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Review: Ardentryst

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There aren’t many Python games that achieve the production values present in Ardentryst by Jordan Trudgett and friends. The game is visually and acoustically lush.

Ardentryst is a platformer/RPG set in a magical fantasy world. Each level is a platform game where players fight monsters with weapons or spells. There is also a world map that lets you select levels, and shops where you can sell the loot you’ve collected and buy better stuff.

The gameplay, combat and the chests and loot you are rewarded with are pitched perfectly, but what makes the game so impressive is the volume of content. As well as fully animated characters and beautiful backgrounds and art, the game is accompanied throughout by enchanting music.

The technical effects are also impressive. I counted up to 4 layers of parallax backgrounds and foregrounds in some places. There are some accomplished particle effects including fireballs with a heat-haze and Nyx’s icy breath and the flurries of snow in the screenshot below.

It’s possible to upload your character scores and levels to the global high-score table. Astonishingly there are only 174 scores on the table at the time of writing. If you do play, be sure to upload a score!

The game is fully featured but sadly rather short. The last release was in July 2009; Jordan has since abandoned it to work on a completely new version. Ardentryst is 100% Python and Pygame and licensed under the GPL, so more content could be created if anyone was interest in doing so.

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Written by mauve

May 16, 2011 at 12:00 pm

Posted in Game Reviews

Game Review: Flash Tactics

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One of the things I want to do with this blog is showcase some of the best examples of Python game development. There are plenty of candidates on pygame.org’s extensive database. I’m a bit of an RTS fan – among most other genres – so I was curious to see whether there are any polished RTS games in the database.

One that I turned up that is extremely polished is Flash Tactics – a real-time tank fighting game.

The player controls three tanks of slightly different types, which can me moved forwards or backwards across the landscape and told to target specific enemies. Each tank fires automatically as long as it has a shot, and that depends a lot on the angle of the terrain on which it is sitting. Thus a lot of the game is about choosing good firing positions for your tanks. Your tanks respawn after 10 seconds so you always have three to play with, but if all are killed at once the game is over.

It is also possible to purchase modifications for your tanks, including the awesome armour mod that makes your tank twice as strong but twice the size; earning these involves building up a combo by killing the enemy tanks as fast as possible. Modification points are only awarded at the end of a level so they are quite difficult to obtain.

This game has a very polished appearance, with superb smoke effects and explosions, with the only flaws being that some of the effects are a little flickery, and the heavy use of nearest neighbour rotation leaves the sprites heavily pixellated. I particularly like the comic chat messages the tanks spout, such as “I didn’t sign up for this!” and “He had a friggin family!”

It’s also worth pointing out the excellent levels drawn with a delightful cartoonish style but with good attention to the foreground and background detail, each offering an interesting mix of combat terrain.

What other Python games have you enjoyed playing lately? Leave a note in the comments.

Written by mauve

May 9, 2011 at 11:18 am

Posted in Game Reviews