The life of a ninja is one in the shadows; keep concealed and make sure you kill silently. Mark of the Ninja is a Stealth/Action game which features some genuinely stunningly stylistic artwork and animation. But does the game hold water when it comes to being a fun game where you go around as a ninja, or does the stealth mechanics detract from an otherwise fun action game? Join Timlah as we check out Klei Entertainment’s slash-y fun.
Whether you’re looking for a bite to eat, or looking for something far more adventurous than that, fungi are pretty cool. I mean they look pretty funky, they are called fungi and they’re somewhat… mushy? Well, okay then. You chose it, we grew it. But what mushrooms and fungi made it into our list? Were these mushrooms good for growth, or were they just too trippy to be forgotten?
Ah, I know, we’re getting too punny up here. Hey, don’t leave now I’m honestly a fun guy! Okay, on with the list :)
**WARNING** We do not advocate hallucinogenics… But in the contexts of mushrooms, it’s too funny to miss out on those puns. We’re so not sorry for this one. You’ve been forewarned!
10 – The Wonderful Flight to the Mushroom Planet
Science Fiction, don’t you just love how one minute it can be very serious and telling you to prepare the proton lasers to blast apart the frigate… Then the next minute, it could be telling you the wonderfully imaginative story of two children who learn about an adventure to travel to the Mushroom Planet in a spaceship they build themselves. Of course, they couldn’t go alone, they had to take a mascot if they wanted to go into space. So two children and a hen go into space and travel to the Mushroom Planet.
Needless to say when they get there, they see a planet which is covered with mushrooms… Tree sized mushrooms, small mushroom bushes, you name it – Mushrooms everywhere. Nothing psychedelic about this experience so far. Instead, the boys meet the Martians of the Mushroom Planet, who aren’t doing so well. So, since this is a lovely child’s story, the two boys end up finding out all of the woes of these Martians and end up saving the Mushroom Planet. How… Lovely. I wonder if they brought any mushrooms home with them, y’know, for “sampling”?
9 – Glowing Mushrooms, The Elder Scrolls
Other than the fact that these Glowing Mushrooms are really good for your Alchemy skill and the fact they’re relatively common and easy to find, there’s no true reason to pick these over the other mushrooms in The Elder Scrolls. All things considered, they’re relatively simple for mushrooms, but hey, they’re certainly quite striking and memorable. I mean they show up nicely in Skyrim, so it only serves its purpose as the mushroom that most people remember from the series.
Some people might say the fungi that grows on the side of trees are more memorable, but hey, these Glowing Mushrooms look cool and they make a lot of really useful potions for you to use. Some of their uses include Fortify Health and Resist Shock! Pretty useful potions compared to some of them. Plus, these Mushrooms will see you through caves quite safely and happily. They’re useful as they help to light your way but only just. They’re only bright enough to be seen, but not bright enough to guide you around.
8 – Violet Fungus, Dungeons & Dragons
The Violet Fungus in Dungeons & Dragons are the type of enemies that really helps to get players into the habit of “Oh, let’s remember to keep our eyes peeled. There could be Fungi near us, ready to eat us!” These fungal monstrosities are completely neutral, because they seemingly have one purpose in their miserable lives – Flail their tentacle ridden arms around like it’s nobodies business. They’re particularly annoying enemies that can do some good damage to an unsuspecting player.
There’s not too much to say about them. They’re usually purple hence their name, but they sometimes take on duller colours. They sometimes work with other enemies, if it’s beneficial to the Fungus, but in truth, it’s not like the Fungus really even thinks about it. It just likes to whip things with its tentacles.
7 – Fungi and Mushrooms, The Sims 3 Supernatural Expansion
Exactly what you might think these Mushrooms are – They are possible to grow and require a good gardening skill to be able to look after them. They can be used in alchemy which exists in The Sims 3, because you know, real life. The fact they were included in the Supernatural expansion I think is just for the use of alchemy and nothing else… A shame, as it’d be nice to see what other properties they could have given these shrooms in the game.
