He wasn’t just some small, seemingly dangerous criminal who was caught and never heard from again within the space of a forty-minute episode. The Ogre was rich, powerful and overpoweringly menacing, managing to evade Gordon and Bullock for a total of three episodes. Not only that, but he forced Jim to take actions massively darker than what he’s usually willing to resort to. For the first time, we got to see Gordon crack; beating up a pimp he was interrogating, threatening Penguin and eventually shooting The Ogre without a second thought. His actions throughout the past three episodes, but especially this one, are hugely uncharacteristic for him. And with Penguin’s recent actions, it looks like it is going to be a while before Gordon manages to rise out of the darkness he’s up to his neck in.

On the other hand, however, Barbara. I’ve already ranted about her several times already but in this episode, she’s at her absolute worst. After being tortured throughout most of the episode, Barbara tells The Ogre to kill her own parents to save her own skin. Why did she have to pick her parents? The Ogre asks her who she wants him to kill so why didn’t she just say Jim Gordon as he was prepped for a conflict with The Ogre anyway. She seems quite disturbed at her parents’ deaths and then completely disappears at the end of the episode. Jim saves her and suddenly she’s gone. No talk with Barbara or anything, he just saves her and that’s it. Talk about a character just being a plot device. As well as that, The Ogre didn’t really go out with a bang or have a dramatic death. Harvey surprises him and Jim shoots him in the head while he’s distracted. For how much focus he, and this whole arc got, the payoff was massively disappointing.

As you can probably guess by the featured image, Nygma was a highlight of this episode for me. I’ve got over his sudden descent into madness in the last episode and now I’m just happy watching him continue to be a socially awkward scientist who also just so happens to be a murderer. Ed’s job in the GCPD is the medical examination of dead bodies for clues, so it only makes sense he knows a thing or two about disposing them. It was gruesome, yet also sort of funny when Kringle came in, saw the dead body and was completely unaware that it was her boyfriend, thinking it was just another corpse assigned to Ed to be investigated. Although I did wince a little at Ed bashing Officer Dougherty’s skull in, you have to admit, he was kind of an asshole. There are better people Nygma could of murdered.

After the fairly carefree previous episode arc for Bruce, he is faced with the consequences of his actions, or lack thereof. Firstly, after tripping a fire alarm and attempting to get some secrets out of Bunderslaw’s safe, he is caught red-handed and soon finds out Bunderslaw anticipated Bruce doing this. He tries to persuade Bruce to stop trying to find incriminating evidence on Wayne Enterprises and tells him that his father ceased trying to stop them after a while. After, he is taken out by none other than Lucius Fox! Lucius then tells Bruce that his father was a good man but he kept his best parts hidden. This doesn’t stop Bruce from getting angry at his father and eventually telling Alfred that he and Selina killed Reggie. Not that it matters. Alfred is surprisingly fine with the fact that Bruce assisted Selina in a murder and even tries to reassure him about his father. Alfred is a cool and tolerant character but even I didn’t expect him to have little to no reaction to this revelation. If Reggie’s death wasn’t bad enough, he know seems to be a trivial, almost pointless character which is sad because I really liked him in the few scenes he got.

Overall, the penultimate episode of Gotham did a decent job setting everything up for the finale. Penguin double-crossed some assassins and used them to set off a war between Maroni and Falcone in a shocking turn of events. The Ogre is now dead leaving Gordon and Bullock to focus their attention on this gang war; honestly, I’m glad The Ogre isn’t going to play a part in the final episode of Season One. Barbara is safe, unfortunately, and Nygma is descending into madness. All the chips are down and the stakes are the highest they can be. There’s just one question, lounging in the back of everyone’s minds. Where the hell is Fish Mooney?

Flash Friday: Relive Your Life

Life is a complicated matter. No matter how much control you think you have over the direction of your life, there’s always something that could blow you off course. It is inevitable and unavoidable that you will eventually find yourself in the eye of a storm or stranded in what seems like a dead-end job. While the relentless wind can be a good thing, pushing you towards success, it can also just as easily cause a shipwreck; one which you might never recover from. As Forrest Gump from the famous movie of the same name said: “Life is like a box of chocolates. You never know what you’re gonna get”. So, what’s the harm in getting in a bit of practice? Relive Your Life allows you to do just that, albeit with some trace elements of fantasy.

In Relive Your Life, you, as the title implies, relive your life. You do this through a number of simple minigames. They may involve simply pressing the ‘x’ key repeatedly, inputting a specific sequence of keys or typing out sentences without making any mistakes. It’s not exactly the pinnacle of gameplay but it doesn’t matter all that much as you’ll be entertained enough to not really care. At least until you have to repeat the same minigame 20+ times to reach a different ending. There are a total of twenty-nine endings which would only be a good thing if you could choose where to start your next life on something like an extended timeline. If you want to get all the endings then you’re going to have to play through the same ‘x-key-spamming’ minigame over and over and over again; a total of twenty-nine times. It just isn’t that fun any more after the first five times and that’s one of the biggest problems with Relive Your Life.

There’s no real way to fail the minigames. Sitting completely still and drinking a cup of tea while waiting for the timer to go down is a perfectly viable option. Instead of just ending your game there and forcing you to repeat the minigame once again, your life story simply takes a different turn. For example, in the first minigame, you’re challenged to mash the ‘x’ key to keep a female sperm from invading your egg so you can stay male. If you do nothing then you’ll just grow up as a female and if you resist but fail, you end up as a weird amalgamation of boy and girl. This can also be a bad thing however. The game isn’t exactly clear on how many ways you can fail or succeed a minigame or even where the paths to all the different endings are. It’s possible you could not realise about the amalgamation route and spend ages trying to figure out where the other ten endings are, getting frustrated and exiting the game.

Easily the best part of this game is the course the story takes, the humour, and the awesome animation that goes with it. The animation is pretty nice and it’s narrated by Egoraptor, a legendary animator who’s had a large presence on the Internet since Newground’s infancy. Almost all of his lines are in rhyme which gives the game a certain charm and coerces you into playing all the endings. This goes hand-in-hand with the game’s humour, which, while not enough to warrant a laugh, did entertain me greatly. It’s these features that give you the spirit to keep playing and find all the endings which will take you a good while; an hour, at least.

