Mount Your Friends and Hive (Second Chances with the Chick)

Recently, a couple of my favorite Xbox Live Indie Games made the jump to Steam. They have almost nothing in common with each-other, except they’re designed with multiplayer in mind. You’ll remember Mount Your Friends as the game where penises swing freely like the pendulum on a grandfather clock. They’re clock cocks if you will. The dongs don’t factor into the gameplay at all, and are merely there because developer Daniel Steger learned the lessons of XBLIG a little too well. It really boils down to this: copious amounts of sexual anatomy > gameplay. Having boobs and flesh rockets in your game doesn’t mean your game will come into its own, but it certainly helps. If We Are Cubes had been about a penis shooting sperm into vaginas, it would have been one of the top 100 selling XBLIGs of all time. Let’s face it, there’s a reason why games like Try Not to Fart or Baby Maker Extreme or Don’t Die Dateless Dummy are among the top-selling XBLIGs ever. Stuff that took a multiple of the effort of those games, like Escape Goat, Gateways, or Vintage Hero? They can’t even sniff the farts of the best seller list. Give Stegs credit, because he found the right combination of debauchery and gameplay.

Speaking of clocks, I think Stegs is missing out on a wonderful licensing oppurtunity. Think Mickey Mouse wristwatch, only with the Mount Your Friends license. Yep, you will never get that image out of your head. You're welcome.

Speaking of clocks, I think Stegs is missing out on a wonderful licensing opportunity. Think Mickey Mouse wristwatch, only with the Mount Your Friends license. Yep, you will never get that image out of your head. You’re welcome.

Mount Your Friends Logo

Mount Your Friends was developed by Stegersaurus Software Inc. ($3.99 swings that way in the making of this review)

And Mount Your Friends remains a really fun video game. I don’t really have a whole lot more to say about the Steam port that I didn’t already bring up in my review of the XBLIG original. Which you should totally read. You still shouldn’t bother with this game unless you have friends to play with. You might also find yourself in a position where militantly homophobic men will refuse to play it because they might catch the gay from it or something. It’s really weird saying this about a game that’s main selling point is the jiggle physics of wangs, but grow up fellas. Besides, playing Mount Your Friends is a lot like going to Staples Center in Los Angeles to watch the Lakers play: after a while, you quit noticing all the dicks.

Hive, on the other hand, has improved vastly over the XBLIG original. For one thing, games like this are just plain better to play with a mouse than with a game controller. Second, connecting to games online is much more stable. It wasn’t when I first got it, but after working with Sean Columbo at Blue Line Games, he was able to get the proper patchwork in place. Now, games connect every time. That alone has caused me to move Hive (which was called H.i.v.e. on XBLIG, for reasons of confusion) up the Leaderboard. It certainly isn’t the DLC, which I haven’t purchased yet. There’s three new tiles, each of which alters the game to some degree. I didn’t buy them, because $3 for a single new tile (or $6.99 for the whole collection) is extortion. $0.99 or $2.49 for all three? Now you’re talking.

This game against former the Indie Family Man shows just how bad I am at this. I was dead about four turns later.

This game against former the Indie Family Man shows just how bad I am at this. I was dead about four turns later.

Hive was developed by BlueLine Games ($9.99 noted that my good friend Jim Sterling and non-friend Yahtzee also make straining noises while playing this in the making of this review. By the way, not being friends with Yahtzee isn't for a lack of effort. I've sent stuff on Twitter, love letters to his address, had sky writers fly over his house, burned my name into his lawn.. seriously, what more must a girl do? He must be playing hard to get.

Hive was developed by BlueLine Game Studios ($9.99 noted that my good friend Jim Sterling and non-friend Yahtzee also make straining noises while playing this in the making of this review. By the way, not being friends with Yahtzee isn’t for a lack of effort. I’ve sent stuff on Twitter, love letters to his address, had sky writers fly over his house, burned my name into his lawn.. seriously, what more must a girl do? He must be playing hard to get.

The best way I can endorse Hive is to stress how bad I am at it. One of the quirks of my autism is that I lack a strong visual imagination. It makes games like Chess and Hive difficult for me to play well, because a visual imagination is the key to anticipating your opponent’s next moves. For Hive, I have a record of seven wins, twenty-four losses on Steam. A couple of those wins were not authentic due to my opponent being unable to move due to technical issues that have since been patched up. Maybe four of them were real wins, and they were typically my first couple games against someone. Once they figured out the rules, they would massacre me. And I would be smiling ear-to-ear. No, I’m not wired to be able to be good at Hive, but I don’t care. This game is genius, and it’s found its home on Steam. Right next to a game about making a human pyramid out of guys that swing their schlongs like lassos.

