Saturday, June 13, 2009

Platformer roundup

I thought I'd check out how Super Tux development is going. I grabbed the lastest svn, compiled, and performance was so abominable that it took me a minute just to quit. It didn't help that it was placed half-off the screen (probably because I have a dual screen setup) Super Tux used to run fine. I'll hold my hands up and say I'm using an nvidia chipset and the open source driver without any significant OpenGL Acceleration, but it's a 2D game. I hope they work on some kind of OpenGL-less fallback.

Mole Invasion

One little-known but very promising platformer is Mole Invasion. The website is mainly in French, but there is a dedicated English page. The game language defaults to English. The current release is version 0.4, and the first thing you notice is the Mario-like logo; obviously the inspiration for the gameplay. The second thing you notice is the performance - it runs great. It's really smooth, the animations are good, the characters move well, and there's plenty of variation. A lot of the levels are obviously made with testing in mind, and some of the graphics are still a bit raw, but otherwise it was a fun experience.

Mole Invasion feels like it is headed in the direction that Super Tux should have been. I can't help but feel that Super Tux development has significantly lost it's way. The first few post-GotM releases of Super Tux were very promising, and very well received. That was now several years ago, and little has changed for the better, some questionable decisions (move to OpenGL), and new milestones seem on the other end of a development void.

The Legend of Edgar

There's a new Parallel Realities game out. The Legend of Edgar is a platform game with a fantasy setting. I had a go with 0.1, which is playable with a single player storyline. For me, it suffers from the same issues I have with Blob Wars: Metal Blob Solid - the movement is just way too slow. It takes many minutes to navigate levels to the point that exploring a level is just tedious as you wait for your character to amble his way around.

Remember Frogatto is a old-style platformer starring an anthropomorphic frog, championed by the lead developer of Battle for Wesnoth? It celebrates pixels and thrives on cute blocky graphics. There are updated Frogatto builds for Windows and Mac from the weekend, although pious Linux users must compile from source. I couldn't compile it. I had previously, and it was looking promising! Anybody else managed to compile it on Fedora?


The next version of Widelands - based on the classic RTS gameplay of Settlers II - is fast approaching. "Build 14" will come with GGZ support, making it much easier to find multiplayer opponents. Map auto-generation, lots of other small enhancements, more campaigns and a better beta testing phase should make this the Widelands release well worth playing.