Overall, Relive Your Life is a game that could of benefited greatly from just a couple more days development time. The simple addition of a feature that would allow you to skip to any point in the game would of worked wonders, and given me more reason to get all the endings. Considering you can watch all the endings on Youtube, there isn’t much incentive to complete it. Nevertheless, Relive Your life is a fun, little experience that you won’t soon forget. To you, I make this straightforward bet.

Pros:

  • Free
  • Good animation
  • Decent Length
  • Lot’s of replayibility for a Flash game
  • Multiple endings

Cons:

  • Have to repeat minigames over and over again to get all endings
  • Have to start from the beginning to get to all the endings
  • Game is not clear on where some of the choices are

Verdict: 7/10

Play the game for free here: http://www.kongregate.com/games/fr0z3nf1r3/relive-your-life

Gotham Episode 20: Under the Knife Review

Barbara. Why the hell did it have to be Barbara? I thought we were past this Gotham. I thought this wouldn’t happen again. Don’t misinterpret what I’m saying, I don’t give a crap about Barbara’s well-being. In fact, it’s quite the opposite. But having to endure just another scene or two of her is like continually scraping my face against a cheese grater. Yes, the Ogre made a mistake and targeted Barbara this episode instead of Leslie. In a way, I suppose it’s a good thing. With luck, maybe she’ll be killed off and we’ll never have to suffer her character ever again. Maybe the pain right now will be worth it. She had a few minor appearances in the last few episodes but it seemed that the writers of Gotham were trying to silently and subtly sweep her under the rug and get rid of her once and for all. I certainly wasn’t expecting this, even going so far as to write this mini-rant as my first paragraph instead of trying to think up some deep, detailed paragraph about a theme of the episode; that’s the reason, I totally haven’t hit some writer’s block. Anyway, I’ve got that out of the way, now onto the review!

The episode started very strongly with Jim getting hit in the face with a phone by Leslie. Gordon tries to convince Leslie to leave Gotham once she finds out she will probably be targeted by The Ogre, but of course she refuses. As I said above, there are many scenes with Barbara and The Ogre and by the looks of things, he thinks Barbara is ‘the one’ he is looking for. I really don’t want to talk about this any more but they end up going to a charity ball and the episode ends with The Ogre showing Barbara his ‘Fifty Shades of Grey’ fan room.

Meanwhile, Gordon and Bullock do some digging, interrogating the first cop who worked on the case and finding out his first victim was a nurse at a cosmetic surgery clinic. The Ogre makes a pathetic attempt on their lives by trying to run them over before threatening Gordon with the death of his lover if he continues investigating. Of course, Gordon isn’t deterred and ends up holding a press conference to tell him he isn’t going to back down. They stop a man related to The Ogre from hanging himself and find out he had a hideous disfigured face and the ‘unconditional love’ thing was caused by a woman he loved refusing to accept that she was his biological mother. I’m glad we’re getting a bit of backstory for The Ogre and some method to his madness even if I’ve found him a bit of a dull villain so far. Gordon ends up finding that his next victim is Barbara but is too late to warn her before the episode’s cliffhanger. There’s only two episodes left of Season One so I hope that this case is either solved quickly or plays into the finale somehow because I don’t want the first season to end on such a disappointing note.

It took an entire season but we’ve finally got the start of a character arc for Ed Nygma, also known as The Riddler… and part of me wished he could of stayed as an innocent side character. Ed has been one of my favourite characters on the show, and after this episode… nothing has changed. Inevitably, he was going to have to start turning into The Riddler at some point. There was some great foreshadowing at the start with Nygma stabbing some melons in different places in aid of the investigation and at the end of the episode, we saw him putting his skills as a surgeon to further use. His relationship with Kristin Kringle has been brewing in the background for a while now and in this episode, it finally came to a head. In an attempt to stop Kringle’s boyfriend abusing her, he ends up losing his cool, something that almost never happens, and stabbing him to death. His “Oh dear” was a bit of an understatement. At the very least, he had noble intentions in what he was doing, and Kringle’s boyfriend was a bit of an asshole. It probably won’t have too much of a focus considering we’re nearing the finale but I was surprised by this sudden development in Ed’s story; in a good way.

Bruce and Selina shippers will be pleased massively by this episode. The episode starts dark enough with Bruce shouting at Selina for pushing Reggie out of the window in the last episode. I seriously don’t know how she puts up with his shit. They have differing views but he can be such a whiner sometimes, even if I like his character. Later on, they go to the same charity ball that Barbara and The Ogre are attending. Yes, you read that right; Bruce took Selina to a ball. It is later revealed that Selina is only going so she can get close to a Wayne Enterprises executive and steal his safe key to help Bruce but I’m pretty sure Bruce had some other, ulterior motives, if you know what I mean. Although I personally don’t ship them, it was a nice moment and it’s good to see them together and not being chased by assassins or murdering homeless former SAS soldiers.

This was a pretty entertaining episode overall. Nygma finally got some attention and it had some horrific consequences. Gordon and Bullock continued with their investigation into The Ogre and found out just how formidable their foe really is. Finally, Bruce and Selina had some cute moments while making some progress in their mission to expose Wayne Enterprises. While this is all well and good, there’s just one question: How is this going to tie into the finale? Ed could of benefited more from having his breakdown earlier in the season or earlier next season and Bruce and Selina’s arc doesn’t link in with the main story arc at all. And where the hell is Fish Mooney? I hope this Ogre case isn’t going to be the entire finale because it would be quite a lukewarm way to end the season. Maybe I’m just blind and this is building up to something much bigger that will ensure the first season of Gotham goes out with a bang. All we can do now is wait and see.

