Posts from ‘FPS’ Category

The Polynomial

By: ithamore

On: December 18th, 2010

I first played Dmytry Lavrov’s The Polynomial (and enjoyed it for an hour or so) a year ago after it was posted as an earlier build on the blog. Now I’ve rediscovered its latest rendition while I was searching for a new indie game to play, and I’m quite happy to be reacquainted with it and to experience all its new improvements. The video above explains most of the basics, so you could just watch it if you don’t feel like reading the rest of the review of this tripy, gorgeous game.

Read the rest of this entry »

Mega Man 8-Bit Deathmatch Demo

By: ithamore

On: July 15th, 2010

The demo for MM8BDM was released last week. In case you didn’t read about it before, MM8BDM is a mod of Skulltag (an engine that is a port of Doom I and II with additions and improvements).

The single player mode only includes a small level to train against AI bots. For help with multiplayer sessions, refer to this thread in CutStuff’s forums.

A little warning when starting for the first time. My computer became extremely slow the first time after I ran the game and while WinXP was asking me whether or not to block the program during MM8BDM’s online testing. I eventually got through it and exited the game. From then on, everything ran smoothly when I tried to start again.

(Source: Idealsoft Blog [Italian])


By: Derek Yu

On: March 25th, 2010


A quick announcement: Eskil Steenberg’s online multiplayer game Love was quietly released a few hours ago. In the game you cooperate with other players to build settlements and defend yourself from AI tribes who are competing with you for resources. I haven’t tried it yet, but there’s a gameplay video on the Love website where Eskil shows off some of the things you can do in the game.

Love costs 10 Euros (roughly $13.50 USD) a month to play. There’s no subscription involved – you simply pay 10 Euros every time you want to add another month. Eskil explains the reasoning behind this payment model here.

TIGdb: Entry for Love

The Hunt

By: fuzz

On: January 16th, 2010

Amon26‘s The Hunt is a prequel to his run-and-gun horror masterpiece, Au Sable. In first person shooter format, the characters and entities residing within the world of Au Sable are presented from an entirely different point of view than in the latter game. The player’s gun-wielding maniac acts as narrator in place of the original’s red-haired girl. It’s a fair bit shorter than All Of Our Friends Are Dead or Au Sable, but almost as effective.

Essentially, this is a creepy version of those weird deer hunting games you can find in arcades. What is lost in innovation in gameplay, however, is gained in disorientation. Being the first 3D game Benjamin (Amon26) has made, walls are frequently bumped up against and aiming is extremely difficult. Many would call this a fault; I would argue that the clear disorientation of the creator in the design process accentuates the player’s own disorientation. When the realization dawned on me that nobody was holding the reins and control had been relinquished to the game itself, rather than its creator, I wanted to scream and hide. The gradual removal of the player’s own power through larger and larger crowds of enemies is the conscious reply to the glitchy brokenness utilized in all of Amon’s work. Fear of the unknown guides the player’s emotions through the first section, where there are no enemies, only dead bodies. Later in the game, the only two enemy types have become familiar to the player yet still prove effective in scaring and unnerving them: the knowledge that The Hunt is “only a game” cannot and will not save you.

The graphics are the characteristic Amon red-and-black sprites. While these are very good, much is reused from Au Sable, and the colour scheme is beginning to wear itself thin. The faux 3D of The Hunt is similar to Judith‘s style in that all the action takes place in a three dimensional plane with two dimensional creatures living in it. It’s at once groan-inducing and horrifying to see these paper-thin monsters gambol about around blood-soaked remnants of humans in a dance of death. The device used to show the main character’s health is quite ingenious: the static covering the screen becomes more and more dense as greater amounts of damage are taken. Although as it is, the art is nowhere near perfection, different graphics would seriously alter the game and remove one of its most important elements.

The atmospheric glitch-industrial music playing in the background is fantastic. Amon26’s sound design and compositional abilities are easily his greatest artistic asset, and The Hunt showcases this to amazing effect. The voices of the last act are the primary vehicle to draw the player’s fear out until the end, and they succeed extremely well. None of it’s the sort of thing that can be properly listened to outside of the game, but as a part of a holistic experience, it’s essential.

In summation: The Hunt is brilliant, although flawed. A plethora of bleeding corpses and winged demons await you. Go forth and do battle.

You can download The Hunt here. You can also get a compilation CD with AOOFAD, Au Sable, and a few extras from Amon’s Lulu page. If you’d like weird t-shirts or plastic models of the characters from these games, those are here and here, respectively.

Natural Selection 2 – Spark Editor

By: Derek Yu

On: December 2nd, 2009

Natural Selection 2

Though the original intended release date (Fall 2009) has come and gone, Unknown Worlds is still hard at work on the sequel to their ground-breaking FPS Natural Selection. Last week they released a pre-alpha which contains a work-in-progress version of the Spark level editor as well as a good deal of the game’s environmental art. UW is comparing Spark Editor to Google’s SketchUp, and indeed, it looks quite intuitive, if the video tutorials are any indication.

