So I’m happy to announce that Indie Brawl, one of our two community projects (the other being BMcC’s Balding’s Quest), is seeing a public release today. IB puts many of the virtual heroes of indie games together in a multiplayer fighting extravaganza. This build has three “complete” fighters to choose from (Naija, The Golden Knight from Bonesaw, and Liero) and several WIP ones (The Dwarf, Trilby, Nikujin, Xoda Rap, and Iji).
One of the things that makes me really proud to be a part of the TIGSource community is that our collaborations and projects see fruition. It’s not an easy task to complete a project over the ‘tubes with so many disparate people – it requires a lot of dedication from the community and management on the part of the project leaders. That we have people who are passionate enough to take a "hey, that’s a cool idea!" and turn it into something real is nigh incredible.
Big props to Soulliard, the tireless team leader and programmer, without whom Indie Brawl would not exist. And also to godsavant, Oracle, and Clemens, who put a ton of work into the pixel art. And Josh “TwiTerror” Whelchel for the music. And everyone else who contributed! Hope you enjoy the build! Remember, the project is always looking for more help!
Aces Wild is a side-scrolling beat’em up in the style of Katakijin or Dishwasher: Dead Samurai. Currently not much beyond a demonstration of the gameplay engine, your goal in the recently released demo is simple. Kill everything, run to the next area and then kill everything there. Rinse, Lather, Repeat. The draw here is two-fold; For starters the game is a visual treat, from the way the characters move and fight to the way the terrain tilts as you jump, giving an incredibly natural sense of depth. The other side is that rather than following the sublimely delicious Scary Girl with a dodgy collision detection system, the fighting system is incredibly satisfying and fluid.
The combat functions somewhat similar to the Smash Bros series (I’m pretty sure I don’t need to link that one), where directional controls will unleash different attacks depending on which combination you use and either dodges or dashes are available depending on just how quickly you have to get the hell out of the way of an oncoming attack. The elegant twist here is in the application of the Right Trigger (I should mention I’m using a 360 controller for this. Keyboard controls will be different of course and are covered in the readme!). Normally, or at least normal for this game, when you unleash an attack on an enemy you will launch them in a set direction until they collide with a wall/floor/ceiling in which case they’ll rebound for another gratuitous beating.
However if you hold down the trigger whilst attacking it adds a kind of backspin to the attack, which means when they collide with an obstacle they will cling to it for a moment, meaning they only slightly rebound enough so they hover in roughly the position they hit. This suddenly opens a whole variety of attack options, where usually the Down+Punch would smash the enemy into the ground and send them flying upwards as a launcher, instead the R-Trigger can be applied so the enemy dramatically smashes into the ground and hovers for a moment allowing you to instantly continue a combo, either charging and unleashing an up+punch launcher or another form of combination (Diagonal attacks being my favourite finishers for sure).
It is still a little off at times given that there are a number of infinite combos the enemy can’t break out of, the voice acting whilst welcome can be somewhat grating as is and when there’s a large group of ninja to fight it is almost impossible to break through their defense/constant onslaught. As it is really just an early peek at the game these are understandable and acknowledged by the games creator in the Feedback thread, so if there are any queries or criticisms be sure to make them there so that hopefully any major issues can be addressed. As it stands I think what’s there is pretty great, and I’m thoroughly looking forward to any future builds of the title for if nothing else it illuminated just how short sighted I was being in the past. Punching people in the face isn’t fun.
Uppercutting someone into the ceiling ten times in four seconds is.
Faith Fighter, the controversial browser-based fighting game where you could pit your favorite deities against each other Primal Rage-style, has been pulled from the creator’s website, following a brief statement from the Organization of the Islamic Conference condemning the game as being “incendiary in its content and offensive to Muslims and Christians.” Molleindustria, who also developed the game Operation: Pedopriest, explains why they removed the game, citing a failure on their part to communicate the inherent irony of the game, which was created shortly after, and partly as a response to, the uproar over the Danish newspaper cartoons which depicted the face of the prophet Muhammed.
