Wednesday, 29 February 2012

Game review: Vectoroids2x

Genre: Shooter
Authors: Bill Kendrick / IceOnly
OHH download: v1.1.0 (23/03/06)
Size: 2.2 MB
Licence: GPL v2

Vectoroids2x is a port of, startlingly enough, Vectoroids. This in itself is a near-clone of the venerable Asteroids game from the year dot. The aim is pretty simple: you control a roughly triangular spaceship, and must blast away the large asteroids which drift about and threaten to destroy you. When you hit one, it splits into two, so later on in a level there are a lot of pieces of rock to avoid. You can both rotate your ship and use its thrusters to speed you out of trouble.

Addictiveness: 7
Not bad at all, but then it is basically Asteroids, one of the all-time classics of the early years of electronic gaming. Gameplay is very simple indeed -- you don't even get a hyperspace button in this version -- but that makes for good blasting fun. You won't play this for hours, but you might play it for a few minutes quite often.

Depth: 3
This category, on the other hand, doesn't fare so well. It's just level after level of firing away at ever-increasing numbers of asteroids. You do get an extra life every 10,000 points, but that's about as exciting as it gets. The only reason I don't rate even lower on this criterion is that learning to handle your ship accurately is something of a fine art.

Controls: 6
A little odd, but effective. The oddity comes in the fact that there's so much duplication: all four of the A, B, X and Y buttons do the same thing -- fire -- while so do all three of up, L and R -- activate the thrusters. Rotating uses left and right on the joystick. So, only four actual controls to learn, but nine possible buttons to use them with!

Graphics: 7
Rather nice, and suitably retro-looking. There's a static background of Jupiter, red spot and all, while the rest of the graphics are reasonably good imitations of real vector graphics. Your score, current level and number of ships remaining are clearly shown at the top of the screen, and it's nice that your ship is blue, to distinguish it from the white asteroids. I'm not sure about the multicoloured bullets, though!

Sound: 6
As usual, it's much too loud with the official GP2X headphones, but on this occasion the problem is exacerbated by the fact that the volume controls do nothing. That makes Vectoroids2x entirely unsuitable for playing anywhere you can't be noisy. The music itself is a little frantic, but it does the job. Other sound effects are basically bloops, but that's okay for a retro game.

Documentation: 4
Not very good. The original readme is included, but there's no specific GP2X documentation at all. Nor is there any on-screen help in the game itself. Admittedly the game is very simple to pick up, but it's a slight disappointment.

Completeness: 9
Loses a point for the documentation issue, but otherwise everything seems to be there. I can't really penalise it for not having hyperspace, as the PC version this is based on didn't have it either!

Overall: 6
Vectoroids2x is a solid, playable take on the Asteroids genre. It's nothing all that special, and though fairly polished doesn't deliver anything new -- though in fairness, it doesn't try to. If only the volume controls worked, it would have scored 7, and would have been a good game for playing in short blasts on the bus.

A change of focus

I'll be continuing with the program list -- don't worry about the wait; the next category is long -- but I'm also going to return to doing some reviews. However, I won't be focusing so much on the well-known, popular games, but rather those which have had little attention. In particular, I'm interested in reviewing games which have had no comments on the archive. Same basic review format as in the past, though.

Incidentally, I still have my F100(B) console, but it now runs Open2X DR7, as I prefer it to official firmware 4.1.0 or its original 3.0.0. Oh, and me being me, don't expect me to keep entirely to my new approach. I may still slip in the odd review of something more popular, an emulator, an application, etc.

Wednesday, 22 February 2012

GP2X OHH program list 2 - Applications: Launchers

On to part two of the list. This installment isn't the most exciting, admittedly, especially as a large number of these programs (including GMenu2x!) fail to run properly, or at all, on my F100 with 4.1.0 firmware. Still, they may be useful to some. Next time around will be considerably more interesting, I promise!

OHH GP2X archive - Applications - Launchers

Click the link above to go to the contents page for this section on, which gives rather more details for each file, and a screenshot for many. This list is intended more as a quick reference, for those who just want to scan what's available. Note that I haven't generally commented on a program's quality or completeness.

Filer2x: simple file manager/launcher
GMenu2x: full-featured alternative frontend with direct program link creation
* Gmenu2xLinks: auto-generate links for GMenu2x sections
GP2XMB: frontend designed to look like Sony's Cross Media Bar for PSP etc
Mocca: alternative graphical shell
QuickStart: autoruns a specified program on startup if a button is held down
Selector: frontend for handling multiple command-line parameters for apps
Stilish Menu: animated menu featuring all programs on an SD card
Sycophant (formerly GP2Xcc): comprehensive graphical app launcher
Unify: simple file manager

WanX: alternative graphical frontend
zLauncher 0.4.1: skinnable launcher; supports CPU speed setting

* OHH download file is misnamed as .rar; it's actually .zip -- rename before extracting

Sunday, 19 February 2012

GP2X OHH program list 1 - Applications: Audio and Video

Yes, I've found something to do with this blog! All right, it's not very thrilling, but it is at least relevant to the GP2X.

OHH GP2X archive - Applications: Audio and Video

Click the link above to go to the contents page for this section on, which gives rather more details for each file, and a screenshot for many. This list is intended more as a quick reference, for those who just want to scan what's available. Note that I haven't generally commented on a program's quality or completeness.

AYLet.gp2x: plays ZX Spectrum .ay files
BSPlay: port of Soundmon Player for the Amiga
CAM2X: webcam/camera program, with drivers
conv_subs: script to convert subtitles from CP1250 to UTF-8
CraigAmp: music player supporting playlists, shuffle, album artwork etc
DicViewer: text file viewer with integrated MP3 support
Drumbox: 10-channel drum machine
ExDrum Machine: simple synth drum
FFPlay: experimental RM/WMV video player
FLite: speech synth for text files

GMU music player: music player with playlist and lyrics support
GP2X Tracker: basic drum tracker
GP2X TV-Out Fixer 0.3b2: enable TV-Out in many programs without official support for it
GP2XInitSound: modify the GP2X's startup sound
gp2xPd - Puredata: jam with Pure Data patches using the joystick
gp808x drumkit for Drumbox 0.1a: Roland TR-808 drumkit for Drumbox
libmedia + some codecs: adds MP2X codecs to libmedia; needs firmware 4.1.x
* Linball: unfinished pinball game
LittleGPTracker: sample-based tracker; interface based on littlesounddj for the Game Boy
madplaygp2x: command-line MP3 player

metro2x: simple metronome; requires pygame
Milkytracker: music creation tool based on Fast Tracker 2 for DOS
mov2gp: Perl script to resize movie files
MP2X: mplayer-based movie player, adding AAC/AC3 support and zoom for widescreen movies
MP2X modifications for Open2X: extra files for compiling on the Open2X firmware toolchain
MP2X skin : tech skin: alternative skin for MP2X movie player
MPlayer (Port from the PC Version): movie player with MPEG support
OldPlay: player for 150+ old music formats inc S3M, NSF, VGM etc, plus MID/MP3/FLAC
One More Music Player Client (ommpc2x): client for Music Player Daemon (included)
PBSynth: virtual analogue synthesiser

Pikix - VJ Software: basic VJing software
Sidplay2x: plays Commodore 64 music files
Soundbox: assign sound effects to the GP2X's buttons
ST-Sound GP2X: YM/SC68/SNDH music player for Atari ST files
stepSeq2x: 16-step sample sequencer
wmvplayer for GP2X(sample version): very basic WMA/WMV player

* Yes, Linball is included in this section on OHH. Don't ask me why!