Of course that isn’t to say that the modding community hasn’t had a crack at it. The modding community weirdly though have decided to stick away from the dangerous side of Mushrooms and have made it so they’re easier to look after and grow. Pity. I was looking forward to watching my Sims freak out! Know of any weird Sims mods? Let us know in the comments below!
6 – The Mushroom Men
There’s a relatively unknown game called The Mushroom Men which is for Nintendo consoles (DS and Wii). In this game, there are literal Mushroom Men who are around 3 foot tall and these pipsqueaks are in a war one another. To survive, the Mushroom Men had created tribes to be a part of, whilst humans basically just never noticed because a harmless green dust never needs to be investigated.
A typical little fantasy, but it’s such an unknown game it deserved a nod. It was a unique take on fungal people. You would play as Pax from the Bolete tribe and as you roam around the world, you collected different items to string together and create unique weapons. Considering this was around 2008, that’s quite innovative for its time. The game was met with very mixed reviews, but hey – It holds a place in my spore-ridden heart.
5 – Fungal Giant, World of Warcraft
Huge but slow, the Fungal Giants of Zangarmarsh are an imposing figure in the World of Warcraft. They are sentient fungi who actually are really good for farming if you want to get your Herbalism levels up too. Yes, once you kill them, you can gather herbs off of them, because who wouldn’t want to put sweaty Fungal Giant fungi in their potions? Still, these guys have a seriously fun back plot, revolving entirely around Zangarmarsh, but they have been found elsewhere. If you play the game, I would seriously recommend exploring Zangarmarsh fully as it’s so pretty! It was easily my favourite Outland zone.
These Giants are usually relatively tame creatures, but sometimes they will be driven crazy enough to invoke their wrath on those who would do damage to the spores of Zangarmarsh. Being a host of three hearts, these giants are durable and all around very unique looking. One more interesting thing about the Fungal Giants I read, was that their faces seem to resemble that of the metal band Mushroomhead. Feel free to look into that as you will.
4 – Mooshroom, Minecraft
Yes, the fungal bovine creatures get to make an appearance here on a Top 10 list, as they’re pretty unique and an all around fun creature to see in the game. The Mooshroom is literally a combination of “Moo” and “Shroom”, making it a mushroom cow. When you look at it, you can see the shrooms growing off of it and amusingly you can shear the Mushrooms off of a Mooshroom.
Mooshrooms are a great resource to farm if you’re looking to make giant mushrooms for buildings or just for decoration. They’re also useful for complimenting the brown mushrooms if you ever felt like farming those separately to red mushrooms. Then you can have as much Mushroom soup as you could handle. Colourful and they live in the Mushroom biomes, the Mooshrooms are certainly some of the strangest encounters in the wonderfully imaginative realms of Minecraft.
3 – Of Man and Manta
We’re going back into the realms of sci-fi folks and the lovely childrens story from earlier isn’t the only sci-fi book that covered fungi. No, there’s Of Man and Manta, a fantastic series of books written by Piers Anthony from the late 60s into the mid 70s. It’s a trilogy that’s well worth picking up and having a flick through. It has some really unique character devices in, from the inclusion of characters with strict dietary requirements
Omnivore, one of the three books, is focused primarily on the fungi on the planet Nacre Of these fungi, there are intelligent Mantas. I guess if there were truly sentient fungi, this would be the book to read! I’m going to look to the skies tonight to see if I can be like the three main characters and be able to see Nacre. If I can, I’m going to go and make me a couple of million for discovering it. Or I’m going to go to bed and wonder what is wrong with my vision when I am seeing things that just aren’t there.
2 – Toad
Toad doesn’t even need to be introduced to the majority of gamers and even a good selection of non-gamers, but I feel it’d be an injustice to not introduce this little Mushroom man anyway. Unlike all of our previous entrants to the Top 10, Toad does have serious story behind him. He’s also been in a lot of games, from Super Mario Bros, to Paper Mario and even to Mario Kart. Toad has been around the block and is certainly one of the most lovable characters in the whole Mario franchise.