TIGdb: Entry for Faith Fighter
Punching people in the face is really quite fun.
Alright, so it’s not really quite that simple, but there’s no denying how satisfying the combat system is in this game. Zeno Clash combines the immersive and brutal combat of Breakdown with an intuitive control scheme. Light punches are your left mouse button, with strong punches on your right with space blocking and arrow keys as movement. What’s interesting about this system though is that you’re not completely stuck on a direct course with your enemy, what I mean is that you do have a slight independent movement of your head whilst you’re fighting. You can combine this with the block to either dodge or parry, and to lock onto another enemy in combat, you simply have to look at the targer and press E, which you can do whilst you’re still dealing damage to the enemy in front of you. You can even do this to be aware of who is around you, if you’re preparing to throw your opponent in their direction. It’s simple, it’s satisfying and it’s very very fun.
Something that really makes the game shine is the fantastic style throughout. Much like a Guillermo Del Toro film the creators have really nailed a look that is equal parts fantastic and cool yet at the same time quite horrible and unsettling. Nothing personifies this more than one of your main groups of adversaries in the game, ‘The Corwids’, who are people who live according to their own desires, but who are also completely insane. As stated about one individual, ‘He wanted to become invisible, so he tears out the eyes of everyone around him’. Indeed the first one you meet appears to have two large pieces of metal stabbed into his ears whilst he’s smashing his face into a tree. ‘Father-Mother’ too, a character prominent in the early trailers, is a unique and disturbing presence. The engine really carries this style well, and if you’ve played other source engine games you should roughly know what to expect from your rig when it comes to this game. The environments are gorgeous, and really unlike anything else on Steam at the moment. If anything it sometimes echoes adventure game classic The Neverhood although a much more realistic version. Some areas can be a little more bland than others, but when the game shines it really shines.
That said, though the environment you see is very interesting and well crafted you really don’t have much of a sense of what lies outside the areas you physically playthrough. Completion of one level will lead you straight to another through either a cut-scene or simply a fade-to-black, leaving you no clear indictation of just how far the characters have travelled. Given how bizarre and fantastic the world is I’d like to know a lot more about how it actually operates. Instead it all feels somewhat disjointed, which actually I would have to say about many aspects of the game. As great as the production values are in terms of graphics and style, the voice acting really leaves a lot to be desired. Aside from ‘The Hunter’ who appeared in the pre-release comic the rest of the cast are really quite plain. They’re in no way offensive, but their delivery fails to really bring the script to life, which is equally hampered by a script that fails to bring most of the characters to life. Visually they’re beautifully realised but outside of that they do lack a bit of personality.
There’s just a lot of things that don’t quite work right. The weapons can be quite fun, but they’re slightly over-powered where the ‘Fish guns’ are concerned and then not all that useful in too many situations if you’re stuck with one of the other weapons. The heavy enemies should be the most exciting fights, but instead once you figure out their pattern they’re actually the easiest to battle against. ‘E’ is used to lock-on and pick-up weapons, which is still I choice I simply don’t get, and the accuracy required to pick up can be frustrating when all you want to do is eat some fruit. Also during one level, an enemy is introduced that appears to be a major encounter, but dies incredibly simply and is never seen again, leaving the entire section it resides as 45 seconds of walking.
I suppose this is where I want to talk about the story too, which I’ll try not to spoil but if you really want you can just skip past the section. It was actually quite interesting for a while, but the main story thread actually turned out to be no where near as exciting as it had built up to be for me, and I have absolutely no idea what to say about the ending. If something is up to interpretation that’s fine, but in this case I really didn’t have any clues on how to interpret it. I was just- haha, okay. I’m really not going to try and explain myself. It’s something you really have to experience for yourself to quite figure out my dumbfoundedness. It’s an interesting story and it definitely kept me hooked for the most part but whether they just weren’t able to tell it very well or there was some other complication it didn’t really satisfy as well as the game does in other areas.