IGC_Approved

Both games today are Chick Approved and ranked on the Indie Gamer Chick Leaderboard.

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Mount Your Friends

Update: Mount Your Friends received a Second Chance with the Chick. Click here for my updated thoughts. Consider this review to be for the XBLIG version and the Second Chance to be for the Steam version.

Okay, so the name is as absurd and juvenile as a title can possibly get.  But, we are talking about a game by Daniel Steger here.  His previous hits include a game called Baby Maker Extreme (the ninth all-time selling XBLIG), This is Hard, and Blow Me Up.  But the really weird part is, his games tend to be pretty decent.  Blow Me Up and Lots of Guns both are Chick Approved and ranked on my Leaderboard.  And now we have this, a game about building a human pyramid.  In keeping with Steg’s tendency towards gratuitousness, it features Team Ninja-like jiggle physics.. for penises.  This is a game tailor-made to generate scorn and ridicule from the XBLIG scene.

It’s also Daniel Steger’s best game by far.

Schwing!

Schwing!

This is exactly the type of weird, experimental game that I had in mind when I started Indie Gamer Chick.  Okay, maybe I didn’t picture those games having dicks that behave like bobbleheads.  But I figured I would play a lot of games unlike anything I’ve seen before.  Mount Your Friends does that.  It’s like a video game version of the popular Catalonian pastime known as Castell.  In other words, people climbing on each other to build the tallest human-building they can make.  Only here, there’s no worries about the laws of physics or structural integrity.

The way you go about moving at first seemed like it would be overly complicated.  Each limb is controlled by a separate button.  You move one limb at a time, with limbs automatically clinging to the bodies already placed.  Each turn, you must climb higher than the highest body on the stack.  Once you’ve above the line, you can press start to end the turn and start from the bottom with a new body.  In the normal mode, you have 60 seconds to get above the line.  It sounds dull, but it can be exhilarating.  Especially when time is running short.  There were multiple situations where the timer was nearing zero and I just barely got my hand over the line.  This always resulted in hooting and hollering.  Well, just from me, while my friends told me to sit down and shut up.  But hey, I was excited!

Simpsons already did it!

Simpsons already did it!

Where Mount Your Friends really shines is in the multiplayer mode.  Here, each player takes a turn trying to cross the bar at the highest point in the stack.  Play continues until one player can’t make it to the top in the time limit.  I’m shocked to say this, but this is one of the best multiplayer experiences to ever hit XBLIG.  It even has online play that went off without a hitch.  My biggest overall complaints relate to the movement physics.  Flinging yourself instead of moving one hand at a time feels loose in terms of gravity and imprecise.  I also had issues keeping limbs I didn’t want to use from going limp and getting stuck to one of the guys on the stack.  I mean, wait, probably shouldn’t use the term limp in relation to this game.  I mean they had trouble staying stiff.  NO, erect.  NO!  God damn, this is tough to write about.

Okay, so the Mount Your Friends might be embarrassing to pull out to show friends and.. FUCK!!  See what I mean?

Stegs, I fucking hate you.  You make this really awesome game that’s unlike anything I’ve ever seen or played before, but it’s almost impossible to describe without receiving an awkward stare.  You know what?  I don’t care.  Mount Your Friends is fun, plain and simple.  It’s not very deep.  The best concepts rarely are.  But you simply have to try it, because there’s nothing else like it.  I’m not the most athletic person in the world, and I’m afraid of heights, so this is probably the closest I can come to climbing a rock wall.  Well actually, this is probably more like one of those walls where you hold a peg in each hand.

Don’t do that Cathy.  Just don’t give him any more ideas.  He’s incorrigible enough as is.

When I first saw the cover art and heard the name, I figured it was going to be a professional wrestling game.

When I first saw the cover art and heard the name, I figured it was going to be a professional wrestling game.

IGC_Approved

Mount Your Friends was developed by Stegersaurus Games
Point of Sale: Xbox Live Indie GamesSteam

$1 (Steam version $3.99) asked if you heard the one about three guys laying in the same bed? They wake up in the morning and the guy on the left says “I had the best dream! I dreamed I was getting a wonderful handjob!” The guy on the right says “that’s weird, *I* dreamed *I* was getting a wonderful handjob!” The guy in the middle goes “I dreamed I was skiing!” in the making of this review.

Mount Your Friends is Chick Approved and mounted on the Indie Gamer Chick Leaderboard.

A review copy of Mount Your Friends was provided to Indie Gamer Chick to test online functions.  The copy purchased by Cathy was paid for by her with her own money.  The review copy was given to a friend to test out online components.  The person receiving it had no feedback in this review.  For more on this policy, consult the Indie Gamer Chick FAQ.

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