Well folks, I’m afraid there’s a change of plans this week. We’ll still be taking a look at Locomalito’s They Came from Verminest, but the abandonware title I was going to cover is going to take a bit longer. Instead, I’ll wrap up a little business from last week and tell you about a deal going on that you’ll want to get in on. That way, you all can play some great free games while I put together a review that next week’s title deserves.
That being said, I wanted to make sure you all knew about the Free Bundle. Like The Humble Indie Bundle, the Free Bundle gathers together a number of great indie games, though instead of naming your own price, you can get all of the games for free, with not even a tip being required. This current bundle has Nitronic Rush, which is a fantastic arcade racer that you might remember from MegaGWolf’s review, Ascension, a heavily atmospheric horror game where you must find your lost daughter with only a flashlight, Celestial Mechanica, the heartbreakingly beautiful platformer, the low-res horror epic “I’m Scared,” the classic Treasure Adventure Game, and, last year’s funniest and most awesome game, Abobo’s Big Adventure, which you might remember Shaun K. covering last year. All of these games are well worth playing and I may cover them in the future but I highly recommend picking all of them up while they are in one place.
Well, with that out of the way, let’s turn to our main course: Locomalito’s They Came from Verminest. Like I said the last time I covered Locomalito’s work, this developer has a clear love for older games and systems, such as Maldita Castilla, which showed a love, not only for franchises like Ghouls n’ Ghosts but for older arcade games, even going so far as to emulate a soundchip from classic arcade cabinets and included CRT scan lines as an option. However, unlike a lot of other indie developers who try to take on a retro-style or do a fan remake, this developer finds interesting sources of inspiration to bring a unique style to his games, such as bringing in stories of Spanish chivalry and history to influence his plots, art style, and designs…or combining elements of 50s B-movies, Game Boy graphics, and classic arcade games like Centipede, Galaga, and Breakout.
Yes, you heard that right: this game not only takes pages from Ed Wood in its trailer and filter settings (you can play the game normally, with film grain effects, or even 3D at the press of a button) but it also takes on the 8-bit graphics common to games like Metroid II while having you shoot through enemy and boss segments that either play out like a classic Galaga segment or have you fighting bosses who use a gimmick based on an old arcade game (for example: there’s a boss who moves through a series of obstacles, much like the titular enemy of Centipede and another boss who has a series of obstacles that move like the logs from Frogger and need to be broken through for either of you to hit the other, much like some variations on the two player version of Pong.
The game, like a lot of Locomalito’s other projects, is very hard, so don’t expect to beat it on your first go. While it is possible to collect more lives and power-ups like shields, increased speed, better fire power, and lives, you’ll get a game over (no continues here) as soon as your lives run out. The difficulty also comes from the Galaga-style that gets adopted for the first part of the game, which makes it so you can only freely move within the bottom third of the screen, have two bullets onscreen at any time, and don’t have any bombs to launch. This means your skills will have to be amazing (especially in the sections where you are going through caves) if you want to get to the final fight.
Overall, They Came from Verminest is a great throwback to the vertical shmups of old while having some fun by throwing in some great bosses and old-school difficulty that pay tribute to old Atari and arcade games. It’s a great game by Locomalito and I suggest you give it (or its color variant: Verminest’83) a try.
Game (Windows only) can be found HERE
Next week, we’ll close out the month by looking at a classic game from the DOS days.