Ulimately though, what I think is important to note is that whilst I have a number of criticisms of the game a number of them I can think of having complained about a lot of other games in the past that have been full mainstream productions. ’Assassin’s Creed’ with the ending, ‘Breakdown’ for the bastard-with-the-gun-attacking-whilst-I’m-fighting-someone moments or the sometimes brutally hard battles. And when it succeeds, it does so really well. The world of Zeno Clash is a far more interesting one than presented in many other games, and regarding ‘Breakdown’ this game actually surpasses it where multi-person melee is concerned and whilst tough it was never impossible to get through a section. The enemy designs are so great in an era of faceless clone soldiers that every time I found the guy with a head shaped like a thumb I just had to let him disarm me so I could really enjoy our fight.
It’s a strange game. There’s certainly a number of flaws but the main gameplay mechanics behind it all are just so fun you can’t help but enjoy it. The fact that it actually invites comparison between itself and major mainstream titles is a measure of its own worth. I can fault the game on a number of issues, but it would never be because it didn’t try hard enough. If anything it was the scope of its ambitions that gives the game its most annoying grievances and its most gratifying and enjoyable triumphs.
Its not perfect, but if in its flawed state this title still averages out to ‘pretty bloody good’, you can definitely call it a success.
Man I love these steam-shots. They basically cover everything I want to say anyway!
So yes, pre-loading has started on indie shooter-fighter hybrid Zeno Clash so if you’ve already purchased the game be sure to start downloading through steam in order to play it as soon as it releases!
Well, that’s the theory anyway. Also this will be the last day then that the 25% discount will be in effect, so if the recent positive reviews have encouraged you to check it out you can still save a fair amount in the price of admission. Good luck Ace Team!
(Update: Game is out! Steam Unlocking Begins! Discount is over!)
See, what did I just say? One day sale.
Zeno Clash , an FPS with splashes of shooting and melee action (and IGF Finalist!) will be released sometime in April, and to celebrate the developers are having a sale on Steam where the game will be half off for a single day. That makes the current price $9.99, or Â£7.49 or even â‚¬7.99 depending on just where in the world you hail from, which is a huge saving.
So TIG, is it a big enough saving for you to want to put down money on something which doesn’t have a playable demo, or does the IGF Finalist status give you more confidence in putting down the money early?
(Update: Sale is over, but the discount will remain at 25% off until release on April 21st!)
TIGdb: Entry for Toribash
Scuba Steve’s Action DooM is still somewhat of a rarity amongst Doom mods – a full-featured total conversion that genuinely tries some new things. With AD, Scuba and his team not only tried to emulate the linear gameplay of classic 2d shooters like Contra, they promoted it as a real retail product that you might buy when the genre was at the height of its popularity. Though as far as Contra-style FPS’s go, 8bit killer is a superior game, Action DooM gets credit for being the first. And for displaying the lasting potential of the Doom engine.
Four years later, Action DooM 2 is here! Whereas the original AD mixed Contra with Doom, AD2 is obviously inspired by beat ‘em up games like Final Fight. Even though there are guns available in the game, they are scarce – for the most part you’ll be using your fists, along with a slew of hand-to-hand weapons like knives, 2×4s, and chains. These items break quickly with use, but are strewn around each level fairly liberally.
The idea of picking up new weapons constantly is a good one, although combat is kind of hit-or-miss (pun intended). For the most part, there’s little strategy to beating up your opponents – just move in, hit, and then move away. It gets slightly repetitive, and I would have loved to have been able to throw weapons, or perhaps use different types of attacks. Throws? Combos? Chokes?
But overall, it’s hard to complain – Action DooM 2 is obviously a labor of love and there’s lots to like, from the awesome graphics (hand-pixelled by Steve) to the wonderfully overdone Sin City/Max Payne-style noir cutscenes (complete with voiceovers!). There’s also a really impressive amount of variety to the enemies and the environments. I enjoyed the various in-jokes (no way!) that can be found on the walls in the form of advertisements and graffiti.
