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?
[This is a guest post by phubans.]
Here’s a guest review for Mercenary Kings. I even made a video to go with it!
Mercenary Kings is simply amazing. You can always tell when you like a game – you start playing it and spend the next 8~ hours continuing to play it. It’s that good. When I started out, I did the online co-op with a few friends over a Skype call, playing on my TV with a gamepad for the full experience. Co-op was great, but I kept playing for hours after everyone else left, completely immersed in the level of depth the game had to offer.
Let me just say that this game seems to have ticked all the right boxes. It goes without saying that a game featuring the awesome art and animation of Paul Robertson is going to look great, but beyond that it even feels great; the feedback couldn’t be better. The music is also one of the game’s strong points, with driving, energetic tunes that will have you humming along. But as great as it looks, sounds, and plays, I think the most compelling feature of the game is the weapon crafting system.
As you play the game, enemies and chests will drop common, uncommon, and rare materials. Back at base camp you can use these to craft weapons, armor, and accessory upgrades. But it isn’t as simple as upgrading your gun to level 2. Perhaps the greatest aspect of Mercenary Kings is that every part of your gun is customizable – the receiver, the barrel, the stock, the magazine, etc. Using this system you can mix and match to create one of thousands of unique possible combinations.
The game also features a rank system where you’ll rank up by completing various missions, including scenarios like hostage rescue, scavenger hunts for materials, and simply neutralizing or capturing enemies and bosses. Completing some missions will unlock new NPCs to interact with as well new missions, areas, and weapon parts to craft.
If RPG elements aren’t enough to sell a Metal Slug-type game for you, then it’s probably not your cup of tea, but as far as games in this genre go, this one is pretty great and easily one of the best games I’ve played so far in 2013. For fans of the Contra and Metal Slug series who also enjoy high-level weapon customization and RPG elements, this game is most certainly a must buy.
Coinciding with the retail release of the OUYA today is the release of Matt Thorson’s TowerFall, a 4-player versus platformer that is being hailed as the console’s “killer app” on websites like Penny Arcade Report. In the game, each player controls an archer and the goal is to slay your opponents with arrows. Power-ups such as bomb arrows, shields, and wings add variety to the matches, which take place in one of 70 single-screen arenas. The focus is on local multiplayer, but TowerFall does include single-player challenges where you have to destroy dummy targets in a certain amount of time.
Currently, TowerFall is an OUYA exclusive, although Matt has expressed interest in a PC port somewhere down the road. The game’s graphics are by Studio Miniboss (Deep Dungeons of Doom) and the soundtrack is by Alec Holowka (Aquaria).
Skulls of the Shogun was released today on XBLA and Windows 8/Surface/Phone. Inspired by fast-paced tactics titles like Advance Wars and Fire Emblem, Skulls promises relatively deep and engaging decision-making based around a simple ruleset and a limited number of units (7 total, including the singular General unit). Also, the game eschews grid-based, menu-based movement – instead, players move their units within a circle that represents the maximum distance they can travel each turn.
On top of a “15-hour” singleplayer campaign and hotseat local multiplayer, Skulls of the Shogun also offers an online multiplayer mode can be played between platforms.
Desperate Gods is an open source “digital board game” developed by Wolfire Games for Fuck This Jam, a week-and-a-half-long game jam based around making games in genres you generally dislike. In his design overview, Wolfire’s David Rosen describes how he enjoys board games but feels that their video game counterparts lack a lot of what makes them fun. Check out the video above to see how he and artist Aubrey Serr tried to overcome these problems while developing a unique board game from the ground up.
Described as an “experimental, winner-generated arcade roguelike”, Mercury is a simple dungeon crawl that allows the two top-scoring players at the end of each 4-day cycle to permanently add something new to it. Released as beta last month, the game began with only one monster, item, and class, but has since been expanded by the leading players in its community. There’s also a Chaos Mode, which allows anyone to add new entities to the game at any time (this is an easy way to see how the creation system works).
Combat is handled like any other roguelike: you deal and receive damage by stepping into an enemy’s tile. The scoring system, however, is based around killing bosses for multipliers and clearing a floor of monsters for a large point bonus. The player also has to manage a finite pool of actions that is only replenished by descending to the next floor.
Mercury was created by James Lantz, with artwork by his father Frank Lantz (Drop7). Since the game’s in beta, it’s still being worked on actively – in his latest blog post, James says that future updates may allow players to create private servers.
(Source: Jason Rohrer)
Warsow is a free, open source competitive FPS game built on Qfusion, a heavily modified version of the Quake 2 engine. In development for 7 years, the design is based on Quake 3 but adds new movement abilities – such as dashing, wall jumping, and ramp sliding – that are accessible via a special key. Additionally, Warsow has a number of features that make it easy to modify the game and spectate matches.
The game finally reached version 1.0 yesterday.
(Thanks, Türbo Bröther!)
StarForge is an ambitious 3d action game that’s currently in development. According to the game’s wiki, it’s inspired by “Halo, Warcraft 3, Borderlands, Terraria, and Minecraft”, and features a number of modes that let players build bases and wage war across randomly-generated alien worlds. Player movement is entirely physics-based and body parts react (somewhat) realistically to every impact.
The first public alpha was released earlier this month and is free-to-play, although you can purchase “Hatch Points” to spend on player models and other assets to use within the game. The developers have warned that this alpha is unoptimized, may have performance issues, and does not include every feature shown in the trailer.
Punch the possum for a fan-made video which explores the alpha in more depth:
“Red”, an expansion pack for the turn-based strategy game Frozen Synapse, has been been released and offers two-player co-op, a riot shield unit, a new “kill the hacker” multiplayer mode, three mutators, a 15-mission single-player campaign, 10 single-player challenge missions, new music from nervous_testpilot, and “Red Mode”, which lets you play the game with red environments. The $10 expansion is available from the Frozen Synapse website or Steam (Steam keys are provided even if you buy directly from Mode 7 Games).
On top of that, the game has received a free update that adds Hotseat Mode, timed turns, and non-randomized multiplayer maps for competitive play. See the Mode 7 Games blog for more details.
TIGdb: Entry for Frozen Synapse
Here’s a new trailer for Depth, a stealth-based multiplayer game that pits a team of divers against a team of man-eating sharks. Sharks are much more powerful but have limited vision – to catch their prey they have to rely on disturbances in the water and heartbeats. The goal of the divers is to sneak treasure out from the sea floor without being killed.
No release date has been announced.