Tag Archives: Orange Juice

Haven Review: Xmas Shooting – Scramble!!

Fruitbat Factory is at it again bringing us another delight from Orange juice! No, not the beverage that got our YouTube channel suspended for three months. The game design group! This time its Xmas Shooting Scramble!

Like its previous Bullet Hell titles its come out with like QP – Shooting is dangerous we are back for another round of insanity and mischief lead by the chibi’s from that as far as I know represent their development team at Orange Juice.

This game though has a plot, which at the very moment you start arcade mode you are chasing down someone who has stolen the presents from Bunny Girl Santa! That devious little bastard, Who dares steal from Santa! Well besides villains like Team Rocket and other characters throughout the history of games and television.

But back on track on track now, the game controls just like its predecessors and its pretty easy and straight forward to the point where anyone can pick it up and start playing it and have little to no issue understanding the controls, the configuration, and everything else.

It really feels like they just re-skinned QP-Shooting is dangerous in terms of mechanics and just made a new story. Which is forgivable in this case because its a bullet hell game and if you are like myself you just kind of expect bullet hell titles to just be pumped out over and over again. There isn’t anything wrong with it unless they “literally” just re-skinned QP – Shooting is dangerous and trust me they didn’t and they did manage to fix a few bugs as well.

Like their previous titles the music is very delightful and spot on, as is the actual gameplay where you can challenge your friends and family and prove to them all you are the dominate gamer of the household and that your bullet hell skills should be recognized.

But what it ultimately boils down to is do you like Bullet Hells, do you like anime ladies dressed as Santa, because you know thats a fetish and people are into that. Do you also like cheesy dialog to explain why you are firing energy waves and protecting yourself with little reindeer than look no forward! When Christmas rolls around we have found the ideal game title for you that is not only nicely made, runs smooth as silk, but also has lovely animation in terms of game design in it.

If you liked QP – Shooting is dangerous than you will definitely love this title.

-Daniel Clatworthy

Haven Review: Sora

SoraTitleFirst up is our disclaimer. We received this game for review purposes only, and as such all opinions in this review are our own. No money has been exchanged for this review.

Sora (空) is a Japanese word for “sky”. It also happens to be the name of the protagonist in an upcoming indie bullet-hell shooter developed by OrangeJuice and published by FruitBat Factory. Sora takes place on a planet torn apart by war. Out of the chaos a girl is born with a natural instinct for combat. She is compelled to fight, yet she knows not why (kind of like my mother-in-law).

Sora05Sora‘s premise is simple: shoot and dodge your way through ever-increasingly difficult waves of enemy ships. The game features an optional tutorial, which is presented on a matrix-style grid. The text-based instructions are a bit wordy and hard to follow at times, so most of your learning will be by doing. Move your little Sora character using familiar up, down, left & right directional keys. You’ll also want to map a “sprint” key to evade oncoming enemy shots. Be warned however, sprinting causes Sora‘s shields to heat up. If they overheat, she’ll take more damage when hit by enemy fire.

During the tutorial you’ll learn about weapons, of which there are three:

Long Range Laser: Instantly fires at a locked-on enemy ship. Although it doesn’t inflict heavy damage, it provides an instant strike that cannot be parried by the enemy.

Long Range Missile: Fires at a locked-on enemy ship, but with less speed than the laser. Enemies can fire at it, blowing it up before it reaches them.

Melee Sword: Sora must fly close to the enemy to inflict damage. This makes her vulnerable, but a skilled player can actually morph the melee attack into a variety of power-combos! If you get into trouble, try performing a quick “sprint-evade”. Remember that sprinting causes your shields to heat up, so frugality is key here.

Sora2Before long the tutorial will become fast and frenzied, with bullets and missiles flying everywhere. So when you feel you’ve learned enough, it’s on to the main game!

The first stage has you soaring through overcast skies, dodging new and varied bullets, pellets, energy orbs and rockets. The enemy ships are also sturdier than they were in the tutorial, so you’ll want to conserve your sprints and heavy missiles, lest you overheat too soon.

The real fun for me was in discovering new environments and enemy tactics. I’ll keep the number of screenshots limited, so as not to spoil them. A few extra screens can be seen on Sora‘s Steam Store page. The game officially releases on January 5, 2016.
Sora56So what, if any suggestions can we give for future development? Let’s make a list:

1. Keyboard mappings are awkward. Game play requires to you to switch attacks and maneuvers quickly. So unless you have very long long fingers, you’ll find your gaze darting from screen to keys often. Of course, you can avoid all of this by simply using a console controller, which seems to be the developer’s intended way to play.
2. The game lacks mouse support. I’d much prefer to attack with a click, rather than a key press. Again, the controller mitigates this issue.
3. There’s no easy way to review key bindings. About half way through the tutorial I wanted to look at my mappings. I pressed ESC, and was given two options: restart the tutorial or restart the entire game! Eventually I did remember where all the important keys were.
4. There doesn’t seem to be a natural way to quit the game. Only by pressing ALT-F4 or switching to the desktop and closing the game manually was I able to do this.

