Electron Dance

Electron Dance Highlights

20Dec/190

Twilight’s Last Gaming 2019/1: Guildmaster Story

I don't do Game of the Year, but I can do the games I enjoyed the most this year. This is the first of four.

Guildmaster Story (WZO Games, 2019) is an honorary entry in this year's Most Enjoyed List because I lost the will to play after a certain point - but the Will O'Neill kept me going.

Guildmaster Story is a basic Match-3 game with a story told in cutscenes between the levels. I played on mobile which was a free-to-play affair with certain levels designed to encourage players to splash cash on powerups, otherwise you'd spend eternity trying to get lucky enough to make progress. The Steam version does not support the microtransactions, so it's probably less wearying.

But the genius here is O'Neill's blackly comic writing which translates Silicon Valley capitalism and the gig economy into a fantasy setting. For example, adventurers doing menial tasks for XP is a stand-in for interns who take no salary. There are some clever juxtapositions here and a real fire propelling it forward. Initially you're hoping that anti-hero protagonist Ganyo might turn things around and become a genuine human being but as the game progresses your dreams become much more mundane: you'll be satisfied if he suffers a horrible death.

Sure, some of the comedy is on the nose but it's so well done I wrote a month-long Twitter thread on the it. It even seems to taunt you for playing a game with microtransactions, you fool.

Guildmaster Story is available from Steam, Google Play and the App Store.

19Dec/190

Side by Side: Disobedient Sheep

Side by Side is a video series on local multiplayer games. This is the final episode of the fifth series.

Joel Goodwin of Electron Dance and Gregg Burnell of Tap-Repeatedly look after some Disobedient Sheep in Sickly Dove's upcoming local multiplayer sheepdog simulator. In the standard co-op mode, players endeavour to keep the sheep out of trouble. Trouble can mean boulders rolling through the field, anchors falling from the sky or - even better - some dynamite thrown amongst the flock. It seems someone is a little too eager for the silence of the lambs. Additionally, there are numerous competitive modes such as competitive survival, where you must bark your opponent's flock into danger, and King of the Hill.

Joel was so impressed with this back at EGX Rezzed he quietly shuffled it out of the Dabbling With series in favour of an exclusive, detailed look in Side by Side. Developer Laurie James was kind enough to send him a pre-release copy for the series.

From what we understand, the game was pretty much done when Gregg and Joel played it and it was slated for a September release. Some issues unrelated to the development have kept it in a holding pattern and we planned to wheel out this episode on release week. Sadly, it looks like the release has slipped into 2020 - but there's nothing stopping you adding this to your Steam wishlist!

If you enjoy the series, please like our videos and subscribe to the Side by Side channel. Although this is the final episode of the series, there will be a bonus episode in January.

Watch the video here or direct on YouTube.

12Dec/190

Side by Side: At Sundown

Side by Side is a video series on local multiplayer games. This is the fourteenth episode of the fifth series.

Joel Goodwin of Electron Dance and Gregg Burnell of Tap-Repeatedly go back to a game they encountered three years ago at EGX Rezzed - Mild Beast Games' At Sundown: Shots in the Dark.

Labelled a "hide-and-seek" shooter, players are invisible while lurking in the dark in this top-down multiplayer deathmatch. They can give away their location if they fire their weapon - provided a flash of lightning doesn't do it first. This makes At Sundown tense but when the tension pops, you often find players run around like headless chickens firing in random directions, desperate to fend off an invisible pursuer.

While At Sundown and concept-a-like Invisigun Heroes both entered the public consciousness in 2016, Kickstartered Invisigun Heroes beat At Sundown to release: Invisigun Heroes was done and dusted the following year while At Sundown just made it into digital stores this January. The two games are by no means identical but Gregg, having played both, admits he prefers At Sundown.

If you enjoy the series, please like our videos and subscribe to the Side by Side channel.

Watch the video here or direct on YouTube.

5Dec/193

Side by Side: Totally Reliable Delivery Service

Side by Side is a video series on local multiplayer games. This is the thirteenth episode of the fifth series.

Joel Goodwin of Electron Dance and Gregg Burnell of Tap-Repeatedly know you are terribly tired of seeing local multiplayer open world slapstick physics delivery games with wacky vehicles but, hey, here's Totally Reliable Delivery Service from We're Five Games anyway. Somehow, the Side by Side team barely scratched the surface of this one, more prone to exploration than getting on with, you know, actual deliveries. Really, take a look at this one because they had a right laugh. Oh and before you watch the video, please note the open beta is available on Steam right now for no pennies.

If you enjoy the series, please like our videos and subscribe to the Side by Side channel.

Watch the video here or direct on YouTube.

30Nov/199

Discussion: Expect the Expected

Welcome to the November newsletter (sign up if you want to read it):

Sometimes I think the worst thing that happened to Valve was creating Steam because it took all the artistic videogame fire out of its belly. Say hello to the sleek new Valve 2, videogame rentier.