There are times that you went to rescue Princess Peach, only for Toad to be there to tell you that our Princess is in another castle (Seriously, why are you in that castle Toad? Surely Bowser can’t be that into Mushroom men). Then how about in games like Super Mario 64, where Toad serves to tell you some useful information? What about the times you literally will see paintings of Toad around in different places. The only problem with Toad is we don’t actually know the extent of how many games he’s been in… For one, it’s uncertain if “Toad” was in the original Super Mario Bros.
1 – Fungus, Final Fantasy: Unlimited
A weird choice here, but hear me out. This is from an anime called Final Fantasy: Unlimited and this is a man whose name is literally “Fungus”. He is supposedly unable to die, as even if he is chopped up into teeny tiny pieces, he’ll reform. Amusingly, whenever this happens, he reforms a lot smaller than his original stature, so he has to wait for a while before he turns back to his full size.
He serves a major development in the plot. He appears humanoid, but he is actually a sentient fungus that seemingly serves the bad guys. He’s seen frequently at the start of the series, but as time goes on, you begin to realise that his aspirations throughout the series are slightly more noble… To a point. He wants to rebuild his destroyed fungus world, which sounds great until you realise that he was a powerful general of said fungi… And then he just turns into a power creep. Someone, go eat this man before it’s too late.
The fungi listed above were pretty damn good, but let’s now check all of the undergrowth of this shroom patch. Now put your hands together for some that deserves a nod, but aren’t quite good enough to be the star attraction of this delectable list.
Okay, this isn’t anything in particular, but it’s such a niche of fantasy and especially that of fairies that I thought it was a nice inclusion to the list. They’re nothing special, they’re relatively unremarkable, but the very idea that something has hallowed out a mushroom to live inside of is really quite cool. It does imply there are teeny, tiny people, lurking in the underbushes… They could even be outside, right now, with their tiny little aerial signal televisions and their chimney pipes blowing smoke out of their Mushroom…
Be right back folks, I’m going fairy hunting.
Mushrooms, Don’t Starve
You know you’re doing something right when picking up a Mushroom and eating it is truly risky business. In Don’t Starve, a game where you have to survive out in the wilderness all by yourself, (or with some other players if you play Don’t Starve Together, I guess,) you get the chance to see a variety of different kinds of mushrooms and depending on when you pick it up, the condition the mushroom was in etc, they can have different effects.
Of course, the whole point of games like Don’t Starve are to make you use your noggin a little bit and not pick up all of the dangerous mushrooms. Sadly, this isn’t the most dangerous thing you can uncover in the game, but at least they make you think twice before picking them up! There’s a whole wikia page dedicated to Mushrooms in the game.
I hope you’ve had your fill of mushrooms and fungi now. But of course, now it’s over to you – What did you think of the list? Let us know in the comments below and let us know if there were any mushrooms we forgot about! Don’t forget to let us know your feelings over on Facebook and Twitter and vote for next weeks Top 10!
With Christmas on the way, I thought now was the perfect time to talk about music in horror. However, I’ve been told it’s much more apt to talk about music in horror because Halloween is slowly approaching us. Go figure.
For once we decided we’d actually talk about the games themselves, not an element within gaming. So this time around, we thought we’d do the Top 10 indie horror games.
Be it a horrific story courtesy of a story from Creepypasta, or a unique experience delivered to the world by a small team, the indie horror scene has become one of the most innovative areas on the market.
Sadly though it is filled with imitators to the originals, clones if you will. Today though, we revel not in the clones but in our Top 10 indie horror games. Oh we also have some would be contenders as well, but the top 10 are 2spooky4me.
Now I’m spooked… But this is horror, my friends. We move on – To be horrified.
10. 5 Days a Stranger
Created by Ben “Yahtzee” Croshaw, 5 Nights a Stranger is a point and click horror adventure game where you uncover what is happening in the house that you are all stuck inside.