Players who pre-order NS2 will get access to the pre-alpha as well as any other pre-release goodies. You’ll also be supporting a small team of five people in their quest to make a great game, so that’s nice!

Also: pictured above is one of the first in-game screenshots from NS2, depicting a skulk’s eye (skulk’s mouth?) view of a vent and another skulk. For those of you not familiar with Natural Selection, the game pits two very different teams, human and alien, against each other, and combines the first-person shooter and real-time strategy genres. For another screenshot and some more information about the game’s ongoing development, check out this post.


By: Derek Yu

On: November 12th, 2009


Thomas “T.V.” van der Velden’s Harmony is a new FPS made with the ZDoom game engine. It is 8 years in the making. 8 years… wow, that is some dedication!

The game features original graphics and music. The monsters in the game were modeled from clay figures that the author rigged with wires so that they could be animated. Overall, Harmony looks fairly drab, but the character designs certainly lend it a unique and creepy look. The music is pretty good, too – I especially like the track that’s all drums.

It’s a challenging FPS that hearkens to the early days of shareware – there’s no jumping or swimming here (there is mouse-aiming, though)! Unfortunately, the weapon selection is not as interesting as the monsters, and you’ll mostly be playing with variants of the standard Doom line-up. But the level design is good – 11 large (and I do mean large) maps make you backtrack a lot, but are intuitive and have lots of shortcuts and secrets. The item placement feels right to me, too – ammo is valuable but not too scarce.

An original and complete game based on the Doom engine doesn’t come around that often, and Harmony is an impressive effort, if somewhat rough around the edges. It’s definitely worth a look for fans of old FPS’s. Thanks, jute, for the tip.

TIGdb: Entry for Harmony

This Fall: Natural Selection 2

By: Derek Yu

On: May 27th, 2009

BREAKING KOTAKU EXCLUSIVE! Natural Selection 2, the sequel to the popular multiplayer Half-Life mod, is slated for a Fall release on Steam, according to its developers. The original game blended FPS and RTS mechanics and featured two very different playable teams – the alien Kharaa and the human Frontiersmen. NS2 will maintain the same basic mechanics, but with some new features (and obviously much prettier). It’s now running on an unnamed proprietary engine, with Valve’s Source engine having been dropped due to the cost of licensing.

This is great news, as the development has been through some rough times, with its creators selling a Sudoku puzzle game to make ends meet at one point.

(Source: Alec Meer, via Rock, Paper, Shotgun)

Zeno Clash – The Review!

By: Xander

On: April 22nd, 2009


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.

Zeno Clash – Releases today! (Or, right now!)

By: Xander

On: April 21st, 2009


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!)


By: Xander

On: March 26th, 2009


Tag is this year’s Digipen entry into the IGF Student Showcase. Whether it wins or not will be decided later tonight (Update: They did!), but at the very least you can form your own opinions at home!

In the interest of keeping the front-page compact for GDC goodness: Continued in the extended!

So ‘Tag’ is roughly a first-person platforming puzzle game. Your character is capable of very few actions himself, only the ability to walk and look around. So, in a socially irresponsible fashion he must rely on the power of substance abuse to escape this monochromatic misadventure.

What this means without my poetic license, is that your character has a paint-gun which you can collect three kinds of paint for. Each kind when sprayed upon an area will imbue it with certain qualities. Green paint will cause you to jump, red to speed up and blue to stick to anything it’s attached to. It’s a simple play of powers, but it’s one that works quite well.

The problem with the game is that it holds your hand an awful lot. I’d understand this if the developers were trying to show their tech off to as many people as possible, but even the technique of ‘wall-jumping’ is spoiled for you by a massive sign next to the puzzle its required for, completely pre-empting your own identification that there was even an obstacle there to begin with. It does loosen up later, throwing in satisfying leaps of faith and a rather inspired set-piece around a train, but the refined simplicity of the gameplay makes the earlier tutorials seem entirely redundant, and only serves to shorten the length of an already bite-sized game.

This isn’t to say it is bad by any means, its a suprisingly well formed game where I never once found myself having to restart and progression was always smooth and entertaining. The paint system is a clever tool which makes first-person platforming far more fun than the perspective should allow, and the stylish visuals are only made more impressive by the fact that I never once saw my paint fade from the walls. Even after creating a hell of a mess in an attempt to create post-credits fan art.

It’s easily worth your time and hard-drive space (though the Pixel Shader 2.0 requirement does alienate some gamers), and I’m glad to see the students of DigiPen are as reliable as ever. You’ll be snapped up by Valve in no time! Probably.

(Thanks go to Destructoid and especially to Anthony Burch who has been covering basically every indie-related GDC moment this year.)


Good luck at the awards everyone!