Top Five Worst Passives in SMITE

Passives aren’t a very noticeable part of a god’s kit. I’ve already talked about this in my ‘Top Five Best Passives’ list I did around two months ago and I’ve noticed something. When a passive is good, most of the time it’s almost completely ignored. Some are more obvious like Jing Wei’s Rapid Reincarnation but for the most part, passives are either completely unnoticeable or built into a god’s kit so integrally that it’s stretching the limits of actually being a passive. On the other hand however, when a passive just isn’t that great, when it’s effect is so minuscule it may not even exist and makes the god look like a laughing stock, it is very noticeable. Well, in a weird sort of way. You still don’t really notice it there but you can feel its effects degrading your god and you can’t help but look at the passive meter and ask yourself “What do you even do?”. A simple look at the skill screen reveals the root of the problem but doesn’t do anything to fix it. So today, I’m going to be looking at the five passives that I personally think are the worst in SMITE. Maybe you can get some use out of them, but to me, the passives on this list range from bad to borderline pointless. Besides, you shouldn’t have to actively try to use a passive.

#5 Thor-Warrior’s Madness

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If I asked you what an assassin’s job was, what would you say? Probably something along the lines of “a fast and lethal glass cannon who’s primary focus is finishing off lone gods”. Thor’s passive may make him even more of a glass cannon, but it doesn’t really help with the second part. Warrior’s Madness completely contradicts Thor’s role as an assassin, giving him an extra ten physical power for every god within thirty units of him. This suggests that Thor is supposed to take on multiple enemy gods at once, when that really isn’t a good idea, even with his burst due to his squishiness. It isn’t necessarily bad, it’s just very situational, only helping if he encounters a group of very low health gods. It would be a lot more useful if it was protections instead of power but alas, it isn’t, and for that, Thor get’s the Number Five spot on this list.

#4 Ravana-Chain of Blows 

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Coming in at Number Four is Ravana with his Chain of Blows. For every eight basic attacks Ravana lands, he gains a shield equal to 5% of his maximum health that can stack up to three times. This seems good at first considering how warriors can rely just as much on their basic attacks as hunters, but its effects are so minor that it may as well not exist. First of all, 5% of your maximum health is near nothing and will very rarely save you from death. Secondly, eight hits is a lot, even if you have high attack speed and in a fight with another warrior, I often don’t even build up the stacks once, yet alone two or three times. Finally, trying to build it up before a fight with the enemy gods is often fruitless as minions have completely destroyed it every time I’ve tried. This passive could greatly benefit from a shield increase as small as 5%, or a reduction in the amount of basics you need to land. It’s still very rarely useful, and although that isn’t much, that’s why it gets quite low on this list.

#3 Izanami: Death Draws Nigh

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Izanami’s passive is quite similar to Thor’s passive in that it’s very situational and provides the exact opposite of what you need in a bad situation. Death Draws Nigh gives Izanami 4% physical penetration for each 15% of her health that is missing. This wouldn’t be that great on its own if it provided physical power, but it provides physical penetration. Why would you need that when you’re close to death? 95% of the time, it’s going to be a killing role chasing you down with little to no protection meaning most of the time, it’s going to be completely useless. At least Thor’s passive has a use, even if it isn’t the one you need right then. And for that, Izanami’s passive is Number Three on this list.

#2 Nox-Flame of the Night

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This will probably be the most agreed upon entry on this list. Nox’s Flame of the Night get’s Number Two on this list for a large number of reasons. The boost of 3% extra magical power for every ability cast is puny and only stacks up to 12%. As well as that, all it takes is a single hit from an enemy god to get rid of all of Nox’s stacks. Even for a back-line mage, that’s absolutely ridiculous. It’s near impossible to completely avoid damage meaning her passive can be easily shut down before she has even started using it. While Nox may be a powerful god overall, it’s generally agreed her passive is pointless. If you can get any use out of it, then you are truly a master at playing Nox.

#1 Sylvanus-Nature’s Protection

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I love Sylvanus. Just thought I’d get that out of the way before I tear his passive to shreds. Seriously, I love playing him, but his passive is absolutely pathetic and I wasted no time in choosing it as the worst passive in the game. I’ve never once seem it come in use, heck I don’t even think I’ve seen it activate. “Enemies that successfully land a melee basic attack on Sylvanus have a 25% chance to be rooted for 1s. This may only happen once every 12s.”. Let’s take this passive step-by-step and look at all the things that make it bad. ‘Melee’-The attack has to be melee, not ranged, meaning it’s completely worthless against mages and hunters. ‘25% chance‘-So the odds are the passive won’t even activate? This better be an amazing passive. ‘Rooted for 1 second’-Okay, so it roots them for an incredibly short amount of time? Well that’s underwhelming. ‘may only happen once every 12s’. You’re kidding me right? The passive was already incredibly bad as it was, now you’re limiting it to the point where it’ll probably only activate once per fight?

As you can see, Sylvanus’ passive is limited to the point where it’ll rarely ever prove any use and the use it does provide isn’t even very good. I’ve got Sylvanus at Mastery IV, playing over twenty games and I’ve not once seen it activate, let alone prove useful. Sylvanus is a great god overall, but he unquestionably has the worst passive out of every god in SMITE.

 

So that was my ‘Top Five Worst Passives in SMITE’! I hope you enjoyed reading this! If you disagree with any entry in this list, then that’s completely fine. Feel free to leave your own mini list in the comments as I’m interested to hear what you all think.

Flash Friday: Super Duck Punch

Would you rather fight a horse-sized duck or one hundred duck-sized horses? Would you rather fight a hippo-sized hamster or fifty hamster-sized hippos? What about a hydra with giraffe heads or a giraffe with a hydra head? These are the deep, philosophical questions that Super Duck Punch presents you with. Would the horde of tiny beasts overwhelm you? Or could the morbidly giant and aggressive duck take you out with a single flap of its mighty wings? Whichever you end up choosing, Super Duck Punch doesn’t go easy on you. And these fights are simply the warm up. The starter. The tutorial. Many more bloodthirsty abominations await you, teeth bared, eyes glaring and many heads swinging in anticipation of their next kill. How do you prepare for this sort of thing? How can you even hope for a chance of victory? The answer is a simple one my friends. Punch the everlasting shit out of whatever crosses your path.

Super Duck Punch is a simple game. You start the game and are presented with a choice: ‘Would you rather fight a horse-sized duck or one hundred duck-sized horses?’. After making your choice, you are thrown into an arena to fight your chosen opponent. There isn’t any sort of complex strategy or confusing mechanics to wrap your head around. You punch the thing(s), and it’s fun. You can move around and use Z, X and C to jab, punch and kick respectively. Jabbing is fast, but doesn’t deal much damage, punching deals more damage but is slower and kicking… well, I never really found a use for kicking. Apparently you’re supposed to use it to knock enemies into the air but that’s nowhere near worth it when kicks are slow, deal so little damage and often miss their target completely. Hitboxes can be frustrating at times in Super Duck Punch, and all the time if you decide to utilise kicking.

