Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Games In Ubuntu

After trying Guitar Hero for the first time last weekend, I was in the mood to try out some new games for Ubuntu. Via the Ubuntu forums, I came across this really fantastic compendium of all things Ubuntu-gaming. With some experimentation and downloading, I ended up trying out several games most of which I really liked.

AssaultCube : I’ve never really been into FPS games but I thought I should have just one. This seemed like the one with the simplest premise (although Tremulous looks awesome) so I chose this one because I figured it would take me a while to get used to playing this type of game. Boy, was I right! I suck at this game. With everything set to easy and in a deathmatch with two measly bots, I never win. I can kill one bot but not the other before it gets me. However, it is fun and while frustrating, it is the kind of frustrating that is enjoyable so I can definitely see myself playing this in the future. My only two gripes are that the default keyboard settings are very awkward and that the only way to open the game is through the command line. The keyboard settings are pretty straightforward to change but you do have to take some time to think about what you should change them to in order to perform certain actions quick enough. The command line thing isn’t so bad; the main annoyance is that it takes 3 commands instead of just 1. I tried automating this but my script wouldn’t run. I’ll have to fix that if I plan on playing this a lot. Which I do.

Frets of Fire : Very disappointing. I can definitely see the potential for the game but, after playing Guitar Hero, it’s just not even in the ballpark in terms of playability and enjoyment. For one thing, the Tutorial to introduce you to the game is incredibly, stupidly condescending. Seriously, there’s no reason for it at all. Also, the F1-F5 keys are incredibly awkward to use as frets. I couldn’t get into it at all. Finally, while I understand an open-source games can’t include copyrighted songs, the included songs were pretty difficult compared to the “Easy” settings for Guitar Hero. I didn’t keep this one on my computer but if there are future improvements, well, I’d have no problem trying again.

Kobo Deluxe : Great space arcade game. The levels are varied and the premise of blowing up stationary objects that are defended works really well. I very much enjoyed this one.

gBrainy : Really good game loaded with logic and math puzzles. It’s not complicated or flashy but the puzzles are engrossing and just hard enough to require something of you. I really enjoyed this one.

Pipewalker : Really cool puzzle game where you have to rotate “piping” in order to connect computers to the network. The randomizing function is just good enough that it is quite difficult but not so much that you don’t believe the puzzle is solvable. The puzzles are pretty hard too. I played for two hours straight and only connected all 20 computers once. Exactly the best kind of game: not easy to win but easy to play. Just a note: This one is available from the repositories so the link is just to a description page.

Other Games On My To-Do List:
Phun – Physics simulator & mechanism creator.
FlightGear – Flight Simulator with tons of different aircraft

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