Dear subscribers, if you feel like chatting about anything at all from the newsletter, please speak your mind in the comments here.

28Nov/190

Side by Side: On Trailers

Side by Side is a video series on local multiplayer games. This is the twelfth episode of the fifth series.

This time, Joel Goodwin of Electron Dance and Gregg Burnell of Tap-Repeatedly are having a fireside chat about trailers for local multiplayer games. They talk about trailers for games gathered from across the series and beyond - they travel from Sportsfriends and Hellfront Honeymoon to Botolo and Videoball. What gets the thumbs down and the thumbs up? And why? What's Joel's favourite local multiplayer trailer?

If you enjoy the series, please like our videos and subscribe to the Side by Side channel.

Watch the video here or direct on YouTube.

21Nov/190

Side by Side: Wand Wars

Side by Side is a video series on local multiplayer games. This is the eleventh episode of the fifth series.

This week, Joel Goodwin of Electron Dance and Gregg Burnell of Tap-Repeatedly have a real treat for you - Wand Wars from Moonradish. This beautifully polished game casts players as wizards or witches fighting it out for possession of the magical sphere, a weapon that gets progressively more dangerous with each throw. Is it a sports game? A PvP? Co-op? It is all these things and more. Wand Wars has an incredible amount of game content.

If you enjoy the series, please like our videos and subscribe to the Side by Side channel.

Watch the video here or direct on YouTube.

20Nov/1930

The Great Descent

This is the final part of the Subnautica Season. Spoilers ahoy! This follows The Glory of the Infinite Sea, on Subnautica enabling accidental discovery, Beautiful, on the real beauty of Subnautica's design, and Cold Metal, of my disappointment with base building.

What are we doing here? Why would anyone put themselves through this?

Silence engulfed the dead city block but the silence was not absolute. Sometimes I would hear the soft, yet threatening shuffle of rotten feet. Or the click-click of a giant spider’s legs tapping across cobblestones. Or the gibber-speak of a malevolent apparition.

The Haunted Cathedral level from the original Thief: The Dark Project (Looking Glass Studios, 1998) overwhelmed the player with dread and a terrible feeling of having passed through a veil that separates the reasonable, normal world from one into which no human should stray. This was not the first time Thief had conjured this atmosphere as Down in the Bonehoard had a similar ambience, but it had nothing on The Haunted Cathedral.

Of course, this is a recognisable trope, gaming’s take on Orpheus’ descent into hell to bring back Eurydice. The player must journey into a type of Hell to retrieve something of importance. Dark Souls has plenty of it but I am here to discuss Subnautica’s Orphean descent, in which the very depth of the ocean itself is terror.

I warn you, though, reader. Descend further into this bottomless trench of words and you will hear the screams of spoilers and the thunk of ALT+F4.

Read More »

14Nov/195

Discussion: Sausage Souls

Hark! the herald angels sing, "Glory be to the sausage king." Oh yea, I have completed Stephen's Sausage Roll.

I renewed my attack on the Sausage game for the Ouroboros-spinoff book I am working on. I knew I was missing something important and needed to address it. It is likely I'll dedicate a new essay in this book to Stephen's Sausage Roll but I thought it would nice to have a comment thread on it first.

These comments will be sausages all the way down and completely naked. There will be no ROT13 here.

I mean, if you like playing puzzles and you're wondering whether to play Stephen's Sausage Roll, here's my capsule review:

  • What a rush

If you want some detail, rando who is planning to play Stephen's Sausage Roll:

  • Be prepared for the occasional bottleneck, particularly The Great Tower
  • Do not judge a book by its first world, you're really playing for what the game becomes
  • It is a hard game but in a satisfying way
  • There are a handful of what feel like Monte Carlo levels (e.g. Wobblecliff) but generally you think the levels out, not guess
  • Do not read this thread or go looking for spoilers, because someone will spoil Dead End
  • You do not spoil Dead End
  • No, you really do not

Anyway, I think it's time to hand over to the comments.

14Nov/190

Side by Side: Daka Dara

Side by Side is a video series on local multiplayer games. This is the tenth episode of the fifth series.

This week, Joel Goodwin of Electron Dance and Gregg Burnell of Tap-Repeatedly take on their first digital board game, Daka Dara by Chris Fibsch, based on an old West African game called Dara. There are two phases to the game. In the first phase, known as the drop phase, players put out their counters one at a time in turn, preparing the ground for the second phase. The second phase is referred to as the "move phase" which is far too genteel a name. Joel prefers to call it COUNTER CARNAGE. Because it's all about COUNTER DESTRUCTION.

An interesting curio with music that wants to make you rip your ears off with a pair of pliars, it delivered a comedy Side by Side moment which never fails to bring Joel to tears. Although he does have to tell people which bit he finds hilarious.

If you enjoy the series, please like our videos and subscribe to the Side by Side channel.

Watch the video here or direct on YouTube.