AD2 (which can be played with or without Doom 2), definitely sets the bar high for creative Doom mods, and was a treat to play through. The full game is available for download, but if you really enjoy it, you can also buy a boxed version for $9.99 that comes with bonus maps.
Castle Crashers is now on XBLA for 1200 points! Get it while it’s hot! (Congratulations to Tom Fulp, Dan Paladin, and the rest of the Castle Crashers team!)
TIGdb: Entry for Castle Crashers
How is TIGSource absent of what could be the greatest independent post-apocalyptic sandbox-game ever!?
Ska Studios, the maker of the soon-to-be released XBLA game “The Dishwasher: Dead Samurai,” holds the title for perhaps the greatest free zombie game to date. Survival Crisis Z mixes the free-roaming, do-what-you-want aspects of games like Grand Theft Auto, and the post-apocalyptic zombie/infected scenario from movies like 28 Days Later and I am Legend.
The game has two main game-types: story and arcade. In arcade it is very simple: you will simply run around the streets of a city as the only survivor, facing ever increasing numbers of zombies until you die. This mode often only lasts a few minutes, and offers rewards for high-scores ranging from new mini-games available from the menu to a character editor for the campaign.
On to story mode:
As the main Character, you roam the city, trying to survive the outbreak in hopes that help will arrive. You aren’t alone either: other survivors like yourself have formed into clans, and the city’s police force has even set up a few strongholds.
For awhile, the city might seem peaceful almost, with only one ore two of the infected attacking at once. But wait until nightfall, and the streets will literally be crawling with them. Will you stay with other survivors in a stronghold? Or will you try to keep moving or hole up by yourself?
The “living city” aspect of SCZ is amazing, better even than many commercial games that have attempted the same thing: you’ll come across police patrolling the street, or even walk straight into shootouts between fighting factions. You can even interact with these factions by visiting various strongholds and ask for a job. These jobs range from simple “take this package across town” to rescue missions to even taking out entire other factions’ strongholds. As you do these missions, the various factions of the world will treat you differently based on how much they like you.
You don’t need to follow any sort of storyline however (although, if you want to escape the city, you will have to at some point), and there are plenty of things to do. You can simply explore: looting bodies as you go around the randomly-generated city, or even venture into the dark sewers and try to flush out the zombie invasion. Or you can run a personal trade-route: purchasing supplies for cheap at one stronghold, and then traveling to another where they will fetch a better price. You can use any money you get to purchase new weapons, supplies, or training. Yes, I said training. SCZ has a rpg-like system of several skills that you can develop. From personal healing to bomb-making, these skills can then be used in numerous ways to your advantage.
During all your travels throughout the city, you’ll even begin to pick up other lone survivors like yourself, who will travel along with you and even fight alongside. You’ll have to keep an eye on their health however: if they are bitten and not treated within a few hours, they might turn on you and attack.
The zombies of the game range from the fast, newly-infected variant from 28 Days Later, to the slow, shambling-yet-hard-to-kill version from the Zombie films of old. There exploding zombies, child zombies, dog zombies, giant zombies, and of course zombies that you always think you’ve killed, and then they get back up and attack again (much like those damn “magic” birthday candles).
Another fun aspect of the game is that you (and any “crew” that you have collected) can attempt to take over other stronghold for yourself. Sometimes this entails protecting it against a massive flood of the infected, and sometimes you must kill the current owners who are less than pleased to be evicted…
There are three “campaign/levels” in the game, and each is progressively harder than the last. So if you want an awesome survival-horror game for free, and you’re not a fool with Vista such as myself, look no further than Survival Crisis Z (or if you have Vista, do as I do and throw SCZ on a thumb-drive and play it on a friend’s computer with XP).
Also, although this version of SCZ doesn’t have multiplayer, who knows what lies around the corner…?
EDIT: for Vista users, there is a supposed fix, although it has only worked for some of those who have tried it. See the comments for this post if you want to try it for yourself.
TIGdb: Entry for Survival Crisis Z