Given its immense popularity, fans have been eagerly awaiting a follow-up to Daisuke “Pixel” Amaya’s classic platformer Cave Story. While Kero Blaster isn’t a true sequel, it does have the charming aesthetics, memorable character design, and polish we’ve come to expect from a Pixel game. However, the adventure is also much smaller in scope – playing through two loops of the game will probably only take a few hours.
On iOS the game controls decently with an on-screen pad. Instead of a button, shooting is handled with a nifty triangular slider, which makes aiming easier and frees up your thumb for jumping. You can also get the Windows version from Playism, which supports keyboard and gamepads.
Kero Blaster probably won’t make a Pixel fan out of anyone who wasn’t already one, and for those who are, it could be a little disappointing due to the small scope. But what is there is quite enjoyable.
Do you remember sitting in front of the TV on Saturday mornings with a big bowl of sugary cereal, watching the latest adventures of Proton Rider (Intern) Ace Ferrara as he fought off the Dino Menace? Wait – what? That was never a real Saturday-morning cartoon? Developer Philipp Seifried sure could have fooled me with his announcement trailer for the upcoming Ace Ferrara And The Dino Menace.
Described as “a space combat simulation game featuring mystery, romance, cat-augmentation, electronic brains, the Dino Wars, a scientific genius, his niece and her dog Ranger and a heartfelt appreciation for 80s sci-fi cartoons,” Ace Ferrara And The Dino Menace places players in the role of the titular Ace Ferrara, who has managed to gain an internship working with his heroes – the elite Proton Riders. Inspired by classic space-dogfighting games like the Wing Commander series, the game will offer a campaign of objective-based missions, with the story progressing through briefings and downtime interactions on board the Proton Riders’ flagship, Discordia. Philipp Seifried (the game’s sole developer in charge of “graphics, code, music, writing and cat-petting”) aims to launch the game on iOS devices this spring, with planned releases for Android, PC, and Mac following not too long after. You can keep up with the game’s development through its DevLog on TIGForums.
Hit the jump for some early gameplay footage and screenshots of Ace Ferrara and The Dino Menace.
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.
I’m not too in touch with the mobile market (see what I unintentionally did there?), but here are a handful of recent iOS releases that caught my eye:
Super Crate Box iOS – Vlambeer’s popular action game has made its way to iDevices. I’m pretty impressed with how they handled the controls, especially after the 1.1 update. It treats the buttons almost like they’re sliders, and once you get used to it, 90% of the deaths feel like your fault. The screen even scrolls to let you see crates that might be hiding under your fingers.
Fingle – An IGF Best Mobile Game finalist, Fingle plays kind of like Twister for your phalanges. A neat idea that should make for some steamy family gatherings!
Puzzlejuice – Asher Vollmer’s new puzzle game combines Tetris with match-3 and Boggle, and apparently those pieces fit together quite well (I swear I’m not doing this on purpose). Creating rows will turn the squares into letters, which can then be connected into words to make the blocks disappear. Multipliers are granted for spelling, but can also be extended by matching colors and making more letters.
A cool concept in and of itself, but the execution is what drives it home. A slick magnifying window pops up as you’re spelling words and overall, the interface feels very polished. Art direction by Greg Wohlwend (Solipskier) is as good as expected. (EDIT: You should also check out the soundtrack, by Jimmy Hinson. Had my audio turned down, so I didn’t realize how nice it is.)
No Fun Games’ one-button RTS, Pax Britannica, has been ported to Android. This port supports 2-player battles on the same device, or against an AI player if you’re by yourself. Like it’s computer (Win/Mac/Linux) counterpart, Pax Britannica for Android sports beautiful pixel graphics and easy-to-learn gameplay, as well as a price tag of ‘free.’
A week after Tommy Refenes (Super Meat Boy) declared the Apple App Store to be the Tiger Electronics handheld of this generation (part of the Indie Game Maker Rant session), Apple has removed his zit-popping game Zits & Giggles from the App Store. As an experiment, Tommy raised the price tier every time someone bought Zits & Giggles, with people eventually buying the game for $300. He concluded that the iPhone audience was not primarily gamers and that games like Street Fighter, Assassin’s Creed, and Mega Man, which play poorly on the iPhone (like games ported to the Tiger Electronic Handheld), are nothing more than a way to sell a brand.
