The Ugly Monster
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The Ugly Monster

Playing Every Game in the Bundle for Racial Justice and Equality

PEGBRJE: Astral Defense and HeroRun

Welcome to page 39, we’re starting small-ish.

Space Invaders Incoming.

Astral Defense is a petite pixel space shooter created by Pixel Pajama Studios, the indie studio that gave us Sonar Smash earlier on in the bundle. Keeping with their mobile pixel focus, players will pilot a ship trying to survive against waves of aliens hellbent on their destruction.

Designed for mobile, players will use simple controls to move back and forth across the screen to dodge projectiles and line up shots. The wave can only be finished once every enemy is off the screen. This can be achieved by shooting them down or dodging their attempts to kamikaze in to the ship. Each kill earn you points, so ensuring that the ships die rather than escape is crucial for reaching the biggest numbers possible. It is also how the player will achieve upgrades, from new types of limited shots to shields to extra lives; anything to keep the player alive for as long as possible.

Thanks to the procedurally generated waves, each run of Astral Defense will feel slightly different. It’s an intentionally small game, one that can kill some time while commuting thanks to its mobile nature — but that doesn’t stop it from being quite addictive in its simplicity.

If you are looking for a small 2D space shooter to play while travelling, or just want to relive some Space Invaders-like games, then this is your go-to.

Ignore me please, random shroud people.

HeroRun is an arcade adventure created by CannibalInteractive, another indie dev we have seen before in this bundle with their hilarious interpretations of RPGs. This time there are no RPGs to subvert. Instead we have an arcade game where a Hero is attempting to run away from the monsters, for they are unable to actually attack back.

Comprising of forty purple-floored levels, HeroRun will have players searching for the four keys that opens the door in the centre. During this, various entities and villains will be stalking the halls of this dungeon, each with their own maneuvers and behaviours. There are hooded shrouds that can go through walls, skeletons that wander in circles and slimes that sometimes just stand still for a bit. No matter what, however, players cannot be hit by any of them for that will cause an immediate restart; again, the hero is unarmed and unable to fight back. Think of what would happen to Pac-Man if there were no power pills.

The unique twist is that the farther the player gets in the dungeon floors, the more strange the levels become. At first the layout does not seem to change, but new tiles are introduced that make it harder to understand the navigation of the map. This can include glass, one way tiles, question marks and even more; things simply become confusing and strange in the most hilarious way possible. Since the game saves every five levels, each level’s new shenanigans can wreck havoc on a run, especially if the level is radically different.

Extremely on brand for CannibalInteractive, HeroRun does a cheeky subversion of what many would expect from an arcade maze adventure. You’ll spend much of the game running for your life from these monsters, adapting to the map as it keeps on changing in ways that are not always transparent. If you loved their previous works, or really wanted to play Pac-Man on hard mode, this is your game.

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Jacob Vorstenbosch

Jacob Vorstenbosch

Just a Game Dev who decided to take on the monumental task of giving an overview of all 59 pages in the bundle for Racial Justice and Equality. We keep going.

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