Playing the beta for Santa Ragione’s upcoming indie title, MirrorMoon EP, I am immediately reminded of another game of space exploration, Noctis. Like that spiritual predecessor, MirrorMoon EP sees players drifting aimlessly from star system to star system in a shared, procedurally-generated “galaxy,” exploring planets littered with strange features and mysterious ruins. A bit of multiplayer flair is added by the ability for players to name any system that they are the first to explore – a designation that will be seen by any other players exploring that galaxy. Throw in a bit of the zen-like feel of Proteus and an interactive cockpit that draws inspiration from the infamous controller from Steel Battalion, and I quickly found myself entirely immersed in this gem of a game.
Scheduled for release on September 4th, MirrorMoon EP is currently in beta (available for a discounted pre-order price of $8.99USD), providing players with a tutorial level from the planned single-player “Side A” and thousand-system galaxies on the multiplayer “Side B.” Santa Ragione have ensured that the game will procedurally create new galaxies as needed so that there will always be new systems to explore, and they are also actively using player feedback from the beta to shape the gameplay and puzzles encountered throughout the game. So why not check it out and let them know what you think?
However, for your enlightenment:
I hope you enjoy it. It’s quite difficult, but quite beatable, and there’s a proper ending movie and everything.
Developed by a group of students at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute during their Spring semester, Zineth is a non-linear action game that mostly lets you skate around, but also gives you the option to fiddle around with fetch quests, races, Twitter, and a strange Pokémon-esque minigame that’s accessible through the player’s mobile device. The main draw, however, is the skating, and it feels fast and fun. It’s complemented by a cool aesthetic and an expansive world that offers plenty of opportunities to grind, glide, and wall jump across huge distances.
Despite (because of?) being a pretty dense and esoteric doujin bullet hell shoot ‘em up, Hellsinker has enjoyed a cult success over the years. But now that an English translation patch has been finished, perhaps more people can enjoy its unique flavor of shooting. Thanks to Noah! from the forums for posting enthusiastically about it a few months ago.
Like most shoot ‘em ups, the goal of the game is to advance through the stages and earn a high score (called “spirit” in HS). However, Hellsinker also has a unique meter called “terra” that can deplete to send you to the Shrine of Farewell, a special boss rush level that resets your spirit counter but can end up doubling it if you’re good enough. There are many other quirks to the game, and the numerous ship types ensure that there’s a lot to understand here, whether you’re playing it in your native language or not.
Beyond that, if you’re interested in learning more about Hellsinker, you’re probably best off exploring it yourself or looking through the various guides that I’ve posted below along with the download/purchase links:
You might be forgiven if at first glance you were to confuse Sophie Houlden’s recently released Swift Stitch for a video game out of another decade. Utilizing the Unity3D game engine, Sophie has created an ostensibly 2D game, though one that hews closer artistically to the legacy of early vector displays than the more prolific blocky bitmap art that followed. The slick mathematical aesthetic, the palette of black, white, and bright flickering neons, and the bare-minimum control method may seem otherworldly amongst today’s fare. On deeper examination however, you may discover that Swift Stitch is a game firmly rooted in the present, taking a unique approach in addressing several modern game design paradigms.
In play, Swift Stitch bears significant resemblance to the bit Generations (or more recently, ArtStyle) games. Roughly similar to various entries in the arty Skip Ltd. developed series, Swift Stitch presents the player with minimal visual and aural feedback, tightening the gap between stimulus and player reaction. When successful, this kind of game induces a unique head-space that makes every lesson learned by failure and every small triumph feel sublime.
Stephen “increpare” Lavelle has released English Country Tune, the latest of his many mind-expanding video game projects, but also his first commercial release. In ECT, the player controls a flat panel that can flip itself onto adjacent tiles in 3d space. The goal of the early levels is to flip “larva” into glowing cubes. The larva will “fall” according to the direction that they were flipped, introducing you to the spatial nature of ECT’s puzzles. As you advance to later levels, you’ll encounter new goals and obstacles (watch the trailer below for a sneak peak at some of those).
