First Looks// Post-PAX Impressions: Jacob's Ladder, Knight Squad and Miniflake

Posted 23 Sep 2014 16:47 by
Sometimes Chris gets so busy the rest of us start to sweat just from following him on Twitter. He dug into a LOT of games over the course of PAX Prime 2014, and over the next week or so we're going to be bringing you his impressions. For Part 4 we've got Jacob's Ladder, Knight Squad and Miniflake...

Jacob's Ladder by Light Spiral Studios

Sleepwalker was a game on the Amiga A1200. It was a special game as it supposedly demonstrated the capabilities of the AGA chipset the A1200 boasted. It didn't really and you may be wondering why this article is wittering on about a game that was released 21 years ago?

Well it's because Jacob's Ladder, the subject of this first look feature is a game that is somewhat similar to that 21 year old game, yet was only just released on mobile platforms.

In Jacob's Ladder you must control the environment while Jacob walks around seemingly aimlessly. He's always moving, as is the world for it is scrolling upwards, ever-so-gently. The player must guide Jacob around each level, placing ladders and platforms in key locations in order to prevent him from falling to his death.

Sleepwalker was somewhat similar to this, with the major difference being the player took the role of a dog that had to guide their sleepwalking master to safety. So yes, there is an AI-controlled person in both games, but the way the player interacts with them is somewhat different. One manipulates the actual environment, while the other acts as a kind of guide and sometimes bridge over which the AI creature stumbles over.

Jacob's Ladder is one of those games that requires a touch screen to function, as it relies on the player to move various elements in the level to ensure Jacob has a safe path. Initially things are quite sedate as Jacob's Ladder teaches you various aspects of what can be moved and where. Some objects are platforms that can only move up/down or left/right while others are ladders that need to be placed in just the right spot to prevent Jacob tumbling to his death. Jacob's Ladder becomes increasingly frenetic as each level demands quick reactions of the player as Jacob's path gets more hazardous.

I thoroughly enjoyed this little game as it suits the mobile platform it was developed for extremely well. It brought back lots of warm and fuzzy memories of playing Sleepwalker all those years ago.

Jacob's Ladder is available for iOS and Android phones and tablet devices.

Knight Squad by Chainsawesome Games

With events like Wild Rumpus and the increasingly popular use of local multiplayer in video games, it comes as no surprise to me that I encountered a few brawlers while at PAX Prime 2014. Knight Squad is just such a game. It supports up to eight players, all playing on a single static screen that consists of a maze.

The mode I played was a free-for-all where players are trying to retrieve a holy grail and drag it back to their starting location in the map. Viewed from the top down, every player starts off with the same amount of health and means to cause damage to others, (i.e. a long sword that can be used to slice and dice their opposing players).

Dotted around the map are power-ups that can allow players to use ranged attacks such as a bow and arrow or create a temporary impenetrable shield around them.

Play is very frenetic. Each participant attempts to gain control of their corner of the map while stealing the grail away from other players, which is done by smacking their little knights about the head. The power-ups become increasingly bizarre as play continues, with horses making an appearance to give a temporary speed boost to those trying to flee with grail in hand.

Additional modes of play include traditional capture the flag, with 4v4 matches and last man standing, which is pretty self-explanatory.
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