Free Realms Will Cost You

Well, time that is. Sony’s kid-friendly and FREE MMO starts today. You can head on over and signup.

It’s an MMO that uses a ton of mini-games and card games for…fun? I’ll at least give it a try. Now, this is a launch day. Don’t expect to play today.

Such is the norm with any launch anymore.

Timeless List: Warning Forever

Warning ForeverThere are a few games that I keep on my “list”. These are games that no matter what, when I reinstall my OS or upgrade my computer they are the first things to be installed. There’s a criteria that these games have to meet: replayability over more than 18 months, easy to pick up but difficult to master, and cause me to stay up all night on more than two occasions. So far, only two titles make that list, but I’ve now added a third. Last Friday, it met the 18 month requirement.

I introduce you to Warning Forever.

I don’t know what it is about this game that keeps drawing me back to it. It’s perfect for killing some time on a break at work and it’s also great for getting lost in immersive, repetitive gameplay. What makes this shooter unique from most other games is that it’s a game of bosses. Yes, you read that right. There are no wave after wave of peons. Just bosses. More accurately, you could say that it’s a boss that learns.

The player has a certain amount of time to defeat the boss, you’re also penalized for dying. The boss certainly isn’t. Every time you face him, he evolves to best suit your playing style. Keep attacking him from the front and the next evolution you face will have more armor in the front. If he kills you with rockets during one phase, you can be sure that he will have stocked up on more rockets next time around. Basically, he adapts to your strengths and preys on your weaknesses.

This type of responsive AI really causes the player to have to think ahead strategically. Do you widen your attack radius and cause the boss to armor up all over, or do you narrow your attack to certain areas? Do you attack from the side, front, or behind? Maybe you decide to circle the boss? Whatever you do, you get a sense over time that you are playing a real entity. (Which might be a good indicator that you need to stop).

There are nine possible evolution paths with subpaths under each evolution for the boss. This mathimatically tranlastes to fifteen or sixteen levels you face before reaching the end. I’ve only gotten to twelve. Needless to say, it gets intense. It’s also different eact time you play.

The game can be customized is areas of time, lives, and other options such as sudden death. There’s a high score list as well as a neat feature of using your own MP3s for music. For a simplisticly styled game, the vector graphics hold up well, even in this day and age of Geometry Wars style gameplay. The control scheme may turn players off, actually, because it does take three to five playthroughs to get a feel for it. However, it’s a lot like riding a bike. It just simply clicks and you’ll see how intuitive the control really is.

Here’s the best part: it’s FREE. It was programmed by Japanese developer Hikoza T Ohkubo and is available on his website. It’s a small download that’s great for running of a USB stick. Don’t tell the devloper, but if he sold it, I would most definitely pick it up.

(Thanks to Wikipedia for the image of which I slightly edited).

BONUS: Be sure to check out Ray Hound as well.