I generally try to post about projects before they see real press coverage, but this was one of those times where I sat on a preview post (waiting for gameplay footage to pop-up), forget to check up on it, then a half-year later read about the game on RockPaperShotgun. Conceived by TIGSourcer JLJac, Rain World is an in-progress “sneaker/action” multiplayer platformer sporting slick AI and a dreamy art-style that rocks my socks.
Players control squirmy little bear-weasel guys that slink and climb around a lush 2D maze in order to catch smaller prey animals while avoiding predators. All characters animations are controlled by the game’s physics, as opposed to canned sprite sheet animations, which really contributes to that fluid, soft feel Rain World exudes. A large portion of the development time is apparently going into designing robust enemy AI, which is a good sign that the game is on track to have compelling gameplay to accompany the pretty visuals.
Here’s the new trailer for UnderRail, the upcoming turn-based, isometric RPG by Stygian Software. As a post-apocalyptic urban-dungeon-crawl, it pays effective homage to System Shock 2 and the original Fallout in both gameplay and subject-matter.
It features lots of character customization options, an elaborate crafting system, and all the other crap you’d expect from solid turn-based RPGs (armor, quests, skills, an expansive world to explore), so it seems UnderRail might end up being just as involved and gratifying as the great classics that inspired it…see, this is why indiegames are cool.
Windows users can try the free UnderRail demo here, or you can pre-purchase it and get the current alpha build for $9.99 through Desura or GamersGate. Stygian Software’s also having a Desura key giveaway for people who can submit the best apocalypse survival item ideas (although you might need to submit it in Spanish or something). If you dig it, consider voting UnderRail up on Steam Greenlight; it’s slated for full-release in mid-late 2013.
Nowadays, the best shmups come almost exclusively from indie devs, partly because their semi-niche market and simplicity keep them out of big-studio consideration, but mainly because too many cooks spoil the broth, and with the sheer quantity of amazing shumps released over the past few decades, it really takes the labor-of-love mindset of an indie team to make any real headway in the genre. Humans Must Answer is the first 2D space-shooter I’ve seen in a while to actually catch my eye, and just today Sumom Games officially launched the project on Kickstarter.
Humans Must Answer looks to have all the basic components required of a solid shooter, but looks to offer that extra bit of creativity in game mechanics needed to push the genre. Yes it has polished visuals and meticulous level-design, but all the crazy tricks you can pull off with different support-fire weapon combinations is what’s really got me interested (check out the pitch vid on their KickStarter page to see what I mean).
Right now it has a rough ETA of May 2013, and I advise all shmup fans out there to at least throw this one a glance. A £5 pledge gets you the digital copy of the game for Windows (33% off the release price), so it seems like a low-risk/high-reward scenario for 2D shooter buffs.
Wish experimental games like this popped up on a daily basis; wading through an ocean unimaginative, hackneyed concepts takes it’s tole on a man. Vested Interest‘s artsy puzzler simian.interface tests spatial reasoning, pattern recognition, and raw intuition. It’s said to draw inspiration from “tabletop puzzles, modern art, cognitive psychology experiments, and retro console games”, with the player assuming the role of a lab-monkey who’s rewarded with bananas upon trial set completion. I almost get the impression that this was really designed by someone involved in actual cognitive test development. For the 10 minutes or so it takes to bang this one out, simian.interface is very-much worth your time, and a few of the puzzles towards the end are pretty genius.
You can download the pay-what-you-want version for Windows and Mac (plus soundtrack) at Vested Interest’s site (this is a cool one, consider maybe throwing them a buck or two), or play it in your browser on Kongregate or NewGrounds.
Every now and then I need a weird, introspective sort of exploration game, and TIGSourcer allen again brings us something to fit the bill with his short little FPS The King of the Wood.
The plot borrows strongly from Blade Runner, as the player is tasked with “retiring” an unlicensed cyborg, and on the way to your kill you’ll fight automated sentries, uncover a couple secrets, and solve simple puzzles. Your target’s house is littered with drinkable booze and readable book excerpts, which work to paint the cyborg as some erudite but stoic victim of circumstances, which imparts a feeling of uneasiness to your central goal. There are also a couple easter-eggs hidden throughout the game, including a seemingly arbitrary reference to The Shining, which sorta weirded me out since I had just hours ago watched Room 237, an (idiotic) documentary analysis of the Shining.
Figured it’s time to break my silence about CleaverSoft‘s upcoming title Dragon Runner, the beautiful and oddly-immersive two-button runner I played last month at MagFest. In Dragon Runner, players control bearded-hero Stanley as he skydives from space to battle the massive flying dragons that have overrun Earth. Landing on a dragon from free-fall triggers the core platforming segments, wherein you’ll traverse the bizarre landscape of the dragon’s back and make your way towards its head, which needs to be furiously attacked in order to actually slay the damn thing. While platforming, players have two main actions, ‘Jump’ and ‘Anchor’ (the latter slows your forward movement and increases fall speed while airborne)–both must used employed with skillful timing in order to nab various items and avoid the weird-ass demons you’ll find just chillin’ on these dragons.
Dragon Runner may seem, at its heart, to be just a two-button runner with impressive artwork, but lead developer Rich Siegel aims for it to have “the kind of depth gamers would expect from a Mario game“; a lofty goal obviously, but one that I think Cleaversoft is likely to meet based on what I’ve seen so far. Each dragon serves as a unique level, and the game will be crammed with unlockable abilities, special items, secret warps, and an overarching meta-game vaguely resembling a rogue-like.
I can’t wait to try the latest build, not only to check-out new elements they’re adding, but mainly because I’d like to redeem myself after managing to kill only zero dragons at MagFest. Anyway, expect an early 2014 release for Dragon Runner on iOS, Mac, and PC.
I tend to not cover many voxel-based mining games on my site, partly because they’re not really my cup of chowder and partly because their abundance and financial success sort of irks me. But while Robert Reed’s project Timber and Stone may resemble a typical Minecraft-style sandbox game in both appearance and certain game-mechanics, it’s emphasis on army-building, city-defense, and resource micro-management look to move it more towards being a heavily involved RTS than a play-with-yourself sandbox experience.
By building and gaining wealth, more units will begin to immigrate to your city, at which point they can be assigned one of many different professions: blacksmith, miner, engineer, infantry, etc. Every denizen of your city, however, requires food, so you’ll need to provide sustenance for your citizens via crops and cattle to prevent city starvation. Units will also gain experience in their specific profession, for example, archers get more accurate over time and blacksmiths learning to craft better items. Most of the items relevant to your city’s success, such as building materials and weapons, will need to be crafted from resources harvested throughout the world, so mining and foraging across the randomly generated terrain are going to be a significant component of gameplay.
Timber and Stone is only 5-6 months into development, but it looks like it could grow into something pretty big given enough support. Oh, and on that note, the project’s on Kickstarter until October 26, and a $15 pledge will get you the game upon it’s release. As long as this game keeps its end focus towards that of a solid RTS, this game will probably rock my socks, and I really need something to wean me back off of Civilization 5 for the third time…suck my ass Sid Meiers.