You play as Trilby, a cat burglar who wears… A trilby. He’s a pretty damn good cat burglar and he doesn’t actually mean ill-will on anyone, he’s pretty much a perfect gentleman in all honesty. He investigates the strange happenings of the house, the guests he’s staying with and how to escape the house. Undead, machetes, manacles – this game is thrilling yet simple. A nice combination to play through. Quite soft on the horror but it’s intriguing and worth a look.
9. The Binding of Isaac
Roguelikes are not exactly known for their tension-building atmosphere and gut-wrenching terrors, but what the Binding of Isaac brings to the table is an altogether different type of horror. Driven into the basement of his house by his delusional mother, Isaac discovers quickly that he was not the first to have been cast into the darkness in obeisance to the divine voices in her head.
Demons, spectres, and too many of Isaac’s undead brothers and sisters to count have been lurking beneath his feet, and the only weapons at his disposal are his anguished tears. Headup Games helped see this independent game see the light of day, but a bigger better remake is on the horizon.
A psychological horror mystery of sorts, where you walk through a house, some dark and dank places, the outside and more. But why are you doing this? You’re walking so you can find out what happened last night, as you just can’t remember.
Then you finally arrive Home. The realisation of everything dawns over you and you’re clear in your head what you need to do. But what do you do? This game changes depending on what you click on and see. Your character comes to different conclusions with different possible ways of ending the game. It’s short and sweet – just how I like my horror games!
7. Don’t Starve
A horror survival game, where the goal is literally to not starve. Taking a dark theme, within a dark randomly generated world, the goal is basically to survive as long as you can, or find the story when you’re in the game and play through the story that way.
From spiders and Beefalos, to pigmen who are pretty damn useless and men with names like Wilson and Maxwell, this is the game that we hoped Tim Burton would produce. Instead he didn’t produce this game, but we got it anyway!
6. SCP Containment Breach
All you need to know about SCP Containment Breach can be found in the SCP Containment Breach wiki. Seriously, this is a free indie horror survival game… That has a damned wiki.
You play as a test subject who’s there during… Well a containment breach! There are many SCPs around the facilities, some are friendly and some are hostile. The goal is to be able to guide your test subject through the facilities and basically not to be killed by SCP-173. This game has a concept similar to Doctor Who’s Weeping Angels – SCP-173 is deterred by being looked directly at. Throughout the game, your character blinks. Whenever line of sight is broken, the SCP can move towards you. Good luck, as this game punishes you for irresponsible blinking!
5. Penumbra Trilogy
If you expected to see Amnesia in this line-up you are going to be disappointed. Frictional Games first series was just as terrifying as its’ most famous work. You investigate an abandoned facility in Greenland, that naturally turns out to be less than unoccupied. Hungry dogs guard the doors, and they are lethal in their own right, slabs of meat and scavenged pickaxes are little help, and the dogs are only the beginning.
If Amnesia got you by the innards and twisted, Penumbra is absolutely worth your time. You may not be quite so helpless, but you’ll still spend more of the game running and hiding than trying to fight.
4. Killing Floor
Co-Operative Survival Horror game. Yeah Killing Floor is a bit of a silly name, but ignoring the fact that the name implies the floor is on a murderous rampage, this is the ultimate zombie killing experience for all you indie gamers out there. Available on Windows, Mac and Linux – as well as even having a game on the Ouya, Tripwire Interactive were on a winner when they approached the developer of the original Killing Floor mod.
Zombies, blood, gore and guns galore, this game is fun with a capital F. Get your friends together, be prepared to jump occasionally as zeds approach you from all directions and remember to weld the bloody door.
3. Slender: the Eight Pages
Once this game was made and released, that was it. All hell broke loose as just about everyone went ahead and made a Slender clone, much in the same way that everyone made a Flappy Bird clone. There’s no harm in clones, as imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, right?