Apple has not responded, so it’s unclear whether they are retaliating against Tommy’s rant or his price-raising experiment. Or both.
Superbrothers: Sword & Sworcery EP is an iPhone game collaboration between superbrothers (aka Craig Adams), singer-songwriter Jim Guthrie, and Capybara Games, the creators of Critter Crunch. These two videos are from the GDC build of the game, where the player engages in some exploration and combat. I got a chance to try it at the IGF Pavilion, where S&S EP was being shown for winning IGF Mobile’s Achievement In Art award. It’s great – the stylized art, the evocative audio, and the detail in each area makes you excited to see what’s coming next. The combat was also fun, if simple.
The combat video is after the jump:
The finalists for IGF Mobile 2010 have been announced:
Best Mobile Game Design:
Achievement In Art
Best iPhone Game
IGF Mobile Best Game
Finalists will comprise the winners of the five above categories, to be announced on Monday, February 8th.
Congrats! I’m working on another iPhone game round-up right now, too.
I think we’re well due for an iPhone/iPod Touch post. My Touch has become the peripheral of choice for the go, so I made sure it was well-stocked with games. Here are 10 of my favorites:
Eliss – Steph Thirion’s Eliss was one of the first iPhone games to catch my eye, and still stands out as one of the best games for the platform, in my opinion. It’s gorgeous and challenging, and makes great use of the iPhone’s multitouch.
Canabalt – Conceived by Adam “Atomic” Saltsman, the big brain behind Flixel and Edgecrement, Canabalt has you leaping from roof-to-roof in a frantic and stylish escape from a dying city. It’s the best one-switch game I’ve ever played and the latest update – which features new environments and sick beatz by Danny B. – make it even better.
Developers should check out Adam’s post about “The $0.99 Problem”, too.
Sword of Fargoal – Jeff McCord’s classic roguelike game has been rebooted by McCord and his partners, Paul Pridham and Elias Pschernig. For those of you yearning for a good roguelike experience on the iPhone, this is it! It’s a fantastic update to the game.
Earth Dragon – Earth Dragon was created by Chaim Gingold, the design lead for Spore’s Creators, including the Creature Creator (now indie as the day he was born). It’s quite cute and fun and makes clever use of the accelerometer and touch to let you control your dragon. The art is by Jane Ng, who also worked on Spore.
ZenBound – Zenbound is a calm (I wrote “clam” first, and almost left it), meditative game that has you tying up wooden animals with rope. It’s really striking to look at. The creators, Secret Exit, are best known for their Stair/Truck Dismount series of games.
Stair Dismount – And yes, Stair Dismount has finally made it to the iPhone. This version has a variety of different levels and lets you paste your friends’ faces onto the ragdoll via Facebook. I chose Edmund McMillen, because his photo was cropped the best. Then I chose a baby.
Skull Pogo – Chevy Johnston’s Skull Pogo started off as a Game Maker game, but it works best on the iPhone, where you can use the accelerometer to control your little skullpogoman. Aside from being an awesome, creative, and helpful dude on the forums, Chevy knows how to make an addictive game. The recent update is pretty sweet, too.
Cross Fingers – Because of a certain someone asshole, Edge has been removed from the App Store again. But at least he didn’t prevent Mobigame from releasing their next title, Cross Fingers, a sliding-block puzzle game that uses multitouch. Although perhaps not as unique as Edge, I actually prefer CF as a game to play on the go.
So there you have it! 10 good games for under $22. And I’m sure you got more, so lay it on us in the comments.
You may have seen this reported elsewhere, but “arthouse” game creator Jason Rohrer is hard at work on his first retail release, a turn-based, two-player strategy game for the Nintendo DS “about diamond trading in Angola on the eve of the passage of the ”http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kimberley_Process_Certification_Scheme" title=“The Kimberley Process Certification Scheme on Wikipedia”>Kimberly Process." This first struck me as a heavy subject for a handheld game, but the fact of the matter is there are countless games about counter-terrorism, war, monsters, death… I’m apparently just a bit desensitized to certain topics!
I asked Jason for more details on the game and he was kind enough to oblige. Pictured above is his paper prototype of the game. He’s still ironing out the design, but he got approved as a developer by Nintendo last week and programming should begin soon. He was reluctant to describe the gameplay itself this early, which is understandable, but he says there are no big surprises here, so all will be revealed before release. Oh, and he’s making every bit of the game himself, right down to the box art.