As you punch without getting hit yourself, you build up a combo which seems to slowly raise the damage you deal to enemies. You can build up a combo without hitting the enemies at all which can be a way of exploiting enemies. In the easier battles, you can exploit enemies, and they can also exploit you. One time, I punched a hippo-sized hamster from full to zero health without giving it a chance to retaliate due to my knockback. Another time when I fought two hippo-sized hamsters, they exacted their revenge by piling on top of each other and spamming their teeth gnashing attack. Invincibility frames simply don’t exist in Super Duck Punch. In one of the hardest battles I charged the enemy only to get knocked down and repeatedly knocked down by an onslaught of enemy attacks until I was down to zero health.

You may think I’m making the combat in Super Duck Punch out to be bad but it really isn’t. Although it mostly boils down to continually pressing Z and X, it’s still pretty fun. After the first three battles, you can choose which fights you want to do in whatever order you like, but it’s suicide to try the later fights early on. After every fight, you get points that you can use to increase your attack, health and revival health. When you die, you enter a quick minigame where you have to stop an arrow in the red area to be revived. It gets harder with each successive death, and after three deaths you get no more revives meaning you aren’t invincible if you’re really good at timing your button presses.

The graphical style and the monsters themselves are the best parts of this game. For a Flash game, Super Duck Punch looks futuristic with the detail it contains. The game doesn’t use many words as the simple concept and design of the beasts and main character is humorous on its own. There are no other games you can refer back to when you proudly announce your duck-maiming skills to the world, it’s truly unique in appearance. Unfortunately, the game is brought down slightly by the somewhat premium extra content. Extra punch damage and a survival mode is locked off for anyone who’s not a registered Kongregate user and an extra set of battles is sealed unless you’re at least Level Two on the site. The survival mode doesn’t matter all that much, you can only fight horses and the only reason to play it is if you care about high scores as there is no sort of reward for playing it. Although I’m a Level Fourty Kongregate user so it didn’t affect me much, the extra content feels cheap and unfair on those who just want to have some duck-punching fun, especially the extra punch damage.

Overall, Super Duck Punch may not be as revolutionary as its appearance may make out, but it can’t be denied that it’s still a whole lot of fun. It’ll keep you occupied for an hour or so and a fun-filled hour it will be. It may have a lot of problems in the end, but there’s really no other game like it online, no, scratch that, in the entire game’s industry. Punching may not be the solution to everything, but that doesn’t change the fact that it’s overly satisfying… especially when the victim of your pugilism is a duck.

Pros:

  • Free
  • Neat graphical style
  • Humorous tone
  • Ridiculous enemies
  • Combat is bare-bones, but fun
  • Upgrades give a feeling of progression

Cons:

  • Registered user exclusive content
  • Kick is very ineffective
  • No invincibility frames
  • Combo builds even if you don’t hit enemies
  • Not much point to survival mode

Verdict: 7/10

Play the game here: http://www.kongregate.com/games/kongregate/super-duck-punch

Gotham Episode 19: Beasts of Prey Review

By simply being in Gotham City, you are standing on some very thin ice. You are agreeing to live in a colony of cutthroats, criminals and gangsters, some of them living no more than mere houses from you. While it may not seem like it on the surface, Gotham is an ant hill of tunnels, all closely interconnected like a network. No matter how much you may deny it, how much you may tell yourself it’s not true; you’re a part of it too. Jim Gordon just wants to solve his next case, another small yet important step towards making Gotham city a better place to live. Like always, he expects some degree of danger, but he has no idea of the hornets nest he’s plunging himself, as well as others, into. Everything you do has a consequence, and you’re not the only victim. After all, there’s only a slim sheet of ice separating you from the vicious sharks below… and not much pressure needs to be applied for it to crack.

When I was greeted by the familiar face of Jim Gordon at the start of this episode, I expected Jim’s arc this episode to sail the recognisable and weathered course it almost always sails. How wrong I was. A police officer who looks up to Gordon tells him about a case he might be interested in solving. Surprisingly, Jim was hesitant to look into it at first but eventually he agrees to give it a look. Much of the evidence is missing but after Jim sets Nygma on the case, he solves the riddle like he always does and makes a shocking discovery. Bullock is horrified and tells Gordon that they’re dealing with a deadly serial killer known as ‘The Ogre’. Somewhat of a ‘Jack the Ripper’ of the modern era, ‘The Ogre’ only targets women. Instead of simply killing them, he holds them in captivity for varying amounts of time before eventually taking their life. Harvey then begs Gordon to drop the case as ‘The Ogre’ is known for getting back at the people who try to stop him by choosing their lovers as his next target.

We learn more about ‘The Ogre’ mainly through a number of flashbacks throughout the episode. Personally, I don’t really like the villain so far but my mind could easily be changed in future episodes. While the flashbacks we do see are horrifying revealing him to have kept the last of victims for over a month torturing them with some real-life ‘Fifty Shades of Grey’ searching for his “true love” the concept seems stupid to me. Bullock mentions that the reason his case hasn’t been closed yet is because of the whole ‘your lover will be next thing’ but what if the cop that tries to hunt him down doesn’t have a lover? I can dismiss this because of how corrupt and uncaring most of the cops in the GCPD are but I still think the quirk to him isn’t all that interesting and is most likely going to be used to further the plot. The arc ended(well, not really) on a high note with Gordon threatening Loeb right in front of his fellow officers after he found out the policeman that asked him to investigate the case was sent by Loeb to try and get back at him for taking his daughter hostage in the previous episode. Gordon may be a hard-ass most of the time, but he can also be just as badass as Harvey sometimes.