Still Slender: the Eight Pages started it all off. You run around a forest trying to collect… Well… Eight pages. All the while, you’re being chased down by this being with no face. If he catches you, don’t expect him to give you any hugs – He will kill you… But not before giving you a screen of static and his face. Well, at least you get to see the handsome fellow before you die, I guess.
Lost and alone in a dark forest, a small boy awakens. The world he inhabits is filled with vast, silently shifting spiders, mind altering parasites, and sadistic little killers. The game is entirely monochrome, there is no music, very little sound at all, drawing you in deeper to a world that will kill you on a whim. Limbo contains very few jump-scares, but it’s style is chilling, designed to tap into your every childish fear and scrape your nerves raw.
Limbo is the first, and currently only title by Playdead, and was greeted with wide acclaim and several rewards. Their next title, Inside, looks like it’s going to be self-published as well, and looking at the early trailer you should be afraid already….
1. Five Nights at Freddy’s
It’s just a simple security gig, sit in a cushy office in a pizza place with “cute” animatronic bears and ducks and whatnot, keep an eye on the security cameras. Oh, and by the way, those adorable mascots were implanted with some weird AI, and if they catch you at night as they wander around they will assume you’re a mascot out of costume, and try and stuff you into one of the vacated empty bodies.
Scott Cawthon brings us a horrifying game. There is no escape, you can only hope to spread your limited power around to keep yourself protected from the nightmarish teddies that stalk the night, mocking smiles leering at you through the monitor, and through the door.
The next two titles are worthy contenders to be in our Top 10 indie horror games list, but we had to think realistically. For the time we spent playing, to the innovation and the likes these two just missed our list.
However, we thought we’d still go ahead and mention them as we felt they are good candidates and heck, perhaps one or two you won’t know of!
Escape from Lavender Town
Most people steer clear from this game as it’s a freeware game that you can get from websites like GameJolt. It comes as just a standalone .exe file which of course could potentially have been malicious – but when I heard of the game I decided the risk was worth it. Plus, others had played it before and didn’t yet die.
The premise of Escape from Lavender Town is simply to wander around Lavender Town and listen to the various residents of Lavender Town. They explain the weird circumstances and you can listen to the oddly chilling Lavender Town music with the infamous hidden frequencies re-adjusted for the game. Once you finish reading, press escape and it’s all over… Honestly. Go ahead and give it a try today. I promise you, it’s not that bad.
Fair is fair, this isometric hack-and-slash is not a horror game, but Grim Dawn – created by the remains of Iron Law’s Titan Quest team – has a very strong horror theme. An apocalyptic punk-styled world overrun by the undead, demonspawn and worshippers of Elder Things, your hero is possessed and released by an otherworldly horror that leaves you with the power to use their portals against them.
It’s not scary, but it’s a brilliantly dark game with some fantastic Diablo-style gameplay. It’s in ongoing development after a very successful Kickstarter campaign, but you can buy it now and get access to the ever expanding content.
I hope you all get some sleep tonight, as these horror games will leave you either on the edge of your seat or sleeping with one eye open.
But not to fear, we’re going to tone down the scares a bit now…
Oh no, it’s the day of all the blood!
Join us again next time for another Top 10 – and as always, join in the conversation! What are your favourite indie horror games? Did we cover it? Do you agree with our above list and hey – go play some of the free ones. You know you want to!
Platforms: Windows, OS X, Linux, Steam, GOG.com, PlayStation 4
Price (As of Feb 2014): Steam price (£11.99), GOG.com price ($14.99), official website (Just game: $14.99, game + soundtrack: $19.98),
Having drawn it’s crafting mechanic influences from Minecraft, Don’t Starve plays more towards the survival aspect rather than being creative. There’s a great mix of survival, crafting and crafting to survive. So, are you going to come and survive with me?
Tell me more about this horror survival game
Simply put, Don’t Starve is a sandbox styled survival horror, where you should try to survive for as long as you can in order to gain points which go towards “Levelling up” which unlock more playable characters. When you start the game, you’re presented with a lovely screen, which can be seen below. Let’s step through this and look at starting a game!
