I’m not sure who I feel worse for right now, Lucas Pope or other devs aspiring to release their own indie hit… On one hand you have to feel for Lucas Pope because now he’s created Papers Please and Return of the Obra Dinn, releasing both to great success and critical acclaim, so now all eyes are on him to see what he does next. Don’t they always say the third album is the difficult one? On the other hand, imagine what it must be like to be a solo indie dev these days, in University or beyond. You can’t win awards and get famous through your hot take on pixel sprite platforming now! No, for you to achieve success what you need to do is come up with a unique mechanic which is simultaneously simple and intuitive but also engaging and involved, you’ll need to write an exciting story which prompts discussion and thought, and then on top of that you can sprinkle in the graphics and animations, which also ought to be unique enough that someone could point to a still frame from it and recognise what it’s from. And even then you’ll still be compared against Lucas Pope. So, y’know, it’s not asking much! Continue reading
You know what really bothers me about Hellblade: Senua’s Sacrifice? Something which made me feel really extremely silly and therefore irritated with developers Ninja Theory for making me look and feel silly. Have you heard about the whole controversy that surrounded the game’s save files? The game itself even outright tells you that if you die too often that it would delete your save in a manner of permadeath? I had a big long discussion about this and whether or not I thought it was good game design, whether it was a gimmick or actually could even be construed as a legitimate mechanic. Well it turns out that actually it’s simply not true and doesn’t happen.
Yeah, mind blown.
Apparently there is no permadeath mechanic. The game doesn’t delete your save file. The rot which creeps up the protagonist’s body to show how often you’ve died actually just always stops at a certain level and never progresses higher. It was all a swindle, a sham, a bald-faced lie. Continue reading
So you’re busy, you’ve got about an hour before you have to deal with some stuff in the real world. That world into which we rarely venture. I understand that some people, for bizarre reasons, don’t have the time to sit down and play six straight hours of Skyrim or Mass Effect 3 and so while I do not understand I suppose I should take pity on them and offer them some solace. Thus here comes the next article in our series of Some Ideas for Your Little Minutes. These articles will be of games (or perhaps betas of games) that we can’t rightfully give full reviews, because we don’t classify them as full games. But importantly these games will not be something you need to sit down and focus on for hours on end!
Brothers: A Tale of Two Sons (or, more simply: “Brothers”), developed by Starbreeze Studios, is a big name now and in fact it has been since release. It has been widely praised by fans and critics and actually won Best Xbox Game at this year’s Spike’s video game awards (because I can’t stand calling it “VGX”), beating heavy hitters like Bioshock Infinite and GTA:V. Most especially it has received praise for it’s writing, it’s looks and overall feel. I’m a bit behind the times in that I’ve only managed to play through it now over Christmas.
In Brothers you play as both of a pair of brothers simultaneously, making it a surprisingly unique game in which you essentially have to co-operate with yourself in order to solve a series of uncomplicated puzzles. Designed specifically for XBLA the left analogue stick and left trigger control older Bieber-esque brother while the right analogue stick and trigger control the younger, blonde mop-top brother. Each brother also has unique “gameplay” abilities, with Bieber-hair being stronger (ironically) and Beatles-hair being smaller and nimbler. With both of these protagonists at your fingertips it is up to you to go on a grand scope fantasy adventure to find some special plant which will save your seriously ill father. This is done across a vast fantasy world in which the two brothers have to interact with the environment and work with each other in order to progress. Continue reading
Created by I-Illusions, Element4l is a recently released “experimental” platformer with a heavy focus on flowing, fast and incredibly challenging gameplay. As I have mentioned before platformers are a fairly difficult genre to review because there are just so damned many of them that it seems ridiculously difficult to provide anything fresh or exciting to the scene. However, Element4l actually does bring a fairly unique mechanic to the genre and impressed me enough that I found myself quite hooked for a while on it, despite not normally enjoying platformers at all. Continue reading
Reus by Abbey Games is an indie god game where you play the part of four giants who morph a lifeless and barren planet with seas, swamps, forests and mountains in order to bring life to your world. It’s a game which could possibly be pronounced “R-oos” (as in the Greek god Zeus), but I have taken to pronouncing “Ree-us”. It’s a completely charming and amusing experienced accompanied by a variety of challenges and obstacles all played along to with a pleasant graphics style and a melodious soundtrack.
The game plays out with you being given control of the four giants and their abilities and a whole world for you to bend to your will. You see your planet from the side on and so are given a side-scrolling view of the planet with a set number of spaces which you can morph and utilise. You can zoom in and out and click and drag to spin the world so that you can mould the whole place into whatever you desire. Then, once all the moulding you feel is necessary is done, you use your giants to place down a variety of animals, plants and minerals for humans to use. Continue reading
Party of Sin by Crankshaft Games is a side-scrolling platforming (described as a puzzle-platformer) game set within the battle between Heaven and Hell. You play as the anthropomorphic personifications of the 7 Deadly Sins: Wrath, Envy, Lust, Gluttony, Sloth, Greed and Pride who have been very naughty sins indeed and have thus been punished by imprisonment in the depths of Hell. The game revolves around the escape from Hell and subsequent roaming around the depths of the Underworld, even making your way all the way to Heaven. Meanwhile the forces of Heaven and Hell, angels and demons, are duking it out around you and you have to go into the midst of the war in order to show them who is really boss. ‘Cause it ain’t Mr. Floaty-Beardy-Robe Guy I tell you that right now!