Dys4ia is a new game by Anna Anthropy / Auntie Pixelante, developer of REDDER, Mighty Jill Off, Calamity Annie, When Pigs Fly, and other games, and who is also just about to release a book on independent game development, Rise of the Videogame Zinesters. Dys4ia is an autobiographical game about transgenderism and hormone therapy. The music is by Liz Ryerson. From Anna’s blog:
“dys4ia is the story of the last six months of my life: when i made the decision to start hormone replacement therapy and began taking estrogen. i wanted to catalog all the frustrations of the experience and maybe create an “it gets better” for other trans women. when i started working on the game, though, i didn’t know whether it did get better. i was in the middle of the shit detailed in level 3 of the game, and at the time i had no idea what the ending would be; it was hard to envision a happy ending.”
TIGSource hasn’t covered Crawl since 2007, back with Linley’s Dungeon Crawl, and it’s changed a lot since then. Dungeon Crawl Stone Soup is the living branch of Linley’s Dungeon Crawl (the original branch hasn’t been updated since 2003). Most fans of roguelikes have played it or at least know about it, but for those seeking to get into roguelikes this is a good place to start. Ortoslon got me into this particular game, and it became the first roguelike I ever finished (albeit as a Minotaur berserker, one of the easiest combinations to beat the game with).
The new update added (among many new features) a new species, octopodes, which can wear eight rings, but can’t wear armor except hats. In Crawl, species matters a lot more than starting class, class just determines which skills and items you start with, but is non-binding because you can always learn other skills and find other items: so you can begin as an elven fighter but then find a spellbook and decide to focus on magic anyway. Your species determines how fast you can increase different skills (varying from -5 to +5 learning rates), your movement speed, body size, metabolism, whether you have horns or claws or other features, and so on. If you get into the game you’ll probably try out all the species at least once, but then stick with a few favorites.
Indie studio Young Horses has released a teaser trailer for their sequel to 2010′s fumbling physics game, Octodad. Titled Octodad: Dadliest Catch, this sequel continues the story of an octopus posing as a human as he tries to accomplish everyday tasks with, and for, his oblivious human family. No task is easy however, when all you have to work with are boneless, suction-cupped arms. Additionally, there’s now a catchy theme song that I’ll no doubt have lodged in my head for quite some time.
The original game is still free for download, and anyone who hasn’t
hopelessly smacked every household object in the room onto the floor while trying to turn off an alarm clock played it yet should go give it a try.
The teaser trailer states that Octodad: Dadliest Catch will be arriving on shore in 2013. As a fan of the first game and all things cephalopod, I’m looking forward to getting my two, perfectly human hands on it.
Starfarer is a promising real-time tactics RPG that’s currently in development. The latest pre-order build, 0.5a, was released today, bringing the game one step closer to the open-world space opera that its developers have planned. Previous iterations of Starfarer have let you choose from a number of scripted missions, but in 0.5a you can finally tackle a basic campaign map that lets you expand your fleet (through purchase or capture) and level up your crew. No matter how large your fleet is, though, you’ll always control a single character and ship, directing your allies through a detailed tactical map.
The game already offers quite a bit in the way of customization to your fleet, from types of ships (large capital ships to tiny fighters) to weapons and armor, down to even the personality and experience of the crew. The final release, though, sounds like it will be a dream for fans of space combat and trading games like Escape Velocity Nova – whether you want to be an ace pilot, the admiral of a large fleet, or something in-between, there will be plenty of ways to make your (permanent, meaningful) mark on the galaxy. On top of that, Starfarer’s devs seem committed to making the game friendly for modders, with fans already creating their own ships and missions.
The final price of the game is set at $20, but you can pre-order it right now for $10 and receive the current build as well as all future updates.
Release 0.34.01 fleshes out world generation (including massive cities complete with sewers, dungeons, catacombs, marketplaces, and outlying farmland), creatures (including werewolves, vampires, mummies, and necromancers capable of raising the dead), and many other features.
(Image Source: Fault, of the Bay 12 Forums)
[This is a guest review by Tof Eklund.]
