My Antstream Arcade: Trista Bytes
With the list of games growing on Antstream Arcade every week, sometimes you are so
spoilt for choice you can’t decide what to play! So I wanted to pick out 5 of my favourite
games for you to try that you might not have played yet – many of which I discovered via
1 – Rod Land – Jaleco, 1990
Rod Land is one of my favourite platformers. It mixes adorable cute pastel visuals with the
brutality of using a magic wand to pick up enemies and smash their faces into the concrete.
Yep – the mechanism to defeat enemies in Rod Land is to grab them and break them back
and forth, with each hit making them squeak and turn into a pickup! This is one of the most
delightful and bizarre platformers I have ever played, and I love everything about it. The
visuals and animation are excellent, the sound design and music are charming, and the
ladder generation mechanism to negotiate the platforms is brilliant. The enemies get weirder
and more wonderful as it goes on, and it has some whimsically designed bosses that make
me smile every time because of their cute facial expressions and animations. If you love
games like Bubble Bobble, Liquid Kids or New Zealand Story, you need to check out Rod
2 – Rally X – Namco, 1980
Maze Chaser, Arcade
I have a love-hate relationship with Rally X – it’s an excellent example of a maze chaser
game, but it occasionally makes me want to rage quit if I play too long! You are a Formula
One car being chased by a car that wants to crash into you while trying to grab all the flags.
The game is action-packed and one of those simple efforts that never gets old. Using fuel to
smokescreen the chasing car before speeding off in a panic and hurtling for the final flag on
the map is a brilliantly fun system that makes me feel like I’ve outsmarted the AI before
turning the wrong way immediately getting hit. Oops! There’s also a challenge mode in
Antstream Arcade where you can play the game at double speed, which is both the best and
worst thing ever invented. Play it if, like me, you like shouting at a tiny pixel Formula One
3 – Puzzle Uo Poko – Cave Interactive, 1998
Known to many as ‘OMG, that cat drowning game!’, Puzzle Uo Poko is a super cute colour
matching puzzle game that only ever saw an arcade release until added to the Antstream
roster. The game is pretty uncomplicated: use the lever to chuck coloured balls and match
four or more to pop them. Standard stuff, right? Hah. No. There are bombs, obstacles and
other modifiers that mean that the 30 levels each require different strategies. Oh, and if you
lose a life, THE CUTE PIXEL ART CAT DROWNS! So there’s that added pressure. Puzzle
Uo Poko is both a relaxing calming cute matching game and the most stressful thing ever.
Either way, I’m hooked and was even at the top of the leader board for some time. If you like
your colour matching and gem trading puzzlers, this is a fun little one to have a go at.
4 - Dangun Feveron – Cave Interactive, 1998
Vertical shooter, Arcade
If you’re into your bullet-hell vertical shooters, enjoy a banging soundtrack and marvel at sci-
fi disco visuals, then Dangun Feveron is the game for you! The voice acting will sass you,
and the levels will have you dancing along to their tunes whilst also blowing up everything on
screen. And I mean everything! Dangun Feveron mixes the usual scoring systems with point
multipliers on rescuing people and deducting points for any ships that elude you. This is one
of my favourite vertical shooters on the platform because it’s such a joy to play. The visuals
are incredible, and the three ships you can choose from all handle and fight differently,
giving it a good level of replayability. There are tons of bullet-hell shooters on Antstream to
try. Dangun Feveron is a fun little diversion if you want to experience some top-notch
graphics while tapping your feet to its disco-tastic soundtrack.
5 – Volfied – Taito, 1989
Volfied has a beautiful sci-fi aesthetic, and its art style was what dragged me in to try it.
Weirdly, after the first few goes, I didn’t think much of it. Fly the ship across space to steal
land, grab power-ups and trap enemies, sure. But I wondered what it was about Volfied that
made it so intriguing. Then I started playing the challenges and honing my technique – I
went from taking 10 minutes to finish a level to being able to complete some in 30 seconds.
Once you start thinking strategy, it suddenly clicks! Do you dare make a run to steal a vast
area at once? Do you build a long narrow block and wait for an enemy to trap? Do you go for
the boss? I was hooked; what looks like such a simple game is actually a highly addictive
puzzle in the form of space ships and evil abstract robotic bosses. Volfied is far more fun
than it has any right to be and is probably one of the best-looking action-puzzle games I
have ever seen. And if you need more of a reason to try it, one of the leading designers,
Fukio Mitsuji, was also a lead designer on Bubble Bobble and Rainbow Islands.
TristaBytes plays Antstream Arcade challenges live on Twitch every week, so feel free to send them some and tune in on Fridays at 7 pm UK time for plenty of geeky chatter and
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