The eagle eyed amongst us will notice the styling of the artwork is pretty… Dark! Well, as well as having Minecraft as inspiration, the game takes Tim Burton as an inspiration. So on the one hand, we have pigs, sheep, cows, punching wood… And on the other, we have Tim Burton’s stylistic films, such as Beetlejuice, Edward Scissorhands and The Nightmare Before Christmas.
Put those two elements together and we get Don’t Starve, the Horror Survival game. Nice!
That’s right, you start the game just with Wilson who does indeed grow a magnificent beard. It is pretty magnificent but you can shave it off. No idea why you would.
The evil Maxwell has gotten you lost in some randomly generated land which you need to survive in. That’s it. I think. A bit lacking, but this game is more about the gameplay, so what is there to do?
This game has a “Pseudo-3D” style about it in that you can move in any direction you’d like. Everything is 2D, but because you can move in basically any way you’d like, it has a certain 3D feeling about it. It’s stylistically nice and it is very dark and macabre. You immediately feel the severity of the situation you’re in. Straight after Maxwell disappears, you get control of your character.
The character I picked above is a fire-starter character which, I think, is pretty overpowered, especially as the second character you can play as. The reason for this, is this game likes to turn to night. A lot. Unfortunately, night time is bad for everyone. Night time is when you need to stay in light, around fires, so that you don’t get beaten up by some other worldly beings… Or worse, lose your sanity.
This game follows the theme of “If you die, you start over again” (I.E Perma-Death). That’s fine by me, I love a challenging game and this game truly is challenging, especially when you first get into it.
You have to battle several aspects in this game, from enemies (Such as eyeball birds with big legs, toads, killer bees and much more) to your sanity. Your sanity will slip when you dabble with strange things, such as eating mushrooms, wandering alone in complete darkness, or by starving (Hence the title “Don’t Starve”, clever that!)
So mostly, it’s a sandbox like game, where you wander for as long as you’d like, trying to survive, building various tools such as axes, pickaxes, machines (for science!) and Garlands… What? Can’t a man appreciate wearing a garland?!
Once your character (inevitably) dies (noticing a deja vu from a previous article?), you’ll be gain experience based upon how long you survived and your overall score. Via this experience, you unlock new characters.
Other than that, there’s a type of “Campaign” mode, which I’m still pretty unfamiliar with.
Strangely, whilst this is like the campaign, if you die during this then you don’t “lose”! You just go back to the sandbox like game. Maxwell seems to like to taunt you in that world, too. So, that’s all well and good, is there any way to “Survive death”? Why, yes… You can find these Touch Stones or place Meat Effigies in order to resurrect, so it’s not like death is always “The end”.
All in all
So from a great style, to combining the crafting elements made popular in games like Minecraft to a strong survival mechanic with a functional (and fast) day/night system, this game will keep you entertained. Please, stay out of the dark.
Sound wise, there’s not much going on, I find. It’s mostly sound effects of which one thing to note, people seem to talk as instruments… Such as flutes. It’s a bit strange, but highly charming.
It’s another multi-platform game, so if you’re a Windows user, you won’t be neglected if you ever go over to Linux or OS X. PlayStation 4 support helps its cause as well and the only thing I feel that is missing from this is a more solid story – However, this is a horror survival game. That’s what this game delivers.
This game just misses out on top marks for me, however. The music is pretty average at best, although the music in the main menu is great and adds to the “Tim Burton feeling” you get from this game. I hate having to admit it’s “Tim Burton like” as it feels like the same thing everyone would say about it, but heck, if the glove fits then why alter it?
Another point about this game which I neglected earlier, this game is excellent for its mod support. If you were to go on the Steam Workshop for this game, there are a few hundred or so mods, most of which are characters but some introduce new items, GUI features, etc. It is somewhat tempting for me to make a mod for this game, to make a full blown story mode. Hey, there’s an idea— But that’s an idea that might just stay as an idea ;)!
4.5/5 for this game from me.