Apart from that, Fish Mooney finally executes her plan to escape the Dollmaker this episode. After stepping outside and meeting ‘The Catcher’, the island’s guard, she realises there are only two ways off the island: a boat and a helicopter. Quickly, she formulates a way to escape and boy is it awesome when she executes it. First of all, she persuades the toughest bruisers in the basement she needs them to escape. When they make their break for it, she tells them she’s sentimental and is going back to get Kelly while they get to the boat. When they come to a locked gate, they realise Fish lied to them and was simply using them as bait for ‘The Catcher’. As they’re gunned down, Fish, Kelly and a bunch of prisoners from the basement get to the helicopter and manage to escape, not without sacrifice however. Mooney was unfortunately shot while piloting the helicopter into the air. While the jailbreak was exciting and enjoyable to watch, if Fish dies now this entire arc has been for nothing. Hopefully she’ll be back in Gotham for the finale because although she isn’t the best character, it won’t be the same without her.

I was delighted to see more of Reggie this episode… at least for a while. Alfred wanted to go deal with him but was too injured from the stab wound to do so. Bruce decides to go with Selina and carry out Alfred’s will before Reggie skips town. The confrontation is somewhat dramatic, but chilling nonetheless. They steal his medicine to get him to talk and tell them Wayne Enterprises are the ones who hired him. After Selina throws it out the window, it lands on a nearby ledge and as he tries to reach for it, Bruce gets ready to push him out. When he hesitates however, Selina pushes him out instead, killing him. I like the development this shows in Bruce. He’s certainly got more mature and gutsy throughout the season but he’s still a long way away from being a cold-blooded killer. What was once a whiny, emotionless kid is now starting to look and act more and more like the Batman. Isn’t enough to stop my anger at Reggie being killed off so soon though.

Overall, this was a pretty good episode though not as good as the previous episode in my opinion. The pacing for the start of Gordon’s arc was painfully slow, Reggie was killed off like I feared and Penguin was condemned to the simple act of breaking a guitarists fingers and buying a bar so he can make an attempt on Maroni’s life. However, Mooney made a daring escape, we got some backstory for what could be an interesting villain and we got to see how Bruce has evolved this season. Everyone is rapidly converging on what could be a spectacular finale, and I can’t wait to see what happens next.

Gotham Episode 18: Everyone Has a Cobblepot Review

Knowledge is power. No matter how strong you are, how brave, how loyal, how influential you are, you are always susceptible to someone else’s knowledge. The tiniest morsel could completely ruin you, expose your true nature and go as far as causing the end of your life as you know it. Knowledge is control. Being able to use this knowledge to manipulate others can make you a near untouchable puppetmaster, keeping others on a tight leash through fear. You may think there is nothing that can stop you, forgetting that one important fact: knowledge is a two-way street. Before you know it, everything you had built, everything you had worked for is torn down by the very foundations it is based on. Like a God, knowledge is just as good at destroying as creating. An equilibrium of might. Everything you’ve done will soon come bouncing back, a karmic retribution for your crimes. Knowledge harbours great potential; but also great danger.

There are a number of reasons the GCPD are corrupt but in this episode, we find out the main reason is blackmail. We get a bit of continuity from a few episodes back. Arnold Flass, who I had almost forgotten about and never thought would appear again has returned thanks to the influence of Commissioner Loeb. Hopefully this means the same is true for Scarecrow(seriously, what happened to him?). Obviously, Gordon is furious, even more so when he finds out Loeb got him out thanks to a witness: Harvey. After confronting him, Gordon finds out that, in the GCPD, ‘Everyone has a Cobblepot’, including Harvey. Everyone has a man that they killed to save their own hide and Loeb knows every single one. Harvey’s never really been much of a lawful character, and now we get to see just how dark his past was. Like Gordon, he was once a law-abiding, good cop as we saw in ‘Spirit of the Goat’, but even he caved in to the corruption eventually.

Gordon’s response to this is surprising to say the least, but I loved it! Firstly, he teams up with Harvey, Dent that is, to try and get some information, but after being met with failure and some very angry chef’s with knives, he gives in and works with Bullock again. Then, he goes to see Penguin, and after some negotiating and the promise of a favour, Cobblepot joins and points them to a suspicious farm. I absolutely adored this team up and hope they team up more often because the result is the stuff of legends. After a brief skirmish with a farmer and his wife, they find that Loeb is keeping his daughter, responsible for the murder of his wife in the attic. Jim then turns this around on Loeb is a surprisingly dark twist, threatening to hurt her if Loeb doesn’t do what Jim says from then on and imprisons Flass once again. At the end, Gordon gives Bullock his file, setting him free of Loeb’s tyrannical grasp. Overall, I greatly enjoyed this story arc. We got to see a darker side of Gordon, more development for Harvey and Jim’s relationship as partners and it’s impossible to not want to see more of Cobblepot. Gotham has definitely stepped up its game.

Apart from that, we got a glimpse of the horrifying and ghastly with Fish still held prisoner by the Dollmaker, albeit in a more comfortable way. She wakes up to find that the eye she ripped out in the previous episode has been surgically replaced by someone else’s blue eye. The Dollmaker is impressed by Fish and says he will allow her to work for him provided she return his guard and manages to get some prisoners so he can harvest their parts. To give her some more incentive, he shows her one of his more… gruesome creations. The manager who failed him with his and other people’s body parts mish-mashed together in a macabre amalgamation of organic flesh. After seeing this, Fish easily retrieves the guard and some prisoners, including Kelly, the one who stood by her from the beginning which really made me hate her. She justifies this, saying that she said that not everyone would escape alive so whether she’s just looking out for her own hide or this is part of some bigger plan remains to be seen.

Bruce doesn’t get much attention in this episode but we do see a bit of him dealing with the aftermath of the attack. When Gordon stops by at the start of the episode, Bruce is prepared to tell him about Reggie before Alfred interrupts saying that he couldn’t see who it was that attacked him. Bruce decides to play along and then asks why Alfred doesn’t want to reveal it was Reggie. Apparently, Alfred wants to deal with him himself as Reggie is his friend which is quite a badass reason. Although we saw no more of Reggie this episode, it looks like he isn’t gone for good which I’m happy with. Finally, Selina appeared and apologised to Bruce for smashing the snow globe and telling him that he wasn’t her friend. While I feel that Bruce got over it pretty fast and Selina’s action seemed quite pointless in the end, it was still a touching moment and I’m glad that Bruce and Selina’s friendship isn’t over.

