Friday, May 7, 2010

Avatar Games: From A to Z

Avatars are great, from the airbending type to the atman variety and every other kind in between. If they weren't great, why would they have so many games devoted to them on the Indie Games channel? So that you don't waste any time watching your expensively-accessorized alter ego flail around in a decidedly sub-par scenario, I've taken the time to describe each and every one available in no particular order!

Avatar Drop - Confoundingly good avatar torture simulator.

Baby Maker Extreme - As good or better than its title suggests. Using your avatar as the projectile baby is optional, but recommended, as it makes the concept of a baby launching out of its mother's vagoo that much weirder. In your natal trajectory, make sure to hit medical equipment and doctors to increase your boost and grab those few extra meters.

The Impossible Avatar Getaway - Like the Impossible Game, only extremely precise button presses corresponding to two or three discreet actions allow your avatar to progress along the rapidly moving obstacle course of the game. A lot of trial and error gameplay makes it a perfect candidate for a Project Natal remake (no controller to throw).

Super Avatar Hero Force - Zombies approach your stationary avatar. If you properly time a button press you can punch or kick them away, sometimes in slow motion. If you kick cats in the game it is bad but also cathartic after they shit on top of the litter box and then walked in it and then slept on your clean sheets.

Avatar Showdown - You and another avatar square off kung fu dojo. Hit a button at an arbitrary point before the other avatar does and you win. This is exhilarating in the same way that watching someone stab a knife between their fingers spread out on a table is also not exhilarating.

Avatar Alarm Clock - Avatar alarm clock.

Avatar Aquarium - Avatar aquarium.

Avatar Avenue - Your avatar walks around.

Avatar Boogie - Your avatar dances around.

Super Avatar - A game comprised of one long quick time event. Your prayers have been answered.

Rate My Avatar - Your avatar is not actually you. I promise.

Avatars, Ghosts'n Zombies - Top down zombie survival game a la Smash TV. In the trial, I found my chances of survival were better when I stood still and held down the flamethrower button, which bodes well for humanity in the oft-foretold pending apocalypse.

Avatar Street Basketball - Your avatar has stumbled onto the wrong part of Avatar Street and must play basketball to survive. It features an unwieldy shooting mechanic that seems to measure not the arc of your shot but the shockwave you would cause if you were the epicenter of an earthquake. It also features passing, which is unlocked in the full game. Avatar Street Earthquakes would have been a better game.

Avatar Surfing Challenge - The surfing in Avatar Surfing Challenge is much more like the way kids used to move in the final challenge of the old TV show Nick Arcade.

Avatar Wave: Snowball Fight - Run around and gather snowball, throwing them at your enemy in a dodgeball esque arena. Watch out for power-ups and don't get caught packing snow! You get points for Heat Loss Caused at the end of the match, which is a sobering reminder of the dark side of competitive snowballing. This is probably more fun with friends but none were available at the time of this review.

Avatar Bumper Cars - An accurate bumper cars simulator and spiritual successor to the king of the genre, Big Bumpin'.

Avatar Cannon - Baby Maker Extreme in an African savanna. The cannon is a symbolizes developing Africa's rebellion against the contradictory impulses of the West's stubborn colonial tendrils and moralizing selective philanthropy, as well as Africa's double-edged revival at the hands of China and its extraordinary economic investments in infrastructure projects across the continent. As Africa's hopes rise from the ground above the plains, its spirit is tempered by the inevitability of its disappointment at the hands of another ill-equipped empire.

Avatar Dash - Not very much like Avatar Run but very similar to Impossible Avatar Getaway, with more of an emphasis on jumping rather than other action movements. The cover image has a bitchin' giant octopus, which I assume plays a role later in the game. No, I didn't play it very long.

Avatar Deluxe Blackjack - Blackjack with avatars.

Avatar Golf - An extremely good Hot Shots Golf-esque arcade golf game. For all intents and purposes, this game is where avatars could have began and ended, but alas...

Avatar Hamster Panic - Your avatar is in a ball and you have to get milkshakes. Fuck, I don't know.

Avatar Hunter - Concentration game with avatars that aren't yours. It's got a whole witch theme going on.

Avatar Match - Concentration game with avatars that aren't yours. It's very blue.

Avatar Meet Up Live! - I think Microsoft allows this to exist so that the Facebook app seems useful by comparison.

Avatar Quest - A puzzle game in which your avatar must navigate grids of different colored blocks and get to the other side by only touching one color of blocks consecutively. The challenge comes from the timer, which carries over from puzzle to puzzle and is delayed when your avatar clears as many colors of block from the grid as possible. A surprisingly deep game that is awarded no points because I can't see the Master Chief armor I bought for my Avatar while I play it.

Avatar QuizCall - A quiz game with avatars that isn't 1 vs 100. I'm not sure I understand why you would play this and not the free game that allows you to win actual prizes that is structured and scored in the exact same way. Perhaps if you were afraid of people. But then why would you get a competitive quiz game that only works with more than one person? Perhaps if you only like trivia.

Avatar Rockets - This is sort of an avatar game. Your avatar appears in the tiny cockpit of a woefully under-stocked rocket that must keep refueling midway through its ascent. The scenario does presuppose a certain fatalism on behalf of the mission crew and space exploration in general. You are allowed to pretend you are sending Leica the space dog on her first and final voyage.

Avatar Run - Track and Field for the NES without the giant pad that smelled like an inflatable mattress.

That about covers the spread so far. Good luck carefully weighing which experience is optimal for you and your avatar. If I have missed any games that are currently available, please don't tell me.