Crimsonland is a top-down shooter produced in 2003 by 10tons and focuses on nothing but killing. Pure, raw, uncensored killing. No such bothers as story or lore.
The game is split into 2 big types of gameplay:
– The Quests – Basic arenas where you have to kill the enemy until the progress bar on the top of the screen is filled. There are 6 chapters, each containing 10 stages. Each stage unlocks a weapon or a perk that can be used in the Survival modes.
– Survival – Split into 5 gamemodes, the Survival gamemodes have one thing in common: Fight until you die. These are: Survival, Rush, Nukefism, Weapon Picker and Blitz. A 6th but hidden gamemode is called Gembine and is similar with a flash game called ‘2048’. To activate the last mode, go to Extras, Credits and type in ‘gembine’.
There are several types of enemies in Crimsonland that the player will face, including zombies, spiders and some sort of fast demons. Each enemy has a different moving pattern, HP and damage so don’t take them all lightly.
As weaponry you get to choose between various types like pistols, ak47s, miniguns, plasma weapons, flamethrowers and even a gauss rifle. These, besides the pistol, usually drop from the killed enemies, but there will never be 2 dropped weapons at the same time. The second on the list are the pick-ups. Quite a high number of types of power-ups are available for the player and all of them are unlocked from the very beginning. You get to nuke enemies, freeze them for a few seconds, overcharge your weapon so that it shoots faster and the reload speed is also increased or even shield and heal yourself.
Last, but not least are the Perks, that can be used in a few of the Survival modes. The perks usually include low-risk bonuses, but there are also a few high-risk ones. For example, there’s a perk that will leave you almost dead but it will allow you to choose 3 more perks; another one takes away 1/3 of your life in exchange for 2/3 damage received further on from the enemies.
Before the re-vamp of the game, there was a survival mode that greatly remembered of the ‘Typing of the Dead’ videogame, called, typ’o’shooter, where the player stood stationary in the middle of the map, equipped with a shotgun. Enemies would appear from all the sides, each having a letter or a group of them above their heads and you hadh to type those in order to kill them and survive yourself.
5. Pixel Piracy
Pixel Piracy is a 2D beat’em up game where you play as a pirate and your task is quite simple: defeat, conquer and search for treasures. The game starts with you choosing your environment and the first perk, leaving you after that almost completely on your own, with a subtle tutorial on how to move and interact with various objects and people.
There are 4 types of encounters you will get on your journey:
‘Towns’ – Where you can recruit new pirates, buy food, maps, skill books, ornaments or ship components, ship weapons and ammo for them, utilities for the vessel as well as potions and weapons.
Islands – Where you can find random enemies or animals which can be captured, chests, on the ground or buried.
Small Islands – Usually you see 1 or 2 ‘hobo’s’ as the game calls them. Usually harmless.
Ship Encounters – You can encounter randomly or choose to encounter various pirate or company ships which you can destroy or conquer after you kill all those aboard. Destroying the ship earns you an amount of money as well as some parts of it which can be used to customize your own.
Each pirate can be leveled up through fights, by performing learned skills or with the help of items. The skill points can be shared between 6 stats, each improving the little pirate in a certain way. You can also equip the pirates with 1 melee weapon and a ranged one. You can obtain the weaponry either from dead enemies or if you bought them from the shop. The weapons can also be leveled up the longer they’re used or with the help of grindstones. Also, each pirate can learn a maximum amount of 14 skills (more than that glitches the game).
The skills can include special attack moves, poop cleaner, improvement at sailing, map reader or even using the cannons for an advantage before boarding the islands or enemy ships. You can split the pirates in multiple groups, each having his own task. For example: The Boarders will always focus on conquering the other ships, the Gunners will always use the cannons while the Ship Crew will take care of the ship: Cleaning the poop, repairing damages and so on. You can control multiple groups at once, so for example you can ask the Boarders and Ship Crew to attack a ship at the same time.
Pirates have 3 stat bars: One for HP, one for Hunger and the 3rd one for morale. While the health bar can regenerate itself, it can only do it effectively based on the food status. An up kept morale will refrain your mateys from mutinying on your ship. Morale can be kept high by paying them their salary or by giving them certain morale boosting items like bras.
They can be fed by either letting them go to the Tavern if the visited city has one (If there is one, your sailors will go there directly without you giving them the order) or by placing food on the ship while it’s anchored. Fruits will also keep them healthy besides just having a filled belly. The ultimate goal in the game is to defeat the 4 legendary pirate crews that can be found at each of the corners of the map
As a warning, beware if you get over 20 sailors in your crew: The game will suffer massive framedrop up to the point where a fight between 25-ish pirates of yours versus at least 15 of the enemy boat will result in a 3 frames per second battle due to the multitude of sprites existing on the screen at the same time.
4. Torchlight 2
Called by many the rightful successor of the 90’s RPG game ‘Diablo II’, Torchlight 2 continues on the story about an evil bent on corrupting the world. You play as a new hero-in-the-making, launched directly in the middle of the enemies. After passing through 2 maps you finally reach a safe city and the real quest begins.
Torchlight 2 is a top-down RPG with a fantastical theme. There are 4 character classes, each one with its own skill trees. While the skill trees are unique to each class, the items are completely available to every class though some of them will favor some of the classes due to the character stats requests. The clothes can also be seen on the character as they are used.
Almost each of the items will have 2 kinds of requests before they can be used: you either have to reach a minimum level or have a minimum amount of skill on a trait. Besides getting to choose your characters looks and class you can also choose a pet that will help you along the path. You can issue it 4 commands: Attack, Stay Passive, Stay Defensive and Go Sell/Shop.
In order for it to go selling you need to drop the unneeded items in its inventory slots and as for buying, there’s a special tab that allows you to choose up to 4 types of items to purchase, and also the amount of the needed items. If you give it items to sell while also you send it to buy, the pet will use the funds received from the selling first.
In addition to the skill trees, you can find and use pergaments to get special spells, like summoning entities to defend you or shooting fireballs. Another type of scrolls are the one-time use kind, explicitly for discovering the properties of an item or teleporting yourself back to a city (and then back from where you left).
Besides the skill bar you can bind the left and right click from your mouse to any spells or attacks and even potions you wish, for an easy fight. The skills residing in the bar can be changed or interchanged at any time to suit your desires. Your pet can also utilize any pergaments you choose and will activate them whenever it sees fit.
It also can wear things like collar, tags, rings, necklaces, etc. If the pet’s health bar depletes it will run away for a brief moment, until the health starts regenerating. You can go fishing and feed your pet the swimmers you caught, causing your loyal animal to turn into various creatures for a set amount of time or even suffer a permanent transformation. Each fish will have info about what it turns your pet into as well as for how much time.
Torchlight 2 enjoys a rather vast modding community. Huge overhauls in the matters of gameplay difficulty, shaders, user interface and even new bosses, character classes, enemies and pets are available through Steam Workshop and other websites. I personally got myself Claptrap as pet, from the Borderlands series, reviewed in the previous articles, and even has his own voice pack. It’s a wonderful headache.