Words cannot explain my current state of shock. I have found two, yes two, games that are worth your hard earned dollars this week. Right now is a pretty hectic time for releases as Tomb Raider and God of War Ascension spin around in peoples consoles, with Bioshock Infinite looming just around the corner. But in what little downtime you can manage, I’ve found a digestible chunk of pixels (and voxels) that could be enough to suit your fancy.
Ah, the idea of a procrastinating squirrel. It’s that simple imaginative thought that made me purchase Procrastinating Squirrel and looking back, I regret nothing. In this overlong adventure, you play as a squirrel who is readying up for the forthcoming winter. Before winter comes along he must gather 300,000 nuts which he does by digging in all directions, picking up cashews, frozen cashews, strawberry nuts, acorns, and other assorted nuts. The idea of Procrastinating Squirrel is obviously very simple and widely used, but due to the price tag and likability of your poorly animated squirrel, I couldn’t help but enjoy my hour or so with the game.
The carrot on the stick that pushes you forward are the enticing upgrades you gain by spending your accumulated nuts. Those upgrades include a better shovel, a bridge, and larger storage space. After a while (and by while I mean around twenty minutes), however, digging up and down the map looking for nuts becomes a boring task to continue. Apart from the eventually tedious gameplay, Procrastinating Squirrel features some very distinct music. Sadly, distinct doesn’t always mean good. At first, the harmless chimes and hums are quite pleasing to the ear, but the more you play on, the more these repeating tracks begin to feel like nails grinding on your ear drums. Procrastinating Squirrel is the most fun I’ve ever had with a squirrel, take that for what it’s worth.
Voxel Runner is a pretty well-known game around this crazy thing we call the internet. Thankfully, developer Dizzy Pixels decided it would be smart to place their product on the Indies marketplace, a move that made my job a bit more enjoyable. In Voxel Runner, you are a simple man running from left to right, making jumps and slides to eventually reach the next checkpoint and unlock whatever ability the game has under its increasingly larger sleeve.
Similar to Procrastinating Squirrel, Voxel has some very unique music that integrates into the gameplay very well. Similar to the recent release of Runner2, the jumps you are forced to make in Voxel are all set to the pulsing beat being pushed out of your television. Unlike Procrastinating Squirrel, though, Voxel Runner’s music only adds to the energetic adventure that you are forcefully pushed through. Voxel Runner isn’t something you can spend too much time with, you know, seizures and all, but it’s definitely something that provides a good deal of fun in condensed play sessions.
Look, I know at this point to never expect much heading into any indie game. But I’ll admit it, coming off these past two indie games, I had some excitement bubbling up that I may be able to write an article where I enjoyed all three games I purchased. Ball Guy was not having an inch of that positivity. In Ball Guy, your beloved protagonist is of the rounder shape and must venture into the forest to… Pick up scrolls or something? There’s a story, it has poorly written dialogue and even worse looking art. I’m sorry to disappoint, folks.
Ball Guy’s idea of a puzzle is simply battling the poor d-pad controls to navigate your way around the screen and collect scrolls. Navigation is performed by flying around on your jetpack, which relies on the aforementioned d-pad. The scrolls, obviously, contain interesting facts that we all desire. For example, the smallest and dirtiest man hasn’t bathed in 58 years. Oddly enough, these scrolls are the only interesting thing to be found within Ball Guy. I’ll admit that at times, I even worked a bit harder to see what the next irrelevant fact contained within the next scroll would be. I think that’s a positive?
Pick ‘em up: Procrastinating Squirrel (80 Points) and Voxel Runner (80 Microsoft Points)