Suffice to say, if you like unique and challenging puzzlers, you should check this one out – a demo that covers the first couple of worlds is available from the website (full version $10).
As our column of tanks rushed down a hill towards an enemy column, one of my fellow tank commanders – apparently a raven wearing a top hat – screamed, “Kill them all!” That was the moment I decided that T-17 Tanky was a game for me.
T-17 Tanky is the first game by the one-man studio Preen Dog Interactive. The game sees two armies – the bird-populated country of Egalitaria and the rat-lead Crat Empire – warring against each other. While an actual campaign is still on the way, the game currently offers a custom battle option, which places the player in charge of a squad of tanks from Egalitaria and tasks them with destroying similar squads piloted by the Crats. In addition to standard heavy and light tanks, the player can add truck-mounted flack cannons, rocket artillery units, and even airplanes to the battlefield.
Similar to Kerbal Space Program, T-17 Tanky is charming in the fact that it has a very cartoony, very light aesthetic to it, yet goes deeper into the simulation field of gameplay than you would have suspected. Each vehicle has several weapon types to choose from, and can be damaged in various ways: tires and treads can be shot off, engines can be critically damaged, etc. There is a ballistics model and even a simple targeting computer, which the player calibrates for distance by clicking the middle mouse-button to “laze” the target.
Currently, T-17 Tanky is still very early in development and still a little rough around the edges, but there is a free demo available for download at the main site. The developer has also set up a funding page over on 8-Bit Funding, where you can pre-order the game and support its development.
Joost van Dongen’s gorgeous abstract racing game Proun has been released today as pay-what-you want. Players are encouraged the try the full game for free if they’re unsure and pay for it later if they feel that it’s worth some dough (I definitely think so!). Proun features 4 tracks (plus one bonus track when you pay for the game), up to 4-player splitscreen multiplayer, 4 speeds, online leaderboards, and an option to race against your ghosts. Players can also create their own tracks in 3d Studio MAX and share them with others.
TIGdb: Entry for Proun
The beta for Fract has been out for a while, but the news of “official” production beginning on the full game and the addition of Henk Boom (of Pax Britannica fame) to the husband and wife studio has gotten me all excited about it again (even though it isn’t expected to be finished until early 2012).
It’s a first person adventure game with an electro, Tron-ish theme in both look and sound that hooked me from the beginning. The beta is short if you can quickly figure out the puzzles, but Richard Flanagan says it’s only a “slice” of what he has envisioned for the full game. Also, I hope the final puzzle wows you as much as it did me the first time I hit the play button.
Fract’s beta was made in Unity and comes in Mac and Win flavors. However, it is only downloadable, since it’s a hefty 117 MB (a heads up for those of you who have to consider bandwidth caps).
Vertex Dispenser is a clever RTS where the goal is to overrun your opponents on abstract 3d worlds, claiming your territory vertex by vertex. The most interesting aspect of the game, in my opinion, is the resource management – resources come in seven different flavors, from blue, the least valuable, all the way up to white. The more nodes of a color you own, the faster that resource replenishes, but what color a node becomes when you tag it is dependent on the colors of the adjacent nodes. Specifically, it defaults to the lowest value color that is not present in the adjacent nodes. White, the most difficult color to obtain (because it requires that all six adjacent nodes are different colors), yields the most powerful abilities, and blue the weakest.
Getting the most out of the nodes requires some simple puzzle-solving, but it becomes much more difficult on a constantly changing battlefield where opponents are also expanding and poking at your defenses. It’s a cool idea, and despite the serenity of the abstract audiovisuals, Vertex Dispenser is pretty exciting to play at higher difficulties. The game comes with a single-player campaign, puzzle and battle modes, and the ability to play multiplayer games across platform (Windows/Macintosh).