In conclusion, ‘Everyone Has a Cobblepot’ has certainly raised the bar and is several steps above the last two episodes. Gordon, Bullock and Penguin all got significant roles in the main story arc but there was still plenty of time for Fish, Bruce and some more minor characters. Even Harvey Dent made an appearance after his disappearance in ‘Lovecraft’, though Gordon really should of known better than to trust him after that. This episode highlighted the changes and development the characters have had over the course of the series and did a good job of it. Season 1 is rapidly approaching its finale and tensions are rising. I just hope all this character development doesn’t mean some of the characters will be killed off. I simply can’t imagine Gotham without Harvey.

Flash Friday: Frontier

The Wild West genre seems to be gaming genre that is oft neglected by developers. Apart from Red Dead Redemption, no Wild West games, at least no substantially popular ones, come to mind. Despite this, it is one of the most adventurous gaming genres you could possibly play. Images of riding a horse around the vast, endless desert, gunslinger duels and skirmishes with Indians instantly come to mind. Yet there’s a part of this genre that is even more unexplored: the lives of the traders and bandits and all the people in those times who miraculously were not cowboys or some kind of native tribe. It was explored in the retro, educational game ‘The Oregon Trail’, but that was over 40 years ago and we have yet to see a game that offers the same experience… except maybe Frontier. The game I’m going to be talking about today allows you to live the life of a simple civilian, starting from near nothing, on a quest to make it big, through a number of ways. There are opportunities aplenty in this promising land that are just waiting for the right people to seize them.

You start the game on a simple customisation screen. You can change the look of your character a bit and also have six points to spend on four different stats: Trade, Travel, Defence and Attack. Defence and attack are self-explanatory but trade affects how low prices are for items when shopping and travel prevents you from running into bad situations while travelling. After that, you’re given a bit of backstory before being immediately thrown into the world. There isn’t much of a tutorial to speak of but there doesn’t really need to be. While the collection of menus may look daunting at first, it doesn’t take long to get the hang of it and start your endeavour.

There isn’t really a set goal in Frontier. Of course, there are quests and a large helping of achievements but apart from that, what you do is completely up to you. An open-world Flash game is something I never thought I’d see. The basic premise for surviving in this intimidatingly large world is to buy trading products such as grain, bronze, iron and the like then travelling to another city or town where you can sell them for profit. You then use this money to buy materials to upgrade your vessel so you can carry more and travel with more mercenary’s that you hire in taverns. Travelling between cities isn’t a cakewalk however. Along the way you’ll run into buccaneers, mercenaries and enforcers who can be enemies or friends depending on how you play the game. Buccaneers attack on sight, enforcers ask to search for illegal goods you might be hiding and mercenaries are a neutral party.

You can join either the enforcers or the buccaneers if you wish to, and will receive quests from them to increase your rank in the guild. These can range from travelling to certain cities to getting your reputation(think karma from Fallout) to a certain point to fighting enemies for your guild’s cause. The battle system is simple and based mostly on luck. In a battle, you can either attack, turn autofight on or flee. Whether you hit an enemy, how much damage you deal and whether you can escape an enemy is almost completely based on chance. You can increase your chances by equipping your party with better weapons and upgrading your vessel but in the end, the game’s random number generator is the ultimatum. I didn’t have too much trouble with it but it can nevertheless prove frustrating. It’s no fun whittling down a tough enemy to one health point only to have them escape from you on their first try putting all your efforts to waste.

A nonsensical part of the game is how pointless the reputation system and guild systems are. Apart from being objectives for quests, the reputation system doesn’t seem to play any part. Even if you’re on -50 or lower reputation, you’ll still be welcomed into towns, mercenaries will happily pass you by and enforcers with kindly ask to check your cargo. Making your way up the ranks in a guild doesn’t change much either. Whether your the guildmaster of the enforcers or a high-ranking member of the buccaneers, enforcers will still check your cargo. Buccaneers will still attack their own guildmaster as well meaning ranking up in a guild is pointless except for the achievements. I ran into a number of glitches while playing as well which is to be expected in this big of a game. Sometimes I would skip battles altogether or be able to move forward despite an enemy being right in front of me. The worst glitch I encountered however was when, for some reason, I couldn’t travel any further leaving me in an endless loop travelling the desert.

In conclusion, Frontier is probably the closest a Flash game has ever come to being open-world, bringing both positives and negatives. Being so big and ambitious, you can expect glitches aplenty. However, there is also a great amount of detail with each city having their own, short description and history with different climates and amount of crime. If you’re looking for a Flash game to sink a lot of time into, then look no further than Frontier. It’ll keep you occupied for quite a while with its simplistic yet mind-numbingly satisfying gameplay. The Wild West has never looked so big and promising.

Pros:

  • Free
  • Lot’s of replayability
  • Plenty of achievements
  • Nice, thematic music
  • Game is quite forgiving in terms of difficulty
  • Loads of content for a Flash game
  • Attention to detail in the world(cities)

Cons:

  • Very glitchy
  • Repetitive gameplay
  • Gameplay primarily based on luck
  • Reputation and guild status doesn’t affect encounters

Verdict: 8/10

Play it here: http://www.kongregate.com/games/armorgames/frontier

A Look Back at One of the Best Servers On Garry’s Mod: GMod Tower

It’s been quite a while since I last talked about the source engine phenomenon that never dies: Garry’s Mod. For those who have been living under a rock, Garry’s Mod was a game created for the Source Engine all the way back in 2004. Despite being well over a decade old, the game managed to attract a large amount of people and the community is still very much active today. What you do in Garry’s Mod is up to you, it’s a sandbox and the majority of maps, gamemodes and creations have been birthed by the game’s immortal community. I last talked about the game when I listed some of the best gamemodes the game and its community has to offer.

If you’ve been an avid player of Garry’s Mod for the past three to ten years then you probably noticed that I missed out a server so massive that it has been immortalised in the history of Garry’s Mod. If you somehow missed the title, the game I’m talking about is, of course, GMod Tower. One of the largest and most ambitious gamemodes/servers to ever be modded into the game, GMod Tower allowed players to login to a server with sixty three other players to engage in a variety of activities. It’s almost a standalone game in itself, and now, it literally is. On the 8th of April 2016, GMod Tower closed its doors forever to make way for its sequel: Tower Unite. Although Tower Unite is a great game-I mean, I funded it on Indiegogo-it just doesn’t have the same feel or sense of nostalgia and community that GMod Tower had. So today, I will be giving you a look back at GMod Tower. What it was, what made it so great, the rise and fall of the server and everything in between. This is a look back at the social gaming legend that was GMod Tower.

