It’s easy to be wary of high-concept indie titles based around some quirky concept like time travel, gravity, teleportation, guns that shoot science instead of bullets, etc. When they work, of course, they work marvelously, like Portal, Braid, Antichamber, The Swapper, Fez, or any of the best puzzle platformers. But there’s no denying that there is a glut of gimmicky imitators in the genre, and more often than not the concepts, no matter how interesting they sound on paper, are stretched thin across never-ending tutorial levels. So despite Capybara’s strong record it was with some trepidation that I embarked on Super Time Force Ultra, the updated PC version of their time-traveling run n’ gun Super Time Force (which won Microsoft’s first-ever IGF “XBLA Award” for a publishing deal on Xbox 360 and Xbox One).
Thankfully, STFU shrugs off the stereotypes quickly and easily, and while the game is certainly unique and innovative, it has the frantic pacing of a good run n’ gun that is not found in most puzzle platformers. On top of that, there is an element of light tactics that strangely enough reminds me of Sega’s 1988 cult classic arcade game Gain Ground. It’s a mad idea that I would not have been brave enough to work on, but I’m happy that Capy was.
Indie studio Dopterra has just three days to reach the modest goal of $6000 for its colorful 8-bit title, Creepy Castle. Promising a mix of 2D platform-based exploration and turn-based RPG combat, the game follows the adventure of Moth (note: an actual moth) within the halls of the titular Creepy Castle in an effort to uncover and thwart a looming threat. Dopterra has also teased several other protagonists, playable in an assortment of scenarios that intertwine with Moth’s story.
With a graphical style inspired by the Sinclair ZX Spectrum and a catchy chiptune soundtrack, Creepy Castle certainly aims to present a fantastically old-school experience – but its six-person dev team is not afraid to pay homage to the modern indie game scene as well: It’s been revealed that characters from recent indie titles such as Shovel Knight and Super Meat Boy will appear in-game, possibly even in the form of playable characters.
With only three days to go in its Kickstarter campaign, Creepy Castle is tantalizingly close to reaching its goal of just $6000. Whether you’ve long dreamt of fluttering your way as a moth through a labyrinthine castle – drawn not to a flame, but to your awaiting destiny – or you simply enjoy old-school graphics and gameplay, Creepy Castle might just be the game for you: Head on over to the Creepy Castle Kickstarter page to learn more and pledge. You can also vote for Creepy Castle right now on its Steam Greenlight page. Finally, if you simply want to watch the game as it develops, be sure to check out the Creepy Castle DevLog on TIGForums.
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.
Fans of La-Mulana rejoice: Indie dev team NIGORO has a sequel in the works and is currently running a Kickstarter campaign to fund its development!
The direct sequel to the Steam-and-WiiWare remake of the first game, La-Mulana 2 follows the adventures of Lumisa Kosugi, daughter of the first game’s curry-loving protagonist, Lemeza Kosugi. This time around, players will guide Lumisa through the ruins of Eg-Lana, which will have Norse mythology serve as a motif. Promising more of the deviously-designed traps, puzzles, and boss fights that made the first game so great, NIGORO also wants the sequel to be “a fresh new experience for people who enjoyed the first game, while also giving newcomers a chance to enjoy the series without being forced to play La-Mulana first.”
The game’s Kickstarter campaign has just 11 days left and has raised nearly 90% of its funding goal in pledges, so if you would like to see a sequel to La-Mulana, head on over to the campaign page and help them leap past their goal.
FourbitFriday’s game Catacomb Kids has just under 5 days left for it’s Kickstarter campaign. The game is a platformer roguelike with a heavy emphasis on the roguelike elements when compared to similar games, with random enchantments on equipment, the ability to chop limbs off of your opponents (or have your own cut off), and deep interactions between objects in the game.
Though its reached its goal already, Catacomb Kids is worth checking out if just for the depth shown in the short video above.
Night in the Woods is an upcoming game from Alec Holowka (Aquaria, Towerfall) and animator Scott Benson. From the Kickstarter page:
Lovely audiovisuals and I’m intrigued by the story and characters. Really looking forward to this one!
[This is a guest post by Offal.]
From the early arcade to the Dreamcast era, Sega had a stable of first and second-party developers regularly producing vibrant genre-defining games, inventing and reinventing convention. Today that experimental spirit has largely died off, or been dialed down into tame sequels and re-releases of classic titles.
Amateur developers like the Arcane Kids have stepped in to fill the gap, and now Simon Stalenhag and Tommy Salomonsson (collectively Pixeltruss) have released Ripple Dot Zero, their own game in the free-spirited high flying blue skies style.
Ripple Dot Zero is free to play in browser.
We spoke with Pixeltruss to discuss the history, release, and future of the project. It’s a long one! Interview past the break.
Read the rest of this entry »
[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).
I have to admit, I’m not the biggest fan of puzzle platformers (or even puzzle games, to be honest), but when they’re good, they’re good. With The Swapper, Finnish studio Facepalm Games has not only uncovered a fun new mechanic but also crafted an extremely intriguing science fiction tale around it. Though the central themes may not be completely original to sci-fi, the way they come into focus as you solve puzzles and explore the beautiful claymation world is deftly executed. This is a great example of how to tell a story with a challenging game.