Katawa Shoujo is a visual novel that takes place at a school for the disabled. The game’s protagonist, Hisao, arrives there reluctantly after a long hospital stay for life-threatening arrhythmia (irregular heartbeat). His first episode occurred when a girl at his school confessed to him, setting the tone of heartbreak, isolation, and the difficulty of human connection for the game. Thus the game’s logo, a yellow heart criss-crossed with bandages: wounded and frightened.
This is a relationship/dating sim game, but it is closer in feel to Evangelion than any of the “harem” anime and manga (Tenchi Muyo, Love Hina) that it may seem, on casual inspection, to resemble. Each of the girls that Hisao can wind up falling in love with at Yamaku Academy has a different disability, and that, combined with the fact that there is (semi-)explicit sex in this game, is the reason some people have dismissed it, unplayed, as a fetish-fest.
The Humble Bundle guys have launched a new pay-what-you-want bundle aimed at Android users. The games included are Anomaly: Warzone Earth HD, Osmos HD, and the puzzle game EDGE. World of Goo is available as a “beat-the-average” bonus game. If you buy the bundle you’ll receive the Windows, Mac, and Linux versions of these games, as well.
Katawa Shoujo (lit. “Cripple Girls”) is a visual novel that was developed by Four Leaf Studios, an “international team of amateur developers”. Based on a sketch by doujinshi Raita Honjou (who’s also the character artist for Valkyria Chronicles), the game takes place in a high school for disabled teenagers. 4 years in development, Katawa Shoujo was released early this year and the team disbanded soon after.
I haven’t played it, but most of the comment threads about the game seem to start with someone wondering out loud whether it’s as perverted and exploitative as it sounds, to be answered by fans who claim the subject matter is treated tastefully and that the actual sex, which is minimal, takes a backseat to the development of the characters and their relationships.
Brogue is a roguelike that’s been in active development since 2009. It’s unique in that it eschews all other attributes – dexterity, intelligence, charisma, wisdom, etc. – in favor of strength, which can only be gained through potions. Likewise, this single stat only determines one thing: whether or not you can wield better weapons and armor without incurring a penalty. Potions of strength are obviously important in Brogue, but so are scrolls of enchantment: enchanting items not only increases their power, but also reduces their strength requirements.
In a game like Nethack, for example, you’ll often encounter monsters and items that are similar to one another, like the four different types of short swords that only deal slight differences in damage. In Brogue, however, everything is much more distinct. Many monsters have unique attacks, like thieving monkeys or goblin conjurers that summon spectral blades to chase you. And it’s easy to tell whether a weapon or armor is better by simply looking at the strength requirement (although some types of equipment have special abilities, too, like hammers and spears which deal damage across multiple spaces).
Brogue is streamlined, and even though it sports ASCII graphics it reminds me of console roguelikes like Shiren the Wanderer, due to its intuitive interface (fully mouse-accessible) and simplified mechanics. It still manages to be challenging, but the challenge lies less in knowing trivia about the game than simply making smart decisions. The graphics are actually very pretty, too – Brogue’s dungeons are quite naturalistic and sport all kinds of colorful areas, from green-and-brown fungus forests to blue-and-purple sun-lit grottos. Even caustic gases and deadly wildfires look great as they spread slowly across the floor… just make sure you don’t get backed into a corner while you’re admiring them!
TIGdb: Entry for Brogue
The iPad version of Windosill was released earlier this month and adds a sketchbook gallery, level select, and “translucent mode” that lets you see how each level is put together (although you can’t tell from a screenshot, many of the objects in the game are 3d polygons). The original game, which can be played in your browser or as a download from Steam, came out in ’09.
The brainchild of Patrick Walker, Windosill takes you through 11 simple puzzle rooms. The game is criminally short, but nonetheless quite enjoyable. The toy truck that leads the way is perhaps a hint about how to best play it – by not only solving the puzzles but also goofing around with the fanciful, abstract dioramas that make up each room.
The browser version is free up until the halfway point. It’s currently on sale for about $1 on Steam.
TIGdb: Entry for Windosill