Of course, these are first impressions. If there are some special ways around any of the above, I’d love to know them.

At the moment, pricing information for Sora is available neither in the Steam Store nor on GamersGate, where this title will also be sold. If you like the idea of a sweet moe character battling her way through sheer bullet-hell, I’m sure you’ll find value in any reasonable price!

So is Sora worth it? I would say yes. It’s that casual, yet addictive arcade experience that will keep you coming back. A few tweaks to the interface and controls will go a long way to boosting the overall score.

SoraScale-Chris Roberts-

 

Haven Review: 200% Mixed Juice!

headerFirst up is our disclaimer. We received this game for review purposes only, and as such all opinions in this review are our own. No money has been exchanged for this review.

One element that many Japanese-style games have in common is the inordinate amount of text thrown at the player. So much in fact, they wind up more as e-books with some directional choices added for variety. From early on, I always wondered about this…why cut-scenes seem to go on for half-an-hour (some actually do) and why the main game play is just riddled with words. One possible answer came from a Japanese associate of mine, and makes complete sense.

Kids here in the U.S. are presented with a single phonetic alphabet comprised of 26 letters. True, said letters can exist in four conditions (lower case, upper case, cursive and printed), but the values themselves equal 26 in number. Children in Japan however, don’t have it so easy. In addition to a 48-character phonetic letter system (known as kana), students as early as Grade 1 must begin learning traditional Chinese characters (called kanji). About 80 kanji are actually taught in Grade 1, with over 100 additional kanji presented in each grade thereafter! So it’s not surprising that reading-practice is well tucked into every part of young Japanese life. In fact, nobody really knows how many Chinese-based characters there are; even scholars never catch ’em all. So when translating such Japanese-style games into other languages, the result is the same: voracious verbosity.

We now present 200% Mixed Juice! from Fruitbat Factory; a wordy adventure suitable for readers of all ages. Perhaps you remember an earlier game called 100% Orange Juice! from the same developer. Is our current title perhaps a sequel? It is not. Whereas the older entry is largely a board game (with cards included), this newer product is more of a light combat adventure (with cards included).

ss_6a54e8b6a4229e606855aa394d731970d588121e.600x338The story begins simply enough. You are awakened by a little angel (looks more like a flying bladder) who instructs you to get ready for school. Before you make it to class, you encounter a new friend, the first of many “cards” who will join your “deck” of available combat minions. You can also purchase minion cards directly from vending machines. This will cost you “stars”, which are earned from victories in battle. Cards bought from machines will fight just as loyally, albeit with less cordiality than those met randomly in the wild.

large-8-640x350Soon you will accumulate an impressive deck, but keep in mind that only three cards may be used in a given battle. When you meet an adversary, you have a chance to sift through your deck and select the trio of your choice. While the cards themselves display your minions’ hit points, level bonuses, etc., by far the most important feature is the “hand” symbol (shown as a green, red or blue icon).

RockPaperScissorsThe icons represent familiar rock-paper-scissors gestures. The red fist is “rock”, the green hand is “paper” and the blue peace sign is “scissors”. When entering combat, look closely at your minion’s options. You’ll notice that one of these gestures is associated with each type of attack. Next, examine your opponent’s chosen attack, and its corresponding icon. The last step is easy. Simply choose the action that causes you to win the rock-paper-scissors. Early foes will instantly fall to your superior tactic. Later on, enemies acquire better defensive and parrying abilities. Nonetheless, sticking with the hand gesture method should ultimately win the day.

CK2HzcTWsAABKWjUpon arrival at school, your adversaries come out to play. Be sure to visit all the rooms, enlisting any help you can find. This is important, because once the “elementary” foes have been dispatched, its off to the open road…where who knows what dangers your little deck minions will find.

FightFairOverall, is 200% Mixed Juice! worth it? Yes, but perhaps not for the oldest among us. It’s a great application of rock-paper-scissors, and can be a fun way for parents to teach the concept to their kids. However, I would like a way to turn the hand icons off; a way for players to calculate options based on combat experience. This could include a countdown timer as a sort of memory test. Take too long to decide an action, and your opponent gets an extra “first strike”; something like that. As it stands the game is fun, but in that repetitive way that children enjoy…knowing their deck is stacked heavily in their favor.

As of this writing, the game is still in early access. I’m sure we’ll see more ingredients added to the juice box soon.

JuiceScale-Chris Roberts-