What was GMod Tower?

GMod Tower was a server… well, really a collection of servers. There was a main hub or lobby of sorts where you could connect to a variety of separate gamemodes which linked to the main server. While in the lobby, you weren’t simply waiting however, you had your own suite in the tower that you could decorate to your heart’s contents, a sweet boardwalk, a working in-game cinema, a whole bunch of shops, a casino, a nightclub and a battle arena. Even when you weren’t visiting any of these places, you were hanging out with friends or complete strangers. The community was one of the best and most tight-knit I’ve ever seen. I even heard about a person who met their future husband on GMod Tower! Anyway, let’s go over everything you could do in more detail.

Gamemodes

Ultimate Chimera Hunt

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I’ve already been over this in my ‘Top Five Best Garry’s Mod Gamemodes’ list so I’ll keep it brief. One player plays the chimera and has to try to eat all the pigmasks. Everyone else plays a pigmask and has to try to stop the chimera. There is only one way to stop it however, pressing a button on its back. This gamemode was easily my favourite on GMod Tower. You were forced to communicate and work together with complete strangers to succeed and the frantic, frenetic gameplay this provided is unforgettable. No one game was ever the same meaning it held the most replayability for me. Thankfully, there are still separate UCH servers up despite GMod Tower being shut down making it the only gamemode that you can still play on an online server after GMod Tower’s end.

Minigolf

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This should be pretty self-explanatory. GMod Tower had its own version of Minigolf with dozens of wacky, well-designed courses that could keep you occupied for hours. Of course, it would be boring and take too long if everyone took it in turns so everyone does the course at once. Due to the fact that this gamemode gave the most virtual money, it was the most popular and you’d often find yourself putting with over fifteen other people at once which got pretty crazy.

Zombie Massacre

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Zombie Massacre was probably the most underrated game on the server. You often had to wait a while to get into a game with some people, but when you did, a collection of captivating carnage awaited you. You chose one of five classes: Doctor, Mercenary, Electrician, Journalist and Survivor. Then, you participated in, well, a Zombie Massacre. You picked up weapons, used special abilities and fought bosses in some frenetic, fast-paced gameplay that never got old. It was a competition for points and a team-based survival game at the same time that constantly kept you on your toes in anticipation of the next zombie or mutant.

Virus 

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Inspired by the multiplayer gamemode in the FPS Timesplitters, Virus had you outrun a different kind of zombie. While they were still easy to kill, these zombies could infect you simply by running into you. One person is infected at the start and it’s their job to infect everyone else. It may seem easy at first, but after the first couple of people got infected, it was often absolute chaos as the scales slowly tipped in the infected’s favour. You dreaded seeing that warning message: “You are the last survivor” as it meant you were in some serious trouble. You loved running through a group of survivors infecting over half of the people in the game at once. You revelled with every infected kill you managed to rack up. The constant tension Virus managed to supply has never been matched for me. I sorely miss hiding in a corner, waiting, shotgun raised for my doom to come… because I can’t aim for shit.

Source Karts

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Source Karts was the newest gamemode to be added to GMod Tower and although it certainly needed a lot of work and way more than ONE collection of courses, it was still incredibly fun. To put is simply, it was Mario Kart in Garry’s Mod. You raced through a Mario Circuit inspired map firing rockets and beer at your opponents to get ahead of the game. At the end, you participated in a battle, again similar to Mario Kart, where you each had three lives and hit each other with items until you were the last one standing. It’s too bad Source Karts was incomplete, but it was nevertheless entertaining and ruined friendships just as good as Nintendo’s franchise.

PVP Battle

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My least favourite gamemode on GMod Tower was PVP Battle, but that’s probably due to my stubborn dislike of First Person Shooters in general. Fortunately, it was inspired by one of the few FPS’s I like: Timesplitters. Even someone as bad as me could have some fun with the varied armoury of weapons. It was hilarious to launch myself at an enemy with a sword and start slashing like there was no tomorrow, or break out the dreaded… toy hammer! And no-one can forget the joy that was shotgun jumping. It’s a testament to how awesome the server is when it can make me like one of my least-favourite gaming genres.

Ball Race

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Like most of the gamemodes in GMod Tower, Ball Race was inspired by a well-known game: Super Monkey Ball. The game is relatively simple. You manoeuvre your way through some startlingly well-designed maps, through pipes and launchers, through loop-de-loops, working together by pressing buttons to demolish obstacles. As well as this, you collected banana’s along the way which donated to the amount of GMC you received at the end. Some of the maps could be frustratingly difficult, but there was enough variety to keep you coming back for more.

In the Lobby

Suites

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As a reward for playing and doing good at the various gamemodes, you got GMC or GMod Coins. There were many things you could buy with it, but first and foremost was furniture for your suite. You got your very own mini-yet-not-so-mini room in the tower which you could decorate to your hearts content. Not only that, but you could also invite friends round or have a party where everyone drunk beer and vomited all over your sweet pad. Radios allowed you to stream music in-game and you could use TV’s to stream Youtube videos meaning parties could get pretty crazy. Some of the furniture, such as trampolines or pianos were also able to be interacted with. So much work went into this part of the game and honestly, it still would of been amazing if the game was just the tower and lobby surrounding it.

Casino

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While not the most popular area in the lobby, the casino was certainly a fun place to hang around in. I’ve never really liked gambling but I still managed to have a grand old time playing Poker with other players on the server. I lost badly, but I was having so much fun that I didn’t really care. There was also your typical slot machines and a wheel of fortune that only seemed to land on 1 GMC. Finally, a battle arena lay through a door at the back where you could challenge other players to duels with a number of different weapons.

Nightclub

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Just next to the casino was the Pulse Nightclub. Although there wasn’t much to do in there and it was scarcely populated, it was one of my favourite locations. You just got to hang around, spam the dance emote and drink way too much beer to the point of vomiting or your untimely death. Streaming music was incredibly easy and it was always nice to find new favourite songs and share your own with the server.

Arcade

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This part of the server was unfortunately not finished by the time it shut down but there was still arcade machines in the theatre and an arcade in a previous lobby. Here you could play flash games such as Fancy Pants Adventure or the flash version of Portal. There was also a Trivia game which I never really got to play as it was always broken. It may seem like a pointless addition, but it was nice for aesthetics and it’s hard not to get addicted to playing Tetris, especially when there are spectators cheering you on.

Theatre

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GMod Tower made further use of its streaming plugins in the theatre. Here, you could enter videos into a queue so you could show them to whomever else was in the Theatre with you. Everyone else could also enter their own videos into the queue meaning you never knew what to expect when you went through to one of the screens. The first lobby also had a space theatre which was too cool for words.

Shops

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There were a number of shops selling a variety of goods in the lobby. Of course, there was the furniture shop where you could also buy posters of various games and the like. There was a toy store(pictured above) that sold pets as well as toys, a music store where you could buy instruments(some of which actually worked), an electronics shop and a player customisation shop. You could customise your character to a ridiculous level with a massive amount of player models, hats, facegear and potions that had strange effects such as making your character really small. That’s not even counting the special items you got for gaining certain achievements such as the pigmask player model.

Boardwalk

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Finally, there was a boardwalk; complete with a beach, swimming pool(with rideable inflatable hoops) and a ferris wheel. Riding the ferris wheel and looking into the picturesque sunset was something I liked to do to relax, and riding the inflatables around the pool and down the slide was fun when you were waiting to enter a game. As you can see, GMod Tower was full to bursting with things to do, which is why I spent well over 100 hours on the server. Let’s take a look at the history, creation and shutdown of GMod Tower!

GMod Tower Timeline

Creation

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GMod Tower was created by four people: Maclin D. Guy, the one who originally came up with the idea, Mr. Sunabouzu, the modeller and mapper and Azuisleet and Nican, the programmers. The development for the first version of GMod Tower took almost three years, from December 2006 to the 24th of July 2009 when it was first released. Initially, the launch was incredibly popular and within hours, thousands of people were scrambling to get onto the one, singular server, forcing Garry increase the player limit on a server from 64 to 128. At release, there was only two gamemodes to play; Ball Race and PVP Battle which is a far cry from the seven gamemodes the server had before it shut down.

First Shutdown

The server went on for two years before suddenly closing on the 1st of January 2012 with no clear indication whether it was going to be coming back or not. Of course, this caused quite the stir and many people were left unhappy upon finding this out. Fortunately, they didn’t have to wait long for the server to return! On the 17th of April 2012, GMod Tower returned with even more content than it had previously much to the joy of its fanbase and community.

End of Lobby 1 and Release of Lobby 2

Eventually, after another three years, GMod Tower moved on to even greater things. Although I had(and still have) a lot of love for the first version of GMod Tower’s lobby, it was certainly starting to show its age. So, on the 8th of February 2015, Lobby 1 closed its doors for good, going out with a large bang. A countdown timer was displayed at the top of the screen, ominously counting down, and as the time of reckoning drew near, weird things started happening around the tower. Signs for the various areas of the tower started glitching with the characters constantly changing more and more rapidly. Intense music started playing with increased urgency. Eventually, everything exploded and a flash of white light, people screaming “LAAAAAAAA” in the background of seemingly no reason. Lobby 1 was gone, and Lobby 2 had come to fruition.

Permanent shutdown

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Unfortunately, this age of bliss could not last forever. On the 10th of April 2015, Pixeltail Games as they had come to be known, revealed their next big project: Tower Unite. This was to be a standalone version of GMod Tower, no longer bound by the limits of the Source Engine, new and improved in the well-known Unreal Engine. The creators pleaded for people to donate to a Kickstarter, and later an Indiegogo when that didn’t reach its set goal. Sadly, with the creation of Tower Unite came the consequence of having to say goodbye to GMod Tower forever. Hosting all the servers was expensive, and Maclin D. Guy said that if they allowed it to continue running, it would be a direct competitor to their new, standalone game. And so, a year later on the 9th of April, after 7 years, GMod Tower closed its doors forever to make way for the release of Tower Unite. Thus ended an era.

The Future and Tower Unite

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You may be asking yourself “Well, why is it such a big deal if it was adapted into Tower Unite?”. Well, while I have a lot of respect for the developers of Tower Unite in their choices, Tower Unite just isn’t GMod Tower. It’s missing that nostalgic, authentic Source Engine feel, that sense of community that made it so special. The release of Tower Unite seems to have torn the community apart rather than have brought it together like the developers intended. For a start, there’s the obvious separation of a price tag. While you did need to own a copy of Garry’s Mod to play GMod Tower, the mod itself was free and Garry’s Mod is much cheaper than Tower Unite. I backed the game on Indiegogo so I received a copy of the game through code but here’s where the next problem comes in. A toaster could run the Source Engine, but you need an absolute beast of a computer to run the Unreal Engine, especially considering the game isn’t very optimised in its current state. Even on my new, more powerful computer, on the lowest settings, the game is barely playable, often going no higher than 15 FPS.

Finally, there’s the fact that people can make and host their own servers now. While it’s a nice feature, it means players are more likely to just create a server and play with a few friends rather than join an official server meaning the servers are sparsely populated. On top of that, all the player models, items and posters that belonged to game or movie franchises are now gone because of copyright. It just doesn’t feel the same any more, it feels like an artificial copy of its former self. I may not like Tower Unite, at least not in its current state, but don’t let that deter you from playing it. The developers are very active and dedicated and the game is updated quite often. If you’ve never played GMod Tower and have a good computer, you’ll probably like it a lot more than me.

Conclusion

So that was an overview of the amazing Garry’s Mod server that was GMod Tower. If you’ve never played it, then now you know just how unique and awesome it was. I hope you enjoyed this post and don’t mind something a little different from what I usually post. If you can, I recommend you support the creators of Tower Unite by purchasing it, as they have put a truly massive amount of work into it. You can buy it here: http://store.steampowered.com/app/394690/Tower_Unite/