The original Caveman Craig was released back in 2008, and apparently the Andrews brothers have been extending and refining it since. The basics of the new game are the same as the old. Unlike the RTS norm, you have an avatar, the eponymous Craig, and newly created cavemen must be taught how to perform their tasks -- killing dinosaurs, harvesting berries, returning them to the cave, transforming them into food.
The new game has a larger variety of dinosaurs, as well as accomplishments and system that lets you buy useful things with XP (including the mammoth shown in the screenshot above); it also has an element the previous game lacked -- actual combat. In most levels there are multiple opposing tribes, and when you feel ready, you gather your hunters and fight them, defeating them by destroying their totem.
It's tempting to write a review of Og using the only words available to characters in this game of caveman chaos, but the simple lexicon of 18 words would probably hamper communication more then it would help. In fact, that's the point. The characters of Og are stupid cavemen, and the words available to the player is one of the driving factors in the game. Words lead to most of the humor of the game, as well as being one of the best rewards a player can get.
Og is a game that reaches off the page and says not only how characters can act, but how players interact. Sitting at a table with a limited selection of words is not just a recipe for comedic disaster, but also a mental exercise. Most games have rules for physical actions, and even for social influence, but Og places some rather amusing and occasionally thought-provoking rules on every utterance that leaves a player's mouth.
It's easy to lose track of the other great features of Og in the shadow of its most notable mechanic, but the game actually has a lot to offer. The class system is simple, but guarantees that choosing a class is not just a guideline, but a guarantee that you are one of the best at what you do. Og does not allow the equivalent of a musclebound wizard who can lift more then the fighter, or an academic who can out-shoot the solider. If you're a strong caveman, you're going to be one of the strongest cavemen in the party.
The writing style is also worth noting. The game purports to be the oldest roleplaying game in existence, having been found in cave paintings, leading to rather amusing 'academic' footnotes that nicely complement the humor sprinkled throughout the rules. The art is a bit sparse, but effectively conveys the style of the game.
As a comedic game, Og is easy to dismiss, but it is actually a soundly designed system. It makes you think in new ways and imagine what a world before Google and online translation might be. As an Og character might say, Og is a "shiny thing."
Caveman Craig is a sort of sidescrolling RTS with the warfare stripped out. You control Craig; he teaches skills to three flavors of cavemen (gatherers, food processors, and hunters), then releases them to perform their tasks. Hunters kill dinosaurs, gatherers drag them back to the cave and harvest berries, food processors turn dino corpses and berries into points you use to buy more cavemen. Other than the "training your peons" bit, straight out of the RTS playbook.
Student Showcase Winner, 2007 Independent Games Festival
In Opera Slinger, you sing opera--into a microphone. It's a quasi-beat matching game, but your score depends on hitting the right notes as well as singing them at the right times; before you play, you choose the male (tenor) or female (alto) role. Your "opponent" is controlled by the AI, and the game's conceit is that you are competing with him or her for the regard and adoration of the audience--which changes more